When: Monday, September 19, 2016, from 6:00 – 7:30 p.m.
What: A Nonviolent Vigil and Prayer Service for Peace during the AFA $300+ per plate banquet (please bring a candle) As we undertake this vigil, we do so in solidarity with Campaign Nonviolence, who will be sponsoring a week-long series of actions nationwide from September 18-25. See: http://www.paceebene.org/programs/campaign-nonviolence.
Where: Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center, 201 Waterfront St., National Harbor, MD 20745.
We will meet for the vigil at the corner of Waterfront St. and St. George Blvd., directly across from the Gaylord National Resort (See Directions Below)
Sponsored by the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker
“War should always scandalize the faithful…Think of the children starving in refugee camps, these are the fruits of war. And then think of the great dining rooms, of the parties held by those who control the arms industry, who produce weapons. Compare a sick, starving child in a refugee camp with the big parties, the good life led by the masters of the arms trade.”
— Pope Francis, February 25, 2014 Mass at the Vatican’s Santa Marta Chapel
“Why are deadly weapons being sold to those who plan to inflict untold suffering on individuals andsociety? Sadly, the answer, as we all know, is simply for money: money that is drenched in blood, often innocent blood. In the face of this shameful and culpable silence, it is our duty to confront the problemand to stop the arms trade.”
— Pope Francis, September 24, 2015 Speech to the U.S. Congress
From September 19-21, the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center is once again playing host to the Air Force Association (AFA) “Air & Space Conference and Technology Expo,” what we call an “Arms Bazaar.” The AFA, according to its web site, is “the voice for aerospace power and the Air Force family.” The focus for this year’s Arms Bazaar is: “Air, Space & Cyber Theme: Airmen, Industry, and Allies-A Global Security Team.” (see below more info about the AFA Arms Bazaar) Some 150 arms contractors taking part in this years Arms Bazaar have played a prominent role in U.S. warmaking. These arms contractors, like Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Northrop Grumman and Raytheon, are profiting from war and literally are making a killing! But that’s not all. The Pentagon and numerous arms dealers are committed to U.S. nuclear/military/cyber superiority and militarizing and controlling space.
As the world’s preeminent military superpower, the U.S. is the #1 arms dealer with $46.6 billion inforeign military sales for 2015. The U.S. supplies weapons to much of NATO and Middle Eastern allies like Turkey, Israel, and Saudi Arabia. U.S. arms sales in the Middle East are fueling widespread wars in the region, as the U.S. continues its quest to destroy ISIS. In concert with weapons contractors participating in the AFA Arms Bazaar, the U.S. is engaged in direct military intervention in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria, continues its military support for the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza, threatens Russia over its involvement in the Ukraine, proceeds with its military “pivot” in the Asia-Pacific to threaten and contain China, and wages killer drone attacks in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia.
The U.S. government proceeds ahead with its “Missile Defense” deployments encircling China and Russia, constituting a flagrant violation of its Anti-Ballistic missile treaty with Russia. Moreover, the U.S. plans to spend $1 trillion over the next thirty years to modernize its own nuclear arsenal, instead of pursuing a real path to disarmament. The U.S. military is also the world’s single biggest consumer of fossil fuels which is directly destabilizing the earth’s climate. The victims cry out for justice, and the earth, under daily assault, groans in travail!
During its three day Arms Bazaar, the AFA is sponsoring nearly 40 forums addressing how the U.S. can refine its warmaking apparatus and cyber capability so it can dominate earth and space. On Monday, September 19, the AFA is holding a $300+ per plate banquet honoring outstanding airmen, and two days later will hold another similar banquet. We decry the AFA Arms Bazaar for what it is: a scandalous affront to God, a theft from the poor, and a threat to people worldwide!
Who will speak for the poor and the victims, as arms dealers reap huge profits from their lethal weapons and death technology? Who will protect our sacred earth and environment? We urgently need, more than ever, to nonviolently resist all war and violence–from Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Gaza, to Ferguson, NYC, Baltimore, Charleston, Orlando, D.C. and elsewhere. Together, let us continue to do all we can to establish the Beloved Community, end the climate crisis, eradicate poverty and create a world free of nuclear and conventional weapons, killer drones, war, racial hatred and oppression. In the name of God, who calls us to love and not to hate, demonize and kill, it’s time to end this Arms Bazaar!
Please join with members of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker, Pax Christi and other peacemakers as we seek to say YES to Life and a resounding NO to the merchants of death and war profiteers.