June 9, 2012

A community presence against war, militarism and the American Empire

Every Friday, 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm

Sidewalk in front of MLK Library

San Salvador and 4th Street

San Jose, California

June 9, 2012

Why Vigil

If we care to look, we find we are surrounded by unspeakable brutality.  Our perpetual war continues to kill and maim, drone attacks increase, and torture is widespread in our vast domestic and overseas detention system.  While no one will officially admit to the worst of our atrocities, it does not take much to discover them.

It is easy to ignore the suffering caused by our Nation, it is easy to look the other way or simply stay ignorant.  We can always deny that our country engages in torture, we can pretend to believe that our wars are justified, and we can imagine our drone strikes as acts of humanitarianism.  But we know that is not true.  Perhaps the fundamental question of life is how do we live with the knowledge of the suffering of others.  When that suffering is caused by us, the question is even more poignant.

We don’t know what will help turn our nation away from militarism, war, torture, and empire.  But we can be reasonably sure that our private thoughts opposing them will not help.  Neither will our support of the status quo.  Instead we must somehow engage in public opposition and resistance.

A peace vigil is a public presence against the status quo.  It is a time out from daily life to publicly oppose our ongoing wars and militarization and to stand in solidarity with those harmed by our actions.  Perhaps it does not do anything.   But consider yourself a traveler driving through two communities.  One community has a regular anti-war vigil, the other does not.  Does not your opinion of the communities change based on the presence, or absence, of the vigil?  Is there not something more hopeful about a community with a regular vigil for peace, in contrast to a community where no one appears publicly to be against the war?

The San Jose Friday Peace Vigil is an opportunity to take some time from your daily life and take a public stand against the empire and its wars.  We simply gather at the corner of San Salvador and 4th Street, in front of MLK Library, and hold signs opposing war and militarism.

For some, participating in a peace vigil is a first step in a path of resistance.  For others it may be their only public opposition to the wars.  But regardless of the extent of one’s resistance, the suffering of the victims of our policies demand that we take some public action.  The San Jose Friday Peace Vigil is one way to do so.