In the past few days, Megan Rice and Paul Magno have begun their Transform Now Plowshares Euro-Tour with a whirlwind trip around the United Kingdom.
A full house, ranging from 3 months old to 86 years old, started a new year for peacemaking on a positive note. Megan has been adamant that this tour is as much a listening tour as a speaking tour and so our modality in speaking is to offer some observations and then to ask others in the audience to not simply ask questions but offer their own concerns and wisdom on the meaning of the nuclear threat.
Thus they heard older folks filling in for the benefit of younger folks some of the history of the early use of atomic weapons against the Japanese people. They heard that youth in Afghanistan took note of and took heart from the Transform Now Plowshares action, even in the midst of their very considerable work to figure out how to champion nonviolence in their war-torn country.
The next morning, on to Edinburgh Scotland, welcomed by the Edinburgh Peace and Justice Center for an inaugural presentation at their new site. Wall-to-wall and knee-to-knee they were. Again, while there is ongoing curiosity and admiration for Megan and the Transform Now Plowshares, they hear dialogue on how they can contest the persistence of nuclear weaponry. There is a lot of optimism in Scotland about their Scrap Trident campaign, and concern to link such disarmament to other issues, Palestine, refugees, poverty. Megan and Paul Magno present themselves as an inter-generational plowshares duo and pose the question, “how do you want to disarm?,” to folks who haven’t thought about it, especially the young, and to folks who may think that the likes of a plowshares action might be too provocative or too costly.
Finally yesterday to Glasgow and nearby Faslane where they kept vigil for about an hour at the gate of the Trident nuclear submarine base there. To contemplate the enormous evil of Trident, and to pray for disarmament with over a dozen others gathered in the bleak wintry drizzle was moving. After, Megan and Paul had an excellent visit to the Faslane Peace Camp, touted as the longest continuous peace encampment in the world at 32 years and running. All of the half-dozen principals at the camp are under 30 and amazingly adept at life in the camp’s rudimentary conditions and at knowledge of the British Trident fleet of four and of the movements of nuclear weaponry around the UK. That much young energy pitted against forces of annihilation gave both of us great hope that our human family needn’t succumb to nuclear calamity.
Tuesday, on to Amsterdam and continental Europe where more such opportunities await Megan and Paul