Easter 2011

from the eyes of a peace activist

I found plenty of meaning this Easter.

I went to mass on Thursday, Friday and Saturday as we ritually remembered the arrest, execution, and resurrection of Jesus.  I read the part of Pontius Pilate at the Good Friday Mass of perhaps 300 in our local church.  Through the whole proceedings I had this parallel image of Jesus struggling for justice in Roman times, and our good selves struggling for Justice in USA times.

It just seems so obvious to me that the church – “the body of Christ” is called upon now to renounce war, and to put itself on the side of nonviolent love, and yet it struggles with its calling.

Good Friday in Brisbane - Jim Dowling, with family and friends, makes a public comment at Fisherman's Island wharf in Brisbane on Good Friday, following the visit to that port of a US nuclear-powered attack submarine called The City of Corpus Christie

Bishop James (who read the part of Jesus in the passion) mentioned in two seperate homilies that in the 2011 calendar, Easter was as late in the year as it possibly could be, so that Easter Monday was also ANZAC Day.  Then he fell silent and had no more to say about it.

So I was happy to receive e-mails about two Catholic Worker actions on Good Friday.  Jim Dowling (above) in Brisbane, and Ciaron O’Reilly (below) in London.

Good Friday in London - Ciaron O'Reilly, Frank Cordaro, and Steve Jacobs, before their arrest outside 10 Downing St

On Easter Sunday in Australia, a network of faith groups started up an ANZAC Eve Peace vigil, using lanterns designed by Graeme Dunstan to commemorate ALL the victims of war as part of ceremonies.  It was appropriate to launch the inaugural event on Easter Sunday.

Here is a pictorial report on the event in Canberra.

Here is a pictorial report on the event in Cairns.

As I move towards a Ploughshares Action in Rockhampton in July, during exercise Talisman-Sabre, I found great meaning in the Easter/ANZAC Day conjunction, and I loved coming across the pictures of activists I’ve known and worked with (some for decades) hard at it – even during the present difficult times for peace activists around the world.

Call me naive and optimistic, but it feels to me that we’re at a cusp, where every impetus towards nonviolence and unarmed love can tip the balance in our sad and sorry world.

ANZAC Eve Peace Vigil takes shape

David Johnson making lanterns at our earth day workshop @ Digger St Art Collective

The inaugural Anzac Eve Peace Vigil is being held at the Cenotaph this Easter Sunday 24 April 2011.

Bring chairs to sit on, and blankets.

Margaret Pestorius, with her friend Trisha Gates, is planning the ceremony that;

acknowledges Aboriginal custody

remembers and invites ALL the different peoples, and kinds of people and how they are touched by war

reflects on war today

ask “What would the ANZACS say to us about Afghanistan?”

The ceremony will be inclusive, reverant, and offer plenty of opportunities for personal witness or remembrance.

Then we move to thinking about peace, and how to use current circumstances to work effectively for peace.

Music, poetry, prayer, friendship and looking forward.  With lanterns.  (check out this intructional video on peace lantern making)

You can read an opinion column about the event that was published in the Cairns Post today.

Follow this link for what’s happening in Canberra.

FAREWELL Party Thursday 5 May


Which one is the federal Agent? Hint: he's the only one NOT flashing the peace sign.



At the Boathouse


James Cook University of Colonialism,

Smithfield campus.

7.00 pm Thursday 5 May 2011

Goodbye Bryan Law

A mixed bag of nibbles, nostalgia, and revolution.

(with cash bar, so the revolution won’t go far)

Read Bryan’s “Farewell to Cairns” here!

This event is a shared fundraiser between Mike Moore of Cairns Blog (Councillor Alan Blake is suing him for defamation) and Bryan Law (towards the ploughshares action).