Four nonviolent Christian activists have entered the Shoalwater Bay Training Area this morning to stop the Talisman Saber exercises. Calling themselves the “Bonhoeffer 4” after Kevin Rudd’s favourite theologian, Margaret Pestorius (44, Social Worker, Cairns), Jarrod McKenna (28, School Peace Educator, Perth) Jessica Morrison (33, University lecturer, Melbourne) and Rev. Simon Moyle (32, Baptist Minister, Melbourne) are currently moving towards a live-fire area. They call on the Australian and US forces to cease their involvement in the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and the undeclared war in Pakistan.
The group has released the following statement:
In his article in the Monthly, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd called Bonhoeffer “without a doubt, the man I admire most in the history of the twentieth century.” We have taken the name of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, because he embodied a serious, costly commitment to peacemaking and ending injustice, “a costly grace”. Yet Rudd’s $100 billion long-term military spending plan reveals the Prime Minister has forgotten his hero and is in need of some sisters and brothers to jog his memory.
That is why we will put our own bodies on the line in order to stop the U.S./ Australian Talisman Saber Military Exercises and jam a spoke in the wheel of war. These exercises are implicated in killing and injuring our sisters and brothers in Afghanistan and Pakistan, including untold numbers of civilians. This “war without end”, as George Bush put it, has no exit strategy and no end in sight. We will not overcome the violent terrorism of the poor with the violent terrorism of the rich.
Rev. Moyle has been in contact with the Defence Department about our plans for more than 7 months (http://nonviolencestories.wordpress.com) in order to build a relationship of trust and openness. Air Commander Meier has stated in Parliament, “If we know there is an unauthorised person into the Commonwealth land at Shoalwater Bay…the exercise is stopped.” The Defence Department has been notified of our presence on the base. We call on Air Commander Meier to keep his word to the Australian people.
We plan to be inside the area for as long as possible, and are well prepared for a long stay. We have released a red helium balloon from the base.
As Rudd’s hero Bonhoeffer put it, “The church has three possible ways it can act against the State. First, it can ask the State if its actions are legitimate. Second, it can aid the victims of the State action… The third possibility is not just to bandage the victims under the wheel but to jam a spoke in the wheel itself.” With our actions and our lives we plan to do all three.
For footage and stills (full res) of the activists entering the area contact firstname.lastname@example.org