Dear Australian and US forces participating in Operation Talisman Sabre,
We are five unarmed, nonviolent Christians who are extremely concerned about the military exercises in which you are taking part. We are here only to invite you to dialogue and exchange ideas. We would like to see these preparations for war cease, and preparations for peace begin. Thus we come here to invite you to play peace games with us, and stop the war games. We do so, as Martin Luther King Jr. said, “openly, lovingly, and with a willingness to pay the penalty”.
We have been inspired in our actions by people like Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr. and Dorothy Day, who committed their lives to nonviolence and who bore the costs of it. On the night before he was killed, Martin Luther King Jr. said, “The choice is no longer between violence and nonviolence. It’s nonviolence or nonexistence.” I’m sure the fragile ecosystems of Shoalwater Bay would agree; as would the estimated 655,000 Iraqis who have died in the Iraq war, and the 3,500 Coalition soldiers. And so we work towards a world with no war.
In this cause we have written letters, had street marches, and held public meetings, yet still we have had no response. And so, as the saying goes, “If the mountain won’t come to Mohammed, Mohammed must go to the mountain.”
Now we place the choice before you: the way of life or the way of death; construction or destruction; nonviolence or nonexistence. We urge you to train for peace, by discovering the power of nonviolence. This is by no means an easy road as we, even today, are finding out. But this is the most important task of our lives; we dare not fail, and we invite you to join us in it.
Simon, Simon, Krystal, Carole, and Sarah.