On April 20, 2002, members of Peaceful Tomorrows participated in an anti-war mobilization in Washington, DC. As a rallying call to others to join in the march, the group published a statement from Albert Bigelow, a World War II Naval Officer and submarine chaser, who in 1958 decided to protest the testing of nuclear weapons. In a public display of disapproval–and in an effort to draw attention to the practice–he sailed into the area of the Pacific Ocean used by the United States to conduct H-bomb tests. He wrote an essay about his reasons for going, and later became a member of the American Friends Service Commitee. Bigelow’s reasons for going to the test site seemed to parallel the group’s attitudes about their own pilgrimage to Washington: “We believe his singular choice of peaceful protest applies today,” they said, “to everyone seeking alternatives to war as a solution to terrorism.”
I Am Going Because…
By Albert Bigelow
I am going because, as Shakespeare said, “Action is eloquence.” Without some direct action, ordinary citizens lack the power any longer to be seen or heard by their government. I am going because it is time to DO something about peace, not just TALK about peace.
I am going because, like all people, in my heart I know that ALL nuclear weapons are monstrous, evil, unworthy of human beings.
I am going because war is no longer a feudal jousting match; it is an unthinkable catastrophe for all people.
I am going because it is now the little children, and most of all, the as yet unborn that are the front line troops. It is my duty to stand between them and this horrible danger.
I am going because it is cowardly and degrading for me to stand by any longer, to consent, and thus to collaborate in atrocities.
I am going because I cannot say that the end justifies the means. A Quaker, William Penn said, “A good end cannot sanctify evil means; nor must we ever do evil that good may come of it.” A Communist, Milovan Djilas, says, “As soon as means which would ensure an end are shown to be evil, the end will show itself to be unrealizable.”
I am going because, as Gandhi said, “God sits in the man opposite me, therefore to injure him is to injure God himself.”
I am going to witness the deep inward truth we all know, “Force can subdue, but love gains.”
I am going because however mistaken, unrighteous, and unrepentent governments may seem, I still believe all people are really good at heart, and that my act will speak to them.
I am going in the hope of helping to change the hearts and minds of men in government. If neccesary, I am willing to give my life to help change a policy of fear, force and destruction to one of trust, kindness and help.
I am going in order to say, “Quit this race, this arms race. Turn instead to a disarmament race. Stop competing for evil, compete for good.”
I am going because I have to – if I am to call myself a human being. When you see something horrible happening, your instinct is to do something about it. You can freeze in fearful apathy or you can even talk yourself into saying that it isn’t horrible. I can’t do that. I have to act. This is too horrible. We know it. Let’s all act.