Resisting Drones, Global War and Empire: A Convergence to Action
The following opening comments and then the poem were presented as a part of the Convergence to Action in Syracuse, New York at the Hancock Air Force Drone training and operational base by Mark Johnson, executive director of FOR. 220 participants walked in solemn procession to the gates of the base and 31 were arrested as an act of civil resistance protesting the use of drones by the US Military in Afghanistan and elsewhere.
“Allow me to lift up and celebrate the prophetic power of your presence here today. We gather to speak truth to power, and to offer love as a response to hatred and violence, love in action, love in resistance to empire. We come to this place to symbolize and enact our opposition to the use of power to resolve conflict. We would confront inequity and intolerance and injustice with equity, tolerance and justice. We are here to be the voice of reason and the voice of anger, rage; we are the voice of God on earth, God’s instruments of peace; the voice of the planet, the voice of the people. Face to face; heart to heart. We are all prophets here. We are all poets. Finally come the poets. We are the people of peace. In celebration of this day, I offer this poem.”
The stone is a drone
The sling launcher taking aim
David demonstrates to Goliath
The advantage of nimbleness
The leverage of trajectory
The advantage of resistance.
But David’s triumph is a lesson,
Not a victory; his new power
Will corrupt and abuse,
Uriah sent to battle, lust’s ruse,
His psalms will be Lamentations.
The arrow is a drone
Pulled first to launch with a bow
Of bent ash and strung gut,
Then cocked into multiples of force
The cross bow and its bolt
Metal piercing jackets
Armor no more
The silent slicing of death
Slips into the innocent as smoothly
As into the shielded soldier’s
One unprotected gore.
Every thing won with war
Must be repurchased with labor
That turns swords into plow shares
That harnesses gun powder and gasoline
To the horses of production
Of health and hearth at home.
The bullet is a drone
Everything won by war is lost.
The rocket is a drone
The only thing won by war is enmity.
This truth is a drone
Everything won by war
Must be repurchased by humility.
All the psalms of all the kings
The prophecies of vengeance
Warn us again and again
There is no hiding from truth.
The fruits of the battle will be blood
But the end of the struggle will be justice
And when it comes it will not be death
It will be life and will be sung
As love finding its way
At last to the heart
Fists opened and
Raised in welcome.
The simple truth is this
We have to want the change we see
And we have to work at it every day
When the sun rises we must start running.
We are exactly where we need to be
Doing exactly what we need to do.
This is important and this is right
To be here to say no to drones
No to war. There is no way to peace
Peace is the way and that is love.
Dismantle the instruments of war
Destroy the bombs and their deliveries
Walk with the enemy, the stranger, another mile
Until he, until she, is a stranger no more,
Until we understand that we are one
At sea in the sun boat, aboard spaceship earth
Willing to give everything we have
To secure its beauty, live into its worth.
We will not be reapers of vengeance
Or we will know the wrath of that evil;
We will not be predators of innocents
Or we will be rendered without limbs or hope.
Hear our voices, feel our feet
Fill the air, shake the street,
No to drones, no to war
We are where we belong
This is our song.
Mark C Johnson
April 28 2014
photo by Mark C. Johnson at rally for Syracuse Action