Organizing Notes

Bruce Gagnon is coordinator of the Global Network Against Weapons & Nuclear Power in Space. He offers his own reflections on organizing and the state of America's declining empire....

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Location: Bath, Maine, United States

The collapsing US military & economic empire is making Washington & NATO even more dangerous. US could not beat the Taliban but thinks it can take on China-Russia-Iran...a sign of psychopathology for sure.

Friday, February 25, 2005


Sad news came to us today over the e-mail that our dear friend Satomi Oba in Hiroshima, Japan has died. Only in middle age and as active and vital as anyone, you can imagine the total shock it was to hear this news. Satomi was on the board of our Global Network and has been with us since our early days. She translated two of Karl Grossman's space videos into Japanese and then distributed them all over her country. Two years in a row she translated our Keep Space for Peace Week poster into her language and again made sure they were used all over Japan. No one could be more kind, gentle, have a more loving spirit than Satomi. Most of us last saw here when she came to Portland, Maine in 2004 for the Global Network's annual space conference. In 2002 when we had our annual meeting in Berkeley, California the organization gave Satomi our annual Peace in Space Award for her tremendous efforts on behalf of the peace in space movement.

The image that will always stay with me about Satomi is the vigil she would hold each year during our Keep Space for Peace Week at the famous dome in Hiroshima that remains as a symbol of the U.S. nuclear bombing of her city at the end of WW II. She and friends always held the banner that read Keep Space for Peace, written in Japanese and English. Her presence there was a chilling reminder that creating new arms races have consequences, something she lived with every day in her beloved Hiroshima. We will miss her dearly but we will never forget her.

But life is like a rose. The beauty and the thorns. Just as we got the bad news about Satomi we got a loving e-mail from another one of our board members Tamara Lorincz in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. Tamara has been a key activist in her country during the past couple of years of intense organizing to prevent Canada from joining the Bush Star Wars program. Tamara wrote today to thank the Global Network board members for their active support to our Canadian friends during their historic organizing effort. But all the credit really goes to the Canadian peace movement. When some thought it a certainty that the Canadian government would join Bush on "missile defense" the peace workers there dug deeper and pushed their government harder.

The Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin wanted to join on Star Wars with Bush. But he was stopped. The peace movement throughout Canada organized bigger protest events, more conferences, more speaking tours, media events, promoted more books and the like. But most importantly of all they were determined that Canada would not turn over its national sovereignty to the U.S. Neighbors and friends - yes. Underlings to the U. S.? Never! They've taught us all a lesson about determination, tenacity, outreach, and belief in a high ideal. They have inspired us all.

Today was indeed one filled with emotion. The tears still easily come as I write these words. They are tears of sorrow for a lost dear friend and tears of joy in seeing the positive outcome of hard work and fierce will power. Let us all remember these moments and be inspired by the examples of these lives.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will hold the memory of Satomi Oba in my heart. I remember her strong spirit during last year's Global Network conference. When she gave me her email address, she pointed out with good humor that "atom" was part of her name. Before meeting her, I was under the impression that there were few Japanese activists. Satomi appeared to be ten activists packed in one. She was an honor to the causes she believed in, and to Japan.

2/25/05, 8:00 PM  

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