| On-going coverage
of the 2002 Hiroshima Flame Interfaith Pilgrimage
last updated 11 March 2002
In January, a group of people from around the world began
the cross-country Hiroshima
Flame Interfaith Pilgrimage in Washington state. They are carrying a
flame that was started from the burning embers of Hiroshima, Japan, after
that city was destroyed by a U.S. nuclear attack in 1945. According to the
To Walk, "We will be walking as a spiritual pilgrimage for world peace,
disarmament, to end the Star Wars Missile Defense Program, and to save mother
earth from further destruction. We will honor the Native people who have
been victims of our nuclear development and listen to their message of peace.
of September 11th and the resulting war have made this walk and our
prayers even more urgent."
The walk will stop
at nuclear sites and native lands across the country and conclude at the
United Nations in NYC in May. The idea for the walk came from Jun Yasuda,
a Japanese Buddhist Nun of the Nipponzan Myohoji order and Tom Dostou,
a Native American activist in Massachusetts whose experiences on a peace
walk in Japan inspired the organization of a Hiroshima Flame walk here
in the United States. [
read more ]
A portland indymedia
reporter is along as a walker. His reports -- in audio, photos, and text
-- are being collected in this special section, along with content by
other people. If you witness or participate in the pilgrimage yourself
anywhere along the way, please post your story to this site with the easy-to-use,
online publish form
and alert the editorial team at firstname.lastname@example.org
to have it added to this page. Become the media!
||4-22 MAR 2002
"Greetings from Tennessee"
March: "The South has been awesome - the people have been very nice and the country out here is beautiful. We have been walking the Trail of Tears for the past couple of days. The wind and rain have only given us a small feeling of what it must have been like to have been marched out of the area. The Five Civilized Tribes (Choctaw, Creek, Chickasaw, Sequoia, and Cherokee) were gathered and moved out of Alabama, Florida, and Tennesee under orders from Andrew "Indian Killer" Jackson over a period of 2 years. I believe it was something like 14,000 natives were dispossed with around 4 to 5,000 who died during the relocation. The cover story being that gold was found in the region so the government needed to claim the land. Gold and oil. Then and now."
[ full story ]
"postscript to huntsville"
March, part 2: "We
sat at the deli when one of the graveyard workers sat next to us.
She was really out of it and shared with us her life of working
graveyard at night and days of raising her 2 year old daughter.
She was really tired and was downing coffee and soda in attempts
to wake up. Carrie told her about the walk. The worker gave us the
usual wow, you're crazy to be doing this thing.... When the worker
asked us why we were really on the walk Carrie went off on a beautiful
rant - that we were walking for her. That we were walking so that
mothers didn't have to work graveyard shifts in order to feed their
children. That we were walking so she wouldn't have a shit job.
The worker immediately changed her disposition to us and became
warmer and friendly with us."
[ full story ]
"We're in Huntsville - ain't life grand?"
March "I'm sitting here
now on a couch at the Zen Center of Huntsville where Myrna Copeland
lives. We had a crazy talk last night about her history in the Civil
Rights movement, the 60s, liberating the Grand Ole Opry, etc. She's
met just about everyone down here including SCLC, SNCC, and the
Panthers. She's been running the Pearly Gates Health Food store
for close to 50 years now. Its got a great name. She moved down
to Huntsville in the 50s to work as a Methodist Minister but was
kicked out when she invited a black woman to speak at her ministry.
She then set up a Unitarian Church where she got introduced to Yoga
and Buddhism and is now the abbot here at the zen center. This morning
she told me she's experienced just about everything now. And you
know, I believe her. Damned if I haven't been meeting some of the
most inspiring people on this walk."
[ full story ]
FEB - 3 MAR 2002
from the Taos Library"
February: "Our first walk
here in Taos was chaotic after we were told that we would not be
allowed to walk in certain parts of Los Alamos labs. I was told
that we were to be considered as terrorists. We didn't question
this and silently changed our walk route to accomodate. Definitely,
some people on the walk were disappointed over the changes but as
the walk progressed Los Alamos opened up and we saw beauty..."
part 2: "This walk
is hard. As my dad always told me nothing is easy. And, honey, this
ain't nothing. People's shit be coming out and we're going to have
to find a way of dealing with it. I did have the naive feeling that
people's shit wouldn't be such a big thing because like this is
a peace walk but its here and its not that I have to deal with it
its that I have to deal with myself. And, I really don't want to.
I want to have things easy again and fall back into my old schedule
and patterns. I want to hide from what I call bullshit and go back
to snuggling my partner and playing with my cats and hanging out
at the red n black."
days pass by like sands through..."
February, part 1: "Now we're in a Mennonite Church in Colorado
Springs. What an interesting town. I've been hanging out with Bill
Sulzman the last couple of days - he's the master of Master of Space
AKA the militarization of outer space. I've got hours on mini disc
and will be loading those up soon. The walkers watched a video on
the space militarization program last night at the retreat.... Its
seems like such a far fetched idea that for some of the walkers
who weren't aware of our government's program, the video was a complete
walkers resting in Colorado"
with Bill Sulzman about the militarization
of outer space - audio:
Denver: "Life in a Jesuit Retreat"
February: "The other night at the Zen Center I held a little
vedantic self-inquiry session - its a way of letting the inner dialog
in an attempt to fully experience the present moment. It sounds
iffy on paper but works. During the session, I noticed that I've
had all these ups and downs on the walk but the walk itself has
always been the same. So, it was just me that was attaching these
qualifications on the walk. While this is cool and helps us to connect,
I'm still not sure how stuff like this stops globalization, nuclear
insanity, militarization of space, etc."
Boulder where Mork From Ork lived?"
February: About 80 people joined us on
the walk for this lovely Sunday afternoon. We got started at 12:30
and we're only doing 12 miles. Easy except for all the hills and
the fact that we're a mile above sea level. Since we're going through
town and don't want to bother with police they're making us walk
single file - makes me reminisce about "Who's streets? Our streets."
I spent the first part of the walk wishing things were a bit more
radical and noisy.
Amy, and Tom walking to our site at Rocky Flats" photos:
walkers doing their thing at Rocky Flats" [ photo
of Energy representative "caught backtalking on Rocky Flats"
"On the 'Hound"
from California to Colorado
February: "6:10 AM and we're finally on the bus to Denver from
Las Vegas. What happened? Well, we got here late from LA - traffic heading
east of LA on a Friday night is a bad proposition. So, we missed our connect
here by a couple of hours. There was a big mass confusion getting on the
bus and Hiroshi got thrown out of line by our bus driver. As I walked on
the bus, I noticed his confederate flag pinned down on his Greyhound jacket.
They used to say Riverside was the armpit of Los Angeles but I'd have to
say its Las Vegas."
February: "Yesterday's lively streets gave way to today's boring
suburban tight lipped speedways. Smattered cheers lost among strip malls,
exhaust fumes, and tightly clipped lawns. Impatient drivers trying to
ignore walkers. Used car salesmen staring at us wondering if we were really
walking all the way to NYC. And then Korean dessert shops! Mmmmm!"
"We found the cool kids in San Jose and made them smile for the camera."
Brings Good Things to Life / On the road to Lawrence Livermore Labs"
across the street from the labs due to "traffic" the Flamewalkers
do their thing w/ a little help from Fred and AIM. " [ photo
February: "Yesterday and today have been the first times the
walk has really entered into African and Mexican American communities
- our route today snaked through downtown and east Oakland. We walked
through neighborhoods I've lived in and, man, is Portland a fairly non-ethnically
diverse town. Or maybe I'm just being a righteous jerk. A grade school
boy yelled, 'Gung Hay Fat Choy,' at me. Chinese New Year!"
against U.S. terrorism, in solidarity with Craig Rosebraugh, former spokesperson
for the Earth Liberation Front, who was being questioned by Congress in
Washington, D.C. that day. photos: [ 1
at the USS Hornet" [ photo
with Yuri Kochiama" photos: [ 1
by children" [ photo
by a graveyard" [ photo
Kochiama talks" [ audio
Murphy Talks" [ audio
in San Francisco
Radiate Passionate Conviction in Eugene"
February: "There were some scowls and faces of wonderment as we walked
through the bourgeouis streets down to the Golden Gate Bridge where we
were stopped by Bridge Security. Security told us that we would not be
allowed to cross the bridge with our flags unfurled and with our drums.
We were told that we would also have to cross the bridge in pairs 20 ft.
apart from each other as they were afraid we would cause an accident.
Jun-san [a Buddhist nun] said it would be OK. I found out later on today
that there was a man carrying an American flag daily on the bridge."
February: "We heard from a Native American
elder who was lovingly embracing the lantern that holds the Hiroshima flame.
She prayed aloud, saying that the fire is our heart, our future, our past
and present. She told us that she is helping to carry the flame home to
Arizona, to the land where the raw radioactive materials that helped to
construct the bomb originated. Returning the flame to this location is a
symbolic act of extinguishing the flame of cultural division, discrimination
and destruction, in hopes that it will resurrect a new unity amongst all
nations - One Planet Indivisible."
story, with photos
with walkers ]
On the way
to Eugene: "They tried shooting us but we continued on...."
8 February: "Today
has been a really intense day.... Peace really is a scary message to some
"only on a peace walk"
7 February: "We're in
the United Methodist Church of Monroe, OR. There's a power outage so people
have been eating under candle light. Its nice to be away from electricity....
Today was my first real hard day of the walk - lots of rain and a fast
pace. Someone yelled at Chisao and called her a, 'slanty eyed gook.' The
church we are staying in had also received death threats."
writing from the Corvallis Public Library...."
6 February (part 2): "I'm writing from the Corvallis Public Library....
I spent the morning quietly after interviewing Smitty. He's a strong man.
He's the only African American on the walk currently and he is up front
and boldly carrying a flag proclaiming "One People, One Earth." It was
a strong interview that will be posted when I have some time. We talked
about race stuff, his experiences with the 13 month Middle Passage Walk,
and how we gotta wake up from this coma here in America."
"Morning of my 5th Day"
6 February (part 1): "Its
the morning of the fifth day - 4:57am my computer tells me. I loaded up
some audio last night from some interviews I did on my 3rd day. They were
pretty amazing but I screwed up the names (just for posterities sake,
I mispelled Saiya's name and said Masaki was Hirosh - shite). I'm the
bad journalist. I don't write down last names, only first... because we're
all in the same family. I'm in the kitchen at the Gentle House on the
Western OSU campus in Salem. Shingo and Marjorie are helping to cook breakfast
now. Some of the people sleeping on the floor on the other side of the
wall are starting to wake up. I've been told that the animal I represent
with my snore is an anteater. I've been told Shigeko (Gecko for short)
snores like a dying bird. You tell me."
reports, 5 February
Talk" [ audio
Talk: Becky" [ audio
Talk: Masaki" [ audio
between Oregon City and Silverton"
3 February: "Its rural out here and the people
in cars that show any reaction to us are all happy about us. Someone stopped
their car and joined us. Slightly different from yesterday where we had
a bunch of suburban jokesters flashing us the rock n' roll secret satan
sign. Cool but... its cool and there were a bunch of great people cheering
us on those 18 miles then and the 19 miles today.... I'm not doing too
bad today body wise for the second day. They say I'll hit the wall tomorrow
and my feet are kinda hurting. I got my first blister today. They told
me to pop it underneath by putting the needle in below the blister. That
way, the blister will stay sterilized and the juice can just drain underneath
letting the skin create a bandage. I'll find out about that pretty soon."
to Oregon City
2 February: "We started off today at the Nikkei Legacy Center - it
was a mad rush there, someone said Burnside Bridge, OK I thought as I
turned onto the Hawthorne Bridge. Bags to move and the goodbyes. Goodbyes
to my partner and my 2 cats as I'm on my way to war. As we walk, I say
my goodbyes to Portland. We walked down Front and a huge hawk sat watching
us from a tree - is it the same one from Bainbridge? It sits and watches
protecting us with its awesome power. The walkers tell me they've seen
several hawks and a couple of bald eagles. The power is enough to cause
peace to break out everywhere."
Arrival in Portland
31 January: "The Hiroshima Flame Pilgrimage
arrived quietly today in Portland along with the Hiroshima Flame. They
were greeted by Chisao Hata, an Oregon organizer for the walk who welcomed
the walkers to Oregon. Several of the walkers have yet to have a pain
free day of walking, yet they continue onwards on their way across the
United States. At Toppenish, along the way to Portland, the walkers received
so far their best reception as people came out of their houses to cheer
them on. In contrast, there were a couple of other days where the walkers
were followed by a red truck, whose occupants would yell obscenities.
on Bainbridge Island"
"I arrived at St. Peter's
Suquamish Mission Cemetery to the sound of music dedicated to peace. A
couple were playing an autoharp and a flute made of radioactive bamboo
from Hiroshima. They performed in front of an ornately decorated lantern
containing a flame from the shrine of the Yamamoto family, in Hiroshima,
who had created the fire from embers collected after the atomic bombing
of the city. More than 100 peace activists gathered around Chief Seattle's
grave on Bainbridge Island for the start of a pilgrimage that will take
the flame across the country and arrive at the United Nations on May 12th."
outside Bangor Naval Base [ photos
Day Thoughts from Walkers [ audio