portland independent media centre

dharmawalk.org ~ homepage of the 2002 Hiroshima Flame Interfaith Pilgrimage

walk schedule

testimony ~ "Voice of Hibakusha", eye-witness accounts from Hiroshima bombing

history ~ "Patriotic Correctness: the Hiroshima cover-up"

analysis ~ The Bombing of Hiroshima: A Watershed in the History of Violence, by Osho Rajneesh

law ~ International Law on the Bombing of Civilians

1000 cranes ~ Cranes for Peace homepage

links ~ from Lewis & Clark history department












technology by cat@lyst and IMC Geeks



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 organizers' Call 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. The events 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 imc-portland-editorial@indymedia.org to have it added to this page. Become the media!


"Greetings from Tennessee"
10 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"
5 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?"
5 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 ]

NEW MEXICO 26 FEB - 3 MAR 2002

"Writing from the Taos Library"
27 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..."
[ full story ]

COLORADO 17-25 FEB 2002

"Rest day"
22 February, 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."
[ full story ]

"The days pass by like sands through..."
"the walkers resting in Colorado"22 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 comedy."
[ full story ]
"The walkers resting in Colorado" [ photo ]
Interview with Bill Sulzman about the militarization of outer space - audio: [ 1 | 2 ]

Outside Denver: "Life in a Jesuit Retreat"
20 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."
[ full story ]

"Isn't Boulder where Mork From Ork lived?"
Rocky Flats nuclear facility outside  Boulder17 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.
[ full story ]
"Jun, Amy, and Tom walking to our site at Rocky Flats" photos: [ photo ]
"The walkers doing their thing at Rocky Flats" [ photo ]
"Department of Energy representative "caught backtalking on Rocky Flats" [ audio ]

"On the 'Hound" from California to Colorado
15-16 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."
[ full story ]

We found the cool kids in San Jose and made them smile for the camera. Walk to Fremont
13 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!"
[ full story ]
"We found the cool kids in San Jose and made them smile for the camera." [ photo ]
"GE Brings Good Things to Life / On the road to Lawrence Livermore Labs" [ photo ]
"Forced across the street from the labs due to "traffic" the Flamewalkers do their thing w/ a little help from Fred and AIM. " [ photo ]

"Peace through Oakland"
U.S.S. Hornet12 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!"
[ full story ]
Protest 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 | 2 ]
"Meditating at the USS Hornet" [ photo ]
"Meeting with Yuri Kochiama" photos: [ 1 | 2 ]
"Welcomed by children" [ photo ]
"Walking by a graveyard" [ photo ]
"Yuri Kochiama talks" [ audio ]
"Duncan Murphy Talks" [ audio ]

Arrival in San Francisco
Outside of San Francisco11 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."
[ full story ]

OREGON 2-9 FEB 2002
"Flame Walkers Radiate Passionate Conviction in Eugene"
Vigil in Eugene8 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."
[ full story, with photos ]
[ interview with walkers ]
[ political cartoon ]

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 people."
[ full story ]

Monroe: "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."
[ full story ]

"I'm 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."
[ full story ]

Salem: "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."
[ full story ]

Audio reports, 5 February
"Hiroshima Walkers Talk" [ audio ]
"Hiroshima Walkers Talk: Becky" [
audio ]
"Hiroshima Walkers Talk: Masaki" [
audio ]

"Somewhere 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."
[ full story ]

Portland 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."
[ full story ]

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.
[ full story ]


"First Day on Bainbridge Island"
Outside the Bangor Naval Base in Washington "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."
[ full story ]
Vigil outside Bangor Naval Base [ photos ]
First Day Thoughts from Walkers [ audio ]


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