'Bonhoeffer Four' Christian peace activists block Australian military base

By staff writers
April 2, 2010

A group of peace activists inspired by the example of the German theologian, Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Easter message, have successfully infiltrated a secret Australian military base on Swan Island near Queenscliff.

After swimming to the island early in the morning on 30 March 2010, they spent several hours on the base shutting down the switchboard, a satellite and causing lock down - effectively disrupting the Australian war effort in Afghanistan, reports Indymedia (http://indymedia.org.au/).

The four were charged with trespass and held at the Ocean Grove police station.

The Boenhoffer Peace Collective are the Rev Simon Moyle (Baptist minister), Jacob Bolton (community worker), Jessica Morrison (university lecturer) and Simon Reeves (social worker).

Australia's main contribution to the war revolves around satellite stations at Pine Gap and bases such as Swan Island which help control the US nuclear arsenal, communication technology, missiles and predator drones.

In 2005, four Christian peace activists entered the Pine Gap base to highlight this fact and were eventually acquitted.

The group called themselves the Bonhoeffer Peace Collective after the prominent German pastor and theologian who struggled against the Nazis and was executed by them in the last days of World War Two.

They are inspired by these words of Boenhoeffer: "The followers of Christ have been called to peace. And they must not only have peace but also make it. His disciples keep the peace by choosing to endure suffering themselves rather than inflict it on others. In so doing they overcome evil with good, and establish the peace of God in the midst of a world of war and hate.”

The group outlined their motivation for the peace action, declaring: “Both Swan Island and the war on Afghanistan are out of sight, out of mind. It’s time to end further suffering of the Afghan people and our soldiers by bringing our troops home.”

“In the week before the first Easter, Jesus blockaded the temple and turned the tables inside. Today we are imitating Jesus’ disruption”, the group said. “Sometimes you have to get in the way of injustice”.

“War can’t bring peace, it can only bring further terror, death and poverty,” the Bonhoeffer Four said.

With thanks to Doug Hynd


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