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The cost of our friendship with the United States

  • 02 April 2007

Jesuit peace activist John Dear has been in Australia for the past month, speaking to peace activists in this country, sharing ideas and spreading the gospel of non-violent prostest. He has written 25 books, has two Masters degrees in theology, has been arrested 75 times, and faces another court case when he returns to the United States in April. James Massola spoke with him late last week.

James Massola: After being here for a month, what do you think of Australia? John Dear: Well I love Australia, and I love Australians, and the only thing I don't like is your co-operation with the United States. I think Australians are becoming very comfortable and complacent by and large, like North America, and that's a great, great danger. It looks to me like Australia is like we were 20 or 30 years ago and the United States has changed so radically in that time. At every level. And we are losing all our civil liberties. Cheney says this is the new century of the American empire. I see that the Australian Government is aligning itself with the US Government, with the war in Iraq and nuclear weapons, and wanting to be part of the whole big global empire. JM: So you think Americans started to just tend to their own backyards 20 years ago? JD: Yes, in the early 1980s under Reagan we really changed and became very comfortable with ourselves. Now we are waking up and seeing the direction that the country is going in. The best thing I have experienced, besides the thousands of people I have met, are the real committed Christians and peace activists who are standing up and doing things…for example the Pine Gap Four, who are going on trial on May 29th for walking onto Pine Gap. To expose the radar installations, which actually pick the targets for every bomb that falls in Iraq. That's not happening in the US, that's happening in your backyard. These brave people walked onto the place and they face seven years in prison. That's the legacy of Daniel and Philip Berrigan, and that's what my friends and I are trying to do in the United States. To confront these nuclear military imperial installations through active gospel non-violence, and say no to it. Another sign of what's happening in Australia I think is the Talisman Sabre 07 actions this summer. I