Merrimack Valley People for Peace
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Statement to the State of New Hampshire,
Nashua District Court
In the Matter of the 11 Members of the Chain Reaction Affinity Group
Arrested at BAE on December 22, 2003

Presented By Clare Gillingham, Concord, NH

Your honor, I feel proud to be standing here today among a group of loyal patriots, young and old, who love their country so much that they are not afraid to address its errors.

When I was young, I learned about the utter devastation and dehumanization of war in the aftermath following WWI. For three years I lived in a war-battered town in northern France. Most of the town, including its cathedral, railway station, and schools were still in ruins; water was available one hour a day at a public faucet; soldiers who had not way of returning home to their families slept in empty cellars which once had homes above them.

These sights one doesn't forget.

But what I remember most are the thousands upon thousands of temporary wooden crosses bearing the inscriptions: "Known Only To God."

My brother, Rudy, was bom in that war torn town, and 20 years later, as a young corporal, was killed in Normandy in WWII. It was his first - and last - return to the country where he was born.

Yes, war is cruel. Yet here in Nashua New Hampshire, we are still manufacturing weapons to continue this killing.

Your Honor, how can we say we believe in peace if at the same time we relentlessly prepare for war?

Even if the weapons that BAE manufacturers are never used to kill and maim, they still contribute heavily to the unnecessary death and suffering of countless numbers. Companies like BAE are given billions of dollars to make war equipment and then we are told that there is no money for the life saving work of hospitals, the building of new schools for a growing world population, or even the barest shelter for the homeless.

Your honor, as members of the human family, we cannot sit by while people suffer and starve needlessly. We must raise our voices and, yes even sometimes use our bodies, to make our voices heard. We beseech you, your Honor, to rule that nonviolent people who try to reduce the hostility among nations are not disorderly people. We planned our actions carefully, notified the company and police of our intentions, and obeyed their requests.

We beg all world leaders to end war and to sit down and reason together for the benefit of all humankind.

And your Honor,
Let there be peace on earth
Let it begin with us -
You and
All those before you today.

Thank You.


Merrimack Valley People for Peace meets monthly, on the fourth Tuesday,
at 7:30 pm,
at North Parish Church, North Andover.

Contact Merrimack Valley People for Peace       (978) 685-1389
            P.O. Box 573
            North Andover, MA 01845

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