To the Readers:
When I was in Japan last December at the invitation of the recent publisher of my book, From Yale to Jail, in Japanese, I met a number of nonviolent activists who are opposed to the extremes of wealth and poverty in both Japan and the US. Many of them want to do away with the US military installations in Okinawa. They want a Peace and Friendship Pact instead of the current military treaty. As a step in this direction, they proposed that a White Ship would come to the US filled with Japanese who want to get to know their counterparts and explore ways of working together for an improved world in which human rights, economic justice, and environmental sanity will be primary.
Since then, I have received two visits by residents of Okinawa, as well as many faxes and phone calls, and recently learned enough to write this letter. The White Ship will land on the West Coast on November 20, 1998. From there, its passengers will caravan to New York City, holding meetings and picking up more people along the way. Native American leader Dennis Banks will be part of the caravan, and I hope I will be, too.
The group plans to arrive in New York on December 6, in time for a concert at the UN by Souchichi Kina, a distinguished Okinawan musician, and his group, which includes instrumentalists, singers, and dancers. The UN invited Kina to perform then even before plans for the White Ship were confirmed. Kina’s slogan is: "Replace all weapons with musical instruments."
Activities in New York will continue through December 10, the 50th anniversary of the UN’s Declaration of Human Rights. After that, the Japanese and as many Americans as possible will journey to the Onondaga reservation of the six Iroquois nations for ceremonies and commemorations.
Dave Dellinger is co-chair of TF’s board of directors.