Blessed are the peacemakers

tumblr_lz3c9bjgxn1qacnzqo1_1280On April 30th 2016 Father Daniel Berrigan died.  One of the most important and sadly forgotten anti war activists in history.  He travelled to Vietnam during the war and spoke of being bombed by US planes as he was visiting Vietnam shelters with Howard Zinn .  Also a member of the Catonsville 9 along with his brother Phillip.  They burned draft records using homemade napalm, these actions most believe sparked the anti Vietnam war movement.  He went underground after this and became the first Catholic priest ever on the FBI’s most wanted list.  He also started the Plowshares movement, breaking into General Electric nuclear missile facilities hammering on the missiles and spilling blood on files.  His activism never stopped.  From Iraq, Afghanistan, capital punishment and supporting the Occupy movement.  His service to the world will never be forgotten.  These are his words:

We would like you to know the name of our crime. We would like to assume responsibility for a world, for children, for the future. And if that is a crime, then it is quite clear that we belong in their jails. Where they belong is something else. But in the name of all the eight, I would like to leave with you, friends and jurors, that great and noble word, which is our crime: “responsibility.”

 

“Of course, let us have peace, we cry, ‘but at the same time let us have normalcy, let us lose nothing, let our lives stand intact, let us know neither prison nor ill repute nor disruption of ties … ‘ There is no peace because there are no peacemakers. There are no makers of peace because the making of peace is at least as costly as the making of war – at least as exigent, at least as disruptive, at least as liable to bring disgrace and prison, and death in its wake.”

“Instead of building the peace by attacking injustices like starvation, disease, illiteracy, political and economic servitude, we spend a trillion dollars on war since 1946, until hatred and conflict have become the international preoccupation.”

“Because we want the peace with half a heart and half a life and will, the war, of course, continues, because the waging of war, by its nature, is total — but the waging of peace, by our own cowardice, is partial.”

“A revolution is interesting insofar as it avoids like the plague the plague it promised to heal.”

“Sometime in your life, hope that you might see one starved man, the look on his face when the bread finally arrives. Hope that you might have baked it or bought or even kneaded it yourself. For that look on his face, for your meeting his eyes across a piece of bread, you might be willing to lose a lot, or suffer a lot, or die a little, even.”

“One is called to live nonviolently, even if the change one works for seems impossible. It may or may not be possible to turn the U.S. around through nonviolent revolution. But one thing favors such an attempt: the total inability of violence to change anything for the better.”

We have chosen to be powerless criminals in a time of criminal power. We have chosen to be branded as peace criminals by war criminals.

The Earth sheds tears of gratitude for your life Father Berrigan

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