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Father Daniel Berrigan Anti War Activist Social Activist and Poet Dies at 94

Society & Culture  (tags: Father Daniel Berrigan, RIP, pacifist, antiwar, burn draft cards, protester, social activist, playwright, poet, educator )

- 1116 days ago -
The legendary anti war priest Father Daniel Berrigan died at 94 years. He was a poet, pacifist, educator, social activist, playwright and lifelong resister to what he called American military imperialism.


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Sheryl G (359)
Monday May 2, 2016, 6:14 pm
Some stood up once, and sat down.
Some walked a mile, and walked away.

Some stood up twice, then sat down.
"I’ve had it," they said.
Some walked two miles, then walked away.
"It’s too much," they cried.

Some stood and stood and stood.
They were taken for fools,
they were taken for being taken in.

Some walked and walked and walked —
they walked the earth,
they walked the waters,
they walked the air.

"Why do you walk?" they were asked, and
"Why do you stand?"

"Because of the children," they said, and
"Because of the heart," and
"Because of the bread,"

“Because the cause is
the heart’s beat, and
the children born, and
the risen bread."

Father Daniel Berrigan

fly bird (26)
Monday May 2, 2016, 9:39 pm
Wonderful man.

Noted, Thank you, Dandelion.

Darren Woolsey (218)
Monday May 2, 2016, 11:41 pm
Rest In Peace.

Past Member (0)
Tuesday May 3, 2016, 1:33 am
Rest In Peace Daniel Berrigan. Thanks Dandelion.

Rose Becke (141)
Tuesday May 3, 2016, 10:34 pm

fly bird (26)
Wednesday May 4, 2016, 1:42 am
‘Her absurd generals, her military junk’ — Daniel Berrigan’s prophetic speech on Israel in ’73.

I believe this is called a drive-by shooting.

The New York Times devotes a whole page or so to an obituary of the great Daniel Berrigan, the Catholic priest who died yesterday in NY at 94. But this is paragraph 39:

After visiting the Middle East, he bluntly accused Israel of “militarism” and the “domestic repressions” of Palestinians. His remarks angered many American Jews. “Let us call this by its right name,” wrote Rabbi Arthur Hertzberg, himself a contentious figure among religious scholars: “old-fashioned theological anti-Semitism.”

The Boston Globe, too.

Father Berrigan’s involvement with politics did not end with his release from prison. He drew widespread criticism for a 1973 speech denouncing Israel.

Sadly the Times did not quote from the speech in any fair measure. Here is the NYT’s coverage of Berrigan’s speech to the Association of Arab University Graduates in Washington 1973. The Times article came out two months after the speech, when Jewish organizations had made it controversial, and sought to have Berrigan stripped of honors for the remarks; after they were printed in a publication of the Clergy and Laity Concerned group.

The speech was an antiwar statement that denounced Israel as a military settler state in the same moral basket as the United States, which was pursuing an imperial adventure in Vietnam.

Quotes in that New York Times PDF include Berrigan’s view that Israel was, like the United States and South Africa, “seeking a biblical justification for crimes against humanity.”

The world had known criminal Christian communities, he said, but “we had never known a criminal Jewish community.” In the wake of the Holocaust, the “Jews arose like warriors, armed to the teeth… Israel entered the imperial adventure.”

A similar racist ideology to Nazism was creating “the myth of the barbarian Arab.”

It was a tragedy, Berrigan said, that

in place of Jewish prophetic vision, Israel should launch an Orwellian nightmare of double talk, racism, fifth-rate sociological jargon, aimed at proving its racial superiority to the people it has crushed. …

Israel has not abolished poverty and misery; rather she manufactures human waste, the byproducts of her entrepreneurs. the military-industrial complex. Israel has not freed the captives, she has expanded the prison system, perfected her espionage, exported on the world market that expensive blood-ridden commodity, the savage triumph of the technologized West, violence and the tools of violence.

Her absurd generals, her military junk are paraded on national holidays before the narcotized public. The model is not the kingdom of peace, it is an Orwellian transplant, taken bodily from Big Brother’s bloody heart.

Berrigan said that were he a Jew in Israel, he would be living as he did in the U.S., in resistance to the state and being hunted by the police or in prison.

Berrigan also signaled the corruption of the Jewish establishment in order to lobby the U.S. government in the Vietnam era: “major American Jewish leaders were capable of ignoring Asia’s holocaust in favor of economic and military aid to Israel.”

Here is the JTA’s coverage at the time:

The 52-year-old Jesuit priest who served 27 months in Danbury Federal Penitentiary for burning draft records in Catonsville, Md. in 1968, attacked Israel as an “imperialist nation” and a “settler” state” which is “the creation of an elite of millionaires, generals and entrepreneurs.”..

Among the charges Berrigan made against Israel before the Arab graduates was that “she had turned the law of nature into a mockery, creating ghettos, disenfranchised peoples, exiles, hopeless minorities, cheap labor forces has expanded the prison system, perfected her espionage, exported on the world market that expensive blood ridden commodity, the savage triumph of the technological West–violence and the tools of violence.” In an interview published today in the NY Post, Berrigan was quoted as reaffirming his condemnation of Israel and saying he “was very depressed by the silence of my own church about Israel.” He denied, however, that he was anti-Semitic. “I’m as anti-Semitic as I am anti-Catholic, the Jesuit priest was quoted as saying.

That article quotes Jewish leaders calling for Berrigan’s reeducation.

In his book, Middle East Illusions, Noam Chomsky takes Berrigan’s side and describes Hertzberg’s characterization of Berrigan’s speech as “fabrication,” including Hertzberg’s claim that Berrigan sought the end of Israel. Berrigan called on Arab leaders to show “de facto respect for Israel, a de facto state,” and said that American Jews had expressed an “acute and legitimate concern for Israel.” Chomsky points out that Hertzberg regards Arab concerns about Palestinian refugees as “moral hysterics,” and Chomsky savages Hertzberg’s claim that Israel’s acceptance of Jewish refugees from the Soviet Union and Arab countries was an example of the “Jewish passion for the poor and forgotten.” In fact, Chomsky says, it was evidence of the Zionists’ need to build a Jewish state on an ethnocentric basis.

It’s a pity that the New York Times doesn’t explain that Berrigan’s critique of Israel was equally harsh to his criticism of the United States at the time; and more important, that it was prophetic.

Animae C (508)
Wednesday May 4, 2016, 2:35 am
i have never heard of him, sounds like a great man... Bon Voyage

Arild Warud (174)
Wednesday May 4, 2016, 3:26 am

Birgit W (160)
Wednesday May 4, 2016, 6:38 am
May he rest in peace! Thanks.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday May 4, 2016, 6:59 am
Spirit to learn from

Joanne D (37)
Wednesday May 4, 2016, 12:59 pm
Another giant of my youth is gone. Someone who saw clearly the things that most people preferred not to see. RIP, holy warrior. You showed us how it's done. God grant we have learned and can continue to learn.

Lois Jordan (63)
Wednesday May 4, 2016, 2:49 pm
Noted. Thanks for posting, Dandelion.

Remembering back to the '60's, Catholics in my family really didn't know what to think of this amazing priest. Previously, Catholic priests were held as "sacrosanct" to pretty much all of their flock. But, this 'radical' threw a monkey wrench into the mix. He made them rethink their positions on so many issues back then. I recall arguments at big family dinners. In the end, it seemed those who "approved" of his message won the argument with the Humanitarian Card. Others in my family had trouble dealing with their own confusion.
I grew up thinking of him as a hero and truly hope that he Rests In Peace.

Janet B (0)
Wednesday May 4, 2016, 3:35 pm

Knud Thirup (53)
Wednesday May 4, 2016, 4:45 pm
Noted and shared(RIP dear Father!)

M B (62)
Wednesday May 4, 2016, 5:11 pm

Maryann S (112)
Wednesday May 4, 2016, 5:19 pm
Rest In Peace Daniel Berrigan.

Sheryl G (359)
Wednesday May 4, 2016, 5:37 pm
"Let me say that meeting Dan Berrigan has been one of the most important moments of my life, really." Howard Zinn

Deborah B (71)
Wednesday May 4, 2016, 6:53 pm
Thank you for sharing, Dandelion. Rest In Peace, Father Berrigan.

Past Member (0)
Wednesday May 4, 2016, 6:59 pm

RIP - A fearless life of service. He walked the earth, he walked the waters, he walked the air, he was a Hero Poet.

and Thanks,

Jess b with a long powerful comment,

"The world had known criminal Christian communities, he said, but “we had never known a criminal Jewish community.” In the wake of the Holocaust, the “Jews arose like warriors, armed to the teeth… Israel entered the imperial adventure."........."perfected her espionage....."

Sheila D (28)
Wednesday May 4, 2016, 7:10 pm
Incredible man. May he rest in peace.

Sheryl G (359)
Thursday May 5, 2016, 5:51 am
He became the first Catholic priest to land on the FBI's most wanted list. Father Berrigan once said he had been arrested more times than he remembers, but fewer times than he should have.

"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." Father Daniel Berrigan

Trish K (29)
Thursday May 5, 2016, 1:05 pm
A great warrior for peace. He left many impressions on the face of this earth. In the hearts of my generation and those yet to come.
I know where you are if I need you father

Joanne D (37)
Thursday May 5, 2016, 1:16 pm
A couple of articles from people who were close to him which I found inspiring (hanky alert):

Bryan S (105)
Thursday May 5, 2016, 3:36 pm
Thanks Sheryl. Daniel Berrigan truly was a great human being and voice for peace. Any person of religion should aspire to to be like him, or any person at all for that matter. I love that quote, "We have chosen to be powerless criminals in a time of criminal power."

Mandi T (367)
Thursday May 5, 2016, 4:15 pm
RIP Father Daniel.. God speed.

Anne Haarhoff (52)
Friday May 6, 2016, 1:48 am
Thank you for this, Dandelion. Daniel Berrigan was an inspiration to us in South Africa too in our own dark days. A remarkable man. A unique voice. A wonderful poet.


Sheryl G (359)
Friday May 6, 2016, 5:09 am
Thank you Anne for sharing how far and wide his voice and his Being was felt by many around this world. We are all better for his having Walked upon the Earth.

Friday May 6, 2016, 11:16 pm
Rest In Peace Daniel Berrigan.
Blessed be.
Thank you, Danelion

pam w (139)
Saturday May 7, 2016, 6:41 am
I'll never forget him, his brother and Sister Corita!

Marco C (31)
Saturday May 7, 2016, 7:26 am
A man of enviable courage and conviction. He stood firm in the face of powerful opponents. He did not hesitate to stand as a reminder of moral, ethical and virtuous human values where many others should have and failed.

Some of those who contribute here reflect those qualities here on C2. Carry on, humanity needs you.

Lenore K (0)
Saturday May 7, 2016, 2:39 pm
i used to be a poet

Sheryl G (359)
Saturday May 7, 2016, 2:43 pm
If you were once you still are.....just perhaps you have not written one in a long time. We never are not what we once were we are always still that, our talent stays we just need to wake it up again.

Joanne D (37)
Monday May 9, 2016, 12:33 pm
Maybe this should be a standalone, but I'm sort of too tied up to promote it:

Jonathan Harper (0)
Tuesday May 10, 2016, 12:09 am

Sheryl G (359)
Tuesday May 10, 2016, 3:58 am
Thanks Joanne, I read all three links, having known pretty much about what was on all of them, background of Father Berrigan, hence why I posted this. But I do hope others might take a read, in particular if they be not so familiar with him.

The last link I'm also aware of and had thought a few times of posting Hillary and the former CIA analyst, Ray McGovern. So many incidents that the public is just unaware of and as much as I try to find out the truth much I'm sure I"m not aware of as well........however Ray McGovern I am aware of and this incident with Clinton.

"Clinton apparently believed she could count on the TV outlets and pundits NOT to give much coverage to the assault. In any case, she calculated correctly."

And so this IS and has been what she has been counting on, even in her run for President, that Corporate media would back her as she backs Corporate. The public still for the most part is unaware of a Corporate Tyranny that has taken place and Hillary is just part of the control mechanism for keeping it in place. This is why she'll never get my vote. I may not have great power as one single person but I do not have to be part of placing her into office.

As with Father Berrigan who said something along the lines, "I could not not do this" we I can not vote for a woman that is part of my enslavement and does not honor life, or shall I say, only "certain" lives does she in fact care about.

Sheryl G (359)
Tuesday May 10, 2016, 3:58 am
"typo" we I should of read well I can not vote
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