Monday, November 30, 2009

Mandates from the Masses: Or, A Monty Python Break

"Listen. Strange women lying in ponds distributing swords is no basis for a system of government. Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony. "

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Philip Levine on Robert Lowell and John Berryman as Teachers

A charming reminiscence (thanks Don Share for sharing it), in which poor Lowell gets another gash to his reputation, and Berryman emerges as a kind of prophet for poetry's value in the face of McCarthyism and the political foolishness of the time.

Saturday, November 28, 2009


This Thanksgiving, I have had much to be grateful for, so much that when I consider what small flaws and perturbations I suffer, I find myself slightly ashamed by their triviality. When our family took to splitting the trunk of a 150 year old oak tree into firewood, I was amazed by the tree's sheer gravity, its brute weight, its stolidity that once expressed itself in seasonal shifts. How, even months after its cutting, it still bled sap. Then I read this.

Twilight Zone / Mourning uprooted olive trees in West Bank villages

By Gideon Levy

The old tractor sputtered up the hill, its engine seemingly about to expire, but its big wheels bumping across the rocky terrain. We stood in the back, swaying wildly, holding on for dear life. On the hilltop loomed the big antenna of the settlement of Yitzhar, whose houses lay on the other side of the hill. The very knowledge of their presence inspired dread. It was a glorious sunny day, the spectacular valley sprawling below. The houses of the Palestinian village of Burin lie in this valley, which lies between two hills: on one stands Yitzhar; on the other, Har Bracha, outside Nablus.

Burin is caught between a rock and hard place, between Har Bracha and Yitzhar. We have visited Burin often, most recently after settlers burned down some of its homes. Settlers once stole a horse from a villager, torched fields, demolished a home in the village and uprooted olive trees. We have frequently documented the uprooting of olive trees: Less than a month ago, in this space, we told the story of the beautiful vineyard belonging to the agriculture teacher Mohammed Abu Awad from the village of Mureir, whose 300 trees were felled by intruders - probably from the illegal outpost of Adei Ad - using buzz saws.

Here, clues left by the criminals suggest that they used handsaws and ripped out the crowns of the trees with their hands, one crown after another, one branch after another, rending and wounding the trees. In Mureir, the agriculture teacher wrapped the stumps in sacks, giving them the look of figures in shrouds. Here, in Burin, the stumps remain where they were hurled on the ground, stacks of dead wood, branches withering, until finally the farmer will use them as firewood to heat the village's clay ovens, the tabuns.

But the feeling is the same, the affront is the same and so is the grief. In October, the farmer Abu Awad said about the ruins of his vineyard in Mureir: "What must you feel if you plant and tend and then it's all cut down? What must I feel? If I had been there, I'd have told them, cut off my hands, but don't cut down my trees - What did the tree do to them, for them to treat it like this?" (Haaretz Magazine, October 16)

And now the farmer Ibrahim Imran tells us in Burin: "These trees are like my children." Hands or children, the grief of those who tend their olive groves is searing and deeply moving. The inability of the soldiers of the Israel Defense Forces and of the officers of the Israel Police to protect the groves of these farmers, to protect their property and their honor, is the inability of all of us.

We stood on the rear fender of the tractor as it clambered its way up the hill. Standing with us was Ruth Kedar, an activist from Machsom Watch, which monitors checkpoints, and Yesh Din (Volunteers for Human Rights). She has crisscrossed the territories in her private car for years, documenting wrongs and injustice. Her husband, retired colonel Paul Kedar, is also active in Yesh Din. It's worth lingering over his riveting biography: Paul Kedar comes from a Revisionist family; his father was one of Ze'ev Jabotinsky's secretaries. He himself was one of the founders of the Israel Air Force and later served as air attache in Paris during the period of the Sinai Campaign. He has been in the Mossad and served as consul general in New York, among other state posts. He was a friend of Moshe Dayan and Shimon Peres. He too now devotes his time to documenting the occupation and struggling against its abuses. The Kedars, now in their eighties, will soon receive the Emil Grunzweig Human Rights Award from the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, and deservedly so.

Above the noise of the tractor, one of the Palestinian farmers tells us that he heard that his neighbor, Rabbi Yitzhak Shapira, from Yitzhar, has permitted the killing of all non-Jews. Indeed, Shapira, head of the Od Yosef Hai yeshiva in Yitzhar (named for the biblical Joseph), recently published a book, "The King's Torah," in which he states that it is permissible to kill every gentile who constitutes a threat to the Jewish people, even if he is a child or an infant.

When Imran arrived to work his land early Thursday morning, he was appalled. It was, he says, "the height of frustration," and adds: "After God, I rely only on my olive trees. These trees are no less than 70 years old. My great-great-grandfather planted them."

Imran called everyone he could think of - the District Coordinations Offices, the International Red Cross, B'Tselem and Yesh Din - and also filed a complaint with the Israel Police at Ariel. Investigators came to the grove and took fingerprints, he says, but he has yet to receive confirmation of having submitted a report. Yesh Din is now handling his complaint.

An IDF jeep suddenly arrives to see what's going on - just the kind of jeep that rarely shows up when the settlers go on a rampage.

A spokesman for the Shai (Samaria-Judea) District of the police stated in response: "On November 12, a resident of Burin complained that he noticed that 90 olive trees on his land had been chopped down. The damage was documented by the criminal investigations department at the site, and trackers scoured the area to find footprints. Testimonies were taken from two locals: the owner of the land and his worker. The police are conducting additional investigative activities, among them locating suspects and witnesses. The Samaria District police are also operating on the intelligence plane."

Monday, November 23, 2009

Kim Jensen's "Song of Qana"

Here's a poem from Kim Jensen's stark new book, Bread Alone.

Song of Qana

Thirteen narrow streets
Thirteen lines of white
sheets. Thirteen children of dust
in the dust.
********Just then, the jets.

Thirteen houses
of stone. Thirteen of cement.
Thirteen deferred
from next until next
********Just then, the jets.

Thirteen from the South.
Thirteen from the North. Thirteen
********from the West.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Remembering the Jesuit Martyrs

I'm thinking of the assassinated Jesuits in El Salvador, twenty years later, and all the deaths of people whose names we do not know, and how the circuitous routes of imperial practice wind from here to there, and back again.
Remembering the Jesuit Martyrs
by John Dear SJ on Nov. 10, 2009 On the Road to Peace

Twenty years ago, on November 16, 1989, I was studying theology at the Jesuit community in Berkeley, Calif., when my friend Steve Kelly knocked on the door and asked if I had heard the news. I hadn’t. He broke down telling me of the brutal deaths early that morning of six Jesuit priests at the University of Central America, the Jesuit university in San Salvador. I had known those Jesuits from my time in El Salvador in 1985, when I lived and worked in a refugee camp. I was shocked and grief-stricken.

Their deaths set in motion a series of actions that changed my life. Steve and I decided then and there to do something. We gathered friends, drove into San Francisco and held vigil at the Salvadoran Consulate. That night, we facilitated a large public meeting about the murders and our response. Over the weekend, we held prayer services and organizing meetings, and on Monday morning, nearly 2,000 of us gathered outside the U.S. Federal Building in San Francisco to demand an end to U.S. military aid to El Salvador. That day, 120 of us, including 18 Jesuits, were arrested and jailed for kneeling down and blocking the building’s entrance. It was the largest Jesuit protest in U.S. history.

Soon we were organizing similar demonstrations at the nearby Concord Naval Weapons Station and joining the protests at the Federal Building in Los Angeles. Steve and I and a group of priests and Salvadoran women embarked on a 21 day fast for an end to U.S. military aid to El Salvador. Martin Sheen and I flew to D.C. to sit in at the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol Building. I helped organize a rally in front of San Francisco’s City Hall with Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt and Kris Kristofferson that brought out 12,000 people. We worked tirelessly for an end to U.S. military aid, and I think our efforts made a difference. But the deaths of the Jesuit martyrs touched us permanently.

Twenty years later, I call them to mind and heart:

Segundo Montes. Head of the University of Central America sociology department, director of the new human rights institute, superior of the Jesuit community, Segundo worked every weekend with the poor in Quezaltepeque. He had a big red beard, and people called him “Zeus.” “I consider it a duty to work for human rights,” he once said. “It is the duty of every human being who has the sensibility and sensitivity to the suffering of people.”

Ignacio Martin Baro. Vice president of the University of Central America, social psychologist, expert in the field of public opinion in El Salvador, he worked every weekend in the poor parish of Jayaque

Juan Ramon Moreno. Assistant director of the pastoral institute at the University of Central America, secretary of the Jesuit province, teacher of novices, he founded a Jesuit newsletter and set up a state of the art library in the new Romero Center which the death squads completely destroyed after killing the Jesuits. “The vocation of the church and of the followers of Jesus,” he wrote “is to be the innermost recess of Christ’s compassion.”

Amando Lopez. Former head of the San Salvador seminary and of the Jesuit University in Managua, Nicaragua, he worked every weekend among the poor in Soyapango. I remember having lunch with him once and asking him about his friend, Jean Donovan, killed in 1980.

Joaquin Lopez y Lopez. The oldest, he had recently been diagnosed with cancer. One of the founders of the University of Central America, he also founded “Fe Y Alegria,” a network of 13 schools that served eight thousand impoverished Salvadoran children, as well as two clinics which served 50,000.

Elba and Celina Ramos. Elba was the cook of the Jesuit house of studies down the road. That night, she brought her 16 year old daughter Celina to the University of Central America thinking they would be safer there on campus during the rebel offensive. They had been sleeping in a parlor room next to the Jesuit house when the death squads stormed the community. A few weeks earlier, Celina told a classmate that she hated violence so much that she would never again even kill an insect.

Ignacio Ellacuria. The university president, a world renown theologian and philosopher, and well known public figure in El Salvador, he helped write Archbishop Romero’s pastoral letters, envisioned a new type of Jesuit university committed to social justice, and in 1985, held a nationally televised open forum at the university where he methodically outlined, exposed and denounced the right wing government and its death squads.

Ellacuria was fearless and outspoken, a true prophet of justice and peace. He disturbed the so-called peace of the U.S.-backed regime, so the warmakers killed him. And they took no prisoners.

In other words, there was a reason they were assassinated. Their deaths were not an accident. The government knew what it was doing. Many think the Salvadoran president approved the assassinations a few hours earlier. He was using the same logic of violent deterrence that killed every martyr from Jesus to Dorothy Stang. But what these governments never understand is that nonviolent martyrs for justice and peace rise up in the people, pushing us to take similar risks for justice and peace, urging us to disturb the false peace, forcing us to speak out.

When our group of Jesuit scholastics met Ellacuria in 1985, he told us: “The purpose of the Jesuit university in El Salvador is promote the reign of God. But you can’t be for the reign of God unless you are also publicly actively against the anti-reign.” You are not truly for peace and justice unless you are also speaking out publicly and working actively to end war and injustice. That night, during a dinner for us, the university Jesuits showed us the bullet holes from the many attacks and bombing raids they had suffered over the years.

Twenty years later, El Salvador’s war has subsided but its poverty and crime have increased. We’ve suffered through two wars on Iraq, September 11th, Afghanistan, Bush, Clinton, George W. Bush, and now Obama, and watched the steady increase of extreme poverty, global starvation, global warming and global violence. What can we learn from the Jesuit martyrs that will help us today? Recently, I spoke during a week-long commemoration at St. Louis University and offered a few possible lessons.

First, the Jesuit martyrs were concerned about the world as it really is, what they called “Reality,” and the world they saw is the same world today--a culture of violence, war and empire. Today, the notorious El Salvador of war, poverty and unimaginable violence has become the world. The whole world has become El Salvador! Like the martyrs, we need to talk about it, name it and do what we can to stop global poverty, wars and violence. If we do, we might also reach the heights of El Salvador’s spectacular saints, prophets, theologians and martyrs.

Second, the martyrs denounced war, poverty and violence as “social sin.” They knew these tragedies were unjust, immoral and impractical, but they went further and named systemic injustice as a violation of God’s will, as blasphemy and idolatry. We are all guilty of mortal sin by allowing billions to suffer under poverty, war and violence, they taught, and true repentance means working to eradicate these injustices.

Third, the martyrs call us to take sides--to side with the world’s poor and margainalized, to live in solidarity with them as best we can. They challenge us to befriend the poor, serve the poor, learn from the poor, liberate the poor, defend the poor, struggle with and for the poor, and ideally practice a downward mobility that leads us to become one with the poor. That was the journey of Jesus and the Jesuit martyrs; it’s our journey too.

Fourth, the martyrs teach us to move from charity to justice. Yes, we have to serve specific suffering people, as each of them did, but we also have to ask why the poor are suffering and impoverished. As we do, we join the struggle for social and economic justice. The martyrs teach us to connect the dots around the world and learn that the struggle is one.

Fifth, the martyrs call us to make a preferential option for peace and nonviolence. They urge us to pursue global disarmament for a global redistribution of wealth, and thus to herald a new world of nonviolence. They want us to make sure that no one ever takes up the gun again. Like Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemani, their blood, spilled in the garden in front of their house, cries out: “Put down the sword!” It says: the age of the death squads is coming to an end. The martyrs push us to resist and end the work of the ultimate death squads--in the Pentagon, Los Alamos, Livermore Labs, the SAC base, Creech AFB, Fort Hood, Congress and the White House.

Sixth, the martyrs call us to follow the nonviolent Jesus “as he carries his cross” in pursuit of God’s reign of justice and peace. They spoke about the cross, wrote about the cross, and took up the cross as nonviolent resistance to war and systemic injustice. They knew from the deaths of their friends, including Rutilio Grande, Archbishop Romero, and Ita Ford, that the only way to radical social change is through the paschal mystery. Today, few speak about the cross. This anniversary reminds us that every Christian is summoned to take up the cross of nonviolent resistance to global injustice.

Seventh, the Jesuit martyrs demonstrate how every Catholic university, college, high school, retreat center, and parish could become a center for justice and peace. The University of Central America was the model Jesuit university. There was no other place like it in the hemisphere. I was amazed, as they toured us around in 1985, at their ambitious attempt to change national opinion and “reality.” It was a training camp in peace and justice. Every course, paper, and department was aimed at the nonviolent transformation of El Salvador. Imagine if every Jesuit, Catholic, and Christian university today were aimed at the disarmament and transformation of the United States; if these universities refused to take a penny from the Pentagon, banned ROTC, taught nonviolence, required every student to labor on behalf of the poor, and became a school of justice and peace! Not only would we begin to change our society; we would start to match the example set by the martyrs.

Eighth, Ellacuria and the Jesuit martyrs call us to become prophets of justice and peace. They were not afraid to speak publicly and became fierce communicators. The right wing accused of them being political, but they understood their public stand for justice and peace as a requirement of the Gospel. They expected every Christian to speak out. They would not tolerate our silence, our fear, our apathy, or our false humility (which lets us off the hook). I’m convinced that Ellacuria and the other martyrs would want us to denounce our government’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, our massive military budget, our funding of the occupation of the Palestinians, our failure to protect the environment, our nuclear arsenal, and our refusal to eradicate global starvation. They would want us to be the voice of the voiceless, to communicate with our people as best we can so that this militarism ends and those resources are spent instead on food, homes, healthcare, education, employment and dignity for the world’s poor.

Ninth, the Jesuit martyrs remind us that life is short. Their blood calls us to wake up, practice a mature Christianity, use our talents wisely, and spend our days working on behalf of the world’s poor. Their deaths warn us not to waste the precious time we have been given. They cry out: Seek God! Seek God’s reign! Love one another! Serve the least, hunger and thirst for justice, and make peace while there is still time.

Tenth, Ellacuria and the Jesuit martyrs invite us to be people of true hope. They avoided the cheap hope so common in our comfortable, apathetic culture. Instead, the martyrs point us to the hope of Jesus on the cross, the hope that comes close to despair, the hope that pursues justice and peace even though it seems so futile. The martyrs teach us to place our hope in God, and so, to know that the outcome, the results of our work, are in God’s hands. As we learn this hard lesson, we find the strength to give our lives too for a new world without war, poverty, nuclear weapons and global warming, whether or not we live to see the fruit of our work. We know it is God’s work, and so we go forward in hope, even joy, because we know now that our lives have joined the cause of God.

“We are people of the Gospel, a gospel that proclaims the reign of God, and that calls us to try to transform this earth into as close a likeness of that reign as possible,” Ellacuria wrote.

As we remember Ellacuria and the Jesuit martyrs, let’s pledge to carry on their work, follow their Gospel example, share their prophetic mission, and practice their fearless faith and bold hope. As we do, we too will be blessed.


This week, John’s new book, Daniel Berrigan: Essential Writings, appears from Orbis Books. With his other recent books, A Persistent Peace and Put Down the Sword, along with Patricia Normile’s John Dear On Peace, it is available from For information, or to schedule a speaking event, visit:

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Celestial Poets vs. Prophetic Poets: Pablo Neruda by way of John Dear

Last month, in the mix of reading hundreds of Neruda poems from Ilan Stavans' edition called THE POETRY OF PABLO NERUDA, I came across this poem, a blistering critique of the poetry of quietism (as opposed to quietude). Neruda is at his most vituperative and prophetic in various moments in CANTO GENERAL, including this one, when he attacks the poets who "take flight" when "confronted with the reign of anguish" of the imperial oppression.

While I love certain aspects of "celestial poetry," I struggle with how it seems to dodge its own protection and privilege in a world of violence. Even a poet like Wallace Stevens--arguably one of the great celestial poets--still found it essential to address the conditions of violence and despair in his essay, "The Noble Rider and the Sound of Words," when he wrote about poetry as an attempt to hold off the violence of the world. Perhaps, in a sense, Neruda's poem reduces the "celestial" to a straw man category; at the same time, he provides an opening for thinking further about what prophetic poetry might look like. Here's the poem:

"The Celestial Poets" from CANTO GENERAL, by Pablo Neruda, trans. Martin Espada

What did you do, you Gideans,
intellectualizers, Rilkeans,
mystifiers, false existential
sorcerers, surrealist
butterflies incandescent
in the tomb, Europhile
cadavers in fashion,
pale worms in the capitalist
cheese, what did you do
confronted with the reign of anguish,
in the face of this dark human being,
this kicked-around dignity,
this head immersed
in manure, this essence
of coarse and trampled lives?

You did nothing but take flight:
sold a stack of debris,
searched for celestial hair,
cowardly plants, fingernail clippings,
"Pure Beauty," "spells,"
works of the timid
good for averting the eyes,
for the confusion of delicate
pupils, surviving
on a plate of dirty leftovers
tossed at you by the masters,
not seeing the stone in agony,
no defense, no conquest,
more blinds than wreaths
at the cemetery, when rain
falls on the flowers still
and rotten among the tombs.

In John Dear's recent essay, the prophetic priest lays out a basic definition of what a prophet is and does; by his definition, Neruda more or less fits the bill. There is little doubt that the prophetic mode has been in decline for some time in the United States--not limited to poetry--but we have had some remarkable prophetic poets: Allen Ginsberg, Robert Duncan, Muriel Rukeyser, among others. Still others who have written prophetic poetry (the Merwin of The Lice) have also written celestial poetry (the Merwin of everything else). The way of prophetic poetry is fraught with danger, but isn't everything?

The school of prophets
by John Dear SJ on Nov. 17, 2009 On the Road to Peace
Last weekend in Adelaide, Australia, seventy of us gathered for a retreat entitled “The School of Prophets.” The idea was dreamed up by my friend Tim Deslandes as a time for contemplative prayer which would lead us toward prophetic speaking and action.

Tim says the time has become ripe to raise a new generation of “prophetic people,” given churchly scandals and failures and worldly horrors and wars.

For my part, I offered reflections on the prophets John the Baptist, Jonah, Isaiah, Mary and Jesus. And during my months of preparation, I lingered over the simple question: what is a prophet? It’s a question we seldom hear raised. “It’s not something we hear anyone speaking about these days,” I was told from a reporter of one of Australia’s Catholic papers.

That’s particularly strange and sad because the term was so important to Jesus, who clearly trained his disciples as “students of the prophetic way,” particularly in his Sermon on the Mount. He admonished them: Rejoice despite almost certain persecution, because you emulate “the prophets of old.”

What is a prophet? The prophets were “the most disturbing people who ever lived,” Rabbi Abraham Heschel famously penned. The Hebrew word means “to speak for someone else.” Adds theologian Megan McKenna in her great book, Prophets: “The prophets have no personal spirituality. They live for one thing: the word of God is in their mouths. Their spiritualities are, in a certain sense, the very words that come out of their mouths. Each prophet becomes the message. They embody the word that is to be spoken to this people, at this time, in this place. Their very presence becomes a message in itself.”

Daniel Berrigan says a prophet is simply one who speaks the truth to a culture of lies. Philip Berrigan once wrote, “The poor show us who we are and the prophets tell us who we could be, so we hide the poor and kill the prophets.”

During the weekend, I recalled the Jesuit martyrs of El Salvador -- surely great prophets if there ever were -- who spoke of becoming “a prophetic people,” even “a prophetic church.” They broke new ground in being persecuted -- and assassinated -- as a community of prophets. I suggested we consider ourselves as members of the global prophetic movement for justice, disarmament and peace. And I offered a dozen points to get us started.

First, a prophet is someone who listens attentively to the word of God, a contemplative, a mystic who hears God and takes God at God’s word, and then goes into the world to tell the world God’s message. So a prophet speaks fearlessly, publicly God’s message, without compromise, despite the times, whether fair or foul.

Second, morning, noon and night, the prophet is centered on God. The prophet does not do his or her own will or speak his or her own message. The prophet does God’s will and speaks God’s message. Simply put, a prophet is spokesperson for God. God invariably sends the prophet with a word to proclaim. “Go say to my people: ‘Thus says God…’” In the process, the prophet tells us who God is and what God wants, and thus, who we are and how we can become fully human.

Third, a prophet interprets the signs of the times. The prophet is concerned with the world, here and now, in the daily events of the whole human race, not just our little backyard. And also, not in some ineffable hereafter. The prophet sees the big picture -- war, starvation, poverty, disease, nuclear weapons, global warming, greed, selfishness. The prophet looks at these current realities and interprets them through God’s eyes, not through the eyes of analysts or pundits or Pentagon press spokespeople. The prophet tells us God’s take on what’s happening.

Fourth, a prophet takes sides. A prophet stands in solidarity with the poorest, with the powerless and the marginalized -- with the crucified peoples of the world, as Ignacio Ellacuria once put it. A prophet becomes a voice for the voiceless. Indeed, a prophet is the voice of a voiceless God.

Fifth, all the prophets of the Hebrew Bible are concerned with one main question: justice. They call people to act justly and create a new world of social and economic justice. For justice lies at the heart of God; God requires justice on earth. And the prophet won’t shy from telling us -- if we want a spiritual life, we must work for justice.

Sixth, prophets simultaneously announce and denounce. They announce God’s reign of justice and peace. And at the same time, they publicly denounce the world’s regimes of injustice and war. Like Martin Luther King, Jr., for example, they hold high the alternatives of nonviolence and disarmament, and lay low the obsolete ways of violence and weapons.

Seventh, a prophet confronts the status quo. With the prophet, there is no sitting back. The powerful are challenged, empires resisted, systemic injustice exposed. Prophets vigorously rock the leaky ship of state and shake our somnolent complacency. Matters are urgent, they say. Drop what you’re doing. Justice is a matter of life or death. Brush aside all tin patriotism; put nationalism behind you. Like the Roman standards the Judeans recoiled at, nationalism is today’s idolatrous banner. A banner that incites toward mass murder. The prophet would challenge such idolatry head on.

Eighth, for the prophet, the secure life is usually denied. More often than not the prophet is in trouble. Prophets call for love of your nation’s enemies. They topple the nation’s idols, upset the rich and powerful, and break the laws that would legalize mass murder. The warlike culture takes offense, and it dismisses the prophet, not merely as an agitator, but as obsessed and unbalanced. Consequently, the prophet ends up outcast, rejected, harassed, and marginalized. And eventually, punished, threatened, targeted, bugged, followed, jailed, and sometimes killed.

Ninth, prophets bring the incandescent word to the very heart of grudging religious institutions. There the prophet confronts the blindness and complacency of the religious leader, the bishops and priests who keep silent amid national crimes; the ministers who trace a cross over industries of death and rake blood money into churchly coffers. A bitter irony and an ancient story -- and all but inevitable. The institution that goes by the name of God often turns away the prophet of God.

Tenth, true prophets take no delight in calling down heavenly bolts. Rather they bear an aura of compassion and gentleness. They are good and decent, kind and generous. They exude joy. True, the common image of John the Baptist portrays white-hot anger and indignant rage. But such a characterization is one-dimensional. In his own words, he’s the best man who listens attentively to the voice of the bridegroom, and so, he concludes, “My joy is complete” (John 3). He was, I submit, a person of joy.

Eleventh, prophets are visionaries. In a culture of blindness, they offer insight. In a time of darkness, they light our path. When no one else can see, the prophet can. And what they see is a world imbued with God’s purposes. A world of justice and peace and security for all. A world where all of creation is safe and at rest. The prophet holds aloft the vision -- it’s ours for the asking. The prophet makes it seem possible, saying, let’s make it come true and we shall be blessed.

Finally, the prophet offers hope. Now and then they might sound despairing, but only because they have a heightened awareness of the world’s darkest realities: wars, violence, greed, nuclear weapons and global warming. Such reality overwhelms us; we would rather not hear. But hearing is our only hope. For behind the prophet’s unvarnished vision lies a hope we seldom understand -- the knowledge that God is with us. To realize the hope we must trust ourselves to plumb the depths and trust God to see us through.

* * *

A dozen characterizations of the prophet, and still most of us probably find this edgy calling confusing if not terrifying. My friend, the late Pax Christi leader, Jim McGinnis spent some time in recent years pondering this and wrote about the difference between true and false prophets.

True prophets do not call attention to their own person as much as to their message, whereas false prophets often seek personal glory and praise and perhaps material reward. True prophets, although often at the center of controversy, are most often people of peace, compassion, nonviolence and justice; while false prophets often create dissension for its own sake or to serve the goals of a very small, vested interest group. True prophets are willing to sacrifice their lives if necessary in order to be true to the message they proclaim; false prophets seldom go the extra mile if confronted by the threat of harm. True prophets are devoted to others; false prophets are ultimately selfish or in serious error about the true nature of people. True prophets are outside the establishment and empire and powerbrokers; false prophets, in the biblical tradition, were inside the court, advising the rulers, and making a career of it.

During the retreat, I raised a few questions which I pass on here. What to you is a prophet? Who are the prophets you listen to? What prophets have you known personally? Who has shed unexpected prophetic light on your path? Where is the prophetic vision shaping up around you? How have you joined in, and how can you join in even more? How might you add your voice anew to public denunciations against imperial injustice and war? Poverty and greed? Nuclear arsenals and military adventures? How can you help others to reinvigorate the ways of the prophet? How can we be “students of the prophetic way”?

“It’s not so much that we are political,” Daniel Berrigan once advised me. “We just speak out publicly.”

In a time of deafness, blindness and muteness, we are called to listen even more attentively to the God of peace, and to speak even more publicly God’s word of peace, to break through the silence, complicity and acceptance of our world’s violence and be a prophetic people, with all the pain, persecution and blessings that come our way.

The weekend in Adelaide was a great chance to pray, reflect and ponder these challenges. Participants agreed to spend one year praying through this material and taking steps “along the prophetic way.” I hope and pray that the God of peace will raise a new generation of holy prophets who speak the truth and call us back to God’s way of justice and peace.


This week, John’s new book, Daniel Berrigan: Essential Writings, appears from Orbis Books. His other recent books, A Persistent Peace and Put Down the Sword, along with Patricia Normile’s John Dear On Peace, are available from For information, or to schedule a speaking event, visit:

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cost of Empire: $130 billion for occupying Iraq and Aghanistan (priceless!)

Thanks to Tim Musser for this commentary by Art Laffin, a Catholic Worker, on the recent military spending bill that President Obama passed into law.
680 billion military budget an affront to God, the poor
Nov. 12, 2009
By Art Laffin

President Obama signed into law Oct. 28 the $680 billion 2010 National Defense Authorization Act, the largest military spending bill of its kind. The bill includes $130 billion in funding for the occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and only modifies the military commissions system at Guantánamo Bay, rather than abolish it.

The bill included several military spending projects Obama had previously opposed, including $560 million for a new F-35 Joint Strike Fighter engine the Pentagon had rejected. Then there is the approximately $16 billion tucked away in the Energy Department's budget, money dedicated to maintaining the huge U.S. nuclear arsenal. Overall, the bill increases military spending $24 billion from the last fiscal year.

However the president or members of Congress may try to justify this military budget, it is an affront to God and constitutes a direct theft from the poor. This budget is more than a bailout for the weapons industries; it is a massive giveaway to the war profiteers.

Where is the moral outrage at this gross misuse of the public treasury and the political doublespeak used to justify it? How is it possible that so much money could be appropriated in this time of recession when so many billions of taxpayers' funds have already been used to bail out Wall Street, banks and other private financial institutions? Why are there few, if any, public officials saying that this money should instead be spent on providing universal health care for the poor, addressing the global climate crisis, and alleviating poverty? Finally, why is there such deafening silence from the church leadership regarding this colossal misappropriation of wealth and resources?

What would Jesus have us do? I believe Jesus would have us say that to appropriate any money for weapons, war and killing betray his command "to love one another," and is a sin that must be condemned without hesitation.

The poor and the victims cry out for justice — for bread, not nuclear weapons; for affordable housing, not F-35 Joint-Strike Fighters and drones; for universal health care, not war-making and occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan.

If people of faith and conscience won't speak out for the poor, the victims and the marginalized, call for an immediate suspension of this immoral war budget, and take action for justice and peace, who will?

Despite the difficult challenges we face, signs of hope abound. There are growing numbers of groups and individuals who are speaking out for peace and social justice, and who are taking nonviolent action to bring about universal health care, climate justice and economic justice; to end U.S. war-making in Iraq and Afghanistan; to stop the drone attacks in Pakistan; to abolish torture and close Guantánamo and Bagram U.S. military prisons; and to disarm our nuclear arsenal.

Recently, two disarmament actions of note have occurred. Oblate of Mary Immaculate Fr. Carl Kabat, who has spent more than 15 years of his life in prison for disarmament actions, is currently in jail in Greeley, Colo., and is facing trial in December for his Aug. 6 Plowshares action at a Minuteman III missile silo. On Nov. 2, All Souls' Day, five peacemakers called the "Disarm Now Plowshares" carried out a Plowshares action at the U.S. Naval Submarine Base Kitsap-Bangor in Washington state.

It is time to end all of our war-making, beat all the swords of our time into plowshares, and redirect all monies and resources of this military budget to meet the urgent human needs of our country and world.

[Art Laffin is a member of the Dorothy Day Catholic Worker House in Washington, D.C.]

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Something There Is That Doesn't Love a Wall: Berlin and Israel/Palestine

This video shows Palestinian activists breaking down a section of Israel's "security barrier"/"apartheid wall" (depending on your point of view), on the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Never let it be said that Palestinians are ignorant of history!

Ever since first reading Robert Frost's "Mending Wall," I've been thinking about the poem's political implications. The poem is a dramatization of a liberal speaker's attempt to understand his neighbor's conservative (and in this case, seemingly rather unthinking) arguments for keeping the wall between their two properties.

In a simplistic reading of the poem, the liberal speaker's questioning exposes the conservative neighbor's inability to think for himself. In the speaker's mind, really, there is no need for the wall at all. They don't keep animals that should be penned in. The trees won't eat each other. Why the wall? In the neighbor's mind, "good fences make good neighbors." But why, the speaker wonders. And we, too, are invited to wonder. The speaker sees the neighbor as "mov[ing] in darkness...not of woods only." He appears, suddenly, as "an old stone savage armed."

A more nuanced reading of the poem notes that the speaker himself was the one to remind his neighbor that it was time to mend the wall. And also, that the speaker himself turns out to be rather judgmental about the neighbor, creating a metaphorical wall between himself and the other.

Frost's poem, then, does not merely side with either, but dramatizes these two human impulses; the impulse to break down barriers, toward mobility and exploration, and the impulse to protect ourselves from incursion, invasion, and oppression.

The ecstasy of East Berliners liberated from their prison is something undeniable, but its also true that some walls protect and nurture. A wall between Catholic and Protestant neighborhoods in Belfast, to reduce conflict, seems to be working, but probably because both sides felt it an interim confidence-building measure. A crucial question might be: who gets to decide the wall is necessary?

Here's the poem:

"Mending Wall"

Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That sends the frozen-ground-swell under it,
And spills the upper boulders in the sun,
And makes gaps even two can pass abreast.
The work of hunters is another thing:
I have come after them and made repair
Where they have left not one stone on a stone,
But they would have the rabbit out of hiding,
To please the yelping dogs. The gaps I mean,
No one has seen them made or heard them made,
But at spring mending-time we find them there.
I let my neighbor know beyond the hill;
And on a day we meet to walk the line
And set the wall between us once again.
We keep the wall between us as we go.
To each the boulders that have fallen to each.
And some are loaves and some so nearly balls
We have to use a spell to make them balance:
'Stay where you are until our backs are turned!'
We wear our fingers rough with handling them.
Oh, just another kind of out-door game,
One on a side. It comes to little more:
There where it is we do not need the wall:
He is all pine and I am apple orchard.
My apple trees will never get across
And eat the cones under his pines, I tell him.
He only says, 'Good fences make good neighbors'.
Spring is the mischief in me, and I wonder
If I could put a notion in his head:
'Why do they make good neighbors? Isn't it
Where there are cows?
But here there are no cows.
Before I built a wall I'd ask to know
What I was walling in or walling out,
And to whom I was like to give offence.
Something there is that doesn't love a wall,
That wants it down.' I could say 'Elves' to him,
But it's not elves exactly, and I'd rather
He said it for himself. I see him there
Bringing a stone grasped firmly by the top
In each hand, like an old-stone savage armed.
He moves in darkness as it seems to me~
Not of woods only and the shade of trees.
He will not go behind his father's saying,
And he likes having thought of it so well
He says again, "Good fences make good neighbors."

In a recent post, Robert Naiman offers a critique of what some call the "Apartheid Wall" that cuts between and into Israel/Palestine. What's at stake here is not just the wall per se, but where the wall is placed (in this case, often confiscating Palestinian land and between Palestinian towns).

Mr. Netanyahu, Tear Down This Wall
by robert naiman on 9 November 2009 - 4:41pm
On the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Western leaders are full of self-congratulation. But their paeans to universal freedom ring hollow, when they bear large responsibility for another wall constricting human freedom: the apartheid wall dividing the Palestinian West Bank.

Israeli authorities refer to it as a "separation barrier," but that's misleading. The wall doesn't separate pre-1967 Israel from the West Bank. If that's all it did, it would be an entirely different political object. Instead, the wall cuts deep into the Palestinian West Bank, separating Palestinians from each other and from their land, and signaling to the Palestinians that Israel intends to annex territory that Palestinians want for an independent Palestinian state. The fact that Western countries that support the Israeli government - above all the United States - say nothing about the West Bank wall signals to Palestinians that Western support for Palestinian statehood is merely rhetorical.

Today, AFP reports, Palestinians tore down a chunk of the wall near Ramallah.

AFP notes that 85 percent of the planned wall is inside the West Bank, and it would leave 9.5 percent of the West Bank and 35,000 West Bank Palestinians between the barrier and the Green Line that marks the 1967 border with Israel.

The World Court issued a resolution in 2004 calling for those parts of the barrier that are inside the West Bank to be torn down and for further construction in the territory to cease. Israel and Western countries have ignored the World Court resolution.

Two years ago Israel's own High Court ruled against the route of the wall near the Palestinian village of Bilin, but the Israeli government ignored the ruling of its own highest court.

Today, the Israeli-Palestinian "peace process" and the Palestinian Authority are at the brink of collapse, the New York Times reports.

We've reached this point in large measure because of the unwillingness of the Obama Administration to put real pressure on the Israeli government to implement past agreements - in particular, to implement a freeze on the expansion of Israeli settlements in the West Bank. When the first President Bush demanded a settlement freeze, he backed up his demand with real pressure - holding up loan guarantees to Israel. The Obama Administration never indicated that there was any "or else" associated with its demand for a settlement freeze, leading the Netanyahu government to conclude that it could just wait the Obama Administration out - a conclusion that appears to have been borne out by events.

This would be an especially opportune time for U.S. officials to indicate that they intend to meaningfully oppose the ongoing construction of "facts on the ground" that are constricting the lives of Palestinians in the West Bank and undermining their hopes for national independence - facts on the ground like the apartheid wall.

Monday, November 9, 2009

The Fall of the (Berlin) Wall, Twenty Years Later

I don't recall being affected during the fall of the Berlin Wall, twenty years ago today, while a sophomore in college. Perhaps I was buried in my own neuroses and self-education. Perhaps, too, the triumphalism of the coverage made me instinctively distrust it--as if this, too, were confirmation of our superiority, that everyone (in the world) wanted to be just like us.

Twenty years later, my wife and I find ourselves welling up with emotion as we discuss it at the breakfast table to our seven and three year old girls, after a news report mentions the anniversary. I get out my chunks of the wall, given to me by Alyosha Maslov some three years after the fall, while I stayed with his family outside Moscow. We watch videos of the wall and its fall, and the jubilation of the people in the streets.

All I can say is that I couldn't help the weeping, in the words of the Jesus Jones song that commemorated it, "watching the world wake up from history."

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Fort Hood and PTSD

I've been thinking about the horrible tragedy at Fort Hood, and completely devastated by the killings, and that the shooter was an Arab. Other Arabs will pay for this man's madness and pain.

The quieter deaths of the suicides of 75 Fort Hood soldiers, however, has not garnered the same attention. Such lonely acts of despair need to be accounted for as well as these chilling murderous turnings-outward.
Yochi J. Dreazen, Wall Street Journal, November 6, 2009

Washington - Fort Hood, the base stricken in Thursday's shooting rampage, is the largest U.S. military facility in the world - and a base that has a large share of the military's overall instances of post-traumatic stress disorder and suicide.

Army officials say that roughly 30,000 troops are stationed at the sprawling facility north of the Texas capital of Austin, while an additional 20,000 troops from the base are deployed to Iraq. Tens of thousands of military spouses and children live on the base and in adjacent suburbs.

The facility, which opened in 1942, houses the 1st Cavalry Division and the First Army Division West, as well as smaller aviation, logistics and military police units. It until recently also housed the Army's Fourth Infantry Division. The 1st Cavalry Division and the Fourth Infantry Division have each done three tours to Iraq.

Since the start of the Afghan war in 2001, the base has lost hundreds of soldiers in combat. More alarmingly to many senior commanders there, the base has also lost at least 75 of its soldiers to suicide, one of the heaviest such tolls in the U.S. military.

The base's former commander, Lt. Gen. Rick Lynch, used his tenure at the helm of the sprawling post to mount a broad campaign to reduce the incidence of PTSD and suicide among the soldiers on the post.
Despite the efforts, however, Fort Hood continues to be hit hard by suicide, PTSD and other related problems. Through October, 10 Fort Hood soldiers had taken their lives in 2009, the second-highest tally in the Army behind Kentucky's Fort Campbell, which had 16 suicides.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

National War Tax Resistance Gathering (+ poetry!)

National War Tax Resistance Gathering and
Coordinating Committee Meeting
6:30pm FRIDAY, Nov 6 – noon Sunday, Nov 8, 2009

The Nehemiah Center —
6515 Bridge Ave.
Cleveland, Ohio
(Near west side of Cleveland at West 65th and Bridge Ave.)

Deconstruct War
Use tax dollars to CONSTRUCT PEACE
A mini-conference about cutting off war’s money supply and funding life-affirming programs. The weekend begins with dinner at 6:30 pm Friday with a program at 7:30 pm. All are welcome to Sunday NWTRCC business meeting, 9 am - Noon

Hosted by Dorothy Day Peace Tax Fund, Cleveland Catholic Worker, the Cleveland Nonviolence Network, and the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC)

The program includes presentations about war tax resistance and redirecting tax dollars to peace,
about all of our work against war and creating the world we hope to see. NWTRCC is holding its business meeting in Cleveland on Sunday morning, November 8 (open to all). Along with local activists, people from around the country who refuse to pay for war will participate in the mini-conference.

Come for the whole weekend or one session

Representatives of war tax resistance (WTR) groups from around the country will attend and join local war resisters as presenters and facilitators for panels, group discussions, and workshops. Program planning is in progress. Please check the website or call for updated information.


5 pm: Arrival, Registration,

6:30 pm: Dinner

7:30 pm: “Deconstruct War / Construct Peace” Building the world we want to see. How does our war tax resistance influence change? Facilitated by Cleveland hosts Maria Smith and Charlie Hurst, including a poetry project to explore our resistance with Philip Metres.

Phil Metres is the author of numerous books, including To See the Earth (poetry, 2008), Come Together: Imagine Peace (anthology of peace poems, 2008), Behind the Lines: War Resistance Poetry on the American Homefront since 1941 (criticism, 2007), and Catalogue of Comedic Novelties: Selected Poems of Lev Rubinstein (2004). His poetry has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies, including Best American Poetry. He teaches literature and creative writing at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio.

Saturday, Nov 7

8 am: Breakfast

9 am: Welcome, Introductions, and Logistics

9:15 am: Discussion

NWTRCC & the War Tax Resistance (WTR) Movement - Who we are, What we do, Where are we going?
Discussion of NWTRCC network and WTR activity in general, Program update on War Tax Boycott and other NWTCC activities. Open discussion of ideas for development of our efforts and/or changes needed. (Large and small group)

10:15 - Break

10:30 - Film Showing

"Death and Taxes" - New 30-minute (approx) film introduces the basics of war tax resistance. View and comment on NWTRCC's nearly completed film showing many faces of resistance. Hear from some of the resisters who appear in the film (Juanita Nelson, David Waters, Bill Ramsey, Ruth Benn) and time to follow up with some personal stories of resistance.

Noon: Lunch

1:15 pm - Panel and Discussion

"Making Connections/Working Together - WTR and the wider peace movement" With Mike Ferner, President, Veterans for Peace; Sr. Diane Pinchot, OSU, artist and School of Americas Watch defendant; Phil Althouse, attorney and election observer in El Salvador.

1:45 - Small group discussions with each of the presenters to talk more in-depth on their presentation and area of work.

2:45 - Break

3:00 - Concurrent Workshops:

WTR 101: Basic introduction and getting started. Led by long-time war tax resisters.

WTR Questions and Answers for experienced resisters and counselors, with Ruth Benn, NWTRCC Coordinator

4:15 - Break

4:30 - Discussion: Deconstruct War / Construct Peace reprise - From our previous sessions, are there some priorities that emerged and that we should develop in our ongoing work?

Concurrent: Time for NWTRCC committees and special interest groups to meet - War Tax Boycott, Fundraising, Peace Tax Fund follow-up, WTR Penalty Fund/assistance programs

6:00 pm - Dinner

7:00 pm: Evening program to be announced

Sunday, Nov 8:

9:00 am - noon: NWTRCC Business Meeting
Agenda includes continuing work on boycott and video; priorities for coming year; fundraising and annual budget; literature updates and new resource ideas. All welcome!

1:30 pm - 5:30 pm WTR Counselor’s Training
Training for new and experienced counselors. Review information, techniques, and problems that might occur during a counseling session.


Location: The Nehemiah Center, 6515 Bridge Ave., corner of Bridge and West 65th St., Cleveland, OH, Hosted by Dorothy Day Peace Tax Fund, Cleveland Catholic Worker, the Cleveland Nonviolence Network, and the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC).

Travel: Cleveland is served by buses, Amtrak, and flights to the Cleveland Hopkins International Airport (CLE). There is public transportation into the city from the airport. We will do our best to help with arrangements or connect people for shared rides.

Housing: Housing is at Nehemiah Center,, with comfortable bunk beds. All those staying at Nehemiah are asked to bring their own bedding/sleeping bag, pillow, towels, and toiletries.

Meals: The program begins with dinner on Friday at 6:30 pm, and ends with lunch on Sunday (all welcome for the Sunday NWTRCC business meeting). Meals are vegetarian with vegan options. You may be asked to help with meal prep or serving.

Costs: $15 registration fee in advance, plus $25 per night for housing and meals at Nehemiah; $25 for one day meals/no housing. Pay what you can. Scholarships will be made available as needed, and no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Local contact: Charles Hurst and Maria Smith 216-241-6594,

Further travel and program details will be on our website and sent to you in advance of the gathering.

Registration and Program Information
National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC)
(800) 269-7464,

Fees and Registration Deadline

We are asking $15 registration fee for the weekend, or donations if you are attending part of the time. No one will be turned away for lack of funds, although a collection may be taken up during the weekend if costs have not been covered. Additional donations in advance will help us house everyone at Nehemiah Center.

Enclosed is (please make checks payable to NWTRCC):

$15 registration fee, and,
$25 per night housing and meals, or,
$25 one day meals only, no housing

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Julia Paulet's version of Carl Sandburg's "Autumn Movement"

This is from Julia Paulet, who's doing a dance about a poem, part of a project that I call the Poetry in the Everyday Project. What do you think?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Pablo Neruda Explains a Few Things

I've been reading Pablo Neruda in earnest over the past couple weeks, intensively and chronologically in a way that I hadn't. Actually, I'd really only read a chunk of the odes and some of the love poems, but since I got The Poetry of Pablo Neruda, I thought it was time to get up to speed on the most highly-regarded Latin American poet, and one of the most popular, even in English. What struck me was that though he began as a somewhat-obscure (in both senses) surrealist love poet, his time as a Chilean diplomat beginning at age 23 radically altered both his subject manner and his style.

When, in the 1930s, he saw the Spanish Civil War first hand, his radical politics were solidified irrevocably. That's when he wrote the following poem, "I Explain a Few Things," in which he stakes a claim for own transformation as a poet. When one speaks of the blood of children flowing in streets, metaphors fail. The poems of this phase are haunted, agitated and agitating, and founder upon their own irritable (and explicable) horror. They are occasional, but they also bridge the early Neruda to the great, brilliantly-flawed historical epic, Canto General, which attempts to tell the story of the Americas from its mythic beginnings, into Neruda's own present.

"I Explain A Few Things"

You are going to ask: and where are the lilacs?
and the poppy-petalled metaphysics?
and the rain repeatedly spattering
its words and drilling them full
of apertures and birds?
I'll tell you all the news.

I lived in a suburb,
a suburb of Madrid, with bells,
and clocks, and trees.

From there you could look out
over Castille's dry face:
a leather ocean.
My house was called
the house of flowers, because in every cranny
geraniums burst: it was
a good-looking house
with its dogs and children.
Remember, Raul?
Eh, Rafel? Federico, do you remember
from under the ground
my balconies on which
the light of June drowned flowers in your mouth?
Brother, my brother!
loud with big voices, the salt of merchandises,
pile-ups of palpitating bread,
the stalls of my suburb of Arguelles with its statue
like a drained inkwell in a swirl of hake:
oil flowed into spoons,
a deep baying
of feet and hands swelled in the streets,
metres, litres, the sharp
measure of life,
stacked-up fish,
the texture of roofs with a cold sun in which
the weather vane falters,
the fine, frenzied ivory of potatoes,
wave on wave of tomatoes rolling down the sea.

And one morning all that was burning,
one morning the bonfires
leapt out of the earth
devouring human beings —
and from then on fire,
gunpowder from then on,
and from then on blood.
Bandits with planes and Moors,
bandits with finger-rings and duchesses,
bandits with black friars spattering blessings
came through the sky to kill children
and the blood of children ran through the streets
without fuss, like children's blood.

Jackals that the jackals would despise,
stones that the dry thistle would bite on and spit out,
vipers that the vipers would abominate!

Face to face with you I have seen the blood
of Spain tower like a tide
to drown you in one wave
of pride and knives!

see my dead house,
look at broken Spain :
from every house burning metal flows
instead of flowers,
from every socket of Spain
Spain emerges
and from every dead child a rifle with eyes,
and from every crime bullets are born
which will one day find
the bull's eye of your hearts.

And you'll ask: why doesn't his poetry
speak of dreams and leaves
and the great volcanoes of his native land?

Come and see the blood in the streets.
Come and see
The blood in the streets.
Come and see the blood
In the streets!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Veterans for Peace To Commemorate Veterans Day

Veterans for Peace, Chapter 39
will commemorate Veterans Day with a reading of letters and quotes from soldiers and their loved ones dating back to the Revolutionary War.

Their words speak of honor, rage, sacrifice, and despair, and carry a message as old as time. They speak loud and ring true.

Please join us as we share their words and honor their service.
WHEN: Wednesday, November 11, 2009 at 7:30pm
WHERE: St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 2747 Fairmount Blvd.,
Cleveland Heights, 44106 (Corner of Fairmount & Coventry)
COST: This event is free and open to the public
CONTACT: Bob Bemer at 440-777-9108


Veterans for Peace - STATEMENT OF PURPOSE
We, having dutifully served our nation, do hereby affirm our greater responsibility to serve the cause of world peace. To this end we will work, with others
(a) To increase public awareness of the costs of war
(b) To restrain our government from intervening, overtly and covertly, in the internal affairs of other nations
(c) To end the arms race and to reduce and eventually eliminate nuclear weapons
(d) To seek justice for veterans and victims of war
(e) To abolish war as an instrument of national policy.
To achieve these goals, members of Veterans For Peace pledge to use non-violent means and to maintain an organization that is both democratic and open with the understanding that all members are trusted to act in the best interests of the group for the larger purpose of world peace.