Monday, June 11, 2012

Chris Hedges on Daniel Berrigan: 92 and still protesting

Just a wonderful inspiring piece by Chris Hedges on the legendary American political activist and Christian radical Revered Daniel Berrigan.

Those of us who grew up during the Vietnam War remember Daniel Berrigan and his brother Phillip Berrigan for leading some of the first protests against the Vietnam War. After Phillip Berrigan was jailed for 6 years for civil disobedience against the war Daniel Berrigan became more radical in his civil disobedience and political activism, with the result that became a fugitive on the run from the US authorities, before he was arrested and imprisoned for 3 years. At one stage Phillip and Daniel Berrigan were listed on the FBI's most wanted list because of their political activism.

In the 1980's Daniel Berrigan and his brother and other anti-nuclear activists  illegally entered a nuclear facility to protest against nuclear power.

As Hedges points out Daniel Berrigan is 92 and and his life stands as a potent reminder of how people can live a life of constant agitation, constant defiance and constant disobedience to systems of unjust power.

Hedges writes:
".. His embrace of what has been called “Christian anarchism,” because of its persistent alienation and hostility to all forms of power, is the most effective form of resistance. And it is the clearest expression of the Christian Gospel. Berrigan has been arrested numerous times—“I don’t waste time counting,” he told me—for also protesting American intervention in Central America and the first Gulf War, as well as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has demonstrated against the death penalty, in support of LGBT rights and against abortion. And even in his 90s he is not finished.

“.....I know that the prophetic vision is not popular today in some spiritual circles,” he goes on. “But our task is not to be popular or to be seen as having an impact, but to speak the deepest truths that we know. We need to live our lives in accord with the deepest truths we know, even if doing so does not produce immediate results in the world."

“But what of the price of peace?” Berrigan writes in his book “No Bars to Manhood.” “I think of the good, decent, peace-loving people I have known by the thousands, and I wonder. How many of them are so afflicted with the wasting disease of normalcy that, even as they declare for peace, their hands reach out with an instinctive spasm in the direction of their loved ones, in the direction of their comforts, their home, their security, their income, their future, their plans—that twenty-year plan of family growth and unity, that fifty-year plan of decent life and honorable natural demise. ‘Of course, let us have the 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. ”

No comments: