I get lost. Often. But that is pretty much the only bad thing that ever happens to me. Given how violent and unpredictable the world is, I feel pretty lucky-graced, even -- that the worst that happens to me is usually my own fault for not paying close enough attention to directions or maps or my surroundings.
No bombs, no explosions, no checkpoints, no specter of violence looming right out of sight.
I cannot imagine the terror of war, even after spending the majority of my conscious life around people in active opposition to war. My father, the late Phil Berrigan, fought in World War II. He was a field decorated lieutenant. My dad did not talk about "The War" much. By the time we kids came along in the 1970s and 1980s, a lot had happened in his life since fighting in Europe. He became a priest, a peace and civil rights activist, a practitioner of nonviolence, a husband and finally a father. But that experience, of carrying and wielding a gun, was never far from the center of his mind as he fully committed himself to working for peace and justice.
I cannot imagine the pain and dislocation of torture or indefinite detention or solitary confinement. It is as remote as fiction, even after working for the last five years for the closure of Guantanamo, justice for the victims of the war on terror, accountability for the architects of these policies, and an end to a regime of brutality meted out by both the Bush and Obama administrations.
So, I am going to Washington to stand with Veterans for Peace (VFP), to offer nonviolence training and support in the memory of my father -- who like the men and women of VFP turned the horror and burden of war into the responsibility and joy of working for peace. I will be there too, in the name of those at Guantanamo and Bagram and other U.S. administered detention facilities -- victims of this new era of war and terror. And finally, I will be there so that the next generation can grow up unscathed by war and violence.
I get lost. But communities like Veterans for Peace help me to find my way. The road to Washington, DC is known to many of us. I hope many of you will make the trip. Come to DC on December 16th. Come again on January11th-- Witness Against Torture's Day of Action: No Torture, No Bagram, No GITMO, No More.
We must continue to work together towards the future we want to see. But maybe you should ask someone else if you need help on directions.