Activists never die – remembering America’s original Pacifist Activist Father Berrigan

The 21st Century could easily be described as the century of permanent war.

Father BerriganCertainly since 9/11, when America found its way to justify a “war on terror”, no one on the planet is safe from the same imperialist tyranny that all previous centuries brought us, except now under a different name, in the name of freedom and democracy. When Civil liberties are removed in the name of liberty, we need to ask ourselves, “are we really that naive?”

America, and particularly its “military industrial complex”, has been in a state of permanent war with the rest of the world, and could indeed have created an actual “culture of war”. Soon after 9//11 Hollywood started churning out military war heroes to lead its cinematic propaganda. And it has not stopped. “American Sniper” became a highly acclaimed celebration of the American war machine just recently, to name but one. The “war on terror” changed the rules of engagement – not that they played by the rules ever before. But now it was legitimate, in the eyes of the swindled American public, to attack any other country on the planet, with a pre-emptive strike if they remotely appeared to be a potential enemy of the States. As for the criteria by which they were determined an enemy – it was usually found later to be purely fabricated, particularly in the case of Iraq. But even worse, any person, even at home, could now be labelled a terrorist and detained without trial and subjected to torture under the name of “enhanced interrogation techniques”. George Orwell’s 1984 had arrived. Anyone who opposed the tyrannical government could be imprisoned now, so the dictatorship had quietly arrived at home while we were watching distant shores for the supposed enemy.

Of course the American war machine has been marching on since the day I was born, either looking for wars to justify the existence of NATO, or looking for ways to make a lot of money by fomenting wars, selling and using their weapons. Profit from murder is a lucrative business, and collateral damage justifies anything in the mind of a psychopath. Hiroshima perfectly set the bar for the degree of overkill that could be dished out by the Empire on its path to global domination. 80 000 murdered innocent peasant civilians, and then 40 000 more for good measure at Nagasaki. After that anything was permissible. If it’s not obvious yet to you that a country that can do that, certainly has no interest in preserving humanity on this planet, then what hope is there for the rest of us?

Yet there is always hope. For from the very land of modern history’s first truly global tyrant came the cry of sanity, the opposition to evil, in the form of Virginian born Jesuit priest and peace activist Father Daniel Berrigan, Activist Berriganwhose birthday is on 9 May. Sadly Father Berrigan died last month, on 30 April 2016, yet his spirit lives on in the hearts and minds of the rest of us anti-imperialists, as a beacon of light in these new Dark Ages of humanity. Dying a penniless renunciant in his nineties, this man is the original activist, imprisoned for some years for his peace protests, since the Vietnam war already, and always emulating the mood of Mahatma Gandhi, namely pacifism and non-acquisitiveness. This people’s hero, American peace activist and scholar, said in his last days that, despite having strived for the cause of peace for most of his adult life, things seem to be worse now than when he started. Can there be anything more chilling or foreboding than that? Particularly from a man who lived through most of last century’s world war and has seen the bigger picture through the lens of time. Most of us have entered late into the theatre of war, missing the first half, and thus not getting the full plot. We end up mistaking the villain for the hero, remaining completely hypnotised by his forked tongue, until with time we begin to see the plot in greater context, hear the dialogue of seemingly secondary characters and actually begin to catch up on the missed earlier parts of the script.

Well more of us are catching on every day, as the veneer of respectability falls from the self-proclaimed hero of the free world, as the mask of sanity and humanity drops to reveal the reptilian jaws beneath. And as we awaken, we remember our real purpose for this lifetime, the cause of humanity, sanity and the sanctity of life. And we take heart from the words of American heroes like Father Berrigan who went before us when he said that we resist the culture of death by living life to the full. For the culture of death is being pushed onto us by the Empire now more than ever. Yet the tactics have changed, for no longer is it merely a military war of might and munitions. Even the partially educated person can understand that you cant’ have a war on terror, when war is terror. So that logic has been deconstructed, dismantled and found out to be the con that it was. One million dead Iraqi civilians later. Genocide by any other name still smells just as putrid. And that was just the start. The entire Middle East is the goal of the Empire. Yesterday it was Iraq, today it is Syria, tomorrow Iran. Soon the entire Levant will be under the control of the Empire – all the way to Libya and Spain in the west. But that is not the only front. The hot war is old news already. The new front, one more insidious, malign and ominous is the one presented by the smiling face of Trade.

And this Trojan horse goes by the name of TTIP or TTP. This is the new war, where even the allies of the Empire are to be won over and dominated under the abusive yoke of the Tyrannical Imperialist. With the smiling teeth of the merchant, under the guise of a beneficial business partnership for all, America is pushing onto Europe and UK a contract which will allow the businesses involved to flout EU health and moral standards by enabling them to force their goods on anyone they like, even if they are GMO or have been tested on animals, for example. In other words, even if EU has higher standards that forbid such products, still TTIP obliges them to buy it and sell it to the very people that voted against consuming such products. In this way the Empire can override an entire country’s health laws and moral values, in the name profit. This is the new war, the new tactic of the Empire bent on world domination. And even worse, if an EU country stops inferior products from entering their borders, they can be sued for imagined loss of profits.

This is when we realise that the real villain is not America, the real evil tyrant bent on ruling the world is merely using America as a front, a puppet for their ends. For the real Empire is actually The Corporation. TTIP will actually allow a privately run corporation to sue an entire country for not taking their trade. The corporation is now more powerful than a sovereign country. This is the economic front of the war being forged by the Elite upon ally and enemy alike, where all are mere chaff for the mill of profit, greed and the corporatocracy that is the new Imperialist about to take over the world. This is the global corporate takeover, where corporations have more rights than people. This is totalitarianism. And its face is America.

Therefore tens of thousands of EU citizens have taken to the streets in protest of TTIP. Father Berrigen may be dead, but thousands more just like him are arising in every corner of the globe, for this is the era of the activist. This is a war on globalization, on the Elite, on the new Empire. Gone are the days of Rome, when one could “see Rome and die” since it was the glory of the known world. Today it is “see D.C. and die slowly”. Die from the GMO toxic foodstuffs forced on you by the Corporate Empire, while nature and animal life is decimated under the boot of big Agri, big Pharma and big Oil. All so that the few can wallow in the surplus and excess, promoted by the land where bigger is better, might is right and to hell with the rest of us on the pillaged planet. Well, you may kill one activist, whistle blower or journalist, but in the words of that famous Imperialist Governator, “I’ll be back”. Because you can’t kill the soul of the world, the “anima mundi”. And I’m not interested in an afterlife by the banks of the river with the cows and 99 virgins. I’m here for as long as it takes to see all life on earth liberated from the shackles of the Imperialist tyrant who lives on their death. I’m here to stay. I am Father Berrigan.