Planted By the Waters

Winter 2002-'03

Ecumenical Peace Institute/CALC
P. O. Box 9334 • Berkeley, CA 94709 • (510) 548-4141

Good Friday April 18, 2003

Thoughts from the Board President

A voice from the dark called out ... a poem from Denise Levertov

What is It About No War! That they Don't Understand? by Carolyn Scarr

Resource for conscientious Objectors

Ongoing Actions for Peace

Philip Berrigan

Cecilia Ruth Weeks

George Weber

January 2003 Fact Finding Delegation concludes humanitarian aid to Haiti governement must be released immediately

UNESCO, the United States, and Afghanistan: Relations in Transition

Stay In Touch with EPI

Calendar & Announcements

EPI can use your help!

Regarding that enevelope ...

Good Friday, April 18, 2003

      6:45 a.m. Livermore

While we have all been marching and calling and vigiling to stave off a war against Iraq, Good Friday remains in the back of our minds, reminding Christians that we see the suffering of the world in the crucifixion of Jesus. And let us not forget that we see God’s powerful love in resurrection.

The Good Friday program has not yet been planned. We don’t know whether we will meet at East and Vasco or at Vasco and Patterson Pass Road (as we did last year).

We do know that on Good Friday the right place to be is the Livermore Nuclear Weapons Lab

–– the source of some of the world’s most fearsome weapons of mass destruction 

–– the foundation of the military power of the largest empire the world has known.

So put it on your calendars to be at Livermore at 6:45 a.m. on April 18, to gather in worship and in witness.

If you want to help put this event together, call the EPI office at 510-548-4141 or email us.

We mourn the loss of Philip Berrigan, CeCe Weeks, and Christian Peacemaker Team member George Weber. Articles remembering them are in this issue of Planted.


––from the Board President

by Janet Gibson
Photos by Marilyn Jackson

Perhaps, like me, you have been surprised to find so many acquaintances who attended the Anti-War March on January 18th. It drew participants from way beyond the usual peace and justice "activists." It was awesome to be in the midst of probably 200,000 people who filled Market Street not from sidewalk to sidewalk but building to building. The massive assembly took more than 3 1/2 hours just for everyone to begin marching, and the density allowed for little more than a shuffle walk. 

By the end of the day, we returned home energized and invigorated with the knowledge that we were part of a massive commitment for peace. Now we have the challenge to let that commitment be seen and heard in our neighborhoods, our communities and our everyday lives, so that it might provide the "spark" for an ever broadening peace movement.

Many of us remember the ’60s and ’70s when moderate faith-based people were hesitant to oppose the Vietnam War for fear of being called un-American. I can’t help but think of my mother’s fear when she felt compelled to place a peace symbol decal in the front window of our family home. Would someone throw a rock through the glass? Would her neighbors think she was unpatriotic? She did it anyway, and slowly but surely she found she was not alone in her dissent. 

Ecumenical Peace Institute was established at that time, during the height of concern about the Vietnam War. It was affiliated with the national organization, Clergy and Laity Concerned, at whose founding event at New York’s Riverside Church on April 4, 1967 Martin Luther King Jr. gave the famous "Beyond Vietnam" speech. Bay Area folks consider the beginning of EPI to have been in 1971 when, during the Earl Lecture Series at Berkeley’s 1st Congregational Church, famed preacher Robert MacAfee Brown called for the religious community to participate in civil disobedience at the Oakland Induction Center. 

To this day, EPI continues its work as a CALC chapter and in the tradition of Robert MacAfee Brown. For the past twenty years, EPI has sponsored the Good Friday Prayer and Witness gathering at the gates of the Livermore Nuclear Weapons Laboratory. Since 1998, EPI has held a weekly noontime Vigil at the Oakland Federal Building to emphasize humanitarian concerns for the 5,000 Iraqi children who die each month as a result of the Sanctions on Iraq.

This time around, moderate and progressive groups and individuals from all the major religions joined early in the effort to stop a war in Iraq. We must continue to defy any intimidation toward silence by speaking publicly and privately with each other. Peace is patriotic! Dissent is not only patriotic, it is American! Every time one of us wears a "No War" pin, flies a peace flag, or pastes a dissenting bumper sticker on our car, we are encouraging others to feel "OK" about joining the peace effort.

Do you remember the wonderful Spiritual "This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine?" In his book, A Passion for the Possible, William Sloane Coffin refers to this and comments that the thousands of little flames from a candlelight march are infinitely more inspiring that "those giant lights that illuminate ballparks." He continues: "I believe that God is calling each and every one of us to show up, to double the heart’s might, to help one another build a more just and generous society at home and a genuine, viable global community that hates war and holds nature in reverence..."

The next massive San Francisco march is scheduled for Sunday, February 16th (a day after the Chinese New Years Parade). That same weekend there will be demonstrations in many European cities. Let’s hope that we’ll be celebrating the fact that there is no war.

A voice from the dark called out,
               'The poets must give us
imagination of peace, to oust the intense, familiar
imagination of disaster. Peace, not only
the absence of war.'
                              But peace, like a poem,
is not there ahead of itself,
can't be imagined before it is made,
can't be known except
in the words of its making,
grammar of justice,
syntax of mutual aid.
                              A feeling towards it,
dimly sensing a rhythm, is all we have
until we begin to utter its metaphors,
learning them as we speak.
                              A line of peace might appear
if we restructured the sentence our lives are making,
revoked its reaffirmation of profit and power,
questioned our needs, allowed
long pauses . . .
               A cadence of peace might balance its weight
on that different fulcrum; peace, a presence,
an energy field more intense than war,
might pulse then,
stanza by stanza into the world,
each act of living
one of its words, each word
a vibration of light––facets
of the forming crystal.
Denise Levertov


What is It About No War! That They Don’t Understand?

by Carolyn Scarr

The majority of people of almost every country in the world are opposed to the war against Iraq which the United States government is determined to wage. Polls ranging from 60% to nearly 80% indicate that the majority of U.S. citizens feel the administration has not made a case for war.
    One reason for the widespread disapproval may be that it is very hard to swallow the proposition that the United States is seriously threatened militarily by a country half a globe away, a country whose military strength has been largely eradicated by over a decade of inspections, destruction of weapons and a state of siege as complete as those seen in war.
    Even if they don’t know the specific language of the UN Charter, people know that unilateral attacks are in violation of international law and that self-defense is limited to response to real attacks and immediate threats.
    The U.S. administration has made it clear that it is their intention to attack Iraq. They hope to win international support by making it clear that any country which doesn’t ally themselves with the U.S. won’t get a share of the spoils of war. Since this tactic may not succeed in the face of massive popular opposition in several countries with Security Council veto power, the U.S. administration may not ask for a United Nations resolution authorizing an attack, promises made to the U.S. Congress notwithstanding.
    According to India’s former prime minister, Inder K. Gujral in a recent interview in the Toronto Star, "The main American aim seems to be to gain control of the world’s second-largest oil reserves and to dictate the flow of oil to the world market. This has, in fact, long been the objective of American diplomacy in oil-rich West Asia." 
    This view is supported by Reuter’s report of January 22 from Moscow in which leaders of Russia’s armed forces state that they anticipate a unilateral U.S. attack. The Russian military leaders consider that the main aim of the operation would be not so much to topple Iraqi President Saddam Hussein but to secure U.S. control over Iraqi oilfields. 

What Will Be The Result?
    Many Deaths: MEDACT, the British counterpart to Physicians for Social Responsibility, estimates that 200,000 Iraqi civilians are likely to die in a U.S. attack and its aftermath. These numbers do not include deaths resulting from a possible civil war or the use of nuclear weapons, which the U.S. has stated it might use.
    Massive Financial Cost: The National Priorities Project quotes Senator Biden’s estimate that a war could cost as much as $100 billion. Their estimates for the cost of rebuilding an occupied Iraq range between $50 and $150 billion. The American Academy of Arts & Sciences report, "War with Iraq: Costs, Consequences, and Alternatives," outlines the political, military and economic costs of a war with Iraq, which they say could result in casualties not seen since Vietnam and cost Americans as much as $1.9 trillion if things go horribly wrong.
    Increased International Tension: Hatred of the United States abroad will almost certainly grow. Already "Yankee, go home," is chanted in the streets of Turkey, whose government is a U.S. ally.

What Is To Be Done?
The religious community can be proud of having been on the forefront of the struggle to oppose this war. Our leaders have spoken against war for many months, ever since the first proposals for attack were floated. We have vigiled. We have marched. Our banners are at every event. We have held public prayer services. We have been arrested.
    The weekly anti-sanctions vigil which EPI organized nearly five years ago continues and has expanded its focus to work also against the threat of war. We still make it clear that the sanctions kill 5,000 children each month and must be ended. We hand out 300 - 400 flyers each week to a public which is increasingly interested in getting alternative information.
    We must continue to push for an end to the genocidal sanctions on Iraq. As former Oil for Food director Denis Halliday points out, "If the Iraqis had their economy, had their lives back and had their way of life restored, they would take care of the form of governance that they want, that they believe is suitable for their country." Based on his decades of work for the UN around the world, Halliday is certain the Iraqis will kick out their dictator if they are given the chance. 
    The interfaith community is a part of the lobbying efforts at every level. The women who are fasting in front of the White House include religious people. The Peace Teams who are traveling to Iraq include people of faith and in fact are organized out of the religious community.

So What Can We Do?
Invite educational speakers to speak at your congregation, your union, your school. EPI can help to locate speakers, including possibly members of the Peace Teams. EPI is a founding member of the East Bay Coalition to Stop Sanctions on Iraq (EB-COSSI). The coalition has a library of films and connections to a variety of speakers. 
    Turn out for the marches. (See the calendar.) Organize congregations to come as groups, carrying identifying banners.
    The recent Oakland School District Teach-In, in which EPI board members participated, was a great success. If you want to have one in your schools, call EPI’s office at 510-548-4141 and we can put you in touch with the Oakland teachers who organized it.
    The unions are organizing. During the Vietnam War, we struggled with the unions. Many working people today were grunts during Vietnam. They know they were had. If your union wants to work on this and you can’t find the people working in that context, call us. We’ll find them for you.
    Help the kids. The boys turning 18 have to register with Selective Service. Help these young people who are registering to learn about Conscientious Objector status and how to qualify for it if they are opposed to war. They don’t have to say they wouldn’t defend their mother if she were attacked in the streets. The Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors in Oakland has counselors who can work with young people to develop their own positions and document them.
    Help our soldiers. A lot of active and reserve duty soldiers are really distressed at the prospect of being sent off to fight an aggressive war. If they can establish their position as conscientious objectors, they are entitled to Honorable Discharge. CCCO can help these people also. The need for trained counselors will grow. Some of you may be called to this service. As in Israel, we may see a movement of military "refuseniks" –– people who will defend their country but will not fight a war of aggression. The religious community must be prepared to support them.
    The so-called "volunteer" army is largely made up of people who can’t find jobs or can’t afford college. We need to tackle the disintegrating economic system of our country and insist on a living wage scale and full benefits. The empire the U.S. is building around the world eliminates good jobs at home and creates sweatshops around the world where people work for pennies under the guns of U.S.-supported dictators.
    We must rebuild our educational system so that all of our children get a complete education. 

Yes, it’s all related. People are working on every issue. We have to increase our awareness of how the various struggles are connected. We need to work in ways that will bring to reality a shared vision of a just community at home and around the world. We can do it. ¡Si se puede!

This is a resource many people have asked for recently —

Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors(CCCO),
630 20th Street, Oakland, CA 94612, 510-465-1617, 
Fax 510 465-2459,
On the Web:

CCCO supports and promotes individual and collective resistance to war and preparations for war. 

Young people are encouraged to get in touch with CCCO before considering enlistment or to prepare their statements to apply for conscientious objector status. If you want to train as a draft counsellor, call CCCO.


Ongoing Actions for Peace

We'll tell you now of some that we know.
Please let us know of others.

Sundays, 3:00 p.m. Weekly Peace Walk around Lake Merritt, beginning at the Columns at the East End between Grand and Lakeshore Avenues, Oakland. Contact: Beth Wagner, Lake Merritt Neighbors Organized for Peace (LMNOP),, 510-763-8712,

Sundays, 3:00 p.m. Walnut Creek Walk for Peace, BART Station Mt Diablo Boulevard at Oakland Boulevard, Walnut Creek Contact: Mt Diablo Peace Center, 925-933-7850 or Ken,, 925-827-3373

Tuesdays, noon-1:00 p.m. Vigil opposing the sanctions against the people of Iraq. Oakland Federal Building, 1301 Clay Street, two blocks from the 12th Street BART Station, sponsored by Ecumenical Peace Institute, Mustardseed Affinity Group and Berkeley Women in Black. Contact: Carolyn Scarr, 510-527-8370,

Wednesdays, 8-9 a.m., Sitting Meditation for Peace, sit silently and hold signs. San Francisco Federal Building, Golden Gate & Larkin. organized by Thorn Coyle,

Wednesdays, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Listening for a Change, Lytton Plaza, Palo Alto sponsored by Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.
Contact: Carol Brouillet,, 650-857-0927,

Wednesdays, 6:30 p.m. Berkeley Peace Walk and Vigil, BART Station Shattuck & Center Berkeley Contact: Sophia,, 510-528-9217,

Thursdays, 7:30 - 8:30 a.m. Oakland Vigil for Peace, 14th Street & Broadway Contact: Keith Heltsley, 510-658-4191

Thursdays, 12 noon -1 p.m. San Francisco Vigil Against the War, San Francisco Federal Building Golden Gate Avenue at Larkin Street, San Francisco Contact: AFSC,, 415-565-0201

Fridays 4:30-6 p.m. San Jose Peace Vigil, Federal Building Second Street at San Carlos San Jose. San Jose Interfaith Peace Action is an anti-war witness in the San Jose area.,

Fridays, 12 noon-1 p.m. Women in Black Vigil, UC Berkeley, Bancroft at Telegraph, Contact: Women in Black,, 510-548-6310 or 510-845-1143

Fridays, 12 noon-1 p.m., Oakland Diocese sponsors a vigil for peace. Oakland Federal Building, 1301 Clay Street.

First Sunday of each month, 7 - 9 p.m. Alameda Peace Network, Home of Truth, 1300 Grand Ave., Alameda.


APN is planning a weekly vigil against the Iraq War in front of City Hall (call for specifics)

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