Planted By the Waters

Winter 2002 -'03

page 2

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

Calendar & Announcements

EPI can use your help!

Stay In Touch with EPI

Regarding that enevelope ...

Philip Berrigan
Phil's Statement 12/05/02
        (via Elizabeth McAlister)

Philip began dictating this statement the weekend before Thanksgiving.
It was all clear - he had it written in his head.
Word for word I wrote...

When I Lay Dying ...of cancer

Philip Berrigan

I die in a community including my family, my beloved wife Elizabeth, three great Dominican nuns - Ardeth Platte, Carol Gilbert, and Jackie Hudson (emeritus) jailed in Western Colorado - Susan Crane, friends local, national and even international. They have always been a life-line to me. I die with the conviction, held since 1968 and Catonsville, that nuclear weapons are the scourge of the earth; to mine for them, manufacture them, deploy them, use them, is a curse against God, the human family, and the earth itself. We have already exploded such weapons in Japan in 1945 and the equivalent of them in Iraq in 1991, in Yugoslavia in 1999, and in Afghanistan in 2001. We left a legacy for other people of deadly radioactive isotopes - a prime counterinsurgency measure. For example, the people of Iraq, Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Pakistan will be battling cancer, mostly from depleted uranium, for decades. In addition, our nuclear adventurism over 57 years has saturated the planet with nuclear garbage from testing, from explosions in high altitudes (four of these), from 103 nuclear power plants, from nuclear weapons factories that can’t be cleaned up - and so on. Because of myopic leadership, of greed for possessions, a public chained to corporate media, there has been virtually no response to these realities...

    At this point in dictation, Phil’s lungs filled; he began to cough uncontrollably; he was tired. We had to stop - with promises to finish later. But later never came - another moment in an illness that depleted Phil so rapidly it was all we could do to keep pace with it... And then he couldn’t talk at all. And then - gradually - he left us.

    What did Phil intend to say? What is the message of his life? What message was he leaving us in his dying? Is it different for each of us, now that we are left to imagine how he would frame it?

    During one of our prayers in Phil’s room, Brendan Walsh remembered a banner Phil had asked Willa Bickham to make years ago for St. Peter Claver. It read: "The sting of death is all around us. O Christ, where is your victory?"

    The sting of death is all around us. The death Phil was asking us to attend to is not his death (though the sting of that is on us and will not be denied). The sting Phil would have us know is the sting of institutionalized death and killing. He never wearied of articulating it. He never ceased being astonished by the length and breadth and depth of it. And he never accepted it.

    O Christ, where is your victory? It was back in the mid-1960’s that Phil was asking that question of God and her Christ. He kept asking it. And, over the years, he learned

• that it is right and good to question our God, to plead for justice for all that inhabit the earth

• that it is urgent to feel this; injustice done to any is injustice done to all

• that we must never weary of exposing and resisting such injustice

• that what victories we see are smaller than the mustard seeds Jesus praised, and they need such tender nurture

• that it is vital to celebrate each victory - especially the victory of sisterhood and brotherhood embodied in loving, nonviolent community.

Over the months of Phil’s illness we have been blessed a hundred-fold by small and large victories over an anti-human, anti-life, anti-love culture, by friendships - in and out of prison - and by the love that has permeated Phil’s life. Living these years and months with Phil free us to revert to the original liturgical question: "O death, where is your sting?"


Cecilia Ruth Weeks

I have learned so much from God
that I can no longer call myself Christian,
Hindu, Muslim, Buddhist, Jew.
The truth has shared so much of itself
With me
That I can no longer call myself
Man, woman, angel, or even pure soul.
Love has befriended me so completely
It has turned to ash and freed me
Of every concept and image
Our minds have ever known.

    Cecilia Ruth Weeks was born in Palmer, Alaska on July 27, 1955 and lived in Missouri, Minnesota and Wisconsin before coming to Berkeley at the age of 19. She graduated from Antioch University west with a B.A. in Public Administration in 1978 and an M.A. in Clinical Psychology in 1981. She also received an A.A. in Fine Arts at New College of California in 1986. She was currently working on her TEFL Certification from UCLA’s extension program.

    A great soul and pioneer, CeCe was a trailblazer and a dragon slayer in the arena of Disability Rights, refusing to be defined and detained by her own disability. In 1976 she was one of the occupiers of the Federal Building in San Francisco. She coordinated the media center in the struggle to get the Secretary of H.E.W. to sign into law Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act. This successful action established Civil Rights for disabled people nationwide.

    CeCe organized, wrote grant proposals, lobbied, and established the Emergency Services Program, now known as Easy Does It. She was the Executive Director of EDI from 1995-1998. She also organized the Social Service Advocacy Program at the Center for Independent Living in Berkeley.

    For the past 20 years, she was a tireless organizer and fundraiser for the Big Mountain Support Group and the International Indian Treaty Council in their efforts to help the traditional Dine (Navajo) people remain on their land and keep sacred their spiritual way of life.

    As an anti-racist organizer, CeCe helped establish the People’s Institute West as a viable west-coast presence. She participated in many of their Undoing Racism Workshops. She also fought for Women’s Rights, Prisoners’ Rights, Gay Rights, and in other civil rights struggles. She refused to surrender to the social, physical, and psychological barriers she encountered. With dignity in the face of prejudice, her course of action was always to organize and proceed onward at full speed.

    Through consciousness-raising actions, organizing and fundraising, she affected and will continue to affect countless lives. CeCe was an educator, record producer, entrepreneur, artist, singer, writer, political and social organizer, activist, counselor, therapist, poet, world traveler, spiritual seeker …the list and legacy goes on.

    It is easy to point to the tangible accomplishments in the life of Cecilia Weeks for she leaves this world with the stamp of her demand for freedom and rights in history. What is more difficult to hold is the astounding generosity, beauty, and truth that CeCe continues to spread through the hearts, minds and spirits of those who remain.

    In her own words, she said, "I must love who I am and be who I love. That is my self, my heart, my true path." Godspeed, Cecilia Weeks, and may our prayers help you on your journey.

editor’s note: In the midst of all her work, CeCe was a regular supporter of Ecumenical Peace Institute. When she received an issue of Planted she always sent back the envelope with a contribution. We were blessed by her constancy.

George Weber

Christian Peacemaker Team Member Killed in Auto Accident in Iraq

    George Weber, a 73-year-old retired history teacher from Chelsey, Ontario, was one of a delegation of 17 US and Canadian persons who went to Iraq with Christian Peacemaker Teams on Dec. 29, 2002. On Jan. 6 a tire on the vehicle in which he was riding blew out, causing the car to roll over. He was thrown from the vehicle and was killed instantly. Other delegation members were moderately injured.

    The vehicles were in excellent condition with skilled drivers on a lightly-traveled six-lane highway, under clear weather conditions. The tires on the vehicles were all replaced just prior to the delegation. As the team had lost another tire on the trip, also a tire less than a week old, the team is investigating the possibility that tires are being shipped to Iraq after being recalled elsewhere because under the US-initiated sanctions Iraq has no recourse if they are sold bad products.

    The seventeen person delegation had been in Iraq since Dec. 29, visiting hospitals and other Iraqi civilian institutions to witness first-hand the devastating impact on the Iraqi people of the Gulf War, thirteen years of sanctions, and the threat of another war.

    Weber, a retired history teacher and trained CPT reservist, joined a Chiapas delegation in February 2000 and served in 2001 and 2002 with the CPT team in Hebron, West Bank. Delegation members said that while in Iraq, Weber had been most deeply touched by the children he saw suffering from radiation-related cancers and the lack of medications under the sanctions.

    When Weber returned from Hebron in October 2002 and learned of the increasing threats of war against Iraq, he immediately decided that he had to join a CPT delegation to Iraq. He told his wife Lena, "I just can’t sit back and do nothing. What would I say to my grandchildren? I have to do what I can." In an interview with his local newspaper before he left, Weber said, "We are going to suffer along with the Iraqis. It’s an opportunity to light a candle instead of cursing the dark." His profound hope was that his life or death might help to prevent a war in Iraq.

    A story from his time in Hebron illustrates how George Weber was able to apply the "relentless persistence" of the nonviolent ethic:

    One morning as he and two others were trying to take children from the Old City to school, soldiers and police stopped them and would not allow them to pass. A settler came to watch the proceedings. George turned to the settler and said, "Don’t you just hate it when they don’t let the children go to school?"

    "I don’t talk to Nazis," the settler replied.

    "Yeah, but don’t you just hate it when the don’t let the children go to school?" George said again.

    "I don’t talk to Nazis," the settler repeated.

    "Sure, but don’t you just hate it when they don’t let the children go to school?" George said again emphatically.

    "I don’t talk to Nazis."

    "I know, but don’t you just hate it...." And so the conversation continued until the children were allowed to pass.

Photographs and more details of the accident and of George Weber’s life can be found on the CPT website:

January 2003 Fact Finding Delegation Concludes Humanitarian Aid to Haiti’s Government Must Be Released Immediately

Diverse Group Including Congressional Staff Demand U.S. Government Respect Haitian Democracy and Provide Funding to Health, Safe Water and Education

From January 11-19, Haiti Reborn/Quixote Center coordinated a twenty-one member fact finding delegation to Haiti. This large group of individuals with diverse areas of expertise and far reaching constituencies have made a unanimous declaration today: "The democratic government of Haiti must have immediate and unfettered access to international funding."

The delegation, "Investigating the Human Effects of Withheld Humanitarian Aid," included TransAfrica Forum, Jubilee USA Network, Global Justice, Marin Interfaith Task Force on Central America, religious leaders, teachers and students from throughout the United States who joined with the offices of Representatives Donald Payne (NJ),Barbara Lee (CA) and Lynn Woolsey (CA) on this seven day investigation. The delegation visited three geographical departments in Haiti and participated in various meetings finding that the Haitian people are suffering without basic health services or even potable drinking water. The U.S. Government and multilateral lending institutions have ceased funding the Haitian Government’s programs to provide the basic human rights of life, health and education.

For the last year and half, the U.S. Government has provided funding to Haiti at a drastically reduced amount and only through non-governmental organizations, NGOs. Gerard Johnson, the Inter-American Development Bank’s Resident Representative in Port-au-Prince, told the delegates, "If you don’t have a government, you don’t have a country. You can’t lend only to NGO’s." He made this statement despite the fact that the IDB has yet to release approved loans in the amount of $146 million for health care, basic education, rural road rehabilitation and potable water.

Haitian human rights Attorney Mario Joseph explained to the delegation "it is shameful that the people who talk about human rights are the same ones who maintain sanctions which violate human rights." Urban water providers CAMEP underlined the ways in which loans from the IDB to improve water infrastructure can have wide reaching effects on rapidly increasing disease and death attributable to water-borne microbes. "The embargo makes it impossible for us to do what we need to do for the population. People can’t pay for water so they get it clandestinely. The emerging statistics will show increased sickness from water borne disease." The delegation will be issuing a full report and members are available for comment. Haiti Reborn/Quixote Center Coordinator Melinda Miles emphasized the importance of the findings of the delegation. "Haiti is facing a critical moment with a rapidly increasing price of living and an unparalleled decrease in access to water and health care for the poor majority of Haitian people."

Haiti’s national maternal mortality rate rose from 450/100,000 in 1997 to 513 this year. In Haiti’s capital Port-au-Prince it is estimated to be more than 1200/100,000. The national HIV/AIDS infection rate is 5.17% and is estimated to be 10% in Port-au-Prince. In a recent study of access to potable water in 147 countries, Haiti ranked at 147.

For a copy of the report, full list of participants, interviews or statements, contact: Melinda Miles or Eugenia Charles-Mathurin at Haiti Reborn/Quixote Center, phone in Haiti until 1/22: 509-406-3672, in U.S. (301)699-0042,240-432-7414 or via email

 UNESCO, the United States, and Afghanistan: Relations in Transition.
Sunday, March 30, 2-5 p.m.
Boalt Hall School of Law, on UC Berkeley campus.

Highlighting the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in light of:

• the US government’s plans to rejoin UNESCO, and UNESCO’s educational, and

• cultural projects in Afghanistan in the current post-war period.

Aim is to demonstrate broad-based community-wide support for US re-entry into UNESCO, an affiliated agency of the United Nations, and for the work of UNESCO in Afghanistan. The focus on UNESCO may help stimulate a more positive environment in which informed public discussion of the United Nations takes place.

A three-person panel (UNESCO expert, member of local Afghan community working on a literacy project in Kabul, and an Afghan expert on the Kabul government) will speak and answers questions from the audience.

Afghan music performed; Afghan refreshments for sale.

Donations will be accepted. Sponsored by the United Nations Association, East Bay chapter, and numerous NGOs based in Northern California, including EPI.


 Calendar & Announcements

Sunday, March 9, 3 p.m. Hold the date for a Back to the Hood Celebration with Fr. Bill O’Donnell. And bring a friend! Fr. George Crespin, local accomplice of Bill’s and pastor of St. Joseph’s the Worker, invites us there for the celebration. There will be 3 or 4 talks, lots of music and refreshments and the chance to visit.

Tuesday, February 25, 9:30 a.m. Alameda County Board of Supervisors will consider a measure to enact a moratorium on the death penalty at their regularly scheduled public meeting.

Sunday, March 30, 2-5 p.m. UNESCO, the United States, and Afghanistan: Relations in Transition. Boalt Hall School of Law, on UC Berkeley campus. Sponsored by the United Nations Association, East Bay chapter, and numerous NGOs based in Northern California. Donations will be accepted.

Friday, April 18, 6:45 a.m. Good Friday Worship & Witness, Livermore. Put on your calendar and await details.

Tuesday Noon Vigil — opposing the sanctions and the growing threat of war against the people of Iraq. Oakland Federal Building, 1301 Clay Street, two blocks from the 12th Street BART Station.


We can use your help
even for an hour a month

•tabling at events

•witnessing at the Iraq vigil

•doing mailings

•being our computer maven

•developing educational resources — research & writing, artwork, slide shows to computer presentations

•carrying the EPI banner at marches

•making connections with your congregation, denomination, union to present information about

Iraq, Haiti, Palestine, Native American rights, or other issues.

•something you can do that we haven’t thought of?

Call us at 510-548-4141 if you can work with us.

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Send us your name and email address and we can send you information regularly. 

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Regarding that Envelope

There is an envelope included in each issue of Planted by the Waters. If each person who received Planted put a check into the envelope and mailed it to EPI/CALC, it would greatly improve our ability to do the work for justice and peace which we are called to do together.

It doesn't have to be a lot. Every little bit counts.


I/We want to help by being part of the Peace and Justice work of Ecumenical Peace Institute/CALC.

Enclosed is my tax-deductible contribution of:

____$35 for annual membership  ($10 for low-income subscribers)

___$10.00 ___$25.00 ___$35.00 ___ $50.00 ___ $100.00  ________(other)

I will pledge $_________ monthly, $________quarterly

Please make checks payable to E.P.I.



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