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Ramblings and Reflections

Newsletter 3
November, December 2003

Dear Friends,

Welcome November, a month of celebrations – All Saints Day, All Souls Day, Birthdays – Kate Berrigan (5th), Liz Mc Alister (17th), Jackie Hudson (19th), Kevin Jones (20th), Carol Gilbert (21st), Susan Crane (22nd), Thanksgiving Day (27th), First Sunday of Advent (30th).  I will be remembering on each of these days with the Jonah House community and with Jackie and Carol at their prisons.  Ann Montgomery, with us in spirit for Sacred Earth and Space Plowshares II, has a birthday on the 30th , which connects us all with the people in the war zones of Hebron and Iraq.  Once again I lift up the sacredness of these lives, all life, all of creation in a daily thanksgiving.

During Advent and on the holy days many faith-based peace groups will be present at nuclear sites.  They will weather ice and snow, rain or harsh conditions to wage peace.  Don’t we all long for the time when every lab of research and development, testing sites, construction and deployment sites of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) will be converted into places that enhance life rather than perpetuate war-making?  Presence in prayer and resistance keeps the truth spoken aloud and prepares the way for the Prince of Peace.

I am deeply concerned about the new arms race, the moving of the hands of the Doomsday Clock closer to midnight.  As long as the United States superpower defies the treaties, the International Court of Justice, Non-Proliferation promises, laws of war and laws of the land, the commitment to disarm the weapons of mass destruction, the smaller, more defenseless nations will bear the human costs to build them too.  Will other nations allow our U.S. empire building interventions (similar to Afghanistan and Iraq) for economic reasons, establishment of U.S. military bases, control of their election process, enforcement of capitalistic practices and permanent occupation, a new style of colonialism?  I think not, nor it is just.  When will we ever learn?  When will we ever learn?

Let me try to answer all the questions asked in hundreds of letters sent my way for which I am deeply grateful.

  1. What can you do for me?  Take on the arms race by nonviolent means.  Keep nonviolent civil resistance alive.  Continue teaching, preaching, practicing justice and peace.  It is the only hope for the human family and Earth herself.   We create today the kind of world inherited by the next generations.  Community seems essential for this new creation.
  2. My visitor list is full to capacity, though no list has been given to me.  Persons who sent in forms must be cleared before visiting.  During the next couple years I will have time to revise the list.
  3. What can you send?  I ask for nothing.  I am on refusal status – I can not burn that piece of incense or take the 30 pieces of silver – so even less can be received.  If you wish to support with money, please send to Jonah House, 1301 Moreland Ave. Baltimore, MD 21216 and I will request from them for my basic needs.  The only things not considered contraband here are your letters, paperback books, hard-cover books from the bookstore or publisher, magazines/peace journals, Worker papers, clippings, Xeroxed materials, pictures (Polaroid not acceptable) Thanks for all of these gifts you have sent.
  4. I have no access to computers, internet, e-mail or typewriter.
  5. I can make no phone calls to any number not programmed into the system (direct nor collect)
  6. If press wants an interview, they must pursue the process designed at the prison.  I will not refuse them, but am not able to call through the prison phones.
  7. Since I am extremely limited in my ability to send letters to each person I have chosen to write a newsletter each month or so.  Usually each one goes to 100-150 persons.  A friend has volunteered to type it and send it out for me.

Many of you have asked for prayers.  I recite your intentions, lift up your struggles, causes, needs.  I treasure the letters and newsletters about your families and communities, your lives of conversion to pacifism, your ideas of resistance.  I recycle your pictures and articles.

Phil Berrigan’s first anniversary of death is on Dec. 6th.  He remains so solidly in my heart and spirit.  My thoughts of him, his words, his actions, his love and commitments for the long haul are healing and strengthening balm for me, for us.

Always grateful,

Ardeth Platte  # 10857-039, FPC Danbury, Rt. 37, Danbury, CT 06811