Bruce Cockburn is Iraq Bound
Humanitarian Fact Finding Mission to Travel to Iraq

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BRUCE COCKBURN is leaving for Iraq on Jan 10 and returning to Canada on Jan 22
Humanitarian Fact Finding Mission to Travel to Iraq

January 9, 2004 - Bishop Thomas Gumbleton (Detroit, MI) will lead a delegation to Iraq on Monday, January 12. The group will include renowned singer-songwriter, Bruce Cockburn (Montreal, Canada), and two Philadelphia residents: photojournalist, Linda Panetta, and physician's assistant, Johanna Berrigan. Catholic Relief Services, and the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), Baghdad, will assist in coordinating activities for the group.

12 January 2004 - The mission of the trip is multifaceted and will include visits to hospitals,schools,orphanages, and encampments for those displaced by the war. Each of the delegates, with the exception of Cockburn, traveled to Iraq just prior to the US invasion last March. The group hopes to trek to many of the areas they visited in the past to better understand how the war, and the ensuing occupation has affected the general population. "I feel it is imperative to learn first-hand from the Iraqi people what the international peace community can do to best assist them," Berrigan stated.

"The calamitous situation faced by Iraqis is a human event that needs to be understood by all of us. As a songwriter, it goes with the job to bear witness to the human events; as a concerned citizen, I welcome a unique opportunity to gain some of that understanding which I hope to share with others," states Cockburn.

With thousands of Iraqis dead, and countless maimed and orphaned by the war and occupation, the group plans to meet with community and religious leaders to hear and observe how day-to-day living for the Iraqi people has been affected.

"We have in the past experienced how much the Iraqi people have suffered and endured and we know how much their faith has sustained them. It is my hope that our solidarity with them will give them hope and strength," stated Gumbleton.

"I certainly don't feel that most Americans have a real grasp on the extent of destruction, poverty and destitution that has ensued in Iraq since March; it is my intent to document this and to put a human face on the tens of thousands of Iraqis who have been causalities of this war and the occupation," said Panetta.

Participant bios:

Johanna Berrigan co-founded the Catholic Worker Free Clinic in Philadelphia that offers healthcare for the homeless and uninsured. Seven years ago she also co-founded the House of Grace Catholic Worker House which offers hospitality for the homeless. For the past 6 years Johanna has been committed to affecting change in Iraq and has led several delegations to Iraq through Voices in the Wilderness. This will be her fifth trip to Iraq.

Bruce Cockburn is an internationally acclaimed singer/songwriter. In 1979 his first major hit, "Wondering Where the Lions Are," marked the beginning of the singer's international career. Throughout the 1980's Mr. Cockburn produced some of his most emotionally powerful music, songs like "The Trouble With Normal," and "Lovers In A Dangerous Time." These songs capture Mr. Cockburn's deeply-felt commitment to social justice, a theme that resurfaces in "Call It Democracy," and "Waiting For A Miracle," and others. Bruce Cockburn's career has produced 27 albums, 20 gold and platinum records, and numerous awards both in North America and overseas, including the Canadian Music Hall of Fame and Italy's Tenco Award for Lifetime Achievement. Bruce Cockburn received the Governor General's Performing Arts Award, was appointed to the Order of Canada, and has received three honorary doctorate degrees.

A partial list of organizations & campaigns that Bruce has supported include: Amnesty Int'l, Campaign for a Landmine Free World, Corporate Watch, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Oxfam, School of the Americas Watch, The Suzuki Foundation, Unitarian Service Committee, United Nations Development Programme, United Nations Mine Action Service, and War Child.
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Bishop Thomas Gumbleton is a longtime national and international activist in the peace movement. He is the founding president of Pax Christi USA, and cherishes his position as pastor of St. Leo's parish in the inner city of Detroit, MI. As a member of the Bishop's committee he helped draft the significant pastoral letter called "Challenge of Peace," in 1983. Over the years his journeys of peace have brought him to Vietnam, Iran, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Hiroshima, Haiti, Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, Colombia, Iraq (seven times from 1990 to 2003), and Afghanistan. Among Bishop Gumbleton's numerous honors and awards is Pax Christi's "Ambassador of Peace," and he has four honorary doctorate degrees. Bishop Gumbleton has appeared on numerous radio and television programs, and has published extensively.

Linda Panetta is an accomplished photo-journalist whose work focuses on cultural, environmental and human rights, with a particular emphasis on conflict zones, including: Guatemala and Nicaragua (late 1980's to present), Mexico (mid-90's to present), Colombia (2001 - Dec. 2003 to present), Afghanistan (2002), and Iraq (2003 / Jan 2004). Ms. Panetta is the producer and director of the award winning documentary "An Insider Speaks Out!", which highlights the abuses of the military training facility, the School of the Americas Watch (SOA). She does extensive lecturing, using her slides to educate others about the implications of US foreign policy and the realities of war.

Related Links

  • Photos will be posted on: (photos from Iraq - 2003 are also posted on this site)
  • News article: Bruce Cockburn Iraq-bound

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    This page is part of The Cockburn Project, a unique website that exists to document the work of Canadian singer-songwriter and musician Bruce Cockburn. The Project archives self-commentary by Cockburn on his songs and music, and supplements this core part of the website with news, tour dates, and other current information.