Responding to Socially Induced Suffering

July 16th, 2003Richard John KinaneHost: Chuck Gaylord

“Nonviolent Direct Action: The sword that heals” — Martin Luther King, Jr.

About the Presentation

Therapists and clergy, like all people in today’s world, confront suffering. We see that much suffering arises from institutions – political and economic – acting with policies that hurt people and hurt our precious home, the Earth. How do we respond to organized violence? Let us explore ways of nonviolently engaging institutions in a manner that combines human respect, a compassionate heart and effective action. This will be a case study of an attempt to be in this world with full participation of body, mind and spirit.

This case involves responding to the existence of the premiere terrorist training school run by the Pentagon, the US Army School of the Americas (SOA), at Ft Benning, GA. Since 1947 the SOA has trained some 60,000 Latin American military, using US taxpayer funds. Many of these 60,000 have returned to their countries where they have become dictators, death squad leaders, paramilitary operatives. Their targets are often nuns and priests, human rights workers, doctors, and teachers, [yup, you and me] along with hundreds of thousands of peasants. In a pattern replicated from Chiapas to Chile, US-trained soldiers kidnap, torture, rape, murder, and disappear tens of thousands of their own civilian country people.

A citizen’s movement has arisen to challenge the School and the underlying policy. The movement uses public education, research, lobbying and nonviolent direct action to close the SOA. One of the most powerful tools is prison witness.

About the Presenter

Richard John Kinane, M.A. is a Boulder teacher, writer and Naropa-trained psychotherapist, specializing in life changes, especially death and dying. Previously he has been a political trainer, organizer and Washington DC lobbyist. For a decade after, he worked in the computer industry before retiring to fulfill the dream of combining the study of Buddha Dharma and psychology. Reintegrating political activism, he has been arrested twice at Ft. Benning and spent six months in US federal prison for his nonviolent protest. His engagement in the world is profoundly influenced by Shambhala Buddhist teachings and the example of his own brother and some 70 other SOA prisoners of conscience, following the nonviolent path of Jesus, Gandhi and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Additional Resources

School of the Americas Watch:
PO Box 4566
Washington, DC 20017

Witness for Peace:

King, Martin Luther, Jr.: various writings and speeches. See especially “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” published many places including in Washington, James M. (ed.) (1986) A testament of hope: The essential writings and speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr. San Francisco, CA: HarperSanFrancisco. ISBN 0-06-064691-8 pb. $23.00, 702pp, indexed, bibliography.

Nelson-Pallmeyer, Jack: 2001.School of Assassins: Guns, greed and globalization, (Rev, 2nd Ed.). Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Press. ISBN 1-57075-385-7 pb. $15.00, 155pp, notes.

Trungpa, Chögyam with Gimiam, C. R. (Ed.). (1984/1988). Shambhala: The sacred path of the warrior. Boston: Shambhala.

White, Pamela. “Six months in Club Fed: Richard John Kinane reflects on crossing the line,” Boulder Weekly, January 17, 2002. See

Richard John Kinane
PO Box 2260
Boulder, CO 80306-2260

cell/voice mail: 303.517-3409
[email protected]

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