Tuesday, January 20, 2015

ra/mc survivors: my peacemaking inspiration


Hal Pepinsky, pepinsky@indiana.edu, “peacemaking” at pepinsky.blogspot.com

January 20, 2015


                My last post (on “mind control experimentation at Camp No, Guantanamo,” Jan. 12), on what I have learned in part from survivors of ritual abuse and mind control, stirred a rare reaction at pepinsky.blogspot.com: a comment, that sadly, my belief that ritual homicides are common has destroyed my credibility as a potential Noam Chomsky, which is in a way flattering, even though I know I’m no Noam Chomsky.  I am well aware that the widespread belief that I am part of a “satanic panic.”  In child custody cases that led me to communities of intergenerational ritual abuse, I was also marginal, legally and professionally, in believing children who reported having been sexually assaulted by adults they knew, fathers particularly.

I leave it to readers to judge whether my belief in what children and adult survivors report impairs the reasonability of whatever other conclusions I draw about violence and its transformation.  I will say that by the mid-nineties, I was clinically depressed by a growing sense of reality I felt unable to share.  In retrospect, it was the inspiration of survivors who had escaped the violence, and so well come to terms with their trauma and found safe partnerships, families, and circles of support in which to feel safe and safely loved—their inspiration that became the foundation for my belief that peacemaking can be made among those most extremely programmed to personal violence.  Generation upon generation, some child victims survive by embracing cult life.  But even such concerted mind-control programming often fails, often by death or institutionalization, but among many survivors I have come to know, who have found safe acceptance and protection without having to hide or deny the reality they have lived, “in the light” as some say.

                When I see efforts in Europe and North America to track and bar from re-entry young Muslims who have gone to the land of the Islamic State, and who seek to return, I am reminded of the barriers survivors faced when they sought refuge.  I bear in mind the guilt many report having to have faced for their (forced? “chosen”) participation in ritual violence.  When young travelers seek to return home from the ISIL war zone, they too face suspicion for being mentally disturbed, if not trained/programmed, suspected of being dangerous to others.  From survivors of ritual abuse who have inspired me, I know that not even the most violent, concerted programming from birth makes a person inherently dangerous to have around, less responsive to safe and honest social acceptance, especially when s/he does not have to hide or deny her or his past association with, let alone participate in, personal violence.

                A fortiori (as lawyers would say), police training and administration does not destroy the compassion and service shown members of communities of color by many survivors of law enforcement training and administration I have seen and known.  That includes officers who have grown up in communities of color.  And from long before I began to meet survivors of child sexual assault and torture, I found honest, deep, trustworthy friendship and enrichment with (ex-)prisoners regardless of the seriousness of their criminal records.  Years ago, a Canadian Mennonite prison activist put his parallel experience this way:  “I have never met a prisoner beyond redemption.”  I imagine this applies to those who bear arms for the Islamic State, as it does for US combat troops and drone pilots, many of whom suffer PTSD on return to civilian life.  It applies to a national cultural premise that those who have engaged in violence are doing “evil” or “sick” things that we who would be good people could never imagine ourselves doing.  On one hand, my closeness to survivors of extreme violence, and accounts of cult leaders, have led me to imagine myself capable of participating in extreme ritual torture and killing.  It has allowed me to notice and acknowledge my own moments of fear and anger, let alone not noticing my own moments of cruelty or indifference till later (if at all).  Yes, even extremely violent action strikes a chord, rings bells within me.  I have learned that I share a full human capacity for violence.  It has taught me that fear, terror and indoctrination never fully succeeds in destroying the individual capacity to transform one’s relations in moments and climates of honesty, openness and safety rather than punishment or confinement.  On the other hand, the generosity and openness of survivors, their own healing that I have sometimes gotten to see progress over years, their strength and integrity, have lent me strength and belief that violence can be acknowledged and transcended—no matter how extreme, no matter how historically entrenched.  It has boosted my faith in the capacity to transform violence in our relations.  To survivors and their supporters, once again, I say thank you for restoring my faith in the human capacity to make peace.  The difference between violence and peacemaking lies not in our souls, but in our relations.  Love and peace, hal

No comments:

Post a Comment