Moral Injury: Examining War’s Deepest Wound and Darkest Contradiction Thursday, April 24, 7p.m., Forbes Library, Northampton: From antiquity to the present conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, just war doctrine has provided decisive moral justification for the waging of war. The doctrine is intended to limit war, yet oftentimes it has served to unleash it and, at the same time, deeply confused and complicated the moral injury of combatants. This panel will feature four speakers (three are veterans, two clergy) exploring the fundamentals of moral injury and just war, asking important questions that seldom are addressed. How can there be moral injury in just war? Is it moral, under any circumstances, to sanction killing? Is there any such thing as just war? How are armed services personnel in war zones coping with perceived contradictions in just war doctrine? What are the potential connections between moral injury and the high number of military suicides? What roles are religious institutions, military chaplains, and civilian clergy playing (and not playing) in resolving these contradictions and healing the spiritual wounds and moral injuries of war? How can these institutions do better?

The speakers will be:
• Capt. Timothy Kudo, U.S. Marine combat veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan who has written about moral injury for the Washington Post and other publications
• The Reverend D
• avid Whiteley, UCC chaplain for the Leeds VA Medical Center
• The Very Reverend James Munroe, an Episcopal priest, Dean of Christ Church Cathedral in Springfield, Vietnam veteran
• Professor Robert Meagher, Hampshire College, who has spoken and written extensively about moral injury and Just War. His latest book is Killing from the Inside Out: Moral Injury and Just War (forthcoming, Fall 2014).

Co-sponsors include the Veterans Education Project, Central Hampshire Veterans Services, First Churches (Northampton), the Northampton Human Rights Commission, St, John’s Episcopal Church (Northampton), Western Mass. AFSC, Hampshire College Spiritual Life
and Leverett Congregational Church

This event is made possible thanks to the support of the MassHumanities Foundation, the Markham-Nathan Fund for Social Justice, and the donors of the Veterans Education Project

Partial listing of past events:

The Lonely Soldier Project: testimony from women at war in Iraq, by Helen Benedict. Performances will be on Veteran’s Day Weekend:  Friday 8th & Saturday 9th November at 6pm & 8pm, at First Churches, 129 Main Street, Northampton.

Specialist Maria Sanchez, Tiahna Harris       Sergeant Terris Dewalt-Johnson, Trenda Leftin     Specialist Anna Peterford,  Robyn Spateholts    Sergeant Miriam Ruffolo, Brianna Sloane      Sergeant First Class Santiaga Flores,  Hala Lord. Presented by Moving Words and the Veterans Education Project.

 When Survivors Tell Their Stories: The untold story about sexual assault in the military:  Monday, April 8, 7:30 p.m., Main Lecture Hall, Franklin Patterson Building, Hampshire College, Amherst MA.  Author Helen Benedict discusses her research and writing about what was, until recently, one of America’s most shameful and best kept secrets: an epidemic of sexual assault within the U.S. military. Her book, The Lonely Soldier, along with her articles, play and her novel, Sand Queen, publicly exposed the high incidence of rape in the military and documented how traditional military culture enables assault. Benedict’s work also revealed the untold stories of veterans who still struggle with the emotional aftermath abuse of their military experience, inspiring the 2013 Academy Award-nominated documentary “The Invisible War,” which will be screened at Hampshire Tuesday, April 9, at 7:30 p.m. Marianne Winters, the Executive Director of Safe Passage, a Northampton domestic violence intervention and prevention organization, and Beverly Prestwood Taylor, director of the Brookfield Inst., a group that works with women veterans, will make brief comments after Benedict’s Monday presentation.  Helen Benedict Poster

The Invisible War: Tuesday, April 9, 7:30 p.m., East Lecture Hall, Franklin Patterson Building, Hampshire College, Amherst MA.  The first public Pioneer Valley screening of the 2013 Oscar-nominated documentary “The Invisible War,” a groundbreaking piece of investigative film making that paints a startling picture of the extent of rape in the military and offers a powerful indictment of the systemic cover-up of military sex crimes. Today, female soldiers serving in combat zones are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire. At the heart of “The Invisible War” are moving interviews that chronicle the struggles of rape survivors struggling to rebuild their lives and fight for justice, both for themselves and for women in the military. The New York Times called the 2013 Oscar-nominated work “one of the ten best films of the year.” Filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering credit the writing and research of Helen Benedict as the inspiration for their documentary. Benedict, who is speaking at Hampshire College on Monday evening, April 8, will comment on the film and answer questions following the Hampshire screening. Army veteran Judy Atwood Bell, who was sexually assaulted while in the military, will participate in the discussion. Bell has been diagnosed and treated for Military Sexual Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She now is an advocate for policy changes in the military to help protect women from harassment and assault. Invisible War Poster

These events are co-sponsored by the Veterans Education Project, Hampshire College Humanities Faculty, Hampshire College Spiritual Life, Safe Passage, NELCWIT, the Brookfield Institute, The Office of the District Attorney/Northwestern District, the Veterans Justice Partnership, Central Hampshire Veterans Services, the Center for Women and Community, GCC Peace, Justice and Environmental Studies, Traprock Center for Peace and Justice, and Voice Male Magazine.  For more information call VEP at 413-253-4947, or email

Helen Benedict will be interviewed on the Bill Newman Morning Show, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., on Tuesday morning, April 9, WHMP, 1400 on your AM dial.

Deerfield Academy: Theater of War   This acclaimed production, which has played to over 200 audiences internationally, will combine readings from Classical Greek theater by professionals with a panel of war veterans and military family members sharing their first-person insights about the realities of going to war, homecoming, and the human costs of war. (May 2012)

Eric Carle Museum: Double Victory: Negro League Baseball, the segregated Army and the struggle to integrate America   Award winning art work and veterans’ oral histories are the vehicles we will use to explore the legacies of segregation and celebrate the achievements that set the stage for the civil rights victories of the 50s and 60s. (May 2012)


 Local Fall Events 2011Northampton Community Read Events with On The Same Page, Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried

  Forbes Library www.forbeslibrary/OTSP

At UMASS Amherst:    WAR VETERANS – A Commemoration through Art, Theater, Literature, and Film  The VEP is proud to be participating in this exciting collaboration with the UMass Fine Arts Center, the Springfield Vet Center, the UMass Student Center Art Gallery, and UMass Veteran Services.  We will be co-sponsoring a series of public events at UMass in November, 2011, that respond to the war experience through media such as visual art, theater, photography, and poetry. Many of the featured artists will be veterans.

View newsletter articles on past VEP events


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