“Torture: Its Meaning and Effect on Victims and Societies” was the title of an event hosted by the Peace with Justice Center of Pomona Valley at the La Verne Church of the Brethren Saturday. David Kinzie spoke about the harm done by nations committing torturous acts against citizens and the long term effects torture has on its victims and the torturers themselves.
Dozens of peace activists, young and old, and from different backgrounds, gathered Saturday to discuss the effects of torture in Iraq, a prominent issue that is not typically reported on local news stations.
The Peace with Justice Center of Pomona Valley hosted their 19th annual peace dinner at the La Verne Church of the Brethren, which featured David Kinzie and his speech on “Torture: Its Meaning and Effect on the Victims and Societies,” where he discussed torture in the world, specifically with the war in Iraq.
“This is a relevant topic right now,” junior English major Cynthia Arnestad said.
“No matter your political view, this is the topic to discuss right now.”
In light of the upcoming fifth year anniversary of the United States entering Iraq, the Peace with Justice Center wanted to inform the public about the thousands of Iraqi refugees who are being tortured physically and mentally by U.S. interrogators.
Kinzie, professor of psychiatry at Oregon Health Sciences University and University of La Verne alumnus, has devoted his life to the treatment and healing of victims of war and torture and their families.
In his speech, Kinzie outlined the long term effects torture has on victims and even the torturers themselves.
“We have to stop hurting people, and we have to stop doing it as an instrument of government,” Kinzie said.
Kinzie believes if more people were informed about what truly goes on during interrogations and the long term effects such as post-traumatic stress disorder, depression, suicide and substance and alcohol abuse, there might be justice someday.
“The far-reaching effects of torture on people are unimaginable and we need to be responsible for educating ourselves on the issue,” Connie Weir, secretary for the Peace with Justice Center, said.
The media itself is partly to blame for all the violence in the world as a result to the clever phrases that they make up, such as ‘the war on cancer.’
The publishing of these negative sayings needs to be stopped because their aggressive nature is convincing people that violence is alright, Kinzie said.
“Most people don’t realize how rampant violence is in the U.S.,” Audrey Sorrento, a Claremont resident said.
“Violence is everywhere, and before us all the time, especially in the media,” Sorrento said.
Furthermore, the audience was urged to take action when two testimonies were given by victims of torture themselves.
Maria Guardado of El Salvador and Mario Avila of Guatemala both pleaded for peace and justice and urged people to take a stand against torture.
“We don’t need to leave our children these big properties,” Avila said. “Let’s leave them one thing; let’s leave them justice.”
The night began with a Moroccan style dinner and a musical performance by Kinzie’s brother Steve Kinzie, coordinator of learning enhancement services at ULV, who performed an original song called “Love This World.”
The night ended with a question and answer session, as well as a peace chant led by vice-chairwoman Imam Ali Siddiqui, asking for a blessing of peace to be upon everyone as they left.
For more information on the Peace with Justice Center call chairwoman Dorena Wright at 909-593-4966.
Natalie Croyt can be reached at email@example.com