New digital collection of Martín Baró’s works

Now available, a digital collection of Ignacio Martín Baró’s writings.  While these will of course mostly be in Spanish, it will be a valuable resource since much of his work is not well known, even in Spanish speaking countries.  This is an initiative of students at his University, The Universidad Centroamericana in San Salvador.  Here is the link to the collection: http://www.uca.edu.sv/coleccion-digital-IMB/

Thanks to Christian Chacón for this information.

 

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Liberation Psychology: 25 years on. A poem for Ignacio Martín-Baró

Lambs of God
(for my professor Ignacio Martín-Baró, written by Eugenia Castro)
The silence of the night
was broken in pieces
by the engines of the Cherokees.
The ground was trembling
with horror and grief
at malign and evil steps
The grass tried to stop them!
and impotent flowers screamed
calling help from heaven…
Shut up!!!
Angered boots squashed them
and a scarf of silence
covered the petals on the ground.
A cry of sorrow came from the trees
saying as a chorus:
You do not belong to us,
bloody thief, you robbed
my colors, colors of life.
They did not stop;
blind and deaf by the flag
dumb and brutalized by the march,
drugged by warrior words,
legacy from Malinche and Ladino past.
The door was raped.
without defence let them pass
the nightmare begun:
Time-space, space-reason
reason-time, space-time.
People’s chorus
Question answered ever since,
question answered by Arnulfo
to the wing – from East to West.
Answer known by all.
Answer given by the 7 lambs.
The other chorus:
The master plan was in time.
-American watches are exact-
you know how famous these watches are.
You know time is money,
and money is never enough.
Who are you on my road?!
A repeated story, started again:
The Antithesis against Lambs.
Darkness against light and brightness.
Aliens against kind Masters.
Violence against non-violence.
A repeated story ended again,
again, again, again… and again.
The day was over…
new Martyrs from the Calvary
as splinters in our hearts.
We are with you loved Lambs
God’s people, Lambs of God.
Con una rafaga de tiros ellos silenciaron tus labios Padre Nacho,
mas nosotros siguimos contigo cantando y gritando
“Tu sabes que esto no es justo”
Padre Nacho, with a spray of bullets they silenced your lips
but we continue with you; singing and screaming:
“You know this is not right”. 

Ana Eugenia Castro is a psychologist from EL Salvador, who lives and works in Australia. Her approach is within the social psychology of liberation and integrates different therapies, including existential, systemic, and creative arts-based approaches.

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Liberation Psychology: 25 years on. Some further materials.

1) On our videos page, we have added an audio recording of an interview with Martín-Baró from 1988.  In it he speaks of the circumstances under which he was working, including a wider political analysis of the Salvadorean conflict, the impact of torture and repression, and his survival of terrorist attacks on the University.  Thanks to Brinton Lykes for making this available.

2) Brinton is also the co-founder of the Martín-Baró Fund, which makes funding available to “grassroots groups throughout the world who are challenging institutional repression and confronting the mental health consequences of violence and injustice in their communities.”  Their current newsletter “The Just Word” has several articles (including a rare piece in English byElizabeth Lira from Chile) about Nacho and his impact, you can download it here.

3) Bruce Levine, another network member has also published an article to mark the 25th anniversary of Martín-Baró’s murder.  He reflects on the collusion of the American (sic) Psychological Association with the torture programme in occupied Guantánamo, (depicted in this film) noting that

“Liberation psychology – which Martin-Baró helped popularize – challenges adjustment to an unjust societal status quo and energizes oppressed people to resist injustices.”

You can read Bruce’s piece in “Truth Out” here.

4) Finally, about 12 years ago, when, with some difficulty, I got my copies of the two Cover A and Ivolumes of Martín-Baró’s “Psicología desde Centroamérica”, I translated the prologues and summaries for my own use.  A revised version of my translation of the Prologue to volume 1, “Acción e Ideología” is available on request.  This prologue gives a very clear account of his project to reconstruct social psychology, from the perspective of the peoples of Central America.  Please treat these notes for what they are, an initial translation without any review or other checks.  It is a great shame that more of Nacho’s work has not been translated into other languages to give a wider audience access to the breadth and depth of his work.  The translation is available, HERE, for personal use.

 

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Liberation Psychology: 25 years on. Martín-Baró on State terrorism in El Salvador (video)

Ignacio Martín-Baró on State terrorism in El Salvador.
A rare video of Martín-Baró speaking in English.  He covers State terrorism in El Salvador in the 1980s and before. He focusses on the role of the disappearances, murders and massacres in the pacification of the population, taking a social psychological perspective that is firmly located in both a humanistic and a socio-political outlook.  He makes the important point that this political terrorism has an impact, not just on the victims, but also on the wider population.  Many thanks to Adrianne Aron (who introduces the talk) for making the video available.  The recording is rather quiet, but very clear: try headphones if it is too quiet on your machine.
Due to technical limitations it appears in three parts.  Also see our videos page.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3 (corrected link)

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Liberation Psychology: 25 years on. Nacho’s Legacy in the San Francisco Bay Area

Here is the third in our series to mark the quarter century since Ignacio Martín-Baró’s murder.

In “Nacho’s Legacy in the San Francisco Bay Area” Félix Salvador Kury remembers Martín-Baró’s visit to San Francisco in 1988 and talks about his work in El Salvador in the context of a bitter struggle before going on to tell us about the Clínica Martín-Baró, a free service for Latina and Latino migrants, which as Felix says is a lasting legacy of Nacho’s visit and his relationship with North American solidaritarian colleagues.

“I knew of Ignacio Martín-Baró’s work long before I invited him to a conference on Central American refugees in the spring of 1988. It was his first visit to the San Francisco Bay Area. Having “Nacho” for a week in my house was a very special and transformative experience. Three of my cousins of were among his students of Psychology at UCA. One of them was brutally murdered when she was seven months pregnant.

“Ignacio Martín-Baró was “Nacho” to many of us who knew him, who love him and miss him. At at the time of his assassination, he was the vice rector Central American University “Jose Simeon Cañas” (UCA, in Spanish). The University of Central America played a leading role in the effort to resolve El Salvador’s decades-long civil war. Jesuit faculty members, who often spoke out against human rights abuses, were accused by the government and the military of providing intellectual support for the FMLN rebel uprising.

“Ignacio Martín-Baró, a Spanish-born Salvadoran citizen, at age 50 was best known as an analyst of national and regional affairs and as the founder and director of the Public Opinion Institute, a highly respected polling organization. He was also a writer, teacher, and a pastor. He was killed along with five other Jesuit priests and two women on November 16, 1989. He was killed by a military battalion that had just returned form military training at the School Of the Americas in Fort Benning, Georgia. It was not the first assassination of church leaders: 18 Catholic priests, including Father Rutilio Grande and Archbishop Oscar Romero, and four North American churchwomen, had been killed in El Salvador since the late 1970s – more than any other nation in the world. …. read the rest of the short piece HERE.

Felix is the Program Director & Faculty Advisor for the Clínica Martín-Baró, San Francisco, California, USA. Their website and blog is here (material in Spanish and English.

Here is a gallery of photos illustrating the work that Felix has kindly made available.

7photo 8photo 10 photo 12photo 14photo 16photo 20photo 156263101836 156263121836 156263141836 156263151836 392301586836 Only Justice Heals Wounds Trabajadores voluntarios de la Clinica Martín Baró

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IMB and the 99% from El Salvador to Occupy – Adrianne Aron

Now available here (and from the Documents page) Adrianne Aron:  IMB and the 99%: from El Salvador to Occupy.

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24 Years

It was 24 years ago today, 16 November, 1989, that members of the Atlacatl battalion of the Salvadorian army entered the campus of the University of Central America in San Salvador and murdered 8 people.

Commemorative placards at the UCA (from http://aquiescribo.wordpress.com)

They were Elba Ramos and her 16 year old daughter Celina Ramos, and 6 Jesuit academics, among them Ignacio Martín-Baró, the inspirational figure for Liberation Psychology.

We don’t dwell in the past, and thankfully El Salvador today has one of the better governments in Latin America, the FMLN, although the extreme right remains a powerful force, a threat limiting the pace of reform.  However, it is important to remember those events, and to recognise that standing firm against oppression can have consequences.

Ignacio Martín-Baró has not been the only psychologist to have been killed as a consequence of his work and commitment.  We fear that some young psychologists in Mexico met a similar fate last year.  In Haiti, the community worker and human rights activist, also a psychologist, Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine was disappeared in August 2007.  And there have been others.  Elsewhere socially committed psychological workers are being sacked or otherwise marginalised as universities and other bodies strive to meet the requirements of the dominant system of value extraction and commercialisation.

In one more year it will be a quarter of a century since Martín-Baró’s death.  What a fitting memorial it would be if in 12 months time we can show that the tide can be turned: that psychology can be a force for liberation, helping to construct new, liberatory social relations and a better world where people live in harmony with one another and the natural world.

Mark Burton

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Revealed: Pentagon’s link to Iraqi torture centres | World news | The Guardian

Revealed: Pentagon’s link to Iraqi torture centres | World news | The Guardian.
Why is this relevant to libpsy.org?   Because the torture and counter-insurgency methods developed by the USA in Vietnam and perfected in Central America were later exported to Iraq and Guantanamo.  This investigation traces some of the lineage.  For psychology there have been at least three developments from this.
1)  The Central American context of conflict, counter-insurgency, torture and impunity led to Martín-Baró’s proposals on liberation psychology, and of course his own death was the result of this terror complex.
2)  The development of work on the recovery of historical memory, social-psychotherapeutic approaches, use of testimonies,  commemoration, etc. in various locations in Latin America also has its roots in this nexus.  These ideas are also of interest in other locations such as Turkey with its own legacy of State terror.
3)  The “APA controversy” on the involvement of organised psychology and military psychologists in interrogation and torture again comes from this latest phase of the US use of organised terror.
Congratulations to the Guardian and BBC Arabic service for this investigation.

Of related interest, see this article by Victoria Brittain:  Shadow Lives
How the War on Terror in England Became a War on Women and Children

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New Readings About Ignacio Martín-Baró

From the Martín-Baró Fund website:

New Readings About Ignacio Martín-Baró:

Recently, several articles appeared in a special issue of Peace and Conflict: Journal of Peace Psychology that remembered the life of Ignacio Martín-Baró, SJ and explored justice-related issues related to his social philosophy and his tragic death. We highlight them here as excellent background reading for learning more about Fr. Ignacio and his work.

The University for Social Change and the Legacy of Ignacio Martín-Baró, S.J.

by Joaquin M. Chavez (Trinity College)

The Road to Spain: The Jesuit Massacre and the Struggle Against Impunity in El Salvador

by Almudena Bernabeu and Carolyn Patty Blum (Center for Justice and Accountability, San Francisco, California)

The Life of Ignacio Martín-Baró: A Native Account of a Personal Biographical Journey

by Nelson Portillo (Universidad Centroamericana (UCA))

Symposium on the Life and Work of Ignacio Martín-Baró

by Suzanne C. Ouellette (The City University of New York)

Thanks to Nelson for this link.  I’ve posted this as soon as I got it and so far have only read Nelson’s own article which I can highly recommend.

This material also added to the Sources page.

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El Salvador

I was interviewed on Friday by Douglas Arevalo of the University of Central America –  Ignacio Martín-Baró’s base in San Salvador, for a programme on the University radio.  My Spanish is a bit rusty and the phone line was not great, but it gave me the opportunity to reflect, among other things, on the limited knowledge of liberation psychology generally and Martín Barós’s contribution in particular in Europe.  Even in Spain where there is no language barrier and there have been published three books in the last decade (the collections of IMB’s articles compiled by Amalio Blanco and by Amalio and Luis de la Corte, and Luis’s book Memoria de un Compromiso [compromiso = commitment]) my perception is that there is relatively little active interest and use of the approaches.  One reason is perhaps that IMB’s major works have been published by the UCA press which is a small publisher in a small country.

I also spoke a bit on the fate of critical social psychology in the UK and other core countries – a point made variously by Maritza Montero, Luis de la Corte, myself and others – after the ‘crisis of social psychology’ in the 1970s the critics either went back to relatively traditional approaches (usually with a cognitive emphasis), or moved towards a linguistic emphasis (discourse analysis, conversation analysis) etc., elements of which almost came to define critical social psychology.  Others left the field altogether – either leaving psychology, or going into applied fields, or getting embroiled in psychoanalytic theory and practice.    And some became community psychologists.

What attracts me to Liberation Psychology is that it is concerned with lived social reality as the central problematic – the point is to change it – and concerns about its representation (a cognitivist delusion anyway?) are at best secondary.

Incidentally, the invitation to be interviewed was a direct result of this initiative.

There are people that fight for a day
And they are good.
There are others that fight for a year
And they are better
There are those that fight for many years
And they are very good
But there are those that fight all their lives:
They are indispensable.

Bertolt Brecht

 

 

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