Wednesday, August 29, 2012


America's conscience died long before Howard Zinn passed away in 2010 ~ but his words and thoughts gnaw away at our collective soul and remind us that no Empire can long withstand the loss of its moral bearings: Allen L Roland

How can you have a war on terrorism when war itself is terrorism? ~ Howard Zinn

Howard Zinn died of a heart attack at the age of 87 on January 27, 2010 but his words still reverberate within the catacombs of our national conscience reminding us that we are capable of greater things than dishonesty and lies, illegal wars and occupations, torture and rendition, targeted drone assassinations and predatory capitalism.

We are obviously made of better stuff and Howard Zinn knew that it all started with the truth  ~ “The challenge remains. On the other side are formidable forces: money, political power, the major media. On our side are the people of the world and a power greater than money or weapons: the truth.
Truth has a power of its own. Art has a power of its own. That age-old lesson – that everything we do matters – is the meaning of the people’s struggle here in the United States and everywhere. A poem can inspire a movement. A pamphlet can spark a revolution. Civil disobedience can arouse people and provoke us to think, when we organize with one another, when we get involved, when we stand up and speak out together, we can create a power no government can suppress. We live in a beautiful country. But people who have no respect for human life, freedom, or justice have taken it over. It is now up to all of us to take it back.”
― Howard Zinn, A Power Governments Cannot Suppress

Zinn sensed America's longing for a true change in moral values before the 2008 election and correctly saw Obama as a champion of the status quo and not an advocate for true change ~ “I think people are dazzled by Obama's rhetoric, and that people ought to begin to understand that Obama is going to be a mediocre president — which means, in our time, a dangerous president — unless there is some national movement to push him in a better direction … What matters most is not who is sitting in the White House, but "who is sitting in" -- and who is marching outside the White House, pushing for change.”

Zinn took no great pride in being a member of the so-called ' Greatest generation ' ~ “The Greatest Generation? They tell me I am a member of the greatest generation. That's because I saw combat duty as a bombardier in World War 2 . But I refuse to celebrate "the greatest generation" because in so doing we are celebrating courage and sacrifice in the cause of war. And we are miseducating the young to believe that military heroism is the noblest form of heroism, when it should be remembered only as the tragic accompaniment of horrendous policies driven by power and profit. The current infatuation with World War 2 prepares us ~ innocently on the part of some, deliberately on the part of others ~ for more war, more military adventures, more attempts to emulate the military heroes of the past.”

How do we achieve justice without war was Zinn's constant question and quest ~ as seen in this three minute YouTube video from You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train

But Zinn was always an advocate for patriotic dissent even in the face of globalization and an approaching new world order ~  “Today everybody is talking about the fact that we live in one world; because of globalization, we are all part of the same planet. They talk that way, but do they mean it? We should remind them that the words of the Declaration [of Independence] apply not only to people in this country, but also to people all over the world. People everywhere have the same right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. When the government becomes destructive of that, then it is patriotic to dissent and to criticize - to do what we always praise and call heroic when we look upon the dissenters and critics in totalitarian countries who dare to speak out.”
― Howard Zinn, Artists in Times of War and Other Essays

Zinn was a strong advocate for the voice of the people and his writings continually reminded us of that deep connection ~ “The democratic principle, enunciated in the words of the Declaration of Independence, declared that government was secondary, that the people who established it were primary. Thus, the future of democracy depended on the people, and their growing consciousness of what was the decent way to relate to their fellow human beings all over the world.”
― Howard Zinn, A People's History of the United States: 1492 to Present

Zinn was also a proud practitioner of civil disobedience versus civil obedience and felt that no great change could occur without it ~ “Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience. Our problem is that people all over the world have obeyed the dictates of leaders…and millions have been killed because of this obedience…Our problem is that people are obedient all over the world in the face of poverty and starvation and stupidity, and war, and cruelty. Our problem is that people are obedient while the jails are full of petty thieves… (and) the grand thieves are running the country. That’s our problem … “Historically, the most terrible things - war, genocide, and slavery - have resulted not from disobedience, but from obedience.”

Above all, Howard Zinn was a truth teller and firmly believed that human beings were neither sheep or machines and that the hope of mankind resided in their willingness to exercise their conscience, in the face of perceived injustice, and declare their independence ~ “But human beings are not machines, and however powerful the pressure to conform, they sometimes are so moved by what they see as injustice that they dare to declare their independence. In that historical possibility lies hope.”
― Howard Zinn, You Can't Be Neutral on a Moving Train: A Personal History of Our Times

So the hope for a better America lies in resurrecting our lost conscience or in the words of Howard Zinn ~ “I wonder how the foreign policies of the United States would look if we wiped out the national boundaries of the world, at least in our minds, and thought of all children everywhere as our own… There is no flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.”


Allen L Roland

Freelance Alternative Press Online columnist and psychotherapist Allen L Roland is available for comments, interviews, speaking engagements and private consultations

Allen L Roland is a practicing psychotherapist, author and lecturer who also shares a daily political and social commentary on his weblog and website He also guest hosts a monthly national radio show TRUTHTALK on

Thursday, August 23, 2012


The continuation of attacks on US soldiers by uniformed Afghan soldiers and policemen is an expression of popular hatred for the occupation regime and military invasion  forces which brings to mind John Steinbeck's classic novel The Moon Is Down. Steinbeck fully captures the inner agony, shame and moral guilt of the German occupying  forces in Norway whereas the flies eventually conquer the flypaper ~ as they most assuredly will in Afghanistan: Allen L Roland

Currently over 2000 occupying troops have been killed in Afghanistan and well over 15,000 have been wounded. However, the continuation of attacks on US soldiers by uniformed Afghan soldiers and policemen is a reflection of the growing hatred of both the occupying forces and the illegal and incredibly corrupt America sponsored Karzai stooge regime.

There is good reason calling Afghanistan the graveyard of Empires ~ and the United States is heading for the same fate.

Patrick Martin, MSWS.ORG recently reported on the growing US debacle in Afghanistan as evidenced by the fact that in the last two weeks twelve US soldiers have been killed by Afghan soldiers or policemen who were supposedly their allies ~ "The latest incident brings the total of such attacks since the beginning of 2012 on US or NATO forces, dubbed “green on blue” incidents by US military spokesmen, to 32, resulting in 40 deaths. The number of soldiers wounded in such insider attacks is likely far greater, but concealed by a US-NATO policy of refusing to discuss non-fatal injuries."

Martin goes on to explain the significance of these growing attacks by Afghan individuals acting on their own ~ " this only demonstrates that hostility to the American military occupation is so widespread and deep among the Afghan population that any incident can provide the spark to provoke violent resistance. This is the case after ten years and $43 billion devoted by the US military to training an Afghan military and police force to do its bidding.
These incidents have a significance far beyond the actual death toll, since they give a glimpse of the real relationship between an oppressed population and the US-NATO occupation, now approaching the end of its eleventh year.

Martin also confirms what I have always maintained, regarding the so-called dreaded Taliban, who I maintain are in reality freedom fighters ~  " The vast majority of the Afghan population opposes the US-NATO forces and the Karzai stooge regime. Hence the endless supply of recruits for the “Taliban,” the name the US military and media apply to any and all insurgents, most of them simply poor farmers who fight in and around the rural villages where their families live."

The flies are beginning to conquer the flypaper in Afghanistan , as they did in Vietnam and Martin makes the same analogy ~ "There is a stench of decomposition over the whole US-NATO enterprise in Afghanistan. US troops are being drawn down, US equipment removed, US subsidies cut back, and the US collaborators in the Karzai regime are packing their bags—usually stuffed with cash—and checking their passports. Kabul today increasingly recalls Saigon in the final months and weeks before the collapse of the US-backed puppet regime of South Vietnam."

PTSD, suicide and violent behavior  can be accelerated when you feel constantly hated and unwanted as we are in Iraq and Afghanistan ~ as was brilliantly depicted in the film The Hurt Locker.
You are badly mistaken if you don't realize that the inner agony and guilt of occupying a country or countries, which despise and hate us, can result in inner torture, guilt and agony and certainly lead to suicide and PTSD.

The Oscar winning film, The Hurt Locker, captures this same pervasive hatred as an Army Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Unit goes about its risky job of defusing remote-controlled improvised explosive devices ( IED's ) in Baghdad ~ while Iraqis watch and obviously hope that the devices will explode and destroy the hated occupiers.

But, if you really want to know what our troops are going through in illegally occupied Iraq and Afghanistan ~ read John Steinbeck's ' The Moon is Down ' or better yet read Paul Rockwell's poetic and moving commentary ' The Agony of Occupation / The flies have conquered the flypaper ' from Common Dreams .

Excerpt: " It is impossible to read Steinbeck's masterpiece without thinking about our own soldiers in Iraq , about their daily fear, the growing tendency for revenge, the agony of conquest. 'The Moon is Down' is not primarily about the Norwegian people, or even about the resistance. It's about the terror, the self-doubts, the slow transformation of arrogance to self-loathing, under which invaders live... 'The Moon is Down' is not about the violence; it's about the psychology of occupation. Steinbeck focuses on the inability of occupying soldiers to cope with the ingratitude of a "liberated" people. Germans trusted their leaders and expected to be greeted with flowers, not contempt. The public hatred of the occupation, not sabotage alone, destroys German morale ... When a lieutenant is upset by the hostility of the local population, his commander admonishes him: "I will not lie to you, Lieutenant. They should have trained you for this, and not for flower-strewn streets. They should have built your soul with truth, not led you along with lies. But you took the job, Lieutenant. We can't take care of your soul." The occupiers are not pacified. "Captain, is this place conquered?" "Of course," the captain replies. But the listener cracks. "Conquered and we're afraid, conquered and we're surrounded. The flies have conquered the fly paper ! "

This is why it never gets better in drug infested Afghanistan ~ 29 minute must see video documentary

So, if you really want to get a feel of what American troops go through in Iraq and in particular Afghanistan ~ watch The Hurt Locker and read Steinbeck's The Moon is Down and realize that eventually The Flies will conquer the fly paper in both Iraq and Afghanistan ~ as they most certainly did in Vietnam.

Allen L Roland

Freelance Alternative Press Online columnist and psychotherapist Allen L Roland is available for comments, interviews, speaking engagements and private consultations

Allen L Roland is a practicing psychotherapist, author and lecturer who also shares a daily political and social commentary on his weblog and website He also guest hosts a monthly national radio show TRUTHTALK on

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


Seven more active duty multi-tour combat veterans of Iraq, Afghanistan and Vietnam, diagnosed with PTSD, shared their life charts and aloneness, faced their fears and buried feelings, opened their hearts through gratefulness, and became instantly connected together through their between sessions internet conversations ~ thus inspired each other to face their fears and begin to dramatically heal themselves in only eight weeks: Allen L Roland

I have long felt and have now clearly proved that PTSD is quite often Post Traumatic Heart Disorder for a common symptom of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is the inability to give or receive love ~ which can obviously apply to non-veterans who have also suffered significant loss or emotional childhood and/or adult pain.

I have also clearly demonstrated that only after the heart is opened can true self-healing occur for only then does the client (veterans or otherwise) truly want to heal.  Using the premise that what is deepest within us is love (not pain and anger) and utilizing an action oriented approach to face and go through their fears ~ these veterans, soon discover that beneath their pain, anger and shame is not only love and joy but most importantly their true authentic self.

The purpose then of the Healing the Wounded Heart Workshops is to penetrate the grey zone of guilt, aloneness and unworthiness, that many War Veterans diagnosed with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) experience, and this is done within a supportive group setting through heart centered self-exploration, group sharing, guided visualization and action oriented homework ~ where love and joy eventually overcome fear and separation.

The ultimate fire fight is on the battleground of the heart for it is there that we meet our deepest fears and issues of unworthiness. Combat veterans are often bonded in combat whereas the loss of their buddies is just as traumatic as the loss of a family member. A heart centered approach to PTSD re-opens their closed hearts, reconnecting them to an innocent and loving child within themselves which accelerates the self-healing process

The first meeting of the Healing The Wounded Heart Veterans Workshop #10 was held on June 22, 2012 at 6 PM in Danville, California ~ and was sponsored by the Vietnam Veterans of Diablo Valley.

All had done a pre- workshop assessment before the first session but I had them do another assessment regarding current feelings of love, joy and peace of mind at the start of the first session ~ on a scale of 1 – 10 with one being the worst and ten being the most positive rating. They all averaged between three and four ~ with many ongoing symptoms of unworthiness and depression.

Eight weeks later their final assessment regarding feelings of love, joy and peace of mind found them all averaged between 8 and 10 ~ with many of their ongoing symptoms of PTSD no longer occurring.

We met once a week for approximately three hours. All of them had many symptoms of PTSD and even TBI but all had the common symptom of a closed heart and the inability to love and receive love ~ mainly because of deep unworthiness issues that originally started in childhood and were reinforced through their military experience.

All of them were looking for a light at the end of their personal dark tunnel of unworthiness ~ and all of them found it within themselves.

I told them that this was an action based heart centered transformation workshop and if they did their homework they would reach a place of not only another choice but would open their closed hearts in the process. They would also begin to see through different eyes ~ eyes unclouded by fear, anger and unworthiness.  I also explained through my Cycle Of Life chart how psychic pain will override Joy to the extent that most people have no idea that beneath their deepest pain and aloneness is love, joy and connectedness ~ a Unified Field of love, joy and soul consciousness.

After each session ~ part of their homework was to read each session in my book RADICAL THERAPY / SURRENDER TO LOVE AND HEAL YOURSELF IN SEVEN SESSIONS (NOT SEVEN YEARS ) which reinforced the previous group session. I also told them that these sessions were all about transformation and that these action based sessions could well bring up painful memories ~ but that beneath that deep pain was as even deeper thread of love, joy and innocence ~ which all of them had experienced at one time in their childhood

Of course, that first session I shared my own heart's journey (as well as my life chart) to find a lost and alone little boy within myself who not only wanted to fly, and became a Navy Fighter pilot, but also to love as deeply as I loved my beloved grandfather before I was torn away from him at six years old. We talked about the war and all of them briefly shared their individual journey and by the end of three hours ~ they began to feel a sense of commonality.  Their homework was to produce a life chart of the path of their own heart's journey ~ which they would share, one by one, with the group over the next three sessions. The objective of the life chart is for the participant to see their life as a quest, versus a struggle, to find their authentic self and how every love relationship has played a significant role in that quest.

I told them that I was their coach, not their therapist, and that they had free access to me by telephone or email at any time during this process of self-discovery. But they also had free access to everyone else in the group and encouraged them to share their individual insights and progress with each other ~ which greatly accelerated their self-healing process because they, in essence, inspired each other in this healing process.

The life chart is something like a crime scene where something happened and somebody was lost in childhood. In essence, I assist them, one by one,  in connecting the dots to help them find where they separated from their original innocent state of being, when they made the decision to be something other than themselves and how their whole life has been an inner QUEST, not a struggle, to find and fully experience their authentic self again. I help them see how all of their love relationships, regardless of the pain that may have ensued, have all been gifts on that quest as they most certainly have been in my life.

Sharing their individual life charts, with my guidance, in front of the entire group not only established commonality but was a major step in coming out of their self-imposed cocoons of fear as well as the important realization that it is safe and exciting  to be honest, real and authentic. The life charts set the stage for all of the exercises and transformation that would occur later in the sessions. All of them were looking for a light at the end of a dark tunnel of unworthiness, self-doubt and guilt ~ and all of them found that light within themselves

I’ll let their post workshop evaluations tell the story of their eight week inner journey through fear to love, self-acceptance and joy;

DF ~ " I enjoyed coach Allen, the book and exercises and I trust myself more. I also think other people trust me more since I trust myself and my feelings "

MB ~ " I loved the inner child exercise, I've gone beyond my anger and I honestly love myself and can accept who I am. "

EB ~ " I loved the group dynamic and connectivity ~ doing this alone might not have worked and it brought me back to my wife and kids "

CO ~ " I enjoyed the life chart and exercises particularly the Victim/Accountability exercise as well as meeting the inner child. I significantly changed from a completely negative world view "

ME ~ " This is the most powerful love I have ever experienced ~ this is the single most important step I have taken towards being myself "

RF ~ " I learned that all I have to do is just be truly myself and everything will be all right "

RQ ~ " I realized that I'm loved and all I have to do is be real and start acting like I'm loved "

In addition, every effort was made to involve the wives and partners of the workshop participants and they were all invited to the last celebration session on August 10th ~ where EB's wife tearfully shared that she finally had her husband back and their children were finally experiencing the person she married. Each participant also has a free session with their partner and myself at the conclusion of the sessions ~  in order to fully integrate their partner with the heart centered approach and process.

In summary ~ Healing the wounded heart workshop #10 was truly unique because they constantly emailed each other and shared their homework experiences and inspired each other to take risks and truly experience themselves in the process ~ thus accelerating their individual self-healing process. They were all coming from gratitude toward the people in their life who they had never thanked within two sessions and all of their closed hearts had opened by the sixth session.

These combat veterans had been trained to kill and many had faced significant fear in the process of their military experience ~ many had gone to the dark side and were still living on the outskirts.

All of them wanted to experience another heartfelt choice and they all experienced it in this workshop ~ that's all I can do as a coach and therapist ~ the gift I gave them was myself as well as the tools to sustain that choice.

Band of Brothers #11 starts on August 17th and many of these same graduates will welcome them and share their experience at the opening session.

I am indebted to the Vietnam Veterans of Diablo Valley and their board for their commitment to returning GWOT veterans of Iraq, Afghanistan and the Gulf as well as their financial commitment to this life changing heart centered work.

Allen L Roland

Freelance Alternative Press Online columnist and psychotherapist Allen L Roland is available for comments, interviews, speaking engagements and private consultations

Allen L Roland is a practicing psychotherapist, author and lecturer who also shares a daily political and social commentary on his weblog and website He also guest hosts a monthly national radio show TRUTHTALK on