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Blase Bonpane, Noted Human Rights Defender & Office of the Americas Dir., Dies

HeadlineApr 09, 2019

And human rights activist Blase Bonpane has died. For more than half a century, the former Maryknoll priest and longtime director of the Office of the Americas worked to promote human rights in Latin America. He was a Catholic priest in Guatemala during the 1960s where he was expelled for his efforts on behalf of the poor and disenfranchised. For 50 years, he hosted the show “World Focus” on Pacifica Radio’s KPFK in Los Angeles. He also authored many books, including “Civilization Is Possible” and his autobiography “Imagine No Religion.” Noam Chomsky wrote of the book, “I am often asked by young people, deeply disturbed by the state of the world, ‘What can I do to make this sad world a better place?’ An eloquent answer now is, 'Read Blase Bonpane's autobiography. If you can aspire to a fraction of what he has achieved, you will look back on a life well lived.’” This is Bonpane speaking in 1991 about U.S. militarism.

Blase Bonpane: “I think we have to deal with the ideology of militarism, because the militarism has become the very fabric of our culture. Militarism has no relationship to democracy. If it’s militarist, it is anti-democratic. And if we base our thinking on might makes right, we really don’t care about who has a claim to anything, and we don’t care about law. We become lawless. Our policy has been lawless in Central America, in South America, in Africa, in the Middle East. It has been lawless. It has been an argument and a policy of power and militarism.”

Click here to see our interviews with Blase Bonpane, including our trip with Blase to Peru to visit Lori Berenson in prison. Blase Bonpane was 89 years old.

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