Thomas Merton, an internationally respected spiritual writer and Trappist monk, wrote in 1965:
“One of the awful facts of our age is the evidence that [the world] is stricken indeed, stricken to the very core of its being by the presence of the Unspeakable…[that] too few are willing to see.”
Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the death of John F. Kennedy and inspired by James Douglass’ remarkable book, JFK and the Unspeakable (Simon & Schuster, 2010), Project Unspeakable offers scripts for simultaneous dramatic readings or full performances of a theatrical work about the role of Thomas Merton’s “Unspeakable” in the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy.
A generation of baby-boomers who have lived most of their adult lives in the rubble of shattered dreams, who have seen the great leaders of their generation slaughtered in officially whitewashed circumstances, are invited to come forward to insist that the truth finally be uncovered regarding this destruction of lives and visionary leadership. In addition, Project Unspeakable offers young people a unique opportunity, not only to learn more about these four inspirational leaders of the 1960’s, but also to re-energize their recent efforts to confront current manifestations of the “Unspeakable,” as many have already been doing in the “Occupy” and climate action movements.
Activist, religious, and theater groups around the country, and hopefully abroad, are encouraged to become Project “Partners” and to schedule staged readings and performances of the script. The first readings were presented on November 22, 2013, the date of JFK’s assassination. Others are being held on a birthday or assassination date of one of the four leaders. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday, a national holiday, celebrated on the third Monday in January 20, is a particularly appropriate time. Project Partners are also encouraged to offer facilitated workshops or discussion groups following their readings and performances. The Project provides suggested topics for reflection to all partnering groups, to be used at their discretion. Both the script and the discussion topics raise questions regarding the implications of these 1960’s assassinations for understanding and overcoming the “unspeakables” of today.
Our Mission Statement
Project Unspeakable is a creative, empowering, community-building initiative that aims to connect our past to our present and our future. It is an effort to liberate the truth so that the truth can liberate us.
Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter recently stated, “America does not at the moment have a functioning democracy.” Current revelations about illegal NSA spying, covert U.S. military actions in foreign countries around the world, the undermining of basic civil and human rights and Constitutional protections, and the enormous behind-the-scenes influence of giant corporations regarding government actions and policies have led many people to question whether a quiet coup d’etat by the ’National Security State’ and their corporate allies has taken place. Many suspect that our country is being run by an informal and largely invisible ‘Shadow Government’ that is beyond the reach of our citizens and their elected representatives, and thus of any real democratic accountability.
Project Unspeakable uses live theater to raise questions and consciousness about the roots of this apparent coup d’etat in the post-WWII creation of the C.I.A. and, especially, the “unspeakable” assassinations of President Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert Kennedy, all of whom were murdered within a period of five years during the 1960’s. The Project Unspeakable script uses hundreds of direct, documented quotes which show that all four assassinations were marked with the unmistakable fingerprints of the ‘National Security State.’
The Project hopes not only to bring back into focus the inspiring legacies of these four men, but also to shed light on the role of today’s ever-more-powerful ‘National Security State’ as it relates to various lies and cover-ups that too few people are willing to challenge. Ultimately, the goal of Project Unspeakable is to motivate people to demand and work for governmental and corporate openness, transparency, and democratic accountability, which we believe is a prerequisite for effectively addressing the multiple social, political, and environmental crises we currently face.