Wednesday, January 10, 2007

About Apocalypto

January 10, 2007

Okay, guys, let me get this off my chest. It's a terrible movie; don't bother going to see it. What induced me to want to do a program about it was Craig Childs' provocative op ed piece which appeared in the New York Times last week. (There's a link to it on our website today). I found a lot of outright denial in the reviews I read concerning whether the Mayans practiced human sacrifice. They did. To deny the truth of the past, however painful, is to leave it open to distortion. In our political correctness, we mince around what makes us sqirm, apply platitudes and euphemisms, point to our own shortcomings and bloodlettings as if that justifies it, and in the end do nothing to clear up the mess. What I liked about Mel Gibson's horrible movie which he made, I believe, primarily to serve his own religious and political agenda, is that it gave us the opporunity to have an honest conversation about what really went on in Mesoamerica prior to the arrival of Columbus. Noble savages? No. Hideous heathens? Again, no. Real people? Yes. Just like us? Again, yes.

Thanks for the ride.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Liberia Continued

January 4, Independence Day in Burma

I'd love to get your feedback on the program we did today featuring Burma's Nobel laureate, Aung San Suu Kyi. Without intending it, it reinforced the theme we seem to be following lately of women waging peace around the world.

I met many of them while I was in Liberia. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberia's president and the first woman to lead an African nation, actually waited tables and mopped the floors at Rehnebohm's while she was in Madison many years ago working on a degree in business. It seems that it was a wonderful preparation for cleaning up a corrupt and totally trashed country following a fifteen year civil war. And it was the women of Liberia - the illiterate market women - who were primarily responsible for bringing her to power. They also forced a negotiated peace by locking the men up until they agreed to sign the peace treaty. Now what can we learn from their example?

I, for one, will be following their progress with great interest. Are they up to the challenge? Can they really do a better job in occupying the leadership vacuum left by Charles Taylor and so many dead men?

In Rwanda the women occupy 49% of the seats in Parliament -greater than any other nation in the world! And they are busily transforming their country, finding homes for the war orphans, establishing health centers, and bringing the ex-combatants to trial using a traditional system of justice. Truly inspiring. I'm hoping to feature them in a future Here on Earth program. Please let me know what you think of this programming stream.

I'm off to spend some quality time in the Anza-Borrego desert for a long weekend with some dear friends. I'm hoping for some comments from you when I return.

Oh, and by the way, I'll have some great photographs from Liberia to post when I get back.

Thanks for keeping in touch,