This morning on the commuter rail into Boston I overheard four different conversations between passengers. All four of them were between eloquent and well-spoken individuals on their way to work and all four were about the latest American celebrity news. I was troubled not to hear anything international, any hint of global concern or even global awareness.
Take, for example, the crisis in Darfur. Darfur has had little American media coverage recently in spite of the African Union’s wrap-up of their third mission to Darfur this past week. Though the African Press Organization reports the security situation in Darfur as “calm,” former South African president Thabo Mkebi, who heads an AU panel of former heads of state stated yesterday that “the negotiations have got to involve everybody who is relevant to the creation of peace in Darfur.” Darfur, which seems the least of American worries at the moment, is entering a period in which peace can only come with the focus and attention of all.
I can only imagine that the Khartoum regime would be happy to see live coverage on every American news station from outside of the hospital housing Michael Jackson. It is with such distractions that the horrors in Sudan can continue and peace can be delayed. CNN’s Peter Bregman warned Americans, in his recent editorial, to steer our energy away from stories like Governor Sanford. “But save your outrage…for Darfur” he wrote, “for situations where people are being tortured and trampled and killed.”
As an internationally focused nonprofit, we cannot help but be aware of these situations. Several films in consideration for Global Voices 2009 focus on Darfur and it is our hope that with such powerful documentaries, and with films from isolated corners of the globe, stories of international crisis will jump back into the limelight. Nevertheless, Global Voices does not only highlight the tragedies of our world. When I look through our list of film summaries I see stories of human suffering alongside stories of human triumph and art that I have not seen anywhere else — not only because these films were previously unavailable, but because the media does not have the space for the pioneering sustainable village in Togo or the independent Hip Hop movement in China. In a city of such international character and intelligence as Boston global issues and peoples should be the talk of the town (and the T). Global Voices will do just the trick.