Wednesday, February 10, 2010

this ain't no

Dear Monster,

Recently, I found an old acquaintance on internet news site. He and I
both worked as Critical Care Nurses at Mt. Zion in San Francisco during the early
90's and spend many months taking leave from the country to travel. His mountain
climbing of Everest and other peaks left him wanting to live and work in a rural place
in Afghanistan. My own adventures led me to living in Mexico and parts of South
America before working in Madras at Don Bosco de Beatitudes as a volunteer in 1993.

After he became famous for having written a book about the decade he spent in a
rural area near Warizstan, I saw him on various cable news programs trying to build
support for certain types of humanitarian development.

I wondered out loud if this type of publicity actually causes more harm than good
for those he served. Frequently, there is an exoticizing of foreign efforts for children
even if those efforts are well-conceived. I wondered also if he had experienced some
type of pressure to create public relations statements based on those who provided
him this profit-making opportunity.

News systems, in particular those that exoticize foreign cultures and peoples, can
be one of the worst types of exploitation known in modern culture. Think about the
impact of a hurried and opportunistic venture to influence the hearts and minds of
a completely different nation that is seeped in its own conflicts of tradition.

I would not want any broadcast on any activity deemed to be for the
sake of humanity given what we know to be profit interests in news media, however,
in a case where war conflicts are being actualized without real coverage by the main-
stream press, maybe his example led to saving lives. It's difficult to know really.

During my time in Madras, Indian priest from a seminary affiliated with Don Bosco
de Beatitudes spoke with me about the nature of his service to India and why he
chose to remain in India in spite of having a visa to live elsewhere. His choice to
become a Catholic priest did not prevent him from writing about his own sexuality
and fears of having this human vulnerability. This controversial poetry was found
in public bookstores. He believed that his poetry was needed to humanize himself
and others who passionately chose a life of service in devotion to their faith. How
would this choice be understood or misunderstood in America? I think this priest
knew that america had its own demons as india has theirs.

Voyeurism, unlike the underlying sexual impulse in most human interactions, is not
human nature. It is a perverse form of control for those who see that others are without
their own presence in modernity. This perversity may be the root of why the prevalence
of surveillance equipment/technology in the public is more like a gambling enterprise
in that it inspires the worst of human nature.


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