Kidnap Radio, A Shining Light

photo by ginty_46 on flickr

As far as the internet goes, what you recorded last week might be interesting. What you recorded last year might be fondly remembered. And what you recorded last year is pretty much gone. At least, that is how it often feels as a content creator. That being said, as someone who loves discovering treasure buried under this year’s internet, what happens in 2007 has as much value to me as 2012;  I discover things when I discover them and its beautiful and memorable every time.

Tonight the treasure I found came to me while night jogging on a late winter’s night, the voice of someone named Annie Correal, a radio piece entitled “Kidnap Radio” from 2010.  It was the story about a radio program in Colombia, dedicated to and broadcasted for those who are in captivity somewhere in the jungle.  It is also dedicated to their families, to communicate their messages of love and support, to let captives know they aren’t forgotten and that their families are doing ok, waiting for their return.  The radio producer, this beautiful voice guiding my run, was herself the daughter of a kidnap victim. She tells of how it happened, with help from – to my great joy – the voice of her father who was released in the year 2000, after 265 days in captivity.  Annie talks about how her family was one of those that would go on the radio show “Voices of Kidnapping” to broadcast messages to her father. You even hear the recording of her step-mother and siblings, talking into the microphone, hoping their father was listening, telling him about school and things happening in their lives. Amazingly, her father heard that message from wherever he was being held in the jungle. A message that gave him hope and strength to carry on, waiting for that day when he might be released.

Of course there are many other stories within the story of Kidnap Radio. Not all had such a positive ending, with many families still waiting for their loved ones to be released, some who will never see that day come. But what struck me as I followed the winding paths in the darkness, listening to Mr. Correal speak about the color and quality of this radio that he took such delicate care of, is the power that this -nowadays overlooked- tool can have.  In a world where commercials and uncreative “cost-effective” programming has taken over most radio stations and most of us (including myself) look to the internet as the new beacon of communication – it is the radio that can still reach you in the middle of the jungle. It is radio that can broadcast your hopeful message to someone who so urgently needs to hear it.

The internet is great, no doubt about it. But right here in this little plastic box with an antenna, even in 2012, there is tremendous power accessible to all, if only it could be set free.

 

 

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bm293 Chiquita Banana and Colombian Paramilitaries

Bananas are much more than a yellow fruit that goes good with your cereal. Behind the world’s beloved fruit is a multibillion dollar industry that has the power to create and destroy governments.

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Remembering The Journey from Europe

With only 48 hours remaining before I take my first ever trip to South East Asia, I have a recommendation for all of you.

My dear friend and podcasting colleague Richard was travelling around Equador, Peru and Colombia during most of this month. During that journey he visited family who had been displaced, like so many Jews trying to get out of Europe in the run up to World War II.  This part of his family would eventually settle in Colombia.

In his most recent video entry you can watch an interview with his relative, as she describes that boat journey from Europe and where and why they ended up in Curacao and eventually Colombia.  Its a very amazing ordeal, especially the part about how no country would allow them entry, and they just sailed on and on hoping for a safe port.

Watch the film, it is well worth your time.

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Latin American Soldiers, Unite

Most of you know that I’m a big fan of the Euronews Nocomment video podcast. The combination of pure video with the original sounds without commentary changes the experience of watching things happen in the world.

Soldiers on PatrolThis morning I watched and rewatched as Ecuadorian soldiers walked through the tropical forrest in formation. Heavily armed and pointing guns everywhere, in preparation for whatever enemy they are told they may have to face some day soon. Obviously the present enemy they perceive is Colombia, just across the border.

As I watch these soldiers do this, and cut to some other video of both presidents of Ecuador and Venezuela exchanging hostile words with the president of Colombia, I have a vision. That these soldiers in Ecuador would suddenly stop marching, put down their machine guns, turn to the camera and say.. “You know, Colombians are our family, our friends, and our neighbors… we’re not going to shoot at them just because the president says we should.”

It will likely be written off as a naive vision by all those who believe whole heartedly in obeying orders and never asking questions. By now more then ever, why not ask just what the hell these governments are trying to do? Why is one army invading parts of one country and then the other countries threatening to bomb in retaliation? Why do people who know each other, who share so much of the past and present in common, choose to support this kind of logic?

One thing that we’re missing in the world today, from Afghanistan to the Congo to Colombia and on and on… is for people to stop following without questioning. To stop obeying when the orders are to destroy fellow humans, to commit mass murder in response to mass murder.

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