Archive for April 2010
A dark and dangerous pool lurking below the present: what better way to describe My Lai? Not a month goes by, it seems, that we don’t hear about a controversial killing of civilians in Iraq or Afghanistan, our present-day wars.
Last week, I found myself in New York City for a screening of our film Earth Days at the Paley Center for Media. Denis Hayes, chief organizer of that landmark demonstration, and current Chair of Earth Day 2010, is one of the main “characters” and participated in a panel discussion that followed. I was star-struck.
Earlier this week, the web site Wikileaks released a classified military video shot from an Apache helicopter in New Baghdad, Iraq in 2007. In the 17:47 video, US soldiers are shown taking aim at unarmed civilians from the air, allegedly slaying 10 unidentified men and 2 Reuters journalists, and wounding two children.
When you’re a little kid, your dad is invincible, a hero. There’s nothing that can hurt him – he’s the strongest, coolest, smartest dad on the block. My dad still is. He quit high school to support a family of eight after his father died but still found time to earn his GED. Later in life, he and my mother raised three boys, finding time between the intense sibling rivalries to send one to college. I share a piece of my personal history with you not for sympathy or pity but because I recently discovered a chink in my dad’s armor. I sent him a copy of A Class Apart, an American Experience film that highlighted a little-known Supreme Court case that established a foothold for Latino civil rights. After watching it, to my surprise, he said, "Mijo, I remember when this happened."
In Phillip Roth’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel American Pastoral he remarks of history, “People think of history in the long term, but history, in fact, is a very sudden thing.”