LISTEN: A Brother’s Quest

Share:

October 13, 2015

Months before filmmaker Ken Dornstein’s older brother, David, died in the 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, he gave Ken a box of his journals. Jokingly, he called it Ken’s “inheritance.”

David, who was just 25 when he died, was an aspiring writer with an insatiable appetite for art and culture. As a doting older brother, he encouraged Ken to pursue great things. At 19, Ken looked-up to David, but often felt overwhelmed by his gestures.

“I felt a tremendous pressure. Like, I don’t know, maybe I’m not a great artist. Maybe I don’t want to make great art,” Ken recalls.

“Of course, the way it worked out was that he goes away and never comes back. And the joke of me getting his literary inheritance became a reality. Suddenly I was the keeper of every ambition that he had for these words, and what was I going to do with it?”

After years of putting it off, Ken decided he needed to work through his grief over the loss of David, often going to extraordinary lengths to do so. In this special-edition podcast, Ken shares personal stories about that journey, which took him everywhere from the crash site in Scotland, to Libya in search of those responsible for the attack. He also recounts his relationship with his brother, and why there might always be a little of David in the projects he pursues.

Music featured in this podcast by Jeremy Messersmith.


Michelle Mizner

Michelle Mizner, Series Producer & Editor, FRONTLINE

Twitter:

@michellemizner

In order to foster a civil and literate discussion that respects all participants, FRONTLINE has the following guidelines for commentary. By submitting comments here, you are consenting to these rules:

Readers' comments that include profanity, obscenity, personal attacks, harassment, or are defamatory, sexist, racist, violate a third party's right to privacy, or are otherwise inappropriate, will be removed. Entries that are unsigned or are "signed" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. We reserve the right to not post comments that are more than 400 words. We will take steps to block users who repeatedly violate our commenting rules, terms of use, or privacy policies. You are fully responsible for your comments.

blog comments powered by Disqus

More Stories

Can Federal Legislation Rein in South Dakota Trusts?
The ENABLERS Act, introduced amid the Pandora Papers revelations, aims to check the U.S. financial-services industry. Does it go far enough?
November 29, 2021
A Rare Look Inside Police Training in Utah
How might police training impact whom, when and why officers shoot? Watch an excerpt from the new FRONTLINE/Salt Lake Tribune documentary “Shots Fired.”
November 23, 2021
THE PEGASUS PROJECT Live Blog: Major Stories from Partners
A curated and regularly updated list of news articles from our partners in “The Pegasus Project,” a collaborative investigation among 17 journalism outlets around the world.
November 23, 2021
Is the Fear Factor Overblown in Police Shootings?
Utah’s police training has been questioned for focusing on worst-case scenarios.
November 22, 2021