of the benefits of the current delay of my business project is the
extra time I'm allowed to explore. Using my Twitter feed as my starting
point, I can spend hours in a day following conversations and
suggestions, ideas and presentations that would take me days or weeks to
discover independently. Culling my disparate thoughts and reactions to
this process into a cogent weekly blog post is the resulting challenge.
week I wanted to share a few of my explorations and their loose
intellectual intersections; justice and difficult decisions worth
Gary Whitta, writer of the movie "The Book of Eli", was being
interviewed on TWiTGameOn regarding his new project as head writer for
the new video game series "The Walking Dead." He shared that he is
relishing the opportunity to create original story-telling that stays
true to the original comic and subsequent popular AMC cable series.
Whitta admitted that he found the writing for a video game was more
challenging than the movie due to the sheer volume and necessity to
explore every possible decision and outcome from the character's action.
With the inherent recognition that fans enjoy end of world apocalypse
type scenarios, he asserted that what distinguishes the Walking Dead
series is the discourse and consideration that the main characters
endure. It is when they are put to tough decisions that their true
identity and humanity are revealed/exposed.
Many of my evening of late, I'm streaming movies on my computer.
Earlier this week I watched "Machine Gun Preacher." It starred Gerard
Butler and was based on the true story of an American biker, druggie and
criminal who found god and a new mission. At his self-formed church
that encouraged all sinners to attend, a missionary from Africa came to
speak and inspired him to go to Uganda where he learned of the horrible
fate of the invisible children of Sudan. These orphaned or kidnapped
children were often forced to kill their own parents before being forced
into sexual slavery or becoming child warriors. The movie followed his
inspirational and obsessive journey to start a church there, save as
many children as possible and battle the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army).
my time traveling in Africa twenty years ago, I had heard of this
shadowy military group so I looked up more information about the LRA's
leader Joseph Kony. For over 25 years, Kony has created a religious
cult like army that had abducted and forced an estimated 66,000 children
to fight for them while killing hundreds of thousands and helping
displace over two million people out of fear.
3. Flash forward a couple days and I noticed a tweet about the Invisible Children and Kony 2012. The link led to a compelling video by Jason Russell who
had his own experience in Uganda with the invisible children and had
made a promise to do something about it. Over the last nine years, he
has built momentum for what is now becoming a "revolution" that will
hopefully gain full wings on April 20th. I highly recommend the video
for a variety of reasons; the justness of the cause, the creative and
innovative techniques used, and the power of social networking to
mobilize the masses for worthy causes. He is trying to turn the
traditional pyramid of power upside down to educate and pressure
politicians to ensure that Kony is recognized, captured and ultimately
faces justice for his horrific misdeeds.
A few selected quotes...
"He didn't choose where or when he was born, but because he's here he matters."
"Where you live shouldn't determine whether you live"
"The best you can offer a child is by letting them be independent...and that was by providing education."
"We've seen these kids. We've heard their cries. This war must end. We will not stop. We will not fear. We will fight war."
always been that the decisions made by the few with the money and the
power dictated the priorities of their government and the stories in the
media. They determine the lives and opportunities of their citizens.
But now there is something bigger than that. The people of the world see
each other and can protect each other. It's turning the system upside
The final piece of media that I encountered this week was considered
one of the most moving presentations of this year's TED Global 2012
conference. It was a speech given by Bryan Stevenson on the issues of injustice.
At a conference that celebrates technology, innovation and
entertainment, Stevenson addressed the injustices in the United States
that has the highest incarceration rate in the world and a massive
imbalance along racial lines.
A few selected quotes...
"2.3 million people are incarcerated in the U.S." The highest percentage in the world and up from 300k in the 1970's.
"Everybody is better than the worst thing they have ever done."
"The opposite of poverty is not wealth, the opposite of poverty is justice."
"50-60% of young black men are either in jail, prison or on parole."
of every 9 people on death row, we've identified one person who is
innocent. Can you imagine if we let 1 of every 9 planes crash?"
"We have a justice system that treats you much better if you're rich and guilty than if you're poor and innocent."
response was so strong to Stevenson's talk that in the few days
following his speech, the TED attendees donated $1.12 million to help
his cause - Equal Justice Initiative that fights poverty and challenges
racial discrimination in the criminal justice system.
all these various media share is a recognition that we are defined by
the important decisions we make in our lives. It is in those moments
that we feel most alive and create our legacy. There are causes worth
fighting for, not out of some personal interest but because they are
right. Each of our paths and priorities may differ, but we each matter
and deserve a level of respect and dignity.