INTERVIEW: Araia Tesfamariam, Director of Big Araia

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Araia Tesfamariam is an independent film and TV producer who has worked with, among others, the preeminent American pastor T.D. Jakes. In addition, Araia is an old and dear friend of mine from college days.Araia is currently at work on a documentary entitled Big Araia. The film will focus on his late father, whom Araia never knew and about whom he knows very little. (In an incredibly powerful gimmick, Araia built the first trailer for the film out of literally all the images and information … [Read more...]

Sometimes I Am a Walking Public Service Announcement

Over at my website, I just blogged about how last week I had a lot of people on the street stop me to ask me what my shirt said. (You can see it just to the right.)I noted at my website that didn’t do anything about the late Troy Davis and his case there, largely because I was so incredibly busy at the time of his execution by the state of Georgia. (My tweets about him got noticed by The Washington Post along with those of a variety of other religious Twitterers, though.)I also ment … [Read more...]

About that Video of U.S. Marines Urinating on Corpses in Afghanistan…

A video appeared online last Wednesday that shows four U.S. Marines urinating on three corpses in Afghanistan. At least two of the Marines have been identified, according to a BBC report; Reuters was the news organization able to identify their battallion through an anonymous tip.Responses were appropriately swift. Among them, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said: [What this video shows] is absolutely inconsistent with American values, with the standards of behavior that we expect … [Read more...]

Thoughts on Martin Luther King Day…

"We must rapidly begin the shift from a 'thing'-oriented society to a 'person'-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, materialism and militarism are incapable to being conquered.""The dispossessed of this nation -- the poor, both white and Negro -- live in a cruelly unjust society. They must organize a revolution against that injustice, not against the lives of the persons who … [Read more...]

Remembering Václav Havel

For those of us who care about social justice generally and human rights in countries with large populations of Buddhists, 2011 certainly ended on a sad note with the death of Czech playwright and activist Václav Havel, who also served as the last president of Czechoslovakia and the first president of the Czech Republic. Public condolences have been issued by both His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet and Daw Aung San Suu Kyi of Burma -- two Nobel Peace laureates and socially-engaged B … [Read more...]

Take the Pledge

The New York Times has a disquieting article today about a series of firebombings that took place in Queens across Sunday night. The piece indicates that the police are currently investigating the arson attacks as "a possible bias crime against Muslims." (One the places targeted was the Shiite Muslim-affiliated Imam Al-Khoei Foundation.)The news of these attacks is particularly sad and frustrating in the wake of two other recent stories of prejudice on different scales (though they are by no … [Read more...]


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