Monday, August 08, 2005

A role model in news

In Memoriam
Peter Jennings

ABC News reporter Charles Gibson came on in the special report saying: “And it is with a profound sadness and true sorrow that I report to you Peter Jennings has died tonight of lung cancer.” Tears begin welling up in my eyes as I watch.

He is the reason I watch and count on ABC News to stay informed. The quality of news at the network is a result of his constant push for excellence and real news.

In recent days, I have been waiting with baited breath for Mr. Jennings to return to the anchor desk. Unfortunately, my wish – along with the wishes of countless viewers and colleagues – will not be granted.

Peter Jennings was my role model, inspiration. He is one of the reasons why I love journalism. Whether it was breaking news or a scheduled newscast, the way he informed was poetic, simply beautiful.

“Peter did it all,” Mr. Gibson described. “He reported from every corner of the globe. No one in this business understood events overseas better than Peter…. Whenever there was a major event in the world on which to report, Peter reported it.”

Words that I will always remember: “For all of us at ABC News, I’m Peter Jennings. Good night.” God bless.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

The wonders of the Web

Who loves the web? I do.
Where else could you post your thoughts and comments for free, with little to no work?

A Neighbor’s Visit

Today, around 5:00pm EDT, I was sitting on the computer browsing the net and there was a knock at the door. I open it to find Mrs. Fox (whose name I did not know at the time), a cheerful, friendly, and dainty neighbor from across the street. I had never formally met her before.

She said that she saw the “graduated” sign in the front yard and was here to drop off a card, congratulating and wishing me well in life and the future. “I was going to drop it off earlier, but I didn’t have the chance.” We talked about my future endeavors, and her quip: “The world does need good journalists,” smiling all the while.

The card was a Hallmark nonetheless, which said, “A wonderful life is waiting for you, Grad! Be Happy!” preceded by other messages on the front, and signed by my kind neighbors, Mr. & Mrs. Fox.

(To note: I graduated from a semi-known college prep school in Toledo, Ohio, known for excellence. I’m thinking Mr. Fox is somewhat tied to the school.)

I am surprised more and more everyday to how wonderful our world can be and how many kind-hearted, touching people inhabit this universally quaint earth. These wondrous thoughts bring me much jollity, and they bring me tears simultaneously.

We are all so blessed to be on this earth, to be here, when time is good and science is grand and can help us live better and longer lives.
To think of the small things in life that make you so happy: the sun rising, the stars twinkling, and a neighbor walking across the seemingly small street to show jubilation.

Monday, February 07, 2005

A Motion Picture Reflection

On Saturday (02.05), I went to see Hotel Rwanda. It is now one of my favorites of 2004 (even though I saw it in 2005, it came out in December). This motion picture really put a face on war and really showed me how War is Hell.

In one of my religion classes last semester, we talked about how War is Hell and one really cannot truly know what it is like by simply talking about it. One must experience it, either through firsthand account or by someone telling you about war or showing you. Hotel Rwanda does this. It takes its audience to another level.

Here is the synopsis of the film:
The Rwandan conflict of the 1990s marked one of the bloodiest chapters in recent African history. The genocide was made all the more tragic by the fact that most of the world chose to ignore the conflict and the plight of the Rwandan people. While occasional reports about "tribal warfare" in Rwanda were carried by international news agencies, the horror of the conflict, instead of causing international outrage, seemed to be written off as another "third world incident" and not worthy of attention.

Over the course of 100 days, almost one million people were killed in Rwanda. The streets of the capital city of Kigali ran red with rivers of blood, but no one came to help. There was no international intervention in Rwanda, no expeditionary forces, no coalition of the willing. There was no international aid for Rwanda. Rwanda's Hutu extremists slaughtered their Tutsi neighbors and any moderate Hutus who stood in their way, and the world left them to it.

"Ten years on, politicians from around the world have made the pilgrimage to Rwanda to ask for forgiveness from the survivors, and once more the same politicians promise `never again,'" says director Terry George. "But it's happening yet again in Sudan, or the Congo, or some Godforsaken place where life is worth less than dirt. Places where men and women like Paul and Tatiana shame us all by their decency and bravery."

Wars have always provided fertile ground for the emergence of heroes and supreme acts of heroism by ordinary people. Rwanda was no exception. Amidst the horrendous violence and chaos that swept the country, one of the many heroes to emerge was Paul Rusesabagina, an ordinary man who, out of love and compassion, managed to save the lives of 1268 people.

Terry George had long been interested in doing a film set in Africa, but it was Paul Rusesabagina's story that finally brought him to the continent. "When my co-writer Keir Peirson introduced me to the story, I immediately knew I wanted to do it," says George. "I flew to Belgium and met Paul and learned of his life: how he became a hotelier, how he rose through the ranks of employees in the various Sabena hotels he worked in, and how he ended up at the Hotel Mille Collines in Kigali."

It was the remarkable human element of the story that struck a chord with Hotel Rwanda producer Alex Ho. "This story is very close to my heart, and it's the kind of story I really appreciate," he says. "It's about a normal man who, when prompted by his wife, is able to use his position to help others. In the course of doing that, he sets out on a journey that makes him a better man."

Don Cheadle was nominated for his performance as Paul, the House Manager of the Hotel des Mille Collines, for an Academy Award. I know why. He plays a wonderfully, truly heart-touching character. I hope Mr. Cheadle is honored for his powerful performance.

This film puts its audience through a roller coaster of emotion: one minute we are heavily crying and another we are smiling at the touching scenes of hope and laughter. For a better insight to the world and a connection to understanding war, I recommend Hotel Rwanda. Wonderfully great films do not only take an audience to a different place and time, having them leave their own lives, forgetting for some time their current woes, they inspire. Great films inspire change and almost demand it. Can we all just sit around while tragedy happens day after day around the world and just seem comatose in a world full of tragedy, hatred and war? We all must do something. It can be little or grand, but it must be something.
(For more information on Hotel Rwanda, visit: