Sunday, January 13, 2008

books and el salvador

well, one book i am giong through as a liesure book is South America on a shoestring by Lonely Planet. I like to pick it up a few minutes before bedtime and learn about other places, and perhaps give myself an "imaginary" trip to wherever I am reading about. I like learning about the history and background of the countries. A few nights ago I was reading over the El Salvador section. I was stunned to read about their civil war that happened in the 80's. I try to consider myself a decently educated American, with some knowledge as to what is happening around the world.. but I really had no idea of what happened there in the 80's. Perhaps I was too young, but still, it is recent enough that I should know about it. I learned that in El Salvador, 75,000 people died in civil war. There were many brutal deaths, including the killing of preists who spoke out against the government. Another 300,000 people fled the country. Using rough population data, this means that 5% of their people fled, and 1.25% died. If these statistics were carried out to the USA, this would be the same statistical impact as if 15,000,000 people fled the country, and 3,750,000 died. Plus, the US government spent over 6 Billion to help in the conflicts. This post is not about taking sides on the US government, more about me being brought to a pensative place in thinking about how i relate to the world. I also remember being moved in this way when i watched "hotel rwanda". I was again fairly ignorant of what happened over there. Sure i knew there was some strife, but i did not understand the scope of the killings, savagery, and devastations.

I will comment on the other books I am reading in the future:
I am reading or will read:
"no desperdicie su vida" ... the spanish version of dont waste your life by John Piper
"jesus of nazareth" by joseph ratzinger... who is well known as the current pope, Pope Benedict 16
"Bowerman and the Men of Oregon" by kenny moore. this is a biography of the most legendary track coach in the USA. He coached many olympians, and started making running shoes out of some kind of rubber material placed on his waffle iron at home, and eventually co-founded nike.

i wanted to get away from the more "manistream" Christian writers and books for a while.



Anonymous Barbara said...

It's not surprising that you were oblivious to international news while you were growing up in the US. Most Americans get their news from television. The nightly news report is 30 minutes --- no, wait! less than that, because you have several commercial breaks. But even less still, because always a few minutes at the end is reserved for a "feel good" human-interest story. Nothing is done in depth (except the public television newsHOUR, but I doubt you watched that, right?). NPR and BBC broadcasts give international coverage, but not all cities get reception. Newspapers like USA Today are for those with very short attention spans, more like "sound bites" of the news, really shallow (CNN Headlines, but in print). NY Times and Washington Post are excellent, but are not available everywhere.

So Americans grow up provincial and IGNORANT. But I think that overall they don't really care.

After you learn a little bit about the history of El Salvador, you can advance to learning about the role the US has played in Latin American politics. That's where everything you grew up believing about your country will crash head-on into very unpleasant reality. Perhaps it's better to stay ignorant?

Thursday, January 17, 2008  
Blogger Micah said...


i've enjoyed reading the three lord of the rings books each of the past two winters and i'm sure i will soon once the cold catches up with me. maybe you can get these and read them in a few months when it's cold outside. right now, i'm reading blink by malcolm gladwell, the bottom billion by paul collier, and a declaration of interdependence by will hutton.

ironically, that's 4 authors, 1 american. hmmm...

Thursday, January 24, 2008  
Blogger Don Dinnerville said...

alright, i'm going to sidestep the very deep, probably very lengthy issues and skip to my light-hearted response to this blog . . .

am i the only one that thinks of john ratzenberger, aka cliff clavin, whenever the current pope's real name comes up?

Monday, February 11, 2008  

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