Tuesday, May 06, 2008

From the PEN blog

There are many wonderful accounts of PEN events I’ve described here, both at MetaxuCafe and the PEN blog. You can read them for yourself, of course, but I wanted to highlight a couple entries on events that I, too, attended if only to document for myself the resonances between their reaction and my own:

Thus, Joshua Shenk seems to share my sence that the Crisis Darfur event was a big success:
it was Farrow’s attitude toward it that was my big lesson for the night. On the one hand, she was resolute clear, and specific. She made a very plain and concrete case, for example, for using the Olympic moment to pressure China, which pumps the Khartoum government full of cash and arms. After the event, she was on her way today to Hong Kong to for an Olympic torch protest.) But her indignity was accompanied throughout by a palpable humility before the vastness of the subject. That’s precisely what I feared would be missing from the event, and it was refreshing to get it.
More surprising and delightful to me was Laban Carrick Hill on Hub/Witness.org event: he, like me, seems to feel that we witnessed something truly remarkable:
As author Kashmira Sheth, a native of India, spoke of her grandmother being forced to marry at age eleven, I was reminded of my own grandmother marrying at fourteen in the rural South. I can remember when my oldest daughter turned fourteen and my realizing with sorrow and horror that she had reached the age my grandmother had married. Like Sheth’s grandmother, mine was denied education and made sure her children graduated from college. My father was the first in the family to graduate from high school, let alone college. I mention this story because as Americans we think that human rights abuses occur only the Third World. The testimony of the high school students in the room brought home just how close to our daily lives human rights abuses can be.
And Joshua Shenk agrees:
There were two distinct highlights on this morning's program. The first was learning a little about the Hub , which is a community video site (like YouTube) for human rights and which co-sponsored the panel. The second was watching Uzodinma Iweala turn a polite but lethargic field-trip crowd of high schoolers into living illustrations of the Hub’s abstract potential — to energize a community with self-respect and empathy.
I hear from my translator friend that Roberto Saviano’s events were smash hits and you can read about them in Italian here.

2 comments:

Matisse @ WITNESS said...

Anne- thanks so much for your enthusiastic blog post last week about the High School program at PEN World Voices that I moderated - which incorporated writers telling their own stories as well as sharing examples of stories from the Hub.

It was a thrilling event for me and my colleagues as we don't often have the opportunity to communicate directly with young adults and it was great to see their reactions to the stories, both visual and textual and sense their empowerment, regardless of the injustices so many in that room had already faced.

Appreciate your attention to WITNESS and our Hub website and hope that people will visit it and give feedback as we try to improve it after its short 5 month life span thus far... http://hub.witness.org

Anne said...

Thanks for stopping by, Matisse! I really did think this was a model for how to run an event for young people. Good luck w/the hub!!!