Office of Citizen
Rest in Peace,
Thanks to WCPN and BBC for Bringing World to Have Its Say with East Cleveland
Submitted by Norm Roulet on Mon, 03/19/2007 - 21:55.
Timing and participating in the World are everything. I was awed to be pulling out of the Hough Bakery complex parking lot in East Cleveland today, listening on WCPN to one of my favorite media sources on Earth - BBC's World Have Your Say - and hearing something like "broadcasting from the East Cleveland Public Library". U-TURN!!!
I listened to the start of a historic moment for the region, as I zipped the mile down Euclid, and was soon smack in the middle of the greatest local media production NEO could imagine, in the storied Debra Ann November Learning Center, bringing global dialog about the war in Iraq, on the 4th "anniversary", to what several East Cleveland residents acknowledged is a place not unlike a post-war zone. How could this be real?
At the end of the two hour global broadcast, that connected East Clevelanders (and others from our region) with people from Spain, Iraq, Zimbabwe... the world... via phone, email, and text message, I asked WCPN Producer Dan Moulthrop "why East Cleveland?", and he said "we like to bring attention to this important place". Good answer.
The experience of watching this production was astounding, and the outcome was spectacular. I'm a regular listener of "World Have Your Say" so I am well mesmerized by the flow fo the show - weaving together the voices and insight of many people of all ages from around the world to discuss the most important topics on Earth - but seeing it in action... that was AWESOME. "Presenter" Ros Atkins and his crew are absolutely masterful - they were literally jumping all over the wonderful East Cleveland theater in a spontaneous ballet of collaboration that brought the room - and distant connections - together in ways no Voices and Choices could conceive - pure genius.
But the stars are the people - regular people - who the BBC crew bring to a level of introspection and focused analysis that ascends beyond common thought to debate. From handing a 13 year old a mike and having him volley with a dozen other intellectuals to sparing a war protester in Madrid against NEO natives - on a global topic - and keeping them on track - and forcing them to cut each other off and push the energy to controlled confrontation - nothing like it on radio or TV I've seen - and it is best in person.
The most insightful observation I took away from the experience, beyond appreciation for excellence in broadcasting (by WCPN and BBC) was that of all the 100+ people in the audience, nearly 100% said they are opposed to the war in Iraq, yet only around 30% admitted they have in any way protested the war. One member of the audience concluded the forum in embarrassment on this fact. Clearly, it takes this level of informed, collaborative engagement to recognize such disconnects - that we do not act on our beliefs - and to drive people to be real. We need so much more of that here. Thank you to the world-class crew from BBC and WCPN to drive that realization deep into the consciousness of those of us lucky to be in East Cleveland today. Now, to raise the consciousness of all the people of the region about issues beyond Iraq, to conflicts over things like health and well being of the people of places like East Cleveland.