Borges and Me: An Encounter by Jay Parini

This seemed the perfect time to read a story that took place in the early 1970s, when Jay Parini arrived at the oldest university in Scotland in flight from his draft board in the U.S., which had designs on sending him to Vietnam. I had just published an article about my flight from my draft board that same period, “Crested Butte 1970: Reflections on a Town in Transition.”  My flight would be to Guatemala with the Peace Corps, but I also had ties to St. Andrews Scotland where Parini had escaped. My wife and I visited my mother’s cousin and […]

Continue reading

Newsletter, From Counter Culture to Black Lives Matter, September 2020

From Counterculture to Black Lives Matter! Friends and Colleagues from Around the World, The “counterculture” segment of this month’s newsletter relates to the three articles published in the The Crested Butte News, which contrasts what I observed in Crested Butte, a small ski town outside of Gunnison, Colorado where I went to school in the early 70s with more recent protests. Cultural Watch will focus on two important books to better understand the underlying causes of systemic racism in this country, as well as what white people can do to combat it. We have several Voices of the Day during this pivotal point in our country’s […]

Continue reading

Caste: The Origins of our Discontents by Isabel Wilkerson

  The lock down caused by COVID-19 has laid bare the growing inequalities and injustices in our social and economic systems today and yet offered a good opportunity to understand its foundations. As well as why so many white Americans seem willing to ignore the needs of their fellow citizens in order to maintain a system which benefits them so mightily, while ignoring and explaining away the suffering of others. The public, excruciating murder of George Floyd sparked an awakening among many white people and our nation’s systemic racism and offered an opportunity to better appreciate its power and longevity […]

Continue reading

White Fragility by Robin Diangelo

  With the brutal and very public killing of George Floyd, and some 26 million people around the world who have joined the Black Lives Matter protest, this seemed like a good time to better educate myself about racism and my own privilege. Move out of my comfort zone and join with the Black and White communities ready to promote improved education, healthcare and fair wages for all Americans. Given the numbers and diversity of people participating in the protests, this could be a pivotal point in our history, especially with elections on the horizon. I was brought up in […]

Continue reading

Testimony: Death of a Guatemalan Village by Victor Montejo

  This would be the fourth of Montejo’s books I’d review in preparation for the production of a documentary on migration, “Guatemala: Trouble in the Highlands.” I’ve found this eyewitness account from a primary school teacher to be one of the most graphic descriptions of the violent conflicts between the Maya people and the army. Now that I’ve talked with him on several occasions, I appreciate why he is one of the most respected Maya intellectuals and activists in Guatemala today. And I can see why “Third World Resources” states, “One would be hard-pressed to cram more suspense and drama […]

Continue reading

Maya Intellectual Renaissance: Identity Representation and Leadership by Victor Montejo

This is the fourth of Montejo’s books I’ve read and reviewed as part of my research for a documentary on migration issues, “Guatemala: Trouble in the Highlands.” I’ve talked to the author, who is undoubtedly one of the most respected Mayan intellectuals and activists, when he was home in Huehuetenango, Guatemala, where he works, and also follow his Facebook page, “Mayalogue,” for all things Mayan. I especially appreciate the author’s insights because I’ve worked throughout the highlands of Guatemala, starting with the Peace Corps in the early 70s, but never stayed in one place long enough to learn any of […]

Continue reading

Empire of Borders: The Expansion of the U.S. Border Around the World by Todd Miller

  This book is timely as the U.S. continues to expand its military might to the level of the closest ten other countries in the world. Excellent investigative journalism reveals how the United States is outsourcing its border patrol abroad and essentially expanding its borders in the process. Also, our President’s highly publicized focus on the “Wall” between the U.S. and Mexico is missing the bigger picture of strengthening border enforcement around the world. These borders have expanded thousands of miles outside our territory to encompass not only American land but Washington’s interests. Resources, training and agents from the U.S. […]

Continue reading

Newsletter, Rethinking What’s Important & What’s Next! August 2020

Friends and Colleagues from Around the World, “Let me get this straight– so what you’re telling me is that my chance of surviving all this (pandemic) is directly linked to the common sense of others? You’re kidding, right?”  A daunting thought, but these circumstances do offer an opportunity to reassess the use of country’s resources as well as our personal goals. In our Cultural Watch, we’ll look at the scope and consequences of our growing “military, industrial, Congressional” complex. My latest Book Review will relate to that situation. Two of my reviews are in the Arizona Authors Association newsletter column “Million […]

Continue reading

Book Review, Travel; To Timbuktu: A Journey Down the Niger

  One of the reasons this book caught my attention is that I was working in Sierra Leone several years before Mark Jenkins started his trip down the Niger River in 1990. I traveled up-country on the border of Guinea with some missionary friends and have never forgotten the steady beat of drums in the darkness, a reminder of what a different world I’d just entered. Mark Jenkins, a travel fanatic and writer, sets out with three friends to attempt their first descent of the Niger River in kayaks, with the goal of reaching the legendary city of Timbuktu. The […]

Continue reading

Newsletter July 2020 New Website Emerges from Global Pandemic

In this issue, we’re introducing the new Million Mile Walker website as well as reflecting on the devastating impact of Covid-19 on our collective health and economy, which was exacerbated by a declaration of our Commander in Chief that he’d send troops into our cities to deal with protestors if our Governors were too weak. The Culture Watch will include several articles on where we are today as a society and then we’ll have our Voice of the Day, a Special Surprise, the Calendar, and What Others are Saying? https://mailchi.mp/b1ff3a559ec1/a-gift-for-you-different-latitudes-1558934?e=b69257b7d8  

Continue reading