Craig Detweiler Conversation, Part 2




Here's the second part of three conversations I had with Peter from ConversantLife.com We discussed the tension around art and images in my new book "A Purple State of Mind: Finding Middle Ground in A Divided Culture." I hope you enjoy this conversation.

Mongolia's Ex-herders Struggle For Survival In The City

In my last blog I posted a lot of population stats about Mongolia. If you didn't read them or just skimmed over them, some of the ones I really wanted to stick out to you were these:

-HALF of the population is under 23 years old.

-40% of the entire population is living in one city alone, Ulaanbaatar.

-43% of what was once a nomadic culture are now living in cities. There is a large migration from the countryside to the cities.

My dad sent me this article that puts a more personal face on those numbers.

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A small, hungry cat is tied up next to the door of this family's ger. It meows incessantly and seems eager to be free as it strains at the cord around its neck. Animals often reflect their owners.

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Shake, Rattle and Roll

There are a lot of great reasons to live in Southern California. There's the weather, the beach, Disneyland. What's not to love? Well, for one, those unsettling earthquakes we get every once in a while. And we just had one. Not a big one (certainly not the Big One), but enough of a quake to get your eyes wide open and your mind racing.

According to the United States Geological Survey, the earthquake we had just before noon on Tuesday was somewhere between 5.4 and 5.6 on the good old Richter Scale, and the epicenter was about 40 miles from the Conversantlife.com office. (Okay, so our location didn't factor into the reporting, but I thougfht you would want to know, seeing as how you are concerned for our well being and all.)

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Give A Damn? Update from Rob

Hey kids, how's things.

Tuesday morning we left for California earlier than blue jays wake up and it's been non-stop filming/ man cuddling since we left. About an hour or two after our plane landed, we were already setting up for our first interview with the founder of The Falling Whistles Project, Sean Carasso. It was amazing and we all felt that we enjoyed almost everything that he brought to the table. In the past Dan has been asking most of the interview questions, but this time I made a point of shooting a few out there. I think the best part of this interview, not to discredit Sean, would have to be that we did the interview in a warehouse, with Dan and me seated on a shop vac and a bucket respectively. I dont know about you, but shop vac chairs scream Give A Damn? to me.

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"Give A Damn?" Update from Rob

I'll start by introducing myself; my name is Rob and I look forward to conversing back and fourth with everyone through this blog. I will gladly answer any questions you might have about myself or the film, but I'll warn you that most of the time you probably wont like the bluntness of my answers. Bottom line, I am offensive and I'm way past the point of dancing around the issues and people's feelings when we could be cutting through the crap and getting somewhere.

If you have seen the trailer then you most likely have a basic understanding of who I am, or at least who you might think I am. To the average viewer, I most likely come off as the atheist asshole who doesn't give a shit about anyone but himself. While I don't believe this to be the case, I certainly wont be so bold as to try and demand you think otherwise. I would also argue that my viewpoints are not a product of apathy and/or selfishness, I more so believe that I am the product of years of having propaganda-guilt-trip bullshit crammed down my throat. I think deep down a lot of people can relate to where I'm at, but most people just don't want to admit it and be the douche. Basically, I have no idea what my responsibility is to people half way across the world, but I'm willing to look into the issue and find out if we can make a difference.
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Destination Malawi

In less than three days I will be congregating with a team of fourteen eager excursionists in a church parking lot at 2:15 a.m. With twenty-eight suitcases among us and with a mental suitcase filled with the unknown and heavy with anticipation of a new adventure, we will launch ourselves willingly into an unforgettable experience.

Our destination: Malawi, Africa.

I’ve heard it said that Malawi is considered the Warm Heart of Africa. I’m ready to experience that warm heart first hand. At the same time, I am not naïve to the reality that creeps its way into the lives of Malawians. Life is not exactly easy going for many who live there. The life expectancy for males is estimated around the age of thirty-five and for the females it’s roughly thirty-nine years old.

Thoughts on an Old Memory

Recently I was reminded of a situation I witnessed on a hot summer day in 2003. I was traveling with a group of 17 and we were on our way to visit a Mother Theresa home called House of Peace just miles outside Kinshasa, Congo DRC. 

The House of Peace is an interesting name, considering it serves as both orphanage and hospice. Upon walking through the large iron gates, fully lined on the top with barbed wire and broken glass bottles, I noticed a black top play ground to the left, near a small building. On my right, were a handful of park benches, shaded by a large tree planted at the entrance of another building: this one larger than the one adjacent to it.

There was no one near the larger building to my right at first glance, yet, within seconds of entering through the gates, we heard laughter and the giggles of small children headed towards us coming from the smaller building.

"Give A Damn?" Update

Hows it going everyone?

We thought you might be interested in where we are at with this project.

As of right now, we are stationed in an office in St. Louis working all the time to try and get the word out about the film. We are consistently creating videos for our youtube/facebook/myspace/conversantlife pages (all those links are below.) Every day people come out of the wood works offering their help and support.

Next Tuesday, Rob, David and myself are headed to LA to get interviews with the people who run Invisible Children, The SOLD Project, and a few other non-profit organizations (Big thanks to our friend Rachel Burney for hooking a lot of that up.) We will be there for 9 days, getting interviews, promoting the film at concerts and events (a Big thanks to Rock 4 Justice) and doing some man on the street interviews.
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Why I (Dan) want to make Give A Damn?




The Just Ones

I’m a little behind in my reading. I just finished A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, by Ishmael Beah.

 

I’m also a little late in my response to it. I’ve struggled to make sense of the story I read. It’s not that I didn’t know about the overwhelming amount of child soldiers forced into a life of brutality and violence. I’ve known the statistics for years. I’ve read King Leopold’s Ghost, watched Blood Diamond, I read weekly updates from dear friends of mine living in Goma, DRC (listen to them share about their ministries there here), I’ve even been to Congo DRC myself where there are a reported 7,000 child soldiers currently.

 
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