Today WBEZ's Worldview devoted its program to the plight of displaced Afro-Colombians, who make up at least 1/3rd (or more) of that country's population and who are among the most severely affected by their government's and the rightist militias' battle with the leftist rebels. It was an excellent program, and the archive should post later today or tomorrow.
There's more information on the Association of Displaced Afro-Colombians
at: Chicagoans for a Peaceful Colombia.
Tomorrow at 9 pm EST USA Today will air Dan Klores' and Ron Berger's Ring of Fire, on former world-champion boxer Emile Griffith (pictured at left with his son, Luis, in a photo by Clay Patrick McBride), who in 1962 pummeled Cuban boxer Benny "Kid" Paret in their third fight, after which Paret subsequently died. Griffith's in-the-ring fury, some commentators have suggested, was fueled by Paret's anti-gay epithets against him before that and previous matches. Gary Smith pens an illuminated and sympathetic article on Griffith's fascinating, complex and often difficult life in the April 12, 2005 edition of Sports Illustrated, and Klores talked to Susan Stamberg about the film, and Griffith, this past weekend on NPR's Weekend Edition. The site also includes clips of the final Paret-Griffith fight. (Incredible note: Griffith's adopted stepson, Luis Rodrigo, and Paret's son Benny Jr. work side-by-side.)
The announcement of the new pope, the ultrareactionary Joseph Ratzinger, a former Nazi Youth member and the author of the virulently homophobic "The Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons" in 1986, pre-empted the regular programming on my local NPR station today. I was pissed by WBEZ's action, though I do understand them deeming this a newsworthy announcement, since the man will lead an global organization comprising some 1 billion people. The choice, as the German theologian Hans Küng noted, was "medieval"; Ratzinger, now fashioning himself Benedict XVI (ironic, of course, given that the last Benedict was a peacemaker), made clear his intentions in a homily this past Monday that denounced "Marxism, liberalism...libertinism...radical individualism, atheism and vague mysticism" and even other Christian faiths. And he presided over the half-hearted response to the priestly child sex-abuse scandals of several years ago. (Somewhere I read there were over 1,000 reports just this past year.) Finally it's unlikely he'll change the church's stand on condom use as one method of AIDS prevention, especially in parts of Africa, where it's been shown to be effective. Could there have been a more retrograde choice? Perhaps the cardinals themselves were being ironic; this choice could so totally backfire, driving more Westerners and Latin Americans out of the church and into others that the next pope would have to focus on the notions of evangelism, ecumenism and Christian "love"....
Today is the 10th anniversary of one of the worst right-wing terrorist attacks on American soil, Timothy McVeigh's and Terry Nichol's bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995. If you can, please honor those who were slain and their families by observing a moment of silence. I've never been to the memorial, but want to visit it someday.