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May the conversation continuePosted Tuesday, June 29, 2010, at 5:10 PM
Maybe you've noticed that my blogs seem to have taken on the theme of "travel."
This blog is also about a journey, albeit more noble and impacting than any trip I have ever taken.
After reading one article by Indian human rights activist Inderjit Singh Jaijee about the plight of farmers in the northwestern India state of Punjab, former human rights lawyer Rasil Basu knew she needed to go on a quest to create a film to tell the stories that have been silenced due to the taboo status of suicide in Indian culture.
Thanks to Jaijee, she and director Anwar Jamal were granted a place to stay and access to a community where farmer suicide, "The Harvest of Grief" is common.
Stories from mothers and widowed wives appearing in the film are absolutely heartbreaking.
Under the weight of mounting debt -- money lenders commonly charge 35-60 percent, ignoring the regulatory rate of 18 percent -- farmers with small plots of land can feel death is their only escape and ingest the chemicals intended to help them.
Those chemicals, along with hybrid seeds, resulted from the Green Revolution of in 1965. As I explained in the story "Documentary shocks, spurs conversation," much of the debate dealt with the Green Revolution and comparisons between Punjab and Midwest America states during the farm crisis of the 1980s.
The conversation continues.
"That that evening some people from rural areas went home with Spencer people, and they continued to talk about the film, too," Jan Myers, the coordinator of the Saturday screening of "Harvest of Grief" at Arts on Grand, said in an email.
She also shared that a friend had wanted to attend the screening, but was unable to due to previous commitments. That person heard, "The Basu documentary was wonderful and the whole event was exhilarating and thought-provoking," Myers said. "They 'felt sorry for those who left due to the weather as the whole evening was worthwhile and they can't stop thinking about it.'"
Myers also mentioned other people who could have shared their experiences with the farm crisis, but were unable to attend the event.
Here is your chance.
I am really looking forward to the continuation of an intriguing conversation about agriculture, farm crises, the Green Revolution, corporate agriculture and suicide.
On the topic of suicide, I want to mention that an Out of the Darkness Community Walk will begin at at 6 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 26, at the Royal Memorial Park Shleter House. These walks are to raise awareness and funds about suicide. No matter what the cause, I believe suicides can and should be prevented.
For more information and to donate to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, visit http://www.outofthedarkness.org/ .
Thank you, and may the conversation continue.
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As the junior staff writer here at The Daily Reporter, I enjoy interacting with my readers. This blog will allow me to do that. Whether voicing my opinion and looking for response or asking readers to weigh in on a specific topic I am writing about, I look forward to getting to know my readers and what they think.