In the LRC: Kissinger

by Megan Connolly*

An article I recently read stated that “Life has so far survived the collision of continents, mountain ranges erupting in volcanoes, murderously cold ice ages, the plague, Attila the Hun, and even Henry Kissinger.” One might be wondering, who is this Henry Kissinger? And how can this person possibly be compared to tectonic forces, the Ice Age, the Black Death, and the Scourge of God?

The Trials of Henry Kissinger, a documentary based on the book by Christopher Hutchins, offers controversial answers to these questions.

Kissinger served as National Security Advisor and later as Secretary of State during the Nixon administration, continuing his position when Gerald Ford took office after Watergate. The film suggests (as do many other journalists and human advocacy groups both abroad and in the U.S.) that Kissinger is responsible for multiple war crimes committed while working for the government.

The Johnson administration and North Vietnam were negotiating the prospect of peace in 1968, however, when Nixon (who was heavily influenced by Kissinger) took office, the prospect of peace quickly faded. The Vietnam War continued, resulting in tens of thousands of more deaths, only to have Nixon settle for the same peace terms in 1975 that Johnson did in 1968. Are Nixon and Kissinger then responsible for prolonging the Vietnam War for political gain?

Kissinger is also accused of being the prominent figure behind the secret Cambodian bombing campaign during the Vietnam War. The secret Cambodian bombing campaign strengthened the chaos in Cambodia, which led to the strengthening of the Khmer Rouge insurgency who devastated the country even further, executing more than 1.5 million Cambodians. Is Kissinger, therefore, responsible for the deaths of millions of people?

Questions about Kissinger’s involvement in the plotting of the assassination of the communist Chilean President Salvador Allende are also brought up. Is Kissinger responsible for illegally removing the head of a foreign government? Coincidentally, the day the son of Allende brought up the charges against Kissinger, the impact of these accusations were overshadowed by the grave events that occurred that day, which was September 11, 2001.

In The Trials of Henry Kissinger, Christopher Hutchins demonstrates his arguments as to why he believes that Henry Kissinger is less than an honorable man. The film will too leave the viewer questioning the integrity of Kissinger. The Trials of Henry Kissinger displays the many different aspects of the character and personality of Henry Kissinger, who was and still remains one of the most controversial political figures in history.

*Megan Connolly is a Moraine Valley student, who writes a regular column, “In the LRC,” for the student newspaper The Glacier. In this column, Ms. Connolly reviews and highlights new additions to the library’s collection. This article has been reprinted with permission.

Journalism: Resources from advocacy to media watchdogs

Journalism: Resources from advocacy to media watchdogs: “The focus of this compilation is to provide a list of Web sites about journalism?as a field of study (particularly continuing education), as an ongoing presence in our culture, and as a profession. It is not concerned with sites that will lead the Internet user to the product of journalism, i.e., sources of print, broadcast, online news. ” (Citation from the ALA.org site)

The Big Mac Index

[The] Big Mac index is based on the theory of purchasing-power parity, under which exchange rates should adjust to equalise the cost of a basket of goods and services. … Our basket is the Big Mac” (a hamburger produced by the fast-food chain, McDonald’s). Includes comparisons of recent international Big Mac prices, a “Coca-Cola map of the world,” and articles about McDonald’s and fast food. From The Economist. (Citation from LII.org)

In the LRC: Guns, Germs, and Steel

by Megan Connolly*

Jared Diamond’s Pulitzer-prize winning book Guns, Germs, and Steel has been transformed into a film with the help of National Geographic.

Diamond is also the author of Why is Sex Fun?, The Third Chimpanzee: The Evolution and Future of the Human Animal and his latest work, Collapse.

While the book Guns, Germs and Steel is very extensive and exhausting, the film makes the information much easier to digest.

The film is inspired by the question of a Papua New Guinean, who asks Diamond, “Why is it that you white people developed so much cargo, but we black people had little cargo of our own?”

Many wonder why the western world is so full of opportunity and wealth, while those in other parts of the globe have not advanced for millenia. This left Diamond with the need to understand the difference bewteen the “have and have-nots”. Diamond’s quest to answer this question led him on a worldwide search for the roots of global inequality.

The film consists of three one hour parts: “Out of Eden”, “Conquest” and “Into the Tropics”.

During “Out of Eden”, Diamond explains the agricultural revolution and the initial domestication of plants and animals. “Eden” explains how the first civilizations occurred and prospered because of their geographical placement.

Diamond believes that the successful farmers who had food surpluses had the chance to advance, while those who did not advance (such as Papua New Guinea) were becoming isolated.

The second portion of the film, “Conquest”, explains how advanceed societies were able to conquer other portions of the world. It attempts to answer why the balance of power between the Old and the New World was so unequal. Conclustion as to why America fell to guns, germs and steel are also drawn.

During the third and final portion of the film, “Into the Tropics”, Diamond discusses the colonial explotation of Africa by settlers. It explains how this continent, so abundant in natural resources, might have ended up the poorest continent on earth. Diamond explains why he believes the European settlers “robbed Africa”.

Diamond’s Guns, Germs and Steel is an exhaustibly researched, informative and necessary film. The documentary succeeds in explaining the roots of social inequality and the difference between the “have and have-nots”.

*Megan Connolly is a Moraine Valley student, who writes a regular column, “In the LRC,” for the student newspaper The Glacier. In this column, Ms. Connolly reviews and highlights new additions to the library’s collection. This article has been reprinted with permission.

Country Profile of Afghanistan

BBC Country Profile of Afghanistan: Profile of this landlocked and mountainous country that is “sandwiched between the Middle East, Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent along the ancient ‘Silk Route.'” Includes demographic facts, historical overview, timeline of key events back to 1919, and brief listings of leaders and media outlets. Site also includes links to related news stories. (Citation from LII.org)

If you are interested in Afghansistan, be sure to check out the library’s books, DVDs, and other items that are on this subject. You can click here to see the Afghanistan subject heading in the library’s catalog.

St. Patrick’s Day Random Facts from the Census Bureau

U.S. Census Bureau Facts for Features: Irish-American Heritage Month and St. Patrick’s Day Facts and statistics related to St. Patrick’s Day, including topics such as population distribution of Americans with Irish ancestry, immigration, places in the U.S. called Dublin and Shamrock, trade with Ireland, beer consumption, and “[the] number of U.S. residents who speak Irish Gaelic at home.” From the U.S. Census Bureau. (Citation from LII.org)

MySpace and Social Networking Sites

The December 2005 cover story from Business Week entitled, The MySpace Generation discusses the impact of social networking sites, such as MySpace.com. If have not heard of MySpace, it is worth taking a look at this article. Here’s a quote from the article

“Preeminent among these virtual hangouts is MySpace.com, whose membership has nearly quadrupled since January alone, to 40 million members. Youngsters log on so obsessively that MySpace ranked No. 15 on the entire U.S. Internet in terms of page hits in October, according to Nielsen//NetRatings…Although networks are still in their infancy, experts think they’re already creating new forms of social behavior that blur the distinctions between online and real-world interactions. In fact, today’s young generation largely ignores the difference. Most adults see the Web as a supplement to their daily lives. They tap into information, buy books or send flowers, exchange apartments, or link up with others who share passions for dogs, say, or opera…The MySpace generation, by contrast, lives comfortably in both worlds at once.” (Read the entire article here.)

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