The Roots of War… the Road to Peace – A Continuing Saga

Yet I hope one with an end in sight. A final, final has just been delivered to KERA, Channel 13 public broadcasting Dallas and with a few tweaks here and there an airing date may soon be set.

The documentary on terrorism as it relates to 9/11 and bin Laden has a history as long as Gone with the Wind. Scheduled for airing on January 29, 2006 it hit a snag, to say the least. On January 23, playing to a full house, it aired at the Angelika Theatre in Dallas. Most of the comments were very favorable. With the topic what it is and the diversity and conflict between the players we knew we would not, could not, nor did we have the intention of pleasing everyone, that’s not what a documentary is about. Our intent was to have the experts on the doc give their perspectives of what led to 9/11 and where we are as a result.

However the doc was protested by a Muslim activist group- the Freedom and Justice Foundation. . Mohammed Elibiarry, the Executive Director of the foundation, and several Muslim community leaders, objected to what they perceived as the relatively small number of Muslim scholars, and various other perceived inaccuracies. A major concern was that the documentary make clearer that most Muslims are in fact law abiding and abhor terrorism. While we referenced this throughout the video, we agreed to a disclaimer, provided Channel 13 could do so in getting this done in time before its airing that Sunday. Unfortunately, even with the best of intentions, on all sides, it was too late to successfully issue a disclaimer etc. and the program did not in fact air as scheduled January 29 th.

In our desire to get the work aired we agreed to Channel 13’s proposed new vetting, which was done, incorporating the changes suggested, and editing the work from 120 minutes to 90. Now as a novice documentarian, I had no idea that this work would be a full time job- yes, full time…producing the initial documentary work and then redoing the Roots of War has taken me 4 years. If in fact it was a paying with benefits job I’d certainly have job security. In fact my own money funded the changes. Still what an education, so I am grateful. The changes had to be made if we wanted the program to air on Channel 13. Roots became my life’s work. And yes, we can see some light at the end of the tunnel. It’s good work and deserves to be aired. It is balanced, and as fair to all of the issues as can be…

Roots is spawning new projects. It has forced me to look at the world differently. Perhaps there is a world where peace can be attained. Where each of us acknowledges a shared responsibility for the state of our world. And maybe a place where we each, with our own differences are willing to sit down, and break bread and talk about our differences which underline how similar we all are.

The protestors of Roots have become advocates; the differences from each group are forging relationships. Roots in its small way is examining diversity and asking for respect for each others differences. It’s a long journey and it’s not over yet.

So please stay with us. Roots is worth your time.


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