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Scheer Intelligence

Filmmaker Kenneth Carlson on Meeting 'Heart of Nuba' Villain (Audio and Transcript)

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In this week’s episode of “Scheer Intelligence,” host and Truthdig Editor in Chief Robert Scheer speaks with filmmaker Kenneth A. Carlson about his recent movie, “The Heart of Nuba.”

Scheer and Carlson discuss the politics of Nuba, located in the southern region of Sudan, and what inspired the documentarian to make a film about the persecuted tribe and the heroic American doctor Tom Catena.

Catena, with whom Carlson played football at Brown University, provides medical attention to hundreds of patients in the Nuba Mountains, a region under attack by the Sudanese government.

Carlson also talks about his interview with Sudanese dictator Omar al-Bashir, whom he was able to meet through a neighbor in Santa Monica, Calif.  “How often does a filmmaker get to face the antagonist, the villain, of his or her film?” the filmmaker tells Scheer. “Very rarely. And I was able to do that.”

To learn more about the film, watch the following trailer:

Listen to the interview in the player above and read the full transcript below. Find past episodes of “Scheer Intelligence” here and read Carlson’s piece about the film here.

Full transcript:

Robert Scheer: Hi, this is Robert Scheer with another edition of Scheer Intelligence, where the intelligence comes from my guests. In this case, it’s Ken Carlson, who made an incredible movie called The Heart of Nuba. And if you don’t know where Nuba is, it’s the southern region of Sudan; not [South] Sudan, the southern region of Sudan. It’s a country ruled by a vicious and indicted war criminal, Omar al-Bashir. And there’s a couple of million people live in that area, who for whatever religious, ethnic reasons, are held in suspicion by the government, and they have minerals and oil under their land. And Ken, you went and made a documentary there. You’ve made a number of movies, features, documentaries; you made one that I think is incredible, called Go Tigers. I show it all the time to my students, about high school football; it preceded Friday Night Lights. And as I understand it, you’re making this movie, right, about Africa, about Sudan and the Nuba people, because of your playing football at Brown University. So why don’t you, why don’t we begin with that? Because it’s really about a guy that you played football with, who’s now a pivotal figure in all this.

Kenneth Carlson: Well, that’s true. Bob, it’s a pleasure to be here, and yes, all things lead back to, all things oblong. So it’s all about football; you’re right, it is a connection, I haven’t really put that together with Go Tigers and The Heart of Nuba. Yes, this is a very personal story for me. This is a story about the only doctor in a region for about a million plus people. This is a resilient people, but a people that have been subject to great atrocities. There’s a conflict there that’s been going on for years, but it’s pretty much a conflict that is a war that has been picked by Omar Hassan al-Bashir. So I met Tom Catena back at Brown University; we both were classmates and teammates. In fact, we were on the same defensive line. Tom was a nose guard, he was All-American; I was an outside linebacker, I was not. He was ferocious, he was a monster on the gridiron, and he’s taken that same skill set, the same attributes, and applied it to what he’s doing now in the Nuba Mountains. So he is providing not only medical care, but hope to a large region that is suffering under the hands of Omar Hassan al-Bashir, as you said, that vicious dictator, the genocidaire that’s responsible for Darfur.

RS: What we do in these podcasts, basically, I feature what I call “American originals.” A few of them are Canadian, some are more recent immigrants. But generally a notion that out of this crazy-quilt of our culture, we get really special people. We get them for all sorts of reasons, but we have great diversity of ethnicity, and religions, and so forth. And Tom Catena, the reason I, I really—I see him more as an American original, and you are one yourself, a child of what, three generations of ministers and from Ohio. And you know, and yet you’ve come to make these movies, a great deal of—I shouldn’t say “yet,” you have come to make these movies of a great deal of social content and meaning. But in this case, here was a guy from—help me—

KC: Upstate New York.

RS: —upstate New York—

KC: Amsterdam, New York, near Albany.

RS: —and it’s in the movie, he goes home at one point for Christmas, he’s from a Catholic family. And he was a guy who in school studied engineering, and then he decided he would become a doctor. And for five years he went into the Navy, ‘cause that was a more affordable way to become a doctor; he’s obviously a very bright guy, very personable. But in the movie, you capture the sort of normalcy of Tom Catena. This was not a religious fanatic; this is not a guy who had, you know, extreme views of anything. He was a kind of a, you know, a happy-go-lucky football player. And as with you, and here we get to a certain serious side of religion, he had a kind of calling here. At a certain point, he decided he wanted to study medicine. And then when he got his degree, instead of becoming a suburban doctor making a lot of money and so forth, he chose to go work elsewhere where he was needed. So why don’t you catch us up on who is this Tom Catena that you played football with, and why did he take the path he took.

KC: We explain that in the film, but it’s really a pilgrimage for him, for all of us, I believe. Tom was, as I said, a monster on the gridiron. And, but he was, but a sweetheart of a guy. I mean, literally, he would lay out a quarterback through a bull rush, and then pick him up and dust him down and apologize for hitting him. I mean, that’s the kind of guy he was. When we all went out on Friday and Saturday nights, Tom would stay in and work, studying, and he had Bible study sometimes. But he was, as you said, not a pious guy that was reaching for martyrdom; he just simply was a decent human being. And you know, his humility on the football field—if you know anything about football, a nose guard is a position that fires out every play. And you never hear his name on the loudspeaker; the announcer never, you know, pays homage to the line. His play is about a collision every single, every single down. And not unlike that, he has applied those attributes to what he’s doing in the Nuba Mountains, but with no glory. I mean, he does not want glory; he wants no attention. We always thought Tom would do something special; we had no idea what was in order. And it’s, as I like to say, it’s the closest I’ve ever come to meeting a saint on this earth. He does not in any way, shape, or form want attention for it; he just wants to do the work, and he wants to provide help to these people that are, you know, in great need of. And he truly lives his life with the mantra, “Every life holds the promise of hope.” He truly believes that. And he could be making beaucoup bucks here in the United States, living a life of luxury with all the creature comforts, but he chooses to be in a war zone in a very difficult, remote part of the world, because he feels that is his calling, he feels that is his purpose. He had an epiphany when he was, after he graduated from Brown, and he has stuck to that, and it has led him to the Nuba Mountains. And he lives a life of great sacrifice and great service to better these people. And I hope I capture that in the film. And like I said, he wants no attention for it, not spotlight; he just wants to do the work ‘cause he feels that’s the right thing to do.

RS: Yeah, he didn’t even want your spotlight or the spotlight of your film—

KC: Not at all. He fought me on that. [Laughs]

RS: Yeah. And well, we should discuss that a little bit. But I mean, here—we should explain, there’s a couple of million people here, and he’s running the only hospital.

KC: We don’t know, there’s, the last time they did a census there was—never. So we don’t know if there’s 500,000; we know, we hear there’s over a million, they think it’s about a million and a half, but it’s hard to really, to calculate. But the bottom line is, there’s one hospital, it has 435 beds, and there’s one surgeon, there’s one physician, and that is Dr. Tom Catena. So we like to say he’s the last line of defense; he’s the only go-to there medically. So he is in harm’s way, he’s exposed, but he has a hell of a lot of work to do in an extremely remote and dangerous part of the world. I mean, there’s 435 beds, and each bed has about two people. Pediatric ward has three. So when he does rounds each and every day, he’s meeting somewhere between 700 and 800 people. Then he does a clinic after hours for about another hundred, 150 people, as you see in the film. So this man is, is courageous, he’s brave, he’s selfless, but he’s focused.

RS: I want to take it down to the human level. There’s a guy comes out of medical school, and it’s interesting in the film ‘cause he clearly does not want the attention. And he’s also clear that there’s something odd about that this doctor, in a Catholic hospital, is a white guy, right, from upstate New York. He ends up, I guess we can give it away, at the end of the movie he actually ends up marrying a local woman who is working at the hospital, a member of the Nuba tribe.

KC: Yep, as a nurse.

RS: As a nurse. And his pitch, all—there’s two points that I think, I mean, really drew me to this film. One is, you know, out of his religious conviction, his sense of human worth, every life has equal potential and meaning. So if he walks away and these people suffer, you know, then he’s saying their lives are worth less than, say, people in upstate New York, Amsterdam, New York, or wherever. He was very clear about that in this film; he gets tired, he gets angry, they’re being bombed, there’s a lot of suffering. It takes him weeks to get home for Christmas if he wants to do that. He gets malaria. You know, and it’s horrible; it’s horrible to see what these bombs do to people. I mean, here we see war now as a video game, and you shoot off these bombs. And when you watch Ken Carlson’s documentary, Heart of Nuba, you know—you know, there are scenes—you know, you remember, no, the arm comes off, the leg comes off. This kid, there’s one kid in there, I can’t get him out of my mind, in your movie. But he, Dr. Catena makes the point, he says look, his arm is gone, his leg is gone; this is an agricultural society; this kid, what is he going to do? Who’s going to take care of him? You know, I mean, it’s really heart-rendering. And yet, he’s there, and he doesn’t have the white man’s burden idea. He has just the opposite: if my work here has any worth, I have to help train the staff to take over my place. That’s one very big theme, that in order for this thing to endure, I have to replace myself with local people, and there’s a lot of that, the training of the people to run the hospital, and the nurses. And the other is this very powerful idea which we pay lip service to, that everybody’s life matters. But he’s really there. And he’s got malaria, and he—you know, I’ve had a bout of malaria, you know; it’s horrible. I had it in Cambodia, actually. And you know, the last thing you want to do is stick around; you want to get away, get treatment. And this guy really goes through a lot, and his house gets blown up—the whole thing, you know. And yet what’s driving it is not some abstract religious notion, but a very basic one—and he’s not preachy; just a very basic one. He says, look, if I walk away here, that means my life is more important than that kid’s, and I don’t believe that.

KC: That’s right. And he is all in; he believes that 100 percent, it’s not lip service, he’s not, he’s not acting. This is real. I mean, and Tom is an individual that will put others in front of himself, to the point where he literally is wearing down. I mean, he’s strong as ever, but we found out last year when he won the Aurora Prize in Yerevan, we insisted that he had a full physical done, and we found out he has two forms of tuberculosis. He has malaria, he just got pneumonia. He used to be 245 pounds on the gridiron, now he’s 140. We’re talking about 100 pounds lighter because all he can eat there is rice, beans, and sorghum. So he is putting himself forward in a physically, mentally—he is all in. And the toll that it takes on an individual is outrageous. But your point is that it is about the hospital, it’s about giving care, and it’s about the Nuban people. And what Tom made me promise, in order to make this film, is it can’t be about him. And I said, Tom, you’ve got to be my narrative through line, you have to be, you know, you are the reason I’m here, you know! And I will—he said, I need this to be about the Nuban people, the conflict, and their plight. And I agreed with that. And so as I was discovering in the field, that theme came up, that he was literally preparing them to take over the hospital: ownership for them. And that’s very powerful. It’s not about him, it’s about them, and he really lives that out to the nth degree each and every day. And when you see the film, I think that comes through. And I say this, though, with all sincerity, that it’s hard to capture. When you see this film, you see the graphic nature of it, you see the work; but you really can’t feel it, because you don’t understand how difficult it is, what he’s doing in a war zone.

RS: You largely shot this film, you had someone else working with you, but basically your crew that you had lined up originally bailed on you—

KC: Crew of two.

RS: Yeah. And you ended up doing a lot of photography yourself.

KC: And sound, yeah.

RS: And at one point you had guns at your head, a plane that had taken you to a spot wasn’t going to take off, and so forth. So there’s a great deal of risk that you took in this. And, I must say, and after the break we’ll get back to that, you actually went and met the dictator.

KC: That’s right.

RS: And I have to talk about that, because what we’re talking about is a group of people who, there’s religious dispute, we’ll discuss that, in the Sudan; not all the people—

KC: The resource curse.

RS: Right, that they have resources, and not only that, but they have different—you have some Muslims who are in this area, and then Christians, and so forth. What’s really fascinating about it is all this harm is inflicted by a dictator who’s been in power for decades. And at a critical moment, and after the break maybe we’ll even begin with how you came to do this, you met with him, after the first draft of the film was done, quite recently. [omission for station break] We’re back with Ken Carlson, the director, producer, writer—it was really pretty much a one-man operation of a really brave film, The Heart of Nuba. And Nuba’s an area, the southern part of Sudan, not to be confused with [South] Sudan, but Sudan, and run by a really vicious dictator, Omar al-Bashir. And after shooting this film, editing it and so forth, Ken Carlson got an invitation, a strange invitation to go, actually meet the man who was inflicting— I mean, he sends the planes that drop the bombs on these people. And we should describe, the people are living in a very primitive agricultural situation; their farm implements are quite primitive, and so forth—

KC: Mud huts.

RS: But there’s a great deal of joy and content, meaning to their lives, which the film Heart of Nuba, captures. So we come to really care a great deal about these people, and we see their interaction, which is incredibly loving and complex in, you know, in every respect. And as I say, the hero of this film, Dr. Tom Catena, actually marries into the village and is living there in the village as one of the people, and is accepted. But the man inflicting all of this evil upon it, this vicious dictator, is still in power. And the, basically, the human rights community, the world community, other states, have kind of been, dare I say it, indifferent to this. So why don’t you give us the larger picture and how you came—it’s not in the film, I think it should be in the film, but we can discuss that. But you actually came to spend  time face-to-face with this dictator after he had seen the film.

KC: Yeah. How often does a filmmaker get to face the antagonist, the villain, of his or her film? Very rarely. And I was able to do that. One of my neighbors, Don Burris, introduced me to this woman Jenna McElligott, who said: I know the president of Sudan, al-Bashir, and I’d love to introduce you to the majority leader, Mahdi Ibrahim—

RS: Wait a minute, one of your neighbors in—

KC: In Santa Monica.

RS: Santa Monica—

KC: Knew a woman that professed to know Bashir. Worked as a Catholic, a liaison between the Catholic Church and the Khartoum government 20-some years ago. And I took the meeting, and lo and behold, she said: I’d love to see the film. If I think it’s the right thing to do, I will introduce you to this Mahdi Ibrahim, the majority leader. And she saw it, she said: I will love to introduce you, I think it’s a powerful film and I think that he would actually help broker peace over there if we got it into the right hands. And that would be, ultimately, al-Bashir. So this man, Mahdi Ibrahim, flew out from Washington, D.C.; I met with him for lunch and sussed him out, vetted him. And I thought he would be worthy of showing the film, ‘cause you never know with the Khartoum government, you know, what you’re getting involved with. So I showed him the film in my home, and at the end he fell to his knees and he wept. And he flat-out said, I am shocked and I’m ashamed. I said, come on, you had to have known you’re bombing the Nuba Mountains and the—

RS: He’s a part of the government—

KC: He’s a part of the government, he’s the majority leader! I mean, he literally has the power—he’s the Paul Ryan of Khartoum. So he literally said, I will make this my mission, to stop the bombing, to get it to Bashir and to stop the bombing. I said, great, thank you. Didn’t think that that would happen, of course, because keep in mind this is this genocidal regime. Sure enough, within two weeks I get a call from Mahdi Ibrahim saying: I’m proud to say that the president has seen the film; he reacted in a similar way as I did, and he has given us this quote: The primary reason for the ceasefire that he has declared is The Heart of Nuba. You can only imagine how thrilled I was. But yet, I thought, is this really going to happen? I reached out to Dr. Tom Catena in the war zone, in the Nuba Mountains, and he in fact said, the bombing has stopped. So that’s how it happened. But keep in mind, this is a ceasefire; it’s temporary, it’s not a peace agreement. We know that at any moment it could erupt again, ‘cause this is a man wanted by the international criminal court. You know, he is most wanted for ten counts of war crimes. He said, he reached out and said, I would like to tell my side of the story. And I said, well, what does that entail? That means you need to come over here, and I am allowing you to interview me. So of course I asked my wife Katrina, is that OK? And she looked at me, like, are you crazy? But she said, this is part of the story, you can go. I thought about my children, is this the right thing to do? I enlisted Nicholas Kristof. I also had to send a letter in, same with Nicholas Kristof, who was going to accompany me. We had to admit wrongdoing by entering the country, for me twice, illegally. And I put that in letter form, sent it to The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof looked at it, gave it to Legal; he changed a few things, we sent our letters in together and they granted permission. Nicholas pulled out five days before hand because he was on his way to North Korea to interview Kim Jong Un, which unfortunately didn’t happen, so I went on my own. And he, Bashir, wanted to prove to me that his side of the story needed to be told.

RS: Here you’ve got this dictator that has been in power forever, and he’s killing these people; you’ve made a documentary basically calling him a war criminal; and your doctor, Tom Catena, says, where is the international court? Where is the criminal, you know, where is justice against this criminal? No question, you don’t pull any punches in this documentary. And that’s the documentary this dictator looks at, where you’re calling him a war criminal, and then you decide that you can risk your life, ‘cause that’s what you’re doing, to go over there and interview him. And so you must be scared out of your mind, right?

KC: I’ve learned in my life to compartmentalize. That’s what I did when I shot this film in a war zone. I was able to take the fear or the reality out, and do my job. But this was actually more of a facing-evil type of situation for me. So yeah, when I went in, I thought, this is the stupidest thing I’ve ever done. I’ve just admitted my guilt of entering his country illegally; I hear all the time that he detains people, they torture. So probably not the wisest decision that I’ve ever made, but it did bear quite a bit of fruit, and I’m glad that I, I’m thrilled that I did it. It was a surreal experience to be there interviewing, like I said, the villain, the antagonist of my film. But you know, keep in mind that at any moment this could have gone sideways. But the umbrella that I operated underneath was sanctions were being held over their heads. Obama had lifted, temporarily, sanctions in January of 2017. I was there in September, and the decision was going to be made by the Trump administration by October 12th, if these, the sanctions were going to be lifted permanently. So I knew that an international incident, especially one involving the United States, a filmmaker such as myself, would run that amok quickly. So I went there thinking that I had that, at least, at my back; but that’s not going to stop a genocidal maniac like that. But it did. And I was able to get out with a story.

RS: So you’re a filmmaker, and you got concerned about what’s happening in this area, make your film, but now you’re also taking the next step. You care—

KC: Absolutely.

RS: —and you want to do something about it. So you work with human rights groups, which hadn’t done quite what they should have been doing. So you become, well, you kind of organize around this film.

KC: That’s right. You know, we were not blessed to get into some of the large, the better-known film festivals. I knew—I mean, I’m an alum of these film festivals; I was crushed when it didn’t happen. But I knew after five months of fighting to get into, you know, these well-known festivals that I needed to mobilize. I needed to get, to create a human rights coalition, and I did that with Bonnie Abaunza, who is an activist that is well connected. And she helped me put together over 70 NGOs, entities in this coalition. And that has been the proverbial wind beneath my wings, that propelled me into the interview with Bashir. And I checked in with them, conference-called two times, and said, is this the way we should do it? Is this how I go about this? Is this the right thing to do? Are we stepping into the right—are they going to consider this propaganda? Are they going to take advantage of this? And they all had their opinions, but ultimately we decided that this was a rare opportunity, and we took advantage of it. And it has bared some fruit.

RS: Yeah, there is a ceasefire as we do this interview—

KC: There’s a ceasefire.

RS: —and it’s held, what, now, for a few months?

KC: It’s 14 months.

RS: Fourteen months!

KC: Fourteen months, it has. But like I said, it’s temporary. It could change. You understand that.

RS: I got it. That’s why people should watch the film. Because first of all, it not only could be continued in this area, but it’s typical of a lot of the mayhem in this world. People are being bombed in areas we don’t know about, by vicious dictators that we don’t know enough about. And you’ve actually made it a very human story. But most human of all, take me moment-by-moment. You get on a plane, and you’re going to go—I know this, ‘cause I mean I, you know, I’ve been in some—

KC: You’ve—you’ve lived this. I know you have.

RS: Well, I’ve been in different countries, I’ve been in, I was actually in North Korea at one point, I’ve been in lots of different places. But I know, I mean I’ll admit to being frightened out of my mind, under different circumstances. So I’m trying to see it, you get a, what, you get a plane in L.A. or something, and then—

KC: That was—yeah, that wasn’t that difficult. I mean, I was able to fly into Khartoum. I had to fly through Dubai, but that’s not that hard.

RS: No. And then you get there, and what, you’re met, and you’re taken to—

KC: I’m met by this Mahdi Ibrahim. And I had to give up my passport, which was a frightening thing, ‘cause we all know that is, that’s your currency in a foreign country. And I was taken to a hotel, and I thought, OK, this is exposure. What’s going to happen? And by the way, the trip to the hotel, we went through some abandoned warehouse district, and I thought OK, here—they’re not messing around. I mean, the first thing they’re going to do is take me into some warehouse, some empty space, and they’re going to interrogate me, they’re going to press their opinions on me. So I, you know, that was the first thing I had to get over. But it led up to, you know, I was there on a Friday night—

RS: You put it mildly. They could have tortured you and then killed you.

KC: That’s right. And they have a tendency, a proclivity, of doing so. I knew that was all a part of a reality, and I knew that I was, I had a wife to answer to, and three kids. And it was, so yeah, it was frightening. You know, I’ll readily admit it. And the day of, we were met by his henchmen at the gate of his palace, and these guys looked, you know, like thugs. And I thought, are we going to get in? And when I get in, is this where I’m going to remain? I mean, you just don’t know. But fortunately—

RS: So it’s you and a camera, right?

KC: I had one other individual that was with me as a cameraman. Then I had a sound team when I got there. And there were about 40 of his handlers there. And we filmed a little—filmed some trophies and some you know, some, ah, some things on some shelves, and they stopped us down quickly. And it was a very serious thing. And they sat us in these throne-like chairs; his throne was, of course, a little taller than mine. And, but they allowed me, I mean, they—I mean, I interviewed him for an hour and 15 minutes, and I asked some pressing questions. To his credit, he faced me. After seeing this film, he knew I was highly critical of him. You know, I don’t want to give any credit to that man, but the thought that he allowed it to happen—he wanted to tell his side of the story, and he thought that he could affect the film, so when we went to release it theatrically, when it got out there, his side of the story would be told. Well, the truth of it, his side of the story is a big lie.

RS: I saw the film at that stage. I know exactly what that film looked like. It was a devastating indictment of this dictator. No holds barred. I mean, it’s just flat-out, this guy ought to be in jail—

KC: It’s reality, Bob.

RS: Yes. But, no, but that’s what your film, your film really had, and Dr. Tom Catena—this guy is a war criminal, this guy should be held accountable, he’s killed innocent people, you know. And so the film cuts him no slack at all. It doesn’t say, well, maybe he had his reasons, or maybe he’s in a civil war, or the fog of war—no, no, no.

KC: It tells the truth.

RS: It said, these people have a primitive agricultural existence, and this guy sends jet planes over to bomb them, destroy them, kill them. And then we have this doctor trying to patch up their bodies when an arm and a leg have been blown off. And the poor five-year-old is gonna, how’s he going to live? So this is the guy that your film describes, all of that, without holding back—

KC: This is a genocidaire. This is a man responsible for Darfur.

RS: So, and then you are ushered in there. And he’s seen your film.

KC: Yeah.

RS: And so what are the first words? I mean, what do you—

KC: The first question was, you’re the commander in chief; you understand what’s happening militarily in this country and in other ones? Yes. He said, yes. I said, so then, you know that the Mother of Mercy Hospital was bombed in May of 2014? And he went—no. I mean, just, I knew at that point that we’re in for, as Hitler said, you know, the colossal lie. Lie big and lie often. And that’s what he did. And he, when I asked him things like, you’re a man of faith, yes? Of course. And so you pray often, yes? Yes, five times a day. Well, what do you pray for? And he just looked at me. And that stare—and I didn’t know what to expect. And then he went right into his rhetoric. Well, I pray for the hope and peace for the Sudanese people, and that we’d be a shining light, and blah blah blah blah blah. But there were moments there, when his jaw was clenched, that I thought he might go into something else, or he might say, you know what, you’re staying.

RS: Unfortunately—I hope when you screen the film you also show your interview with the dictator. I know you don’t have—

KC: One of the reasons we don’t, Bob, is because at the end of the film it kind of, it conveys the message that there’s been a ceasefire, don’t worry about it, the genocidal maniac actually was pretty nice, he allowed you to come back into the country—

RS: You’re saying if you included it, yeah—

KC: If we would have included it, it lets the viewer off the hook. And the bottom line is, this is very serious and it’s continuing. It’s not past tense.

RS: Right. But I just want to say, for people listening to this who go see the film, maybe, you know how when you issue the DVD or something, there are the outtakes—

KC: [Laughs] Yeah.

RS: And I want to tell you, as somebody who knows your work and knows your courage—I respect it more when you confront a dictator than I do when you’re playing a defensive position in football—but nonetheless, you know, I know you. And when I saw that scene where you’re going face-to-face with a dictator and confronting him with his war crimes, people should see that. And I hope you at least include it in the DVD version, because that took incredible guts. It really did. I mean, that’s not kidding around. We talk about, you know—yeah, you can confront a governor somewhere, or a head of a corporation, and yell at them, and you know, raise a question, and what are they going to do? Maybe the police will order you out, or something. You’re in there with a guy who could just look over at a henchman and your head is gone. You’re—you’re over.

KC: It’s the least I could do for the Nuban people and the love that I have for them, and certainly for my good friend Dr. Tom Catena; it’s the least I could do.

RS: There you go. That’s Ken Carlson. The film is Heart of Nuba. See it.

KC: And go to TheHeartofNuba.com if you want to get involved. If you want to help out, you can donate, you can write your congressman, we have templates there. You can get yourself involved in a peer-to-peer campaign. There are a lot of ways to get involved. Try to find a little bit of Tom Catena in each and every one of us.

RS: Thank you, Ken Carlson. Our producers are Rebecca Mooney and Joshua Scheer. Engineers are Kat Yore and Mario Diaz, with a great credit for Sebastian Grubaugh at the Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism at USC. Heart of Nuba is the film, Ken Carlson is the director, and check it out.

 

Robert Scheer
Editor in Chief
Robert Scheer, editor in chief of Truthdig, has built a reputation for strong social and political writing over his 30 years as a journalist. His columns appear in newspapers across the country, and his…
Robert Scheer

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