Hey man! there's only one way to learn
the truth. You gotta keep trying
G. S.  <george.salzman@umb.edu>
March 28, 2006

this page is at http://site.www.umb.edu/faculty/salzman_g/Strate/2006-03-28.htm

      Keep an open mind (but as Betrand Russell said, not so open that your brains fall out), search for honest people who are well-informed, listen to (and/or read) what they think, and try to evaluate it critically. No one “knows it all”, but some people know an awful lot. Just do your best to understand, and keep at it. None of us is born stupid, but we’re all born ignorant.

It’s an uphill struggle from then on — the struggle to become a fully human human being that starts at birth.

      There’s a host of my “truth-teller heroes”,[1] as I call them — Joe Bageant, Robert Fisk, Amy Goodman, Mark Bruzonsky, John Ross, James Herod, William Blum, Judy Norsigian, Alberto Giordano, Howard Zinn, Walter A. Davis, Rigoberta Menchu, Bill Templer, Harold Pinter, John Pilger, Rachel Carson, Alan Nairn, Uri Avnery, Noam Chomsky, Hannah Arendt, George Wald, Subcomandante Marcos, Peter Kropotkin, Kurt Weill, Albert Einstein, John Perkins, Upton Sinclair, Anuradha Roy, Mummia Abu-Jamal, Immanuel Wallerstein, Ignacio Chapela — an incomplete list of course and in no particular order, just pulled together rummaging through my website and memory for a few minutes.

      It’s so damn hard to know the truth because we’re inundated with the unending streams of lies that governments put out (if you know an exception, tell me) and the near-total control of media by corporate interests, which unendingly toot the ideology of big money and publish all the governments’ lies. That’s why truly authentic media are essential.

      Now, when you find a “truth-teller hero” who fires up your blood and adrenaline with hope and enthusiasm, and does the same for many many people, there’s an unmatchable combination of qualities. Authentic journalist and guitarist Alberto M. Giordano is such a person. The Narco News website, which he founded and which first hit the internet newsstand on April 18, 2000, is everything a grassroots authentic news source ought to be. Of course I’m jealous of him. While I laboriously struggle to complete yet another ponderous essay, trying to size up what made Hitler and the Third Reich tick, there’s Al with his acquired gang of young (and some not so young) fired-up investigative reporters and joyous musicians shining the light of truth in the darkest corners of the U.S.-led so-called “drug war”. They’re covering the Zapatista’s “Other Campaign” and, over-extended, also reporting from many other parts of América latina. A truly promethian effort for a not very large group of authentic journalists, dedicatedly not-for-sale. The truth never is.

      So today, when I got the e-mail from Al saying they need bucks, I thought “Oh shit! Not again. I already sent in my $1,000 pledge for this year. But, instead of hitting the delete key, I read on, and was inspired to send another kilobuck to help keep them on the road. What the hell. What can I do with the money after I die? Check out Al’s message, which begins as follows, and then do what you can for the world your great-grandchildren will inherit, if there still is a biosphere then that humans can live in.

      My late mentor Abbie Hoffman opined in his autobiography that early in life we are faced with the choice of "going for the money or going for broke." The almost six-year-old project that began as The Narco News Bulletin has, each step of the way, chosen to go for broke: to speak and report uncomfortable truths even when it could lead to being sued by Mexican narco-bankers, threatened by Colombian paramilitaries, or summarily dropped by North American philanthropists who wanted to limit the scope of our investigations within "safe" borders. All of those things and more have happened to us over the past six years but each time we decided to "go for broke" and take the more risky, if less popular, path. Wonderful things happened in our América and the Authentic Journalism renaissance thrived anew.

      Kind reader: Today, in 2006, we are at that same crossroads again. We have had to decide whether to maintain our steady stream of reports "on the drug war and democracy from Latin America" on the modest budget provided in tens and twenties and the occasional larger contribution by readers, or whether to rise to the additional challenge of offering the only consistent multi-lingual coverage of the Zapatista "Other Campaign" that rumbles through Mexico this spring.

      Al’s complete message is at: http://www.narconews.com/Issue40/article1694.html. Careful! If you read it, it might inspire you too.


[1] To enable you to contact directly those of my “truth-teller heroes” who are still alive, here’s the information I have. If you know some of the ones I’m missing, please pass the information to me so I can add it here. Thanks.

Joe Bageant <bageantjb@netscape.net>
Robert Fisk, c/o Foreign Desk, The Independent, 191 Marsh Wall, London E14 9RS
Amy Goodman <mail@democracynow.org>
Mark Bruzonsky <mark@bruzonsky.com>
John Ross <johnross@igc.org>
James Herod <jamesherod@gmail.com>
William Blum <bblum@aol.com>
Judy Norsigian judy@bwhbc.org>
Alberto Giordano <narconews@gmail.com>
Howard Zinn (I don’t know his current e-mail)
Walter A. Davis <davis.65@osu.edu>
Rigoberta Menchu (I don’t know her e-mail)
Bill Templer <bill_templer@yahoo.com>
Harold Pinter (I don’t know his e-mail)
John Pilger (I don’t know his e-mail)
Alan Nairn ( I don’t know his e-mail)
Uri Avnery <avnery@actcom.co.il>
Noam Chomsky <chomsky@mit.edu>
Subcomandante Marcos <laotra@ezln.org.mx>
John Perkins < john@johnperkins.org>
Anuradha Roy (I don’t know her e-mail)
Mummia Abu-Jamal (I don’t know his e-mail)
Immanuel Wallerstein <immanuel.wallerstein@yale.edu>
Ignacio Chapela <ichapela@nature.berkeley.edu>

All comments and criticisms are welcome.    <george.salzman@umb.edu>

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distribution list, please let me know.

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Last update of this page: March 29, 2006