Sign The Guestbook
View The Guestbook
Archived Guestbook
Submit An Article
Staff List
Privacy Policy


Weekly Features
Letter from New York
Mathew Tombers is Managing Director of Intermat, Inc., ( a television company which executive produces programs and consults with industry companies on a variety of issues. Intermat, Inc. is currently involved in approximately thirty hours of television in various stages for a variety of networks. He is one of the Executive Producers of OFF TO WAR, a ten hour series for Discovery Times and for a one hour on international adoptions for Discovery Health. He has consulted a variety of companies, including Ted Turner Documentaries, WETA, Betelgeuse Productions, and Creation Films, Lou Reda Productions as well as many others.

August 9, 2006

The Difference a Day Makes

In these post 9/11 days I have learned to allow more time when flying so I won't have to sweat it if there is a particularly long security line. For an overnight trip to Salt Lake City I slid easily through security, having mastered the moves to make good time. Just a day later, the world turned itself upside down ' a bit. An alleged plot was discovered and a group arrested in Britain for plotting to bring down a number of airliners simultaneously as they flew from Heathrow to points in the U.S. They were intending to use ordinary liquids [of undisclosed nature] to mix homemade bombs once on board. Boom! A terrorist statement!

Returning to New York I checked my carry on, surrendering convenience for the sake of saving my brand new tube of toothpaste and all the other sundry liquids and gels with which I travel. Leaving myself plenty of time, I once again lucked out, slipping through security in a break in the crowds. As my knapsack was ransacked [I had remembered to remove my Purell and had forgotten the small bottle of water] everyone joked, the mood was not unpleasant. Talking to both airline and TSA folks, they commented that most people understood, though a little bewildered when arriving first thing this morning to discover new rules overnight.

Last week, having retreated from the torrent of news that spills out of the media machines, I am back this week, the heat having broken and, in its lessening, reigniting my curiosity in the world beyond my overheated sphere. On the radio I heard a National Geographic Radio Expedition, an audibly haunting story of efforts to save orangutans in Indonesia, a subject to which I have given little thought and about which I now know now, thanks to the far reaching ability of media to bring the far close to home. It is inspiring; media's power, and frightening if you concentrate simply on the terrors that are marching across the landscape, wondering if the Israeli/Hezbollah/Lebanese war is a war by proxy, greater forces fighting in smaller places? Or when I listened to the thrum of reports out of London about the plot to blow up planes to America.

The monstrous bloodshed happening highlights the tribal and primal pushes that drive men to murder their fellow man; in India, Muslims no longer feel safe in their own country, because they are Muslim. The Muslim/Israeli situation defies my personal logic; I cannot comprehend the Shiite/Sunni rivalry that is racking Iraq. Is that country locked in insurgency, civil war or both? Probably both; there seems enough hatred there to drive both bloodlusts and more to boot.

In an issue of USA Today a poll shows a majority of us as thinking of the world as being the most dangerous it has been in our lives. I don't quite think that. One of the searing moments of my childhood was the Cuban Missile Crisis. I thought the world was going to end in one big nuclear mushroom cloud. I recall sitting on the steps leading to our basement, my father telling me it was going to be all right. I did not believe him.

I don't have that kind of fear today; I do have a sense of dis-ease, deep and profound, that "things" are not going well anywhere and that we are on a sliding slope, slipping into troubles which will takes us a LONG time to get away from, if ever, in my lifetime.

It is surprising yet inspiring that Daryn Kagan is giving up her CNN anchor seat to develop a media presence devoted to bringing more hopeful news to us, in an effort to counterbalance the carnage that captivates us onscreen. It is what New Yorker Paul Sladkus has done with his site, a web presence to hold a candle up in the darkness.

While we seem careening toward a clash of civilizations, Muslim against the rest, it is good to know there are men and women who are holding up candles in the twilight, encouraging us to do the same.