It was impossible to miss the contrasts at Roxana Saberi's session with members of Minnesota Public Radio this morning.
There was Saberi, the journalist from Fargo who spent five months in an Iranian prison on charges she was an American spy, standing in the Minneapolis Club. Let's just say it will never be mistaken for a barren cell in Iran's notorious Evin Prison.
Saberi could say what she wanted to say, without fear that agents for the government would burst in and arrest her. In her book, "Between Two Worlds," she reveals the paranoia and oppression that is Iran, and gives the reader little hope that a reasonable dialogue between the U.S. and Iran is possible. And yet, she said this morning, she'd like to return someday. The women she met in prison are still there. They don't have parents who know how to get the world to focus its attention on them.
She didn't lecture, but her point was clear when she noted that her interrogators mentioned Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay often: You can't walk the human rights walk with just talk.
And she noted the difficulty of calling attention in the U.S. to the human rights abuses elsewhere, when the American media -- and the people -- are consumed by trivia. When she tried to tell the story about her imprisonment to a TV network last July, her segment was delayed by a day, and then a week, then a month, and then it was canceled altogether.
America had moved on because Michael Jackson was dead.
"American media -- and the people -- are consumed by trivia"
There is a subset of the American publc who is far more interested in Michael Jackson than anything that really matters.
Unfortunately, I have the uneasy feeling that this demographic is growing. Maybe the real issues are too large, scary, and unsolvable to ponder. Israel/Palestine anyone? Sometimes I feel that way and I turn on the Twins game. Go Twins!