Archive - June 3, 2016

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“The Peace Corps Radicalized Me” by Thomas Pleasure (Peru)
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“Escaping Vietnam” — a poem by John Holley (Colombia)

“The Peace Corps Radicalized Me” by Thomas Pleasure (Peru)

The following article was published on Argonaut Online — the web presence of The Argonaut, a local newspaper for the westside of Los Angeles — on June 1, 2016 under the title “Opinion Power to Speak.” We are delighted to have received permission from the author to repost it here. •   •  The Peace Corps Radicalized Me by Thomas Pleasure (Peru 1964–66)   SINCE FRANK MANKIEWICZ’S DEATH in 2014, activists, historians, cineastes, journalists and spinmeisters had been awaiting publication of his posthumous memoir, So As I Was Saying . . . My Somewhat Eventful Life. I imagine we all felt that Frank — son of “Citizen Kane” writer Herman Mankiewicz, nephew of director Joseph Mankiewicz and a political force of the 1960s and ’70s in his own right — had a special message for us. We were right. Movie buffs will lap up Frank’s tales of growing up in Hollywood and his conversation . . .

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“Escaping Vietnam” — a poem by John Holley (Colombia)

  A Writer Writes • Escaping Vietnam   Prime draft bait I was: twenty-four years old and able-bodied, with my educational deferment fast expiring as the enraged war machine scrambled to find fodder to cast into the useless Vietnam whirlpool deathtrap it could never convincingly justify. To avoid the inevitable and stall the military until the magic age of twenty-six when recruits were rejected for their resistance to blind obedience, I had applied for alternative service in the Peace Corps, which while still promising a warm and distant clime, would be of more merit than killing, safe, and maybe even fun. It was an angry and turbulent time: emerging from my tiny student garret where I hungrily pursued graduation as my ticket to physical survival, I found the university surrounded by blue uniforms in response to protests against the war I was trying to avoid: classes and exams were canceled . . .

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