Filmmaker and actor Joshua David McLerran’s book focuses on the Global South
Filmmaker, actor, author and Park City resident Joshua David McLerran is on a mission.
His book series "Radio for the Blind" is a clarion call to help the Global South.
The Global South refers to developing countries and continents that are mostly located in the Southern Hemisphere, according to McLerran.
"I don’t think it’s coincidental that many people aren’t familiar with that term because the impoverished of the world are the most silent or hushed population on our planet," McLerran said during in an interview with The Park Record. "Yet, they make up much of the population of the Earth."
This area includes Mexico, South America, Africa, the Middle East and many parts of Asia that are less economically advanced than the countries in the Northern Hemisphere, and he wants people to know about the challenges that the people who live in these areas face each day.
Dolly’s Bookstore, 510 Main St., will help McLerran with his mission by hosting a book signing on Friday, April 29, at 6:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.
"Dolly’s has been so supportive," the author said. "This is the first book signing that I have ever done and I’m looking forward to it."
To date, McLerran has published five "Radio for the Blind" books and recently released a compendium as well. The books are available at Dolly’s and Amazon.com.
"What ‘Radio for the Blind’ states is that every one of us comprises as human paste that is spread across a tiny, spinning rock that is heated by a fireball," he said. "Yet, we’re perpetually pushing the existence of these imaginary lines that were drawn by dead people long ago, which means that we are allowing those things to rule us."
The idea for the books was inspired in part by Jonathan Mayhew, the minister of the Old West Church in Boston during the 1770s.
"He said, ‘No taxation without representation’ and that phrase sparked the Boston Tea Party, which led to the Revolutionary War," McLerran said. "I take the stance that if the impoverished people of the world were properly represented in the governments of the world, the politicians would earn the average wage of the people over whom they govern."
Unfortunately, that isn’t the case, McLerran said.
"There is this idea that we all can make our destiny, and there is certainly a greater chance of making a better destiny if you live in the [Global North]," he explained. "But if you live Botswana or some other less advanced country, there aren’t opportunities for you to make a better destiny. For example, if you’re born into a royal family, you become a prince, but if you’re born into an impoverished family, good luck."
McLerran saw this firsthand when he lived for a time in the Philippines.
"When I was growing up in the United States, I thought I was raised poor, but when I went to the Philippines, I saw what real poverty was," he said. "I mean, right now, at this very moment, there are human beings, Filipino sugar cane workers, who are out 12 to 14 hours in the hot tropical sun doing all of this strenuous work and all they get is one meal of a plate of rice each day."
That’s not the half of it, according to McLerran.
"These workers’ children, as soon as they are big enough to hold a machete, go work in these fields and are stuck there until the day they die, just as their fathers and grandfathers and great-grandfathers have done," he said.
When the author returned to the U.S. in 2005, he dug deeper with his research.
"UNICEF put out a number not too long ago that estimates 22,000 children, just children, die every day because of poverty," he said. "The thing is that more people in the United States know more about sports statistics than they know about these people’s plight. Madison Square Garden holds 18,200 seats, and that isn’t enough to hold all the babies that die in one day."
This doesn’t have to be, McLerran said.
"The United Nations estimated that $30 billion a year would solve global hunger — boom, it’s done," he said. "Then we hear that the U.S. defense budget in 2014 was $526 billion. I mean that’s global hunger solved for 18 years.
"We’re pushed to think that these agendas, such as defense, are more important," he said. "When we see violence on TV and films to normalize this for us, it makes us feel that we are spending the money wisely. But what’s really happening and hurting us as a species is that people don’t understand this and they don’t hear the voices of the impoverished people."
That’s why McLerran began writing the books.
"They are communications to the Global South and you might say they are from the Global South as well," he said. "I state that we need to organize a congress of the people from the Global South, so they can represent themselves and help everyone recognize the governments who are managing over these imaginary sections of the globe. We need to see ourselves as a whole species."
There isn’t a day that goes by when McLerran doesn’t think about the people who live in the Global South.
"When I first became familiar with the terms Global North and Global South, it blew my mind," he said. "This concept of the majority of our planet’s money can be found north of the equator and the majority of the world’s poverty is found south of the equator makes me wonder why and how could that happen."
During his research, McLerran came up with a theory.
"We came from hunter gatherers and moved to a bartering system, which was cumbersome, so we created currency to show how much we have contributed to society," he said. "We can give people numbers and they can give us their boats or food. And now, we’re hoarding numbers, but the system has become corrupted. The system of currency no longer represents how much you’ve contributed to society. It now represents how much you’ve been able to accumulate.
"I mean, we have people who are working three jobs a day and are contributing more than so many people on this planet, but they will keep on struggling," he said. "I believe that everybody should be aware of this."
Dolly’s Bookstore, 510 Main St., will host a book signing with Park City resident, filmmaker and author Joshua David McLerran on Friday, April 29, at 6:30 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call 435-649-8062. For more information about "Radio for the Blind" and Joshua David McLerran, visit http://www.facebook.com/joshuamclerran.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
Park City High School sophomore Emily Bronstein founded the Seraphine Project that helps at-risk teens in Zimbabwe and Zambia.