Welcome to AMERICAN MOSAIC — VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.
This is Steve Ember. On our program today we:
Play some songs about food ...
Report about the popular new “Star Wars” movie ...
And tell about one attempt to make progress toward world peace.
Seeds of Peace
Peacemakers throughout history have faced huge problems trying to solve international conflicts. A special summer program in the United States teaches young people from areas of conflict how to understand each other. Mary Tillotson tells us more.
The program is called Seeds of Peace. Each summer, organizers hold three two-week meetings at a camp in the state of Maine. The camp is for young people ages fourteen to seventeen. They come from many areas, including several countries in the Middle East, India, Pakistan, Greece, Turkey, and the former Yugoslavia.
The camp provides a safe and supportive place for young people to speak about conflict. They spend their time in classes discovering how to communicate and listen to each other. They learn how to solve their conflicts through discussion instead of violence. They also live together, play team sports and take part in art and music activities. The goal is to help the students discover that the so-called enemy is human, and can even be a friend.
Each two-week camp ends with a trip to Washington, D-C. The young people visit the White House and State Department. They also meet with members of Congress and their own ambassadors to the United States. This part of the program teaches the students that world leaders value their ideas and want to learn from them.
Writer John Wallach started Seeds of Peace in nineteen-ninety-three. At that time, organizers brought only Arab and Israeli students together. Today the program has expanded to welcome students from many other parts of the world where conflict exists.
The students speak English at the camp. About three-hundred students are chosen to attend the camp each year from more than two-thousand who ask to attend. They are nominated by their governments for their ability to lead and their good school performance. Their economic and social positions are not considered.
To find out more about Seeds of Peace, visit the organization’s Internet Web site at www.seedsofpeace.org. Seeds of peace is all one word. Or you can write to Seeds of Peace, three-seven-zero Lexington Avenue, New York, New York, one-zero-zero-one-seven, U-S-A.
Star Wars: Attack of the Clones
Movie fans are enjoying the new Star Wars movie, “Attack of the Clones.” It has earned more than two-hundred-fifty-million dollars since its release five weeks ago.
The movie is the fifth in a series written and directed by George Lucas. They tell a continuing story about a young man named Anakin Skywalker in an imaginary galaxy of planets. Shirley Griffith has more.
In “Attack of the Clones,” a group of separatists wants independence from a government called The Republic. The Republic has prepared an army of biologically engineered men called clones. A civil war begins between the separatists’ army of mechanical men and the Republic’s clones.
At the same time, Anakin Skywalker is training to become a special fighter called a Jedi knight. But Anakin falls in love with a beautiful young woman senator, Padme Amidala. The rules of the Jedi ban such feelings. So the two young people begin a secret relationship.
Some critics have said that much of the writing in “Attack of the Clones” is so bad that it is funny. They also said the story’s political mysteries are confusing and often just stupid. But most critics agree that the movie is fun to watch.
George Lucas used computers to create worlds of huge buildings, water or deserts. He designed battles in space and on land. Huge armies and dangerous creatures fight fierce battles using unusual space vehicles and weapons.
Almost all the critics agreed that watching the last battle between the Jedi master Yoda and the mysterious Count Dooku is worth the price of the ticket. And many critics said that the release of any “Star Wars” movie is one of the major cultural events of the year.
Most critics agree that in the “Star Wars” series, George Lucas has created one of the most important stories of the late twentieth century. Its cultural importance guarantees that people will continue to watch the movies as long as George Lucas continues to produce them. The sixth and final “Star Wars” movie is expected to be released in two-thousand-five.
Our VOA listener question this week comes from China. Xia Jianxun asks about “junk food.”
Junk food is what Americans call food that is not healthy. Webster’s New World Dictionary defines the word “junk” as something that is useless or worthless. Junk food does not have nutrients and is often processed with chemicals. Some examples of junk food are candy, sweets and potato chips. These foods are high in sugar, cholesterol or fat.
About thirty years ago, American singer Larry Groce (GROSS) had a hit record called “Junk Food Junkie.” It is about a man known to eat healthy, natural foods. Yet he secretly eats foods that are bad for him. The word “junkie” is American slang for a person who cannot stop doing something. In the song, the man cannot resist eating foods that are bad.
((CUT 1: JUNK FOOD JUNKIE))
Another funny song about food includes both healthy and junk food. It was written and performed by Weird Al Yankovic (YANK-o-vik). He made up new words to Michael Jackson’s hit song, “Beat It” and won a Grammy for it. We leave you now with Weird Al’s song, “Eat It.” How many different kinds of foods can you hear him say?
((CUT 2: EAT IT))
This is Steve Ember. I hope you enjoyed our program today. And I hope you will join us again next week for AMERICAN MOSAIC — VOA’s radio magazine in Special English.
This AMERICAN MOSAIC program was written by Bob Brumfield, Jill Moss and Nancy Steinbach. Our studio engineer was Curtis Bynum. And our producer was Paul Thompson.