The folks at local nonprofit Save the Scenic Santa Ritas (SSSR) have been working for more than 10 years to do what their name commands--save the beautiful Santa Rita Mountains.
From what, you may ask? Regular Tucson Weekly readers know: A big, ugly, open-pit copper mine.
The organization formed in 1996 in opposition to a mine planned by Asarco to be constructed in the Rosemont Valley. In 1998, SSSR--along with 3,000 citizens, 55 local groups and the support of the local government--won the fight and were able to stop the construction of that mine. But last summer, a different company, Augusta Resource Corporation, officially announced their intentions to build a mine in the same area.
A new mining plan will be submitted to the Forest Service this year, and if the mine is built, asserts SSSR vice president Gayle Hartmann, it won't be good for the Santa Ritas or us.
"First of all, the mine will use large amounts of water," she says. "Whether it comes from the Santa Cruz or the Cienega watershed, that's going to be damaging from Tucson's point of view. And it's very likely that toxic waste would get in the watershed. ... Wildlife would be affected. ... Also, the mine will have a negative impact on local businesses. Tourists, bird watchers, hikers, hunters--they'll stop coming. A mine is not a pleasant thing to have nearby."
It isn't too late for citizens to get involved and save the Santa Ritas. The first step is to get informed, and you can do that this Friday at SSSR's information session, which will feature a presentation and several speakers, including SSSR board members and officials from the offices of Reps. Raúl Grijalva and Gabrielle Giffords. (They're both opposed to the mine, as is the Pima County Board of Supervisors.)
The event is free and open to the public. --A.M.
The willingness to forgive is a virtue. But does it reduce our ability to strive for justice? Can we forgive something truly evil--and should we? If we can forgive everything, is anything completely wrong?
These are the deep questions brought up by Forgiving Dr. Mengele, a documentary about Auschwitz survivor Eva Mozes Kor, whose decision to publicly forgive the Nazis who tortured her--specifically Dr. Josef Mengele--has provoked both admiration and anger. In the film, Kor stresses the effects of forgiveness on the victim, describing it as an act of self-healing and liberation. She doesn't see the oppressor's apology as necessary.
But her detractors find this more than problematic. Forgiving those who don't feel sorry, they maintain, is to betray other victims and ignore that the oppressor may continue his actions.
Forgiveness happens to be a main focus of spiritual preparation for the Jewish High Holy Days, which are coming up. In fact, there's a whole religious service devoted to the subject--Selichot, which means "forgiveness" in Hebrew. This Saturday, before the Selichot service, Temple Emanu-El will screen Forgiving Dr. Mengele for all to see, Jews and non-Jews alike.
"We all struggle with the question of forgiveness to a lesser or greater degree when we look at really horrible actions like those of Dr. Mengele," says the temple's senior rabbi, Rabbi Samuel Cohon. "This movie brings into sharp relief the central issue. ... It tell us that some people, having experienced the full horror of the most bestial actions in history, have found ways to forgive. But it also tells us that not everyone agrees that's the right course. It both answers questions and creates more."
The screening is free, and the public is invited to stick around for the Selichot service at 11 p.m. Unforgivably sinful desserts will be offered. --A.M.
Think dolls are all just kids' toys? Think again. Sometimes, they're intricate and skillfully wrought representations of culture and history.
Those kinds of dolls are the focus of Tohono Chul Park's newest exhibit, a series of handmade miniatures created by Marta Morales Naranjo, an artisan from Michoacán, Mexico. Inspired by the traditions of the Purépecha people, Naranjo creates figures that each tell a story of daily life in her community. One figure sells marigolds, a flower traditionally used to honor the dead; one figure prays at a shrine. Another, a mask-maker engaged in his profession, is paired nicely with a set of little dancers wearing masks just like the ones he's making--and they all go with an actual, full-sized mask that's displayed as part of the exhibit. Though none of Naranjo's dolls are more than 8 inches tall, they all come to life in extraordinary detail, wearing elaborately embroidered indigenous clothing, carrying miniature replicas of tools and crafts, and even showing unmistakable expressions on their tiny faces.
"First of all, these are just technically gorgeous works of art," says Vicki Donkersley, Tohono Chul's exhibit curator. They're so well done--very fine works of folk art in themselves. But, also, the exhibit teaches about regional customs and traditions, what people wear, the crafts they make. ... I think we live in a really fascinating place here in Tucson, and a lot of the traditions of Mexico are visible in our region, so they're part of our heritage as well. We should admire them."
Naranjo's dolls will be displayed in Tohono Chul's Exhibit Gallery through mid-November. The exhibit is free to Tohono Chul members and is included in park admission ($5 adults, $4 seniors, $3 students with ID, $2 children 5-12) for nonmembers. --A.M.
Landscapes are beautiful. But what if they've been farmed on, built on or otherwise messed with by people? In photographer Ed Warner's opinion, they're still beautiful--or at least they make for great art.
He should know, because human-altered landscapes worked well for him as the subjects of his latest show, Landscape Spaces: People and Place in the Natural World. It's a photographic exploration of natural landscapes that display the imprint of man--sometimes, a very slight imprint, like a trail in a field, and sometimes, a very obvious one, like a road or a building.
"My premise," says Warner, "is that we have to adapt ourselves to the landscapes formed by nature. You can't really go anywhere without seeing basically some scarred part of the landscape--there's always a roadway or a ranger station or something like that. ... Every time I take photographs, I'm capturing ways people have scarred the land as they attached themselves to it."
Take, for example, Warner's photo of the Great Wall of China. While the wall is an obvious human imposition on the landscape, it's also forced to conform to it, twisting and undulating with the mountains it rests on.
While Warner loves nature in its purest form, he recognizes that some degree of human disruption is inevitable. The point of this show, he says, is to get people inspired by the landscape as it really appears: "People tend to stay in their own worlds, and they need to appreciate what nature offers. Even if it's a national park, which is very safe and prepared, it's worth the trip."
The exhibition is free, and an opening reception will take place from noon to 1:30 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 9. --A.M.