Weekend Best Bets

Posted: Friday, October 12, 2001

A remarkable look inside Afghanistan comes to Juneau this weekend. A documentary called "Jung (War) in the Land of the Mujahedin" will be shown at 7 p.m. Sunday at the JuneauDouglas High School auditorium.

I've seen "Jung" and it is quite impressive. It was filmed in Northern Afghanistan in 1999 and 2000. The Italian journalists responsible for the documentary were given extensive access by the Northern Alliance, the major opponents of the ruling Taliban government. Combat was filmed on the front lines of the civil war and veteran mujahedin soldiers are interviewed. Captured Taliban soldiers are also interviewed in a prisoner of war camp.

The documentary focuses on civilians, particularly women and children, and women are shown as they are forced to live covered beneath their heavy chadors. They also shed their repressive hooded cloaks and talk about their county and their situation.

The two-hour film documents an Italian surgeon and humanitarian activist's successful effort to establish a hospital in northern Afghanistan. The hospital serves the region and employs local Afghans. That story is illustrated by the need for such a facility the poverty, innocent land mine victims, war wounded and general lack of infrastructure in Afghanistan.

"Jung" contains scenes of combat and surgery and parental discretion is advised. The documentary is in Italian, English and Afghani, with subtitles. Human Rights Watch International has made the documentary available free of charge.

A completely different kind of documentary comes to Juneau Saturday. Jill Fredston and her husband Doug Fesler have covered more than 20,000 miles of mostly Arctic waters in small rowing kayaks. They have rowed the entire Inside Passage from Seattle to Skagway and the lengths of the Yukon and the Mackenzie Rivers from source to sea. They have also rowed the east coast of Canada, the west coast of Greenland and the entire coastline of Norway.

Fredston wrote a book about their adventures, "Rowing to Latitude," and will be in Juneau this weekend to show slides of her travels and talk about her book. Fredston will deliver her presentation from1 to 3 p.m. Saturday at Hearthside Books in Nugget Mall. There is no charge.

Fredston and Fesler live near Anchorage are two of Alaska's foremost avalanche experts. She's an experienced presenter. Adventure-lovers and fans of wilderness and the outdoors should enjoy the presentation.

Author Spike Walker also comes to Juneau this weekend. The author of "Coming Back Alive," Walker will sign books and answer questions. His book is an action-packed account of the 1998 Coast Guard helicopter rescue of the crew of the fishing vessel La Conte. Walker will be at Hearthside Books in Nugget Mall at 7 p.m. Friday.

Fans of patriotic music will love The United States Army Field Band and Soldiers' Chorus, which plays a free concert at 7 p.m. tonight at Centennial Hall. Tickets have been distributed already but any unclaimed seats will be up for grabs after 6:45 p.m. Centennial Hall seats 1,000, and there's a pretty good chance of getting in if you come by.

Centennial Hall will host the big community garage sale from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. This annual event has been fun every time I've gone; it's sort of a low-budget Juneau Public Market and good-natured free for all. Admission is a can of food or other non-perishable edibles which the Centennial Hall staff will distribute to local folks in need.

The Evening at Egan series continues tonight with a presentation on Caves of Southeast. This ongoing series will feature more great topics in coming weeks: harbor seals in Glacier Bay, other solar systems in our neck of the galaxy, brown bears, Native art and a talk by Pulitzer prize winning novelist N. Scott Nomaday. All presentations are free, at 7 p.m. on Fridays in the Egan Library on the University of Alaska Southeast campus.

Riley Woodford can be reached at rileyw@juneauempire.com.

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