Dr. Somnath Batabyal Presents "Don't Cut My Head Off"

Dr. Somnath Batabyal was welcomed to JCU on September 14th by a full house of primarily students and faculty who engaged him in a vibrant Q&A session following the screening of his video essay “Don’t Cut My Head Off.” Produced together with Matti Pohjonen, Kazimuddin Ahmed, and Pradip Saha, this provocative video addresses the inadequate and disconnected representation of the voices of stakeholders at the 15th United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen 2009 (COP 15). The film brings much-needed attention to plight of those individuals and communities worst-affected by the change in the earth’s climate over the last several decades.

Dr.Batabyal, a journalist and researcher from India, explained that although documentary work is creative and artistic, driven by personal motivations and talents; it is also a public process of engagement and a powerful tool for communication. He felt that given the gravity of the situation and how important it is to bring the message across, the video essay seemed like a good idea for fostering understanding and change. As a result, the video has become a tool to educate and better the world about global warming’s effects on small rural communities.

This event was organized thanks to our own Communication professors Antonio Lopez, who recognized that viewing the film would be a valuable opportunity for students, especially those who are currently taking his “Media and the Environment” (CMS 323) course.

The film is not currently available to the greater public, but Dr. Batabyal expressed a wish to distribute it to increase awareness of these issues and to give a voice to the people who participated in the filming. John Cabot University was honored to be able to present “Don’t Cut My Head Off” at this early stage.