November 21, 2003

Brother’s Keeper

Biblical fables ripped from today's headlines. In his ongoing effort to write his own version of the Bible, Jonathan Goldstein retells the story of Cain and Abel. Finally we hear Cain's side of the story. Plus: neighbors in a small town in Illinois wonder if they could have stepped in—as their neighbors' keepers—to prevent a brutal triple murder. And the story of a man who lives his life among his political enemies, feeling responsible for the problems he believes they're creating for everyone.


Host Ira Glass talks about the story of Cain and Abel, and the question in the story, "Am I my brother's keeper?" It turns out that the story doesn't really answer that question very satisfyingly. (2 minutes)
Act Two

This Land Is Your Land, This Land Is My Land. Or Maybe Not.

We hear the story of someone trying to help all sorts of people who absolutely do not want his help. Nancy Updike reports on Dror Etkes, who has taken it as his personal mission to document the spread of Israeli settlements in the West Bank: Every shack, mobile home, housing cluster, bypass road and town. Settlement growth is something many people would rather keep quiet. The U.S. has repeatedly called for construction to stop. Dror Etkes is a reluctant activist. He initially had no interest in making this his life's work. Nancy Updike's story is part of the Hearing Voices Project, which gets funding from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. (21 minutes)

Act Three

Neighbor's Keeper

Could anyone in a small farming town have done anything to prevent a brutal crime, committed by one of their neighbors? Robert Kurson first wrote about the March 2002 triple murder in Toulon, Illinois, for Chicago Magazine. His article has been reprinted in the anthology Best American Crime Writing 2003. (15 minutes)