March 20, 2009

‘Galactica’ panel held at United Nations

Whoopi Goldberg acted as moderator of a discussion between diplomats and stars of Battlestar Galactica at the United Nations in New York this week.

The Washington Post said the unlikely group covered topics such as race, justice and reconciliation, as well as the use of child soldiers in wartime and whether water-boarding should ever be permitted on either humans or, in the sci-fi show's case, on robotic creatures called Cylons.

Suddenly we are presented with this false dichotomy of security versus human rights, said Craig Mokhiber, deputy director of the New York office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, referring to the torture of a Cylon in a clip from the series that was screened at the meeting. That slippery slope shows up so much in the show, and so much in real life.

The invitation-only event was organized by the Sci Fi Channel, which airs the show, and the U.N. public affairs office, as part of the world body's new creative community outreach initiative. About 100 fans from New York-area high schools were on hand to ask the panel questions, the Post said.

This is an extraordinary opportunity for artists to be able to connect themselves to the world, cast member Mary McDonnell said.

Among those who participated in the event were McDonnell's co-star Edward James Olmos, as well as Radhika Coomaraswamy, the special representative of the secretary general for children and armed conflict, and Famatta Rose Osode, deputy head of Liberia's mission to the United Nations.

The series finale of Battlestar Galactica is scheduled to air Friday night.