We are grateful for each of you and your personal interest and support of the project to create a documentary on the life of Dr. Tom Little titled The Hard Places. It is because of your personal involvement that we want to share with you what has occurred and where the project currently stands.
It is no secret what is taking place around the world and in Afghanistan in particular. Four years ago, when this project was first conceived and initiated, there existed an environment that would have tolerated and even facilitated the public release of a documentary that told the story of Tom Little and his life in Afghanistan.
Today, the National Organization for Ophthalmic Rehabilitation (NOOR) and International Assistance Mission (IAM) programs continue to function and have a significant presence in Afghanistan. Hundreds of Afghans are fully invested in the continuing operations of these organizations, and many expatriates in Afghanistan continue to participate in NOOR and IAM programs. What has changed is that armed players on the ground have evolved, targeting expatriates and projects/hospital/facilities identified as non-traditional Afghan institutions. This includes those Afghans identified as being associated with expatriates and/or carrying on the various projects of such organizations. In the last two years more than 20 expatriates have been targeted by bombings and have lost their lives. It is reasonable to expect that any attention directed towards organizations such as NOOR and IAM will result in facilities, and more importantly, associated Afghans also being targeted.
The legacy of Tom Little is not to endanger Afghans, expatriates, and those participating in ongoing programs. They are already subjected to enough danger without a documentary incrementally adding to those risks.
These world changes have caused the Little family to request that Mountain Lake PBS reconsider the timing of the completion and release of the documentary on Tom Little’s life. Both the family and Mountain Lake PBS have agreed that now is not the time to release this documentary, and as such, the family and Mountain Lake PBS have placed the project “on the shelf.”
This has been a difficult decision. We, the family and Mountain Lake PBS, request your understanding, and your continued support. It is our hope that the proper timing of the documentary’s release will communicate effectively, and most importantly, safely, the purpose and meaning of Tom Little’s life and legacy.
Mountain Lake PBS
January 16, 2015