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Parts Unknown: Bajor

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BOURDAIN: Mention the name Bajor, and there's an image that comes to mind.

A soft focus lens displays the curved golden dome of a white temple tower that peeks through the mist in the fold of a valley. Tiny red and purple robed figures walk serenely under rounded windows at the top of the tower.

BOURDAIN: Quaint temples for a quaint people in need of the paternalistic guidance. That would be the Cardassian propaganda talking.

In the closer view, a short red stone monument stands in stark focus. Bronze Bajoran script flows down the side of the monument like the dew dripping on the reflective surface of the red stone.

BOURDAIN: Or there's this. The Cardassian Occupation of Bajor.

Shaky footage of a Cardassian drop shuttle racing over a crowd.

BOURDAIN: With overwhelming force, the Cardassian Central Command toppled the government of the Second Bajoran Republic and began a half century of brutal military rule.

Dark objects drop onto the crowd below. Explosions. A Bajoran woman picks up a terrified child. Looks for a safe place to run. Another explosion. The footage cuts away.

BOURDAIN: Entire mountains removed through strip-mining.

A stark open pit mine. A jagged wound in a barren landscape dotted with blackened and stunted trees. The mine's concentric circles going deeper and deeper into the red earth below the camera's view.

BOURDAIN: Landscapes poisoned from heavy metal dumping.

Tributaries of yellow and orange sludge glump from a factory's pipes. Beyond the river is on fire.  

BOURDAIN: Work camps. Slavery. Mass executions. Leaving families with the choice of staying on their world, or fleeing to the questionable safety of refugee camps.

Ramshackle lean-tos clustered along a dry river bed. Ragged Bajoran children run between buildings while their parents cook over open fires.

BOURDAIN: Some people like to think, I'm not one of them I should mention, that when this footage was presented before the Federation Council is when the tide started to turn for Bajor. When the Federation got its head out its collective ass to put pressure on the Cardassian Central Command to leave Bajor.

Footage. The camera bounces and shakes in an unsteady hand. The lens half obscured by a swath of red cloth. For a mere second, the viewer sees a frame of an open pit grave. The camera pans back to reveal this is a presentation to the representatives of Federation Council. A Bajoran man points to the image screen and speaks half muffled words.

BOURDAIN: But there's one more thing that comes to mind when you hear the name Bajor, and it's this.

Camera shifts to a square in the Cardassian capital. The grey rain falls from a grey sky on grey clad Cardassian soldiers and civilians listening to a droning speech by an official at a grey podium. A yellow flash of light. The camera rocks. Dense black smoke plumes over the plaza. The cracking audio picks up screams. The smoke clears to reveal the wounded and the dead. A Cardassian soldier picks up a child and runs.

BOURDAIN: The Bajoran resistance, or terrorists as the Cardassian High Command liked to call them. They conducted a relentless and dogged guerilla campaign on every Cardassian controlled world and a few off-world.

Slightly off focus footage of a smiling human standing in front of a giant statue of a golden bow, its red fletched arrow half embedded in the ground. The human puts one hand on a statue of a red and blue heart, and waves with the other. In the background, pedestrian traffic makes its way across the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. There's a scream. A dull boom. The camera turns to show the front of the Cardassian embassy, a ground vehicle half embedded in the front of the square stone building.

BOURDAIN: The real picture is good deal more complicated.

A bustling city. Golden domes peek out between office buildings. The skyline is full of cranes and half built buildings. Ground cars make their way along busy streets. A woman with a box of fruit approaches each vehicle trying to sell her wares. There are open pit mine scars in the hills around the city. More than one building shows damage from active fighting.

BOURDAIN: If an hour program can claim to really get at something as fluid as real.

What comes to your mind when you think of Bajor? If you ever think about a world so distant from your own?

A slender Bajoran man in his mid-forties wearing a simple blue tunic and a delicate Bajoran earring with long dangling strands stares straight at the camera. Behind him the walls are thick with leather bound books with Bajoran script on the spines. Bajoran artwork. "Why is the station near the wormhole called Deep Space Nine? Deep space compared to what? Where? I can get there from Bajor in about an hour. What makes that Deep Space?"

BOURDAIN: What we choose to show you, and what you choose to see and hear matter. Names matter. Words matter. Terrorist. Freedom Fighter. Pacification. Occupation.

A shot of Bourdain looking up at the rounded entrance of the Bajoran tower from the first shot.

BOURDAIN: Prophets. Wormhole aliens.

A middle aged woman in deep red religious robes crouches next to a small tilled field on a hillside. She brushes leafy green leaves with gentle fingers. With a quick twist of her wrist, she pulls up a long purple root vegetable. She says, "Of course, I believe in the Prophets. Don't you believe in your parents? Your children? Don't you think they want good things for you?"

"I believe in the Prophets. I just think they're *bleep," says the Bajoran man from before.

Bourdain leans back in a chair on a rooftop patio in the middle of a busy city. Bourdain asks, "Do you see much activity by the Resistance during the Occupation?"

An elderly Bajoran woman with a scarred face, broad stocky frame, and bright brown eyes sits at a table next to Bourdain. "Of course. I was in it." She shrugs. "We all were. The lizards were here for 50 years. It was resist or die." She laughs and drinks from a steaming cup. "But they're gone and we're still here. Still standing." She looks down at her chair. "Sitting." Laughs even harder.