Monday, April 30, 2012
Monday, December 5, 2011
Today I spoke with the poet Brian Turner who previously served as an Infantry Team Leader with the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division in Iraq. Turner earned his MFA from the University of Oregon before serving seven years in the US Army. His poetry has been published in two volumes, “Here Bullet” in 2005, and “Phantom Noise” in 2010. His work has appeared on National Public Radio, the BBC, Newshour with Jim Lehrer, and Weekend America, among others. Turner is currently the director of the low residency MFA in Creative Writing at Sierra Nevada College. Turner discusses the nature of war poetry, his creative process, and the purpose of his poetry in our conversation.
Every week, international and local protesters descend to the main entrance of the village of Beit Ummar, located between Bethlehem and Hebron in the West Bank to protest the expansion of three nearby Israeli settlements. The Israeli Defense Force maintains a watchtower and personnel holding area at the base of the main road. The peaceful protest movement in the West Bank, which is characterized by weekly demonstrations on Fridays and Saturdays throughout the Territory against Israel settlement expansion, the occupation, and other related grievances. These peaceful protests are haunted with the occasional recourse to violence, a specter which each side, Israeli military forces and Palestinian protesters, often blame on the other. On July 22, 2011, I watched as a peaceful protest dispersed and then turned violent. Some speculate that stone-throwing Palestinian youth were looking for vengeance in light of a confrontation between an Israeli soldier and local man the day before. That said, the transition from passivity to violence that morning raised critical questions on Palestinian political activism and the Israeli military presence in the West Bank.
The Modern Bakery of Birzeit is situated along the main highway connecting the Northern West Bank Towns of Nablus, Jenin, and Toulkarem with the de-facto capital, Ramallah. The Bakery is run by Soleiman, an American-born Palestinian whose family is from this small, Christian town famous for its olives and local University. I visited Soleiman at the Modern Bakery on August 22, 2011 to discuss his thoughts on bread, the West Bank economy, and his observations of life from behind his storefront counter.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Monday, April 11, 2011
Sunday, March 6, 2011
From the streets of Cairo to a journalist's home in New York, CrossTalk aims to bring a variety of voices to the English speaking world on issues of Middle Eastern politics and culture. The following interviews provide a broad representation of CrossTalk highlights over the last year.
Iman Al-Badawi is from Cairo and was a protestor in the January 25th Egyptian Revolution. She spoke on CrossTalk over the phone from Tahrir Square on February 3rd, the morning after pro-Mubarak forces stormed into the Square.
Ahmed Youssef is the political advisor to Hamas Prime Minister, Ismail Haniya. Youssef spoke on CrossTalk from his Gaza City office on August 16th, 2010 about Hamas's political plans, Gilad Shalit, and Hamas's relationship with the Palestinian Authority.
Osman Bukhach is the Director of the Hizb ut-Tahrir Media Office in Beirut, Lebanon. Bukhach spoke on CrossTalk on January 24th about the collapse of Saad Hariri's government in the face of opposition from Hezbollah.
Gershom Gorenberg is an American-born Israeli journalist who writes on the interaction of religion and politics in Israel. He wrote "The Accidental Empire" on the growth of the Israeli settlement movement in the West Bank.