Monday, February 28, 2011

Breaking the Silence: Yehuda Shaul

Today, February 3rd I spoke with Yehuda Shaul, a member and organizer for Breaking the Silence, an organization of veteran Israeli soldiers who served in the Israeli military since the start of the Second Intifada (2000-2005) and have taken the initiative to share their combat stories. Yehuda himself was a combat soldier in the city of Hebron in the West Bank during the Second Intifada. Since Breaking the Silence's first public exhibition several years ago, the group has given an outlet for the combat stories that Israelis and citizens of the world alike had never heard. In our discussion, Yehuda recounts his daily routine in Hebron that he felt directly contradicted his conscience and which drove him to break the silence. He believes that silence is not an Israeli disease, not a Jewish disease, but a human disease—his message is universal because all societies commit abuses which fly in direct opposition to their stated ideals. By breaking the silence, Yehuda and his colleagues hold a up mirror to Israeli society and stand for principles of justice in the Occupied Territories.


Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Preparatory Commission for the Revolution of Dignity in Gaza

Today I spoke with Mazen, one of the founders of the facebook page for the Preparatory Commission for the Revolution of Dignity in Gaza. The Revolution of Dignity opposes the Hamas-led government in Gaza, aims for Palestinian unity between the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and calls for immediate parliamentary and presidential democratic elections for the Palestinian Authority. The Revolution's facebook page was shut down two days ago and was subsequently republished under a different name. Mazen hopes the Revolution will spur tens of thousands of Gazans to take to the streets in the coming weeks once further preparations are completed. He says that the revolution in Tunisia and the popular demonstrations in Egypt sparked him to action.

Audio currently being translated. Check back often


Natalie Abou Shakra: The Media of Resistance

Today I spoke with Natalie Abou Shakra, a self-described child of war and boycot divestment sanctions (BDS) activist. Ms. Abou Shakra grew up in Lebanon during the Israeli invasions of her country in the 1980s. She believes in the power of an opposition media maintained by the people in resisting the dominant narratives of many conventional media sources. Her first experience in alternative media began during the 2006 Israeli war with Hezbollah, at which time she was inspired by several activists in Lebanon to form a stronger civil society and to document the toll of the conflict. She subsequently became part of the Free Gaza Movement and was aboard an aid boat which was sent to the coastal territory. She was living in Gaza during the 2009 Israeli war with Hamas when she began to write on her blog, Ghazzawiyya. Our conversation covers Ms. Abou Shakra's strong belief in the virtue of resistance and resilience as well as the power of civil society to oppose the entrenched political naratives surrounding Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, and Egypt.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Iman Al Badawi: The Front Line in Cairo

Today at 9 AM Cairo Time, I spoke with Iman Al Badawi, a self-described activist and native of Cairo. Iman has been camped in Tahrir Square in central Cairo for the last 5 days and has been participating in the anti-Mubarak protests there. The protests have gripped the country since January 25th and turned unexpectedly violent on Wednesday when pro-Mubarak elements confronted the protesters in the Square, armed with blunt weapons, knives, and the occasional firearm. In the background of our conversation, you can hear the rallying of the protesters as the demonstration enters the morning of its 9th consecutive day.

Image: Foreign Policy

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Nasser Arrabyee: The Current Politics of Yemen

Today I spoke with Nasser Arrabyee, a Yemeni journalist based in Yemen’s capital, Sana’a. Mr. Arrabyee writes for the Egyptian Alahram weekly, the Dubai-based Gulf News Daily, as well as several American newspapers including the New York Times. He has been covering the demonstrations in Sana’a over the last several weeks and reported earlier today on President Ali Abdullah Saleh’s announcing a meeting of Parliament on Wednesday, February 2nd to discuss the protesters' demands. Mr. Arrabyee also posts updates on his blog. Our conversation covers the dynamic of the protests that have swept from Tunisia to Egypt and now to Yemen, the role of the opposition in Yemen’s government, and the plans of Al Qaeda in this coastal state.


Karso Awat Mahmood: Communications in Iraq

Today I spoke with Karso Awat Mahmood, the general manager of Citadel Strategic Communications in Kirkuk, Iraq. Mr. Mahmood has worked in communications in Iraq since before the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003. Since that time he has been a translator for the Public Information Office in Kirkuk for the US Army and has founded his communications business. Our conversation covers the media landscape of Iraq both before and after 2003, as well as some details of Mr. Mahmood’s work translating for the US Army in Kirkuk.

Najah Wakim: The People's Movement and a New Government in Lebanon

Today I spoke with Najah Wakim, the president of the People's Movement and a former member of the Lebanese Parliament. Wakim is a Christian Orthodox lawyer who has both promoted and shaped secular Arabist ideology since his political career began in the 1970s. Wakim opposed Saad Hariri’s government, which officially handed power to the Hezbollah-backed Prime Minister, Najib Mikati, last Tuesday. Our conversation covers Wakim’s stance on the new Lebanese government, the Syrian influence in Lebanese politics, America’s role in Lebanon, and the way Egypt’s protests will change the Arab World.

Currently being translated. Check back often.