46: Gaza Sky Geeks & Women in Palestine

Dalia Shurrab is the Communication and Social Media Coordinator at Gaza Sky Geeks. We talk about the challenges of running the first tech hub in the Gaza Strip and the status of women's rights in Palestine.

 
 
 
 
 

Episode 45 (2 of 2): Armenia, Armenians, and Armenian-ness

In this second half of our two-part conversation with Nareg Seferian we speak about the Armenian Genocide, the modern state of Armenia, the Armenian diaspora, and Armenian identity.  

Nareg Seferian received his education in India, Armenia, the United States, and Austria. Nareg served on the faculty at the American University of Armenia for three years, and he is currently pursuing his PhD at Virginia Tech's School of Public and International Affairs in the Washington, DC area. His research and writing has focused on diverse aspects of Armenian politics and society, at the national and regional level, as well as across the global Armenian Diaspora.

The first photo is of guest, Nareg Seferian. The second image is of one of the last structures remaining from the Armenian village of Bardizag, in Turkey, the home of Eric’s great grandmother Mary Abelian prior to its ethnic cleansing in 1915. It was an American Christian school and its lower level has since been desecrated and converted into a stable. Photo credit -Eric Maddox

 
 
 

Episode 44 (1 of 2): Armenia, Armenians & Armenian-ness

In this first half of our two-part conversation with Nareg Seferian we speak about the Armenian Genocide, the modern state of Armenia, the Armenian diaspora, and Armenian identity.  

Nareg Seferian received his education in India, Armenia, the United States, and Austria. He served on the faculty at the American University of Armenia for three years, and he is currently pursuing his PhD at Virginia Tech's School of Public and International Affairs in the Washington, DC area. His research and writing has focused on diverse aspects of Armenian politics and society, at the national and regional level, as well as across the global Armenian Diaspora.

 
 
 

Episode 43: Kashmir

Our guest this week is a young Kashmiri woman currently living in Mumbai.

Situated in a mountainous region between India and Pakistan, Kashmir has been a nominal part of India since shortly after India and Pakistan both gained independence from the British in 1947. It’s also India’s only Muslim majority state and was the battleground in two separate wars between India and Pakistan and several armed conflicts between the two nuclear-armed rivals, including one limited engagement earlier this year.

Under article 370 of the Indian constitution Kashmir was guaranteed broad autonomy, including a separate constitution, and freedom to administer its own affairs in all areas except for currency, communications, defense, and foreign policy. Over the past few decades much of this autonomy has been slowly rolled back by the central government in Delhi, but one key feature that remained was Kashmiris exclusive rights to buy and own land in Kashmir. This key remaining feature of Kashmiri autonomy was eliminated when Hindu Nationalist Prime Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s government eliminated article 370 from the Indian constitution earlier this month. Since that time landlines, mobile communication links, and the Internet have been cut, and Kashmiris have been cut off from the rest of the world and their families in India.

Taken in Gaza City, Palestine, April, 2013. Photo credit: Eric Maddox

Taken in Gaza City, Palestine, April, 2013. Photo credit: Eric Maddox

 
 
 

Episode 42: Stateless - Myanmar's Rohingya People

In 1982 the Myanmar (Burmese) military government passed a citizenship law that effectively stripped the Rohingya community of their nationality overnight. They’ve been stateless ever since, and subject to institutionalized discrimination and coordinated persecution that has greatly restricted their movement and their access to jobs and to education.

Although there have been reports of attacks and massacres in the past, in August of 2017 Myanmar’s military began a campaign to drive many Rohingya out of their homes in Rakhine state, with the result that roughly 900,000 refugees have fled the country, with reports of widespread and coordinated attacks utilizing arson, rape, and mass killing that bear signs of genocide. Refugee camps in neighboring Bangladesh have long since been filled past overflowing, and many have been reduced to living in squalid and unsafe conditions in and around the camps.

JN Joniad fled his home in Rakhine state 6 years ago, and is currently registered in with UNHCR in Indonesia as a refugee, while he awaits resettlement elsewhere. His story not only illuminates the condition of fellow Rohingya, but also uncovers what appears to be a global trend amongst wealthy nations (the US, EU, and Australia) to outsource their border enforcement policy to developing nations through a strategy of deterrence and obscured accountability.

 
 
J N Joniad’s Blog

J N Joniad’s Blog

 
 
 

Episode 41: The Fulani People, Conflict in Mali (2 of 2)

For this second half of our conversation we discuss the ongoing inter-communal violence in Central Mali, the features of Jihadist movements in the region, the prospects and barriers to peace, and the regional and geopolitical implications of these factors and why you should take notice of what's happening in the Sahel. 

Dougoukolo Ba-Konare is a clinical psychologist and teacher of Fula Language and Societies at the National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations in Paris, and a founding member of Kisal (an organization working on the promotion of human rights in the Sahel. 

 
 
 

Episode 40: The Fulani People, A Culture of the Sahel (1 of 2)

The Fulani are an ethnic group of around 40 million people who inhabit Africa’s Sahel region, the transitional biozone that spans the African continent from the Atlantic to the Red Sea and where the sands of the Sahara gradually give way to the savanna of central Africa. Traditionally a pastoral nomadic culture, they have long experienced tensions in some of the communities they call home, and are often treated as outsiders. Some of these conflicts have made international headlines recently, most notably in central Mali, where Jihadist groups and a lack of governmental authority have left communities vulnerable, and where competition for resources and mistrust have brought them into bloody conflict with other tribal groups.

This first of a two-part conversation about the Fulani people offers some compelling insights into how Jihadist groups are able to gain traction in isolated communities, and a more local perspective on global security issues that are traditionally given from a European or American perspective.


Dougoukolo Ba-Konare is a clinical psychologist and teacher of Fula Language and Societies at the National Institute for Oriental Languages and Civilizations in Paris, and a founding member of Kisal (an organization working on the promotion of human rights in the Sahel. 


 
 
 

Episode 39: Afghanistan - Living With the US Occupation

Basir Bita spent his childhood as a refugee in Iran and moved back to Afghanistan in 2003, which means he has spent his entire adult life living under the US occupation. He currently lives in Kabul where he works as a peace activist and as a consultant monitoring and evaluating risk factors for corruption. We discuss the current peace talks between the US and the Taliban, and what he has learned talking to people from across Afghanistan’s ethnically diverse society.


Also be sure to check out our previous conversation with Abdoul Saboor who fled Afghanistan after threats from the Taliban and attacks on his family. His overland odyssey through Iran, Turkey, Eastern Europe and across the Balkans, to finally claim asylum in France, is one of the more remarkable stories I’ve encountered anywhere, and should put the ordeals of many Afghan refugees into a more human perspective.

 
 
 
 
 

Episode 38: Hong Kong Protests - Local Perspectives

In June more than 2 million Hong Kong residents took to the streets to protest a proposed law that could see residents of the global financial center subject to extradition and criminal prosecution in China, undercutting the delicate "one country, two systems" policy that was to remain in place for 50 years after the 1997 handover from the British. Today, on the anniversary of the handover, the protestors stormed and occupied the Hong Kong legislature.

For this show we speak with two guests: a professor of cultural studies in Hong Kong whose research focuses on youth activism, and an anonymous guest from Hong Kong who returned to participate in the protests in June.

Photo credit Nextvoyage on Pexels

Photo credit Nextvoyage on Pexels

 

Episode 37: 95 Years Old & On Hunger Strike

Sally-Alice Thompson is a World War 2 veteran, a peace activist, a New Mexico resident, and at 95 years old she just started her first hunger strike to bring an end to US sanctions and to US support for sieges that are pushing children into starvation and depriving populations of their basic needs.

 
 
Learn More About Sally-Alice’s Hunger Strike, Sign the Petition, and Learn How You Can Join Her

Learn More About Sally-Alice’s Hunger Strike, Sign the Petition, and Learn How You Can Join Her

 

Get informed about some of the topics discussed in this week’s show but checking out our previous interviews with local people…

Episode 36: Sudan- Massacre in Khartoum (Part 2 of 2)

This segment of our two-part interview with Dahlia Al Roubi was recorded on Tuesday, June 4th, the day after the current government crackdown began against protestors in Khartoum. As of this episode roughly 100 people have been killed by government forces, with reports that scores of bodies have been dumped into the Nile. As of June 6th, Sudan’s membership in the African Union has been revoked. Sudan’s military council has suspended talks with protestors and unilaterally called for elections to be held within 9 months.

The forces spearheading this apparent massacre appear to be the RSF or “Rapid Support Forces”, led by Mohamed "Hemeti" Hamdan Dagalo. The RSF are a re-branded iteration of the Janjaweed militias that were charged with carrying out the genocide in Sudan’s Darfur region. They’ve since been absorbed into the Sudanese military structure and given the stamp of governmental legitimacy, but they are essentially trained for one purpose and it appears that this purpose has now been turned on the protestors and the people of Khartoum. Incidentally the RSF forces are also being used as mercenaries by the Saudis in their war on Yemen.


 
 
 
 

Episode 35: Sudan: Women in Revolution (1 of 2)

For this first part of a two-part conversation, we talk to Sudanese activist Dahlia Al Roubi about what it was like growing up under the regime of recently deposed dictator Omar Al Bashir, how the current revolution swept Sudan, starting in December of last year, the challenges of weighing the purity of revolutionary principles against the practical constraints of time and competing interests, and about the role of women who took a leading role in the street protests but who now appear to be left out of the negotiations.

Dahlia and I recorded this first part of our interview on May 21st, before the current wave of violence was unleashed by the transitional military government on protestors and civilians in Khartoum. However we decided to include this conversation to claim some small space in the historical record, a space for what the Sudanese people were aspiring to as recently as Sunday evening. And we’re including it as a reminder that Syria also had this moment, and Egypt as well, and that while violence and a return to despotism might define the moment it’s important to ask ourselves where Western governments positioned themselves during the grassroots efforts to push these countries towards freedom.

Part two of our discussion provides a short update about the violence that has been unleashed by government forces in recent days, in particularly the RSF (Rapid Support Forces) formerly known as the Janjaweed.


 
 
 
 

Episode 34: Are You Syrious?

Have you ever watched a humanitarian crisis unfolding on the news, witnessed the subsequent failure in leadership, and thought to yourself, "I wish I could get some friends together and just do something to make this better?" 

That's what Milena Zajović and a few Croatian friends did when the largest refugee crisis to hit Europe since World War 2 came to their borders in the Summer of 2015. That initial impulse lead to the creation of Are You Syrious?, a nonprofit that focuses on field work, integration, and advocacy for refugees in the Balkans and Southern Europe. Lately a lot of their work has focussed on reporting on the so-called "push backs" that have seen Croatian authorities playing the role of border enforcers for the European Union. These measures have been accompanied by widespread reports of violence and other human rights abuses and campaigns by various governments to criminalize the work of human rights defenders, a worrying trend that Latitude Adjustment covered in our previous episode about Malta as well. 

Be sure to subscribe to the Are you Syrious Daily Digest, a resource that's become reference material for foreign embassies, aid workers, and journalists, and which provides up to the minute reporting for and about refugees in Europe and across the Middle East. 

photos & logo design credit: Are You Syrious?/ Milena Zajović

 
Are You Syrious? Daily Digest

Are You Syrious? Daily Digest

 
 

Episode 33: Bringing Palestine to the US

Faisel Saleh was born the 11th of 11 children in the West Bank town of El Bireh after his parents fled from their home in Salama (near Tel Aviv) during the 1948 war. Those events created the state of Israel and what 700,000 Palestinians and their millions of descendants refer to as “The Nakba”, or the catastrophe. Faisal came to the US in 1969 to pursue his education, later becoming a successful entrepreneur. Last year he founded the Palestine Museum US, in Woodbridge, Connecticut, the first museum of its kind in the Western Hemisphere.

In addition to providing a space to share and preserve the culture for Palestinian Americans, Palestinians of the global diaspora, and for Palestinians in Palestine, it’s also a space for non-Palestinians who create art or commentary about the community and its history.


But to talk about the art, culture, and history of Palestine and its people opens the door to a much wider conversation about the current conditions of the community, and in particular the circumstances of Palestinian refugees, and of those who have been enduring more than a decade of life under siege in the Gaza Strip and 52 years of Israeli military occupation.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Episode 32: On the Ground in Yemen

We hear very little about the war that is taking place in Yemen, now in its fifth year. And we hear even less about the war from Yemenis themselves, and still less from those who remain Yemen. This episode represents a small effort to address this disparity.

Adel Hashem is the director of Human Needs Development in Sana’a, an organization that is working on the ground to deliver food, medical, and education support to the Yemeni people.

Though the war in Syria, and other regional conflicts have managed to grab headlines in recent years, Yemen has remained conspicuously underreported despite the fact that it has seen the largest cholera outbreak in recorded history, starvation, thousands of civilian casualties, widespread food insecurity amongst the majority of its population, and despite the fact that all of these horrors are completely man-made.

This stems in large part from the fact that the majority of the carnage in Yemen has been unleashed by Saudi Arabia and its coalition of supporters in their fight against Yemen’s Houthi rebels. Saudi Arabia is a US ally and it’s brutal air campaign (and less reported mercenary-supported ground campaign) have enjoyed the support of US and Western weapons deals, as well as intelligence and logistical support. Quite simply, the war would not be possible without the direct and ongoing support of Western governments, and principally the US, UK and France.

But we can change this.

 

Support Human Needs Development’s Ramadan campaign:

 
 

Episode 31: Out of Options - Syrian & Yemeni in Malaysia

Hashed had to flee Yemen after his father was killed, and what followed was an odyssey that has taken him from Djibouti, to India, to Malaysia, where his struggle is far from over.

Hassan is from Syria, and he also wound up in Malaysia, after his  work visa in the UAE expired and the Emirati government threatened to deport him back to Syria. Hassan became the subject of international attention when he spent 7 months trapped in the Kuala Lumpur airport. These are their stories, and you can help.

Latitude Adjustment Podcast: Episode 31: Stuck in Malaysia
 
 
Human Rights Watch

Human Rights Watch

 
Hand to Hand profile & fundraising campaign for Hashed

Hand to Hand profile & fundraising campaign for Hashed

 
 

Episode 30: Fatma Naib - We Need To Talk About FGM

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) is a non-medical procedure that involves partial or radical removal of young women’s genitalia, and while widely practiced in parts of Africa and the Middle East, is neither limited to these regions nor defined by theology or religion. The practice is typically linked to a right of passage, sexual purity, or as a marker of cultural identity (or all three), and its impact on the lives of tens of millions of women is both cruel and often deadly. The UN is working to eliminate the practice by 2030, and it is the subject of Fatma’s Peabody Award-winning film, “The Cut”, which she and her team completed for Al Jazeera English in 2017. Our conversation also focuses on the broader questions around navigating multiple cultural identities and contexts.

The subject of FGM makes some of us more than a little squeamish, but it’s important to move past our personal sensitivities and make some time to inform ourselves about a practice that is impacting the lives of women around the world, and perhaps closer to where you live than you might realize. And while the practice itself might be fundamentally rooted in ignorance so are a lot of the popular perceptions about the it, so it’s important that we leave our assumptions and pre-judgements at the door and listen so that we can take meaningful action to help eliminate the practice.

 
 
 
 
“Saleema initiative was launched in 2008 by the National Council for Child Welfare (NCCW) in collaboration with the UNICEF Sudan, with the aim to support the efforts to abandon Female Genital Mutilation“…

“Saleema initiative was launched in 2008 by the National Council for Child Welfare (NCCW) in collaboration with the UNICEF Sudan, with the aim to support the efforts to abandon Female Genital Mutilation“…

 
 

Episode 29: Malta & Refugees in the Mediterranean

Maria Pisani PhD is a Maltese citizen, lecturer, former head of office for the International Organization for Migration on Malta, and co-founder and director of Integra Foundation. As the EU’s smallest and southernmost member state, Malta has long been on the front lines of one of the busiest and the deadliest migratory paths on earth, where more than 14,000 people have lost their lives since 2014, attempting the crossing from North African shores to the EU.

We discuss Malta’s role in the refugee crisis, the features of Maltese policies and how they have shifted over the years, and the moral, political, and logistical implications of the EU’s policy of containment and deterrence since 2015 when Europe saw the largest numbers of refugees since the Second World War.

 
 
From: Malta Today

From: Malta Today

 
 
From: Times of Malta

From: Times of Malta

Episode 28: Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Democratic Republic of the Congo remains an enigma to many in the West, and for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s the lack of coverage, the singular focus on violence and poverty, or the silent bigotry that informs many Western attitudes towards the fortunes of Africans more generally. Many of the root causes of human suffering continue to get ignored while aid money pours in, resources pour out, and little changes to improve the lives of the people.

Murhula Zigabe is one example of the many positive stories in the Congo that we don’t hear about much. He’s from the eastern part of the DRC, and by watching Youtube videos managed to find a solution to multiple problems faced by his community, including environmental degradation, unemployment, poverty, lack of education, and autonomy for women. It centers on recycling organic waste into eco-charcoal for cooking. Sound like an unlikely solution? I thought so too until we connected for this episode.

In our conversation we also set his work against the backdrop of the DR Congo’s recent history, in particular the wars of the mid 90’s and early 2000’s that claimed approximately 5 million lives, and the ongoing use of rape as a weapon of war on a scale that sees a woman raped nearly once every minute. However, this conversation is not a catalogue of miseries and grievances. Murhula is an optimist, and perhaps after listening to his story you will be too, and maybe you’ll be inspired to look at the DRC and Africa a little differently.

Check below for more info about Murhula’s projects, and for some helpful videos to learn more about the DRC.

 

For a quick history lesson…

 
Murhula’s Website and articles about his work.

Murhula’s Website and articles about his work.

 

Feature-length documentary films…

 
 

Episode 27: Protester. Prisoner. Student. Syrian Woman

This month marks the 8th anniversary of the popular demonstrations in Syria that ultimately led to the war. Assil Alnaser’s story takes us from the early days of those protests to her harrowing experiences as a prisoner, and then her escape and her struggles to find a home and a future in Jordan and Turkey, and later in the US, where she was subjected to the "Muslim Ban" twice after winning a scholarship. Assil's story provides a needed reminder of how the conflict in Syria started, it forces us to confront the double-victimization that many women face from their own communities after suffering sexual violence, and puts a human face on the ordeals faced by many Syrian refugees right up to the present.

Check below for more information on where you can help support Syrians and refugees, and for more about Assil’s story and about the Syrian community.

Latitude Adjustment is 100% listener supported. If you agree that we need more independent media that prioritizes curiosity and connections over fear and divisions then please support us with a monthly donation through our Patreon page. Thanks!

 

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