Eric Maddox

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 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 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 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!

 

The following are charitable organizations that we’ve found to be reputable and effective. We are not affiliated with them or sponsored by them, nor have we been provided with any incentives to promote them. We advise you to do your own research before donating to any organization.

 
 

Episode 26: Western Sahara

Western Sahara is one of the world's forgotten occupations.

In 1975 Spain ended its nearly century-long colonization of Spanish Sahara, leaving the territory to be overtaken by Moroccan and Mauritanian forces. Under the leadership of the POLISARIO Front the Sahrawis continued their guerilla war for self determination. In 1979 Mauritania withdrew and Morocco moved in to claim the rest of the territory now known as Western Sahara. The war continued until 1991, until a UN-brokered ceasefire with the promise of a referendum on independence for Western Sahara that never came. Morocco continues to occupy Western Sahara, transferring its citizens to the territory and extracting its resources under the protection of France’s protective veto in the UN. Meanwhile the Sahrawi community either lives under a brutally oppressive police state in occupied Western Sahara, or on the other side of the wall, a 2,700 kilometer barrier that Morocco constructed, which forms the de-facto border, splits Western Sahara in half, annexes most of the economically valuable land, and which forms the second longest wall on earth.

Mahfud Mohamed Lamin is one of approximately 170,000 Sahrawi refugees who are stuck on the other side of that wall in the harsh desert of Western Algeria. He was was born in 1991, the very same year that saw an end to the 16-year war between the the Sahrawis and the Moroccan government. But the following 28 years have not seen an end to the conflict, or the referendum that was promised to his people.

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!

 
 
The New Yorker

The New Yorker

Western Sahara Resource Watch

Western Sahara Resource Watch

Episode 23: Reporting India

Meena Menon is the author of three books, and her reporting career has seen her covering a broad range of topics in India, and also took her to Islamabad, Pakistan as the correspondent for The Hindu. We discuss her experiences as an Indian reporting from Pakistan and India-Pakistan relations, the suicides of tens of thousands of Indian farmers since the 1980’s and the colonial legacy of the cotton industry, the 1992-93 sectarian riots in Mumbai, and her thoughts on the upcoming general elections in India, the world’s largest democracy. You can find links to her three books below.

Latitude Adjustment is 100% listener supported. If you dig our content and our mission then swing by our new Patreon page and sign up to contribute a dollar or two (or more) a month so I can pay the bills while I make things. Thanks!

Correction: in the introduction I mistakenly stated that the Babri Mosque was located in the state of Ayodhya in Uttar Pradesh. Ayodhya is a city in the state of Uttar Pradesh.

 
 
 
 

Episode 22: Traditional Survival Skills

“Know more. Carry less.” That’s the philosophy behind the Boulder Outdoor Survival School where Eli Loomis teaches traditional and primitive survival skills (the knowledge and techniques used by indigenous peoples as opposed to military-style training). For its most intense course BOSS takes students out on a 28-day trek through the Utah desert, where they learn to forage and survive with little more than a knife and a blanket. Eli also spent two seasons conducting marine biology research in Antarctica. When he’s not immersed in extreme outdoor environments Eli teaches university courses in Biology and Ecology in Washington State.

And, we’ve just launched a Patreon page for Latitude Adjustment podcast. The show will remain free to the public, but if you find value in it then please consider supporting us with a dollar or more per month to help make our efforts sustainable. And remember to tell your friends about us! Thank you for your support!

 

Eli suggests that you read: “Practice of the Wild“, by Gary Snyder

And watch:

 

Episode 21: Anonymous in Iran

We hear a lot about Iran in the Western press and from Western politicians, but we rarely hear from the Iranian people. Our guest lives in Tehran where she works as a documentary photographer.

We agreed to keep her identity private in order to allow for a more open discussion about Iran and its relationship to the world, and we closed our conversation with a question from our guest:

”“How responsible do you feel about the situation in Iran right now? And what do you think you can do about it?”

If you would like to answer this question you can do so by using the hashtag:

#LatitudeAdjustmentPodcast_Iran

and tagging our Facebook, Twitter or Instagram accounts. Links to those accounts can be found here on the website. You can also visit our accounts and simply leave your answers in comments.

It’s time that we as citizens step forward and start a conversation where our governments have failed.

And, we’ve just launched a Patreon page for Latitude Adjustment podcast. The show will remain free to the public, but if you find value in it then please consider supporting us with a dollar or more per month to help make our efforts sustainable. And remember to tell your friends about us! Thank you for your support!


 
 
 
 

Episode 20: The Catalonia Crisis

Hola, de España! This is the first episode I’ve produced from a country where I’m actually located, and my first in-person interview for the podcast, though this show focusses on the independence movement up north in Catalonia (I’m currently in Valencia).

Txell Donyate is a linguist who speaks Italian, French, English, Spanish, Catalan… and Finnish. And while she’s lived in Barcelona since 2014, she’s originally from the Comunidad Valenciana just to the south of Catalonia, and offers a unique outsider/ insider perspective on the independence movement.

This episode attempts to lend some historical and personal perspective to the current political situation. And if you’ve been wanting to know more about modern Spanish history you may find the speed history lesson at the beginning to be helpful.

Be sure to check out some recommended reading below, if you want to learn more about the 1936-1939 Spanish Civil War and contemporary Spanish history and society.

And, we’ve just launched a Patreon page for Latitude Adjustment podcast. The show will remain free to the public, but if you find value in it then please consider supporting us with a dollar or more per month to help make our efforts sustainable. And remember to tell your friends about us! Thank you for your support!

 

Episode 19: No Name Kitchen

Bruno Morán is from Asturias, Spain, and is a co-founder of No Name Kitchen, an NGO that provides food, sleeping bags, basic necessities, and a community space for refugees in transit along the Serbian and Bosnian borders with Croatia.

In addition to providing basic services, No Name Kitchen has also become a primary point of contact for those who have been pushed back from the Croatian border, and as a result the organization has found itself involved in documenting and sharing the growing number of reported abuses by the Croatian border police against those who are seeking to cross into the EU, people who have no legal means of registering themselves in bordering countries.

In this episode we cover what is happening on the ground, the practical challenges of running a small front line organization, and some advice on how you can get involved in global events in your community.


Photo credit clockwise from top left: image 1 No Name Kitchen; images 2-4 Maria Feck, No Name Kitchen, Šid, Serbia.