Middle East

Episode 36: Dahlia Al Roubi -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 As of June 6th, Sudan’s membership in the African Union has been revoked.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: Dahlia Al Roubi - 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 32: Adel Hashem - On the Ground in Yemen

We hear very little about the war that is taking place in Yemen, which is now in its fifth year. And we hear even less about this war in the words of Yemenis themselves, and far less still from those who are still in 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 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 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 15: Cory Lee - Wheelchair World Travel

Cory Lee started Curb Free With Cory Lee, a travel blog for people who use wheelchairs and for people with accessibility needs. So far he's been to six continents and tours as a public speaker. Aside from accessible travel, we talk about Spinal Muscular Atrophy, the importance of self-advocacy, educating the public about wheelchair access, working for Obama's inaugural committee, navigating the complex relationships with caregivers, college life, riding a specially adapted camel, what cities are great for wheelchair access (Sydney, Helsinki, and Washington, DC are at the top), and more.

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!

(Photos are from Curb Free With Cory Lee)

(My research notes for SMA were taken from SMA News Today, Counsyl, and National Institute of Health)

 
 

Episode 2: Tara Todras-Whitehill, Middle East Photojournalist

I met Tara in Cairo in 2012, and then again in Washington DC. A recipient of the James Foley Award for Conflict Reporting, she's been on the move for a long time, both as a veteran of Middle East reporting with Reuters, AP, and the New York Times, and now with her own production company, Vignette Interactive, which helps humanitarian nonprofits tell their stories through mixed media. Her photos have lead the front page of the New York Times and recent assignments have taken her to Nepal and Nigeria. 

We discuss her intense first day on the job in Beirut, how she got into photojournalism, the challenges and advantages of being a woman in her field, work-life balance in a notoriously demanding profession, and the relationships between foreign reporters and the local teams and communities they interact with.

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!

 

 

Photo credits left-to-right: Matt Ford, Evelyn Kahungu-Kihara, and Kevin Frayer