Diary Of A Saudi Girl
Majd Abdulghani is a young woman from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, who dreams of becoming a scientist — while her parents hope to arrange her marriage. Radio Diaries, a storytelling nonprofit and podcast, sent Abdulghani a recorder — and she ended up chronicling her world for over two years. Here are some scenes from her diary, which began on Oct. 31, 2013.
“The Morning They Came For Us”
It has been five years since civil war erupted in Syria. Hundreds of thousands have been killed. More than four million refugees have fled into neighboring countries — creating a crisis that has engulfed Europe. Janine di Giovanni, the Middle East editor for Newsweek, was embedded with the Syrian army. She says reporting on the war in Syria is unlike any other conflict she’s ever covered. And she has reported from dozens of war zones, including Bosnia, Iraq, and Somalia. Guest host Susan Page talks with di Giovanni about the brutal reality of the daily lives of Syrians.
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Ethical challenges covering refugee crisis
It can often be challenging for journalists to report on harrowing events or in difficult situations where the people involved are in need of help. Should journalists stop the reporting process to assist those around them? Or should their main priority be to continue gathering interviews to get a story back to their publisher?
The refugee crisis is a core example of this, where journalists are required to produce content for their news organisations back home, but are often in a position where they may feel like interrupting their work in order to give assistance to those around them.
In this podcast, Simon Shuster, reporter for New York based magazine Time explains the ‘humanitarian temptation’ that journalists face when covering the crisis.
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Yemen Quietly Being Killed
In this broad-ranging and incisive interview with journalist and filmmaker Safa Al Ahmad, she delves into her recent coverage of Yemen reflecting on the humanitarian disaster there, the various actors on the ground, and the gendered dimensions of covering this conflict.
Safa Al Ahmad is a Saudi freelance journalist and filmmaker. Her focus is the Arabian Peninsula, primarily Saudi Arabia and Yemen. Her first film ‘Al Qaeda in Yemen’ was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2012, and ‘Saudi Secret Uprising’ won best international investigative documentary at the AIB’s in 2014. Her essay “Wishful Thinking on Saudi Arabia and the Arab world post 2011” was published in the anthology Writing Revolution, winner of an English PEN award. – See more at: http://www.statushour.com/safa-al-ahmad.html#sthash.qdKbIRoR.dpuf
Cartoon censorship in the Middle East
We’ve seen what happens when cartoonists try to tackle religious subjects in Europe but what about when they do it in the Middle East? One comic-book magazine in Lebanon did just that and quickly found itself on the sharp end of the law. Cartoonists have been getting into trouble since the early 18th century and this story brings that right up to date. Monocle’s Beirut correspondent Venetia Rainey reports.
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Hungary: At the Cutting Edge
As more European countries follow Hungary’s lead and fence their borders against irregular migration, Maria Margaronis explores Hungarians’ responses to the refugee and migration crisis.
“There’s real anxiety here that comes from ignorance, but also an insistence on seeing the refugees in the worst possible light.”
Listen to the radio story.
The Odyssey through the eyes of a Syrian
The Odyssey by Homer is an epic tale featuring moody gods, siren songs and even a cyclops — and in the mind of Richmond Eustis, it was once a fantastical treat.
But when the literary professor assigned the book to a group of students in Jordan, his framework changed. His pupils, asylum seekers from Syria, Iraq, and the Palestinian territories, saw their real stories reflected in the themes of death, danger and displacement.
Today, Eustis and one of his students, Isra’a Sadder, join guest host Talia Schlanger to share a new angle on the 8th century B.C. comic adventure.
Sadder says education and literature are her “only salvation”. She also shares what it feels like to lose home.
“It’s like your soul is heavy, and you are just a burden.”
Le Guin Steers Her Craft Into a New Century
Ursula Le Guin has brought mainstream recognition to science fiction in a successful career that has endured for sixty years, with books that include The Left Hand of Darkness, Lavinia, and the Earthsea series for young readers.
She says she doesn’t believe in a lot of do’s and don’ts in writing. But she does run writing workshops in which serious writers might test what works well, and what doesn’t quite do the job. Back in the ’90s, Le Guin wrote a manual for aspiring writers called Steering the Craft. And she’s just released a new edition of the book, updated for the 21st century.
Le Guin tells NPR’s Scott Simon that sound is often forgotten in a piece of writing. “Writing is a kind of way of speaking, and I hear it,” she says. “And I think a lot of readers hear it too. Even if they hear it in silence. And so the sounds of the language, and the rhythm and the cadence of the sentences are very powerful.”
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Doc Chronicles Innovative Life in Camp
The nation of Jordan estimates that it has taken in about 1.4 million Syrian refugees since the fighting in Syria began in 2011. While the United Nations runs refugee camps there, many Syrians live in towns and cities where they do not have permission to work.
A new documentary, “Salam Neighbor,” looks at how Syrians are making a living in the Zaatari refugee camp and surrounding areas. One of them is Ghassoun, a mother of three and a nurse. She cannot find a job because she lacks a work visa and childcare. Instead, she sews trinkets for women who wear hijabs. That income helps her pay rent and working from home lets her look after her children.
Saudi Arabian Women Are ‘Pushing Normal’
I first saw Saudi Arabian women “pushing normal” before I knew this concept had a name. I was walking down Tahlia Street in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. It’s a trendy weekend hangout spot, a strip of fast food burger and brand name coffee shops popular with young Saudi men.
It was striking to see three young women stride down this all-male domain defying the kingdom’s conservative social codes enforced by the religious police and the judgments of family and neighbors.
“But if we listen to them, stay home, and not enjoy our lives, it’s going to be like this forever,” says Sadeem, age 17. Her friends, Amira, 18, and Yasmin, 16, nod in agreement, though none reveal their last names.
Listen to radio story.
Navigating new world of eyewitness media
Of all the major news events over 2015 it’s hard to think of one which didn’t feature footage captured by a member of the public. The age of eyewitness media, where anyone with a smartphone and social media account can take the place of professional camera person, has turned breaking news on its head and news organisations are still figuring out how to deal with this explosion in newsworthy material.
Issues of social news gathering, verification, ethics and hoaxes are causing headaches in newsrooms around the world, so to see out the year we spoke to a range of experts about their opinion on the shifting landscape.
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Editors’ Role Has Changed Over Time
When Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman was published earlier this year, readers learned that this much anticipated “second book” by Lee was actually a first draft of what would later become the beloved To Kill a Mockingbird. Lee radically revised this early version of the book on the advice of her editor, Tay Hohoff. That made us wonder: How much do editors shape the final book we read?
On hearing the news about the role Lee’s editor played in the creation of To Kill a Mockingbird, Pulitzer Prize-winning author A. Scott Berg was surprised at first. The story immediately made him think of legendary editor Max Perkins — who shepherded the works of such greats as F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Wolfe and Ernest Hemingway. Berg, who wrote a biography of Perkins, says Perkins had a huge influence on the editors who came after him because of the way he worked with his authors.
“Not only did he change the course of the American literary river, but he changed what editors do by becoming their best friends, their money lenders, their marriage counselors, their psychoanalysts,” Berg says. “And along the way he began offering them titles. He often provided structure for what their novels ought to be. He often gave them whole ideas for what their next book should be.”
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Interview with Simone de Beauvoir
There are many things to be learned from Studs’s 1960 interview with Simone de Beauvoir in her Paris apartment, but perhaps one of the most charming bits of trivia, is that even a philosopher and feminist icon like Simone de Beauvoir made up silly quizzes with her girlfriends when she was sixteen. Only this silly quiz had a profound result, it was one of the first moments Beauvoir realized writing was her destiny.
Swapping Prison Beds For Ankle Bracelets
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has been under fire for opening three detention centers to hold Central American immigrant families who fled to this country seeking asylum.
Under the pressure of a federal court order, ICE is now exploring ways to release the mothers and children with alternatives to detention — but human rights activists are unhappy that the same for-profit prison company that locked up the families now manages their cases after release.
Listen to the story.
Illustrator’s glimpses of life under ISIS
Molly Crabapple, a New York-based writer and illustrator, has created a series of illustrations for Vanity Fair showing street scenes of Mosul, Iraq.
Listen to this interview with her.
Fresh Look At Istanbul In ‘Strangeness’
Nobel Prize winner Orhan Pamuk loves Istanbul. But he is a creature of the affluent corners of the city where he grew up and now lives, and he has written many times about the lives of Istanbul’s secular upper class. His latest novel,A Strangeness in My Mind, is the story of a street peddler, one of the millions who began immigrating to Istanbul in the 1950s from small villages in the country.
Listen to the interview.
Afghanistan’s Conflict History: War Rugs
Afghanistan has suffered through long decades of war; conflict with the Soviet Union, civil war and 13 years of a U.S.-led NATO combat mission. Among the political, economic and cultural impacts of this violence, there’s an artistic transformation: the history of violence is reflected in the country’s ancient art of rug making.
Kevin Sudeith, a collector, tells NPR’s Arun Rath that he has long been impressed by the craftsmanship of Afghan rugs.
“The thing that awed me about the war rugs … is the combination of a very ancient tradition and ancient designs and patterns that are tied to specific towns and regions of Afghanistan … coupled with the most contemporary subject matter,” Sudeith says. “And the war rugs document that unselfconsciously, succinctly and beautifully.”
Listen to story on NPR
Girl Scouts & A Safeway Store in Refugee Camp
“On a sunny afternoon in the dusty, overcrowded Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, a group of Syrian girls recites a familiar pledge and hope to change their future. The youngsters promise to serve God and country, to help people at all times and live by the laws of the Girl Scouts.”
Listen to this NPR radio report by Deborah Amos.
What’s The Point Of Journalism School?
Callie Schweitzer is a one-woman counterargument. She’s a 21-year-old senior from Westchester, N.Y., and she’s already had internships at People magazine and The New York Times. Schweitzer used to write for the independent student paper, . Now she’s the editor-in-chief of , the 24-hour online news website for USC’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.
“I don’t believe it when people say journalism is dead,” Schweitzer says. “I’m the one raising my hand saying, ‘No it’s not!’ I think it will always exist.”
Tony Gallagher exits Telegraph
“On this week’s Media Talk, John Plunkett and guests discuss Tony Gallagher’s abrupt departure as editor of the Daily Telegraph, how the Mail on Sunday is closing in on the Sun on Sunday, and what exactly the BBC is up to with its Instagram video news project.”
Desert Island Discs: Jim Al-Khalili interview
Desert Island Discs is a radio programme presented by Krisy Young and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. In this episode, Kirsty Young’s castaway is the physicist Professor Jim Al-Khalili.
He’s spent his adult life studying sub-atomic particles – and trying to explain them to the rest of us. He fell in love with physics when he was a teenager growing up in Iraq. With an Iraqi father and English mother, the Baghdad he spent his early years in was cosmopolitan and vibrant but, once Saddam Hussein came to power, his parents realised the family would have to flee, and he has lived and worked in Britain for the past 30 years.
Jim is the author of the book Pathfinders; The Golden Age of Arabic Science, among others.
Fresh Air: Ben Affleck & Dustin Hoffman
Ben Affleck is interviewed by Fresh Air’s host Terry Gross. The movie has won awards at the Golden Globes. “The film, which Affleck produced and in which he also stars, is the mostly true story of the CIA operative who helmed the rescue of six U.S. diplomats who managed to escape at the outset of the 1979 Iran crisis that held 52 Americans hostage for 444 days after militants took over the American Embassy in Tehran. Affleck, a Middle Eastern studies major in college, was a child when the crisis happened and does not remember the news coverage.”
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Chronicling Lives After Guantanamo Bay
“Shephard has followed the stories of several prisoners after they were released, including Salim Hamdan, who was Osama bin Laden’s personal driver, and Canadian Omar Khadr, the youngest Guantanamo prisoner. Recently, she traveled to Albania to meet with Abu Bakr Qassim, one of several Muslims belonging to China’s Uighur minority who were captured in Pakistan and mistakenly detained at Guantanamo.”
Pamuk’s Second Novel Released In English
Radio Interview: Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk’s 1983 novel Silent House is being released in English for the first time this week. All Things Considered host Robert Siegel talks with the Nobel Laureate about what took so long to get the book translated and how he’s changed as a writer since it was first published in Turkish nearly 30 years ago.
Listen to the interview
Book: The Dawn of the Arab Uprisings
“The Dawn of the Arab Uprisings sheds light on the historical context and initial impact of the mass uprisings that have shaken the Arab world since December 2010. The volume documents the first nine months of the Arab uprisings and explains the backgrounds and trajectories of these popular movements and regime strategies to contain them. It provides critical analysis and at times first-hand accounts of events that have received little or superficial coverage in Western and Arab media alike. While the book focuses on those states that have been most affected by the uprisings, including Tunisia, Egypt, Bahrain, Libya, Yemen, and Syria, it also covers the impact on Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Algeria, Palestine, Lebanon, and Iraq.
As the initial phase of the uprisings subsides, counter-revolution sets in, and grand narratives crystallize, it is important to take note of the diversity of reactions that emanated from activists, scholars, and others as the uprisings were first unfolding. In this sense, the volume archives the realm of possibilities, both imaginative and practical, optimistic and pessimistic, that were opened up as people sought to make sense of the rapidly unfolding events.”