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.
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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.
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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.
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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.”
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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.
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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.”
Syrian Refugees Flood Into Neighboring Jordan
Radio show: As the conflict in Syria rages on, thousands of refugees — some 200,000 in total — are fleeing to neighboring countries. The United Nations estimates that there are over 85,000 refugees currently in Jordan, the most of any neighboring country.”
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Battling over Meaning of Free Expression
“For Tunisian artist Nadia Jelassi, the trouble started in June when her sculptures, along with those of other artists, went on display at a Tunis gallery. Jelassi’s sculptures featured female mannequins in conservative Islamic dress that included robes, with their hair covered. The work was surrounded by a bed of smooth stones. Jelassi says everything was fine until the last day of the exhibit, when a man taking photos asked that some of the artwork be taken down.
“Of course we refused,” she says. “But before long he came back with a group of bearded men. They scrawled ‘Death to Blasphemous Artists’ on the gallery walls, and later that night broke into the building and destroyed many of the pieces.”
NPR: Revolutionary Road Trip
Revolutionary Road Trip
After last year’s revolutions, the North African states of Tunisia, Libya and Egypt are rewriting the rules that govern their politics, economies and societies. NPR takes a Revolutionary Road Trip across the region to see how these countries are remaking themselves.
One Year of Hope
“When I was in secondary school in Aleppo, one of the required English texts was an abridged version of Charles Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities. Back then, I sat at an old wooden bench with two girls — who were once my best friends, but now we barely speak — and together we read dusty words about a revolution steeped in blood and sacrifice in a place that seemed so far away in time and space from our isolated lives.
The story of two places, rich and poor, privileged and oppressed, was also the story of our Syria. When we read Dickens, we could not imagine similar scenes unfolding in Syria during our lifetime. In 2011, scenes of protests and funerals, torture and murder, international press conferences and presidential interviews, were recorded not on the pages of a novel but in videos and photographs, in tweets and Facebook statuses, transferred via Skype and YouTube. Over two centuries later we would write the same story: the story of a revolution.”
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In New Libya, Lots Of Guns & Calls For Shariah
Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep is taking a Revolutionary Road Trip across North Africa to see how the countries that staged revolutions last year are remaking themselves. Steve and his team are traveling some 2,000 miles from Tunisia’s ancient city of Carthage, across the deserts of Libya and on to Egypt’s megacity of Cairo. In the Libyan towns of Benghazi and Derna, he talks to Islamists about their desire to see a new Libya ruled by Shariah law.
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