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War News Radio

Jan 2021

Foreign in a Domestic Sense: Conflict and Colonialism in the US Pacific Territories

For this episode of War News Radio, we’re taking a closer look at two of the Pacific territories, Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, whose historical relationships to the United States are defined by conflict and colonialism. This has drastically disrupted the lives of the native Chamorro people who have inhabited Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and the rest of the Mariana Islands archipelago for the past 4-5,000 years. There are cultural and historical differences between Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands, which led to Guam rejecting reunification with the Northern Mariana Islands in 1960. But both territories still face many of the same challenges today.

The U.S. acquired Guam from the Spanish in 1899 after winning the Spanish-American War. The Northern Mariana Islands has a more complicated colonial history, and was passed more or less from the Spanish Empire to Germany, then Japan, then the United Nations, and was officially established as a commonwealth in political union with the United States in 1986. Although the pasts of the two territories differ, the relationship between the U.S. and both territories has been historically characterized by intense militarization, a trend that continues to this day. But increasing calls for decolonization and self-determination could be changing this dynamic. In order to understand this shift happening in the pacific territories, we talked to residents of Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands about colonial history, militarism, political representation, and more.

This episode of War News Radio was written and produced by Lucas Meyer-Lee, Anya Slepyan, Max Winig, and Sophia Becker.

Jan 2021

Opaque and Unforgiving: America’s Inhumane Asylum System

The asylum process in the United States has been in the national spotlight consistently over the past four years, centering on the Trump administration's grave mistreatment of immigrants at the U.S.-Mexico border and its policy of family separation. But what actually is the asylum process, how is it supposed to work, and where has it gone wrong? In this episode, we talk to M, a Cameroonian asylee who has seen both the way the asylum process should work and the many ways in which it does not. While M was granted asylum after fleeing Cameroon, her brother remains detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement with no end in sight. We also talk to Philippe Weisz, Managing Attorney at HIAS Pennsylvania, about the current legal process of granting asylum and the myriad challenges asylum seekers face before and after arriving in the United States. 


This episode of War News Radio was written and produced by Zane Irwin and Nick Hirschel-Burns. Thank you to Philippe Weisz of HIAS Pennsylvania and M for speaking with us. 


Image: Anti-Deportation Protests in 2017 (Daily Chalkupy via Flickr)


Jan 2021

A Kingdom in Peril: Perspective on the 2020 Protests from Thai Youth

Anti-government protests in Thailand rocked the nation in 2020.  The protests that began with anger at the dissolution of a political party, have found mass appeal including the unprecedented public demand to reform the Thai monarchy and a call to draft a new constitution.  We speak with a Peera, a freelance journalist and Jason, a student studying abroad, who both grew up in Thailand. We get their perspectives of the political landscape on the ground that spurned the demonstrations and what it is like to live under the rule of a monarchy where any public criticism is taboo.

This episode was reported by the War News Radio team, written by Louie Kant, Sophia Peterson, Martin Tomilson and Bryce Bussert, and produced by Jaydeep Sangha.


Image: "Pro-democracy protestors flash three fingered salute" (from Gemunu Amarasinghe via AP)

Jun 2020

A Nation Among States (Part 2)

When the U.S. drew down its military presence in Northeast Syria last fall, it was a huge blow to the region’s predominantly Kurdish populace. However, it was “not the first time the Kurds ha[d] been betrayed by the American government,” according to Nejeer Zebari. In the second of two episodes on the Kurds’ external conflicts and internal tensions, we explore divisions among Kurds, Turkey's relationship with the Kurds, and conflicting visions of a Kurdish future.


This episode was reported by the War News Radio team, written by Lucas Meyer-Lee, Sophia Peterson, and Nick Hirschel-Burns, and produced by Ross Layton.


Image: "Kurdish PKK Guerrillas" (from Kurdishstruggle via Flickr)

Apr 2020

A Nation Among States (Part 1)

When the U.S. drew down its military presence in Northeast Syria last fall, it was a huge blow to the region's predominantly Kurdish populace. However, it was "not the first time the Kurds ha[d] been betrayed by the American government," according to Nejeer Zebari. In the first of two episodes on the Kurds' external conflicts and internal tensions, we explore recent developments in—and the long history of—this stateless people's fraught relations with its regional neighbors and the U.S.

This episode was reported by the War News Radio team, written by Lucas Meyer-Lee and Sophia Peterson, and produced by Ross Layton.

Image: "Kurdish YPG Fighters" (from Kurdishstruggle via flickr)

Dec 2019

Sudan’s Social Media Propaganda Problem

Mass protests toppled Sudan's decades-old dictatorship last April. The country is now governed by a transitional council, and many advocates for democracy are hopeful. But at this crucial juncture in their history, the Sudanese people are confronted with an increasingly familiar challenge: propaganda disseminated through Facebook and other online platforms. In this episode, we explore Sudan's struggle with anti-democratic social media propaganda.

This episode was produced by Miles Dyke, Ross Layton, Lucas Meyer-Lee, and Sophia Peterson.

Image: Sudan Revolution (from Hind Mekki via flickr)

Dec 2019

Reconciliation in Colombia: Moving Forward after the 2016 Peace Deal

The 2016 peace deal between the Colombian government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) was hailed as a historic agreement, with then-president Juan Manuel Santos awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts. Three years later, the reality is far murkier. What can be done to continue moving forward toward a peaceful future for Colombia? War News Radio's Bryce Bussert and Nick Hirschel-Burns investigate.

Dec 2019

The Impact of New Trump Administration Policy Changes on Refugee Resettlement

Refugees and refugee resettlement agencies are facing incredible uncertainty following measures by the Trump administration to significantly curtail refugee entry to the lowest admittance since the 1970s.  To gain a better perspective the impact these policy changes have on refugees and resettlement agencies, we speak with Stephanie Gromek, the communications coordinator for Church World Service, one of the largest refugee resettlement organizations in the United States.  In this episode we also chat with Hamzeh Alturk, a Syrian student now studying at Miami Dade College following the outbreak of the Syrian Civil War.  Hamzeh shares his own experiences which help to better comprehend the challenges and aspirations a displaced person might face.

This piece was produced by Jaydeep Sangha, and narrated by Siddharth Srivatsan, Alexandra Thomas, Jeff Duncan, and Yusa Parcali

May 2019

The Venezuelan Migrant Crisis: A Swarthmore Student’s Perspective

It is the largest migration crisis in the recorded history of the Americas—Venezuelans’ mass flight from degraded economic and social conditions in their home country. Millions have departed in recent years and have “no prospect for return in the short to medium term,” according to the U.N. In this episode, Swarthmore College senior Zack Lash discusses his experience of the migrant influx in Colombia and his views on Venezuela’s broader crisis.

This episode was produced by Ross Layton, Serena Sung-Clarke, Juliane Ding, Shiloh Sumanthiran, and Magda Werkmeister.

Photo: Venezuelan migrant families in Ecuador (from UNICEF Ecuador)

May 2019

Secret Internment Camps and Political Repression: China’s Brutal Crackdown on the Uighurs

More than a million members of the Uighur community in China have been detained in secret internment camps in by the Chinese government.  Reports from the region indicate mass political repression and a widespread crackdown on the ethnic Uighur minority.  The Chinese government tightly controls any access to the Chinese controlled Xinjiang autonomous region, so information is limited through hearing first and second hand accounts by Uighurs.  In this episode we do just that, and speak to Nury Turkel, an attorney and the founder of the the Washington D.C. based Uighur Human Rights Project. With his help, we try to understand the conditions on the ground faced by Uighurs in China and the political dynamics surrounding the crackdown. This piece was produced by Jaydeep Sangha, Gabrielle Henig, Nick Herschel-Burns, and Lisa Kato.

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