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War News Radio

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.

Apr 2019

Exodus from Afghanistan: My Parents’ Story

Keton Kakkar, a current senior at Swarthmore, interviews his parents who emigrated from Afghanistan almost 40 years ago. Part of the Hindu minority in Afghanistan, they fled persecution and a new upheaval: the Soviet invasion of 1979. In this episode, Keton explores themes of changing landscapes, religious identity, emigration, and relocation.

Mar 2019

Hope, Grief, and Coral Reefs

Climate change poses an existential threat to coral reefs, which undergird the survival of many marine animals and the livelihood of coastal communities. In this podcast, we turn our attention to two reef scientists: how do they approach research when the world they study is degrading before their eyes?

Our host, Ben Charo, begins this episode discussing his journey to produce this story. If you would like to skip to the main story, go to 4:30. At the end of the piece, Ben shares the stories and insights he has gleaned from his fellowship research in Townsville, Australia.

This piece was produced by Ben Charo, Katherine Kwok, and Serena Sung-Clarke. We’d like to shout out to Meagan Currie, Jake Stattel, and Kyle Richmond-Crosset for their help. Our background music is by Blue Dot Sessions (via Free Music Archive). The news clips are from BBC, ABC Australia, and PBS News Hour. The sound effects are by HDvideoguy, LittleRainySeasons, and Kinoton via freesound.org. Special thanks to Dr. Scott Heron and Zack Rago. Photo was taken by Ben Charo.

Mar 2019

Dreaming of Peace in Yemen

The now four year long civil war in Yemen has devastated the Yemeni people killing almost 100 thousand people and leading to widespread famine. We take an in-depth look at the politics and history surrounding the conflict and how that has produced one of the most extreme humanitarian crises in the world.  This podcast explores the current state of the Yemeni Civil War speaking with Fatik Al-Rodhani, a Yemeni journalist and humanitarian activist on the ground in Sana’a. This piece was produced by Jaydeep Sangha, Nick Hirshel-Burns, Yusa Parcali, and Lisa Kato.

[Photo of Fatik Al-Rodhani from Mona Relief]

Dec 2018

Vanilla and Hot Money in Madagascar

Small farmers in the northeast of Madagascar produce 80% of the world's vanilla. Due to a series of factors, including climate change and market liberalization, these farmers are experiencing extreme fluctuations in the value of their crop. This podcast explores the causes of those fluctuations and the strange and surprising impacts the boom and bust cycle has on the people of northeastern Madagascar. This piece was produced by Kyle Richmond-Crosset, Serena Sung-Clarke, Shiloh Sumanthiran, and Juliane Ding. 

The photo above was taken by Finbarr O'Reilly. Selected music was obtained through the Free Music Archive. 

Feb 2018

Rohingya Refugee Crisis: Part 2

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees have flooded out of Myanmar, escaping from military violence. Escaping from Myanmar in itself is a harrowing journey, but many refugees continue to find adversity in the camps and cities where they end up. In continuation from the first part of this series, we speak to a PBS reporter, a United Nations advisor, and the director of a refugee rights organization. With their help, we try to understand the journey faced by Rohingya refugees, from fleeing their homes to trying to resettle in a new one. This piece was produced by Serena Sung-Clarke, Jasmine Rashid, Jia Chern Teoh, and Katherine Kwok.

The background music in this episode was produced by Podington Bear from the Free Music Archive.

Dec 2017

The Three Kings: Ghetto Musicians and Ugandan Politics

As part of a project connecting to Professor of Political Science Emily Paddon-Rhoads’ class on the Politics of Sub-Saharan Africa, several Swatties examine the role of music in Ugandan politics. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has been in power for three decades and has pushed the presidential age limit. In this troubling context, musicians take varying degrees of political engagement but are all restricted in their methods of expression by the government. How have artists responded? Some completely avoid politics; some see artistic expression as a mode of social activism. A number of musicians sang for Museveni’s campaign. Others ran for office to create change from within the system. Ugandan pop music reflects the disturbing trends of Ugandan politics. This week on War News Radio, our reporters Ozsu Risvanoglu, Lea Slaugh, and Sally Wang, with the help of Lisa Kato and Seimi Park, will take you on a journey with the music of parliamentary musician Bobi Wine (also known as “The King of Ghetto”),  top musician Eddy Kenzo, and human rights activist/musician Bana Mutibwa. 

Nov 2017

Iraqi Kurdistan: Past and Present

On September 25th, the semi-autonomous Kurds of Northern Iraq called a referendum for independence. Since ISIS was pushed from the country, the Iraqi Kurds’ President Masoud Barzani thought the timing was right. In response, on October 16th, Iraqi federal security forces seized disputed territory occupied by the Iraqi Kurds, quashing any hopes of Kurdish independence. Tensions remain high as the Baghdad government demands a renunciation of the referendum; productive negotiations and the establishment of a cease-fire have yet to be accomplished. This week on War News Radio, our reporters Jake Stattel and Nick Mayo offer a brief historical background on this conflict and the role of the Kurds in Iraq. Tune in to catch up on the breaking story in Iraq, as it continues to unfold.

Oct 2017

Rohingya Refugee Crisis: Part 1

In August, clashes between the Burmese government and the ethnic minority Rohingya intensified, leaving casualties and many Rohingya people vulnerable to violence. Since then, over 500,000 Rohingya have fled their home in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. The media and foreign workers have been barred from entering Rakhine, but stories of ethnic cleansing and plunder have emerged. Who, exactly, are the Rohingya and how did this happen? To understand the current crisis, we have to go back in time… This week on War News Radio, our reporters Serena Sung-Clarke and Shiloh Sumanthiran have spoken with experts to understand the Rohingya's history in Myanmar. Tune in to find out more.


The background music in this episode was produced by Ian Sutherland on the Free Music Archive.