At the beginning of this winter, as I prepared for the great journey to North Africa, here in Amsterdam I heard about a group of asylum seekers who were living in a tent camp somewhere in the city. Despite my preoccupation with my own plans,…
It was one of those beautiful nights in Beirut were I found myself sitting at a table with new friends sharing stories, teaching each other about the world, and finding humor in unexpected places. And even after a long day of teaching and rehearsing, Alexandre Paulikevitch is a natural at all these things. As we sat around the table of the outdoor cafe he talked about projects he’s working on and the challenges that keep coming his way, and after several minutes of conversation he looked at me and my portable recorder and said “OK Mark, I understand what you’re doing and what kind of conversations you are seeking.” A clear and reassuring statement I wish I would tell myself every now and then.
The issue of domestic abuse is a huge yet unspoken problem in Egypt. Despite all the stories of the great social liberation that is taking place on the street when it comes to self-expression and liberty, at home women are still beaten by their husbands. Between the social acceptance and the legal indifference of this terrible tradition, it would seem to be an extremely difficult reality to overcome.
The use of the law to keep people from protesting and assembling did not start with the Occupy Wall Street movement in 2011. In fact, for hundreds of years, since the birth of the United States, there has been a slow but steady effort to keep people from being able to lawfully protest and organize. During the occupy movement there were extensive discussions about democracy, freedom, economics, and our future. Somewhere behind it all, there was the issue of laws and what protesters can and cannot do. In the end it was the police armed with tear gas and legal ordinances who were able to clear people out of the public squares they had peacefully occupied. In this podcast we speak with attorney Joshua Dratel, the first civilian defense lawyer to have worked with prisoners in Guantanamo Bay. His recent article “The Evaporation of American Political Dissent” talks about the long running degredation of the right to protest and assemble in the United States.