India Unheard is a new project by VideoVolunteers which focuses on helping develop a network of citizen journalists and concerned video citizens throughout India. My guests, BaghdadBrian and Stalin K, are both involved with the project and agreed to talk to me and explain what VV is, the idea behind India Unheard, and the evolution of the project.
Imagine having no rights, no home, and no country. Now imagine that on top of that, you live amongst hundreds of thousands of other people in a makeshift camp for over 30 years. This is just part of the story that the people known as Bihari’s endure everyday in Bangladesh. My guest, documentary film maker Shafiur Rahman has made a film on this very topic, helps explain the past, present, and all the details that the world seems to ignore on a regular basis, of how an entire population can be declared stateless and without rights.
His film, The Promised Land (available via amazon.uk)
His blog, Imperfect World
The wikipedia entry on the Bihari people
Courtesy of Shafiur, from the film.
note: (there is alot of white noise in this recording as I was recording it under unfamiliar circumstances and Im under alot of stress these days so no need to complain about it, thank you.)
Spending all day scraping paint at my squat office leaves me with a great chance to listen to a long list of podcasts will my full attention. One of the podcasts that was especially interesting today was the latest edition of Deutsche Welle’s Living Planet. This is the German broadcaster’s environmental program, recorded in English. The specific topic was a short item about the Stockholm train station, where soon they will make use of the heat generated by people, to heat an entire building. Yes, they will use body heat to warm water that will then be piped into a new office building next door that will also have a hotel.
As I scraped paint off the walls today alongside other members of our collective, I listened to this program, and then glanced at the windows. All fogged up. Three of us scraping paint can heat a room. A station full of people, who pass through everyday, generates alot of heat. What a simple but examplary idea.
While the French president runs around the middle east trying to convince nations to buy French nuclear technology, even though they have no real idea what to do with the waste in the long run. While the Bush administration uses oxymoron terms like “clean coal” to justify the building of new coal power plants in the United States. While big power companies continue to promise the people of India lots of energy if they will just let their rivers be dammed. Some clever people in Sweden see a simple and ingenious way to heat buildings. And while it may be small scale, it is an example of the kind of thinking the world needs to get inspired by.
There are few projects on the internet, that make me stand up and say — see.. this is what videoblogging is for! And while I’ve mentioned this particular one before, as I watched their latest video I was once again reminded of how great they are.
The project is called Swajana, a videoblog which started around the time of Jay and Ryanne’s visit to India. It is about people in India. More specifically, people and their jobs. What they do, why they do it, how much they make, how they manage their lives, their hopes for the future, their hopes for their children, their concerns in general. It is a fantastic collection of snapshots, video capsules of life in cities like Pune, India.
Watching the tailor and the tailor’s wife and the tailor’s son, I’m reminded of what life is like outside of this first world disneyland known as Amsterdam. I love living here, but the standard of living is so high, It makes me need to have reality checks, reminders, of how a majority of the world lives. That means poverty. That means jobs that many of us would not do. That means struggling for the bare essentials. While I often say I struggle, my struggle is nothing in comparison. And in my humble opinion, this is the true power, the true significance of what videoblogging and personal publishing could be used for when it comes to global understanding, reporting about reality, and learning from each other. So on this fine friday, I recommend you re-check out and subscribe to Swajana.