bm216 My Mother’s Tradition of Rebellion and Challenge

by bicyclemark

My mother went to school at a time in Portugal where you weren’t supposed to question or challenge a very sexist, classist, and politically repressive nation. Yet throughout her education she took on one challenge after another, making it her tradition to fight against the rules and the limits placed upon her. This podcast is about that experience, in her own words, as we sat in our living room in Caldas da Rainha, Portugal, last week.

We discuss:
– Girls and School
– Access to schools
– Private and Public schools during the dictatorship
– Class and privledge
– Getting to school
– Gender inequality
– Challenging the norms
– University in Coimbra
– Secret activism against the fascist state
– Pamphlets
– Access to power
– Corruption


bm198 Zimbabwe Students Movement

by bicyclemark

Like much of the population in Zimbabwe, students are suffering a great deal at the hands of the government. Their struggle for human rights, academic freedom, justice, and representation is reaching out across borders and continents. In this podcast I sit down with Tendayi Lynnet Mudehwe, information and publicity secretary of ZINASU, the Zimbabwean National Students Union.

We Discuss:
– The circumstances for students in Zimbabwe
– Healthcare, Student Fee’s, and Rights
– Mugabe, who supports him?
– The goal of travelling to Europe
– The role of outside countries
– How close is change?
– The dangers that activists face

ZINASU Website
Clips used from SW Radio Africa

Resonating in my Ears

by bicyclemark

Working very very late on some upcoming podcasts, from Afghanistan, to Guinea, to Liberia.. there’s alot coming up.

But in the meantime, as I did my research for the day, which always includes almost 6 hours of podcasts daily, two in particular had me captivated and hitting rewind to hear words again.

The first was Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who most people in the Netherlands would be quite tired of hearing from, but in this case she appeared on WBUR Boston’s On Point, to discuss her new book and of course… the usual condemnation of islam. I must say, I don’t agree with her on many things, but I always tune in to interviews with her.. she has an interesting style and she handles debate quite well.
But in this particular program what is striking is her descriptions of both her and her brother being forcefully circumcized back in Somalia when she was a child. Each word of her sentences made me shutter. And even more captivating are the callers from around the US that call in to either condemn her.. or mostly to praise her in very strange ways.. including reminding her of how great it is to live in the US and having Jesus watching over her. AN INSTANT CLASSIC.

The other program that Ill never forget was Monday’s democracy now, featuring an interview with one of my hero’s and citizen journalist-colleague… Josh Wolf.. on the phone from prison. You should really hear what he has to say about what has happenned to him and the country. Among other things, it reminded me of how dangerous it is for individual… independent journalists making their own media without the backing of corporate or government forces, to do what I do within the United States. As far as Im concerned it could happen to me or any other of my wonderful friends out there doing our own reporting. Josh is an inspiration and a hero…. they should be learning about him in schools everywhere!

Angola, Iran… and Poof Its Over.

by bicyclemark

I’ve been slow to post because life in Berlin was like a vacuum of time. No matter what time it was, I was supposed to be going somewhere to see something or someone.

Not that I’m complaining; it so happens that I have some of the finest friends a guy could have waiting for me in Berlin whenever I’m up for a visit. They’re so influencial, I now have a new city I might one day like to live in. (I can hear my mom gasping already)

But summaries and additional stories will come soon, as well as getting back to real issues instead of the world cup distraction from reality. First I want to talk briefly of my visit to Leipzig to see Angola take on Iran.

My intention is not to talk about the game itself. You can read sports blogs for that crap. But I do want to talk about the people… fans.. as some call them. It was already exciting to be seeing a world cup match, in Germany, in a city was part of old East Germany. But to be seated amongst so many Iranian supporters, and a few sections over from a huge crowd of Angolans… it was quite the experience.

In both cases, it is unlikely any of these fans had actually flown in from the home countries. Most were probably immigrants living in Germany, perhaps even second or third generation. They didn’t sing the songs I think you’d hear at a stadium back in Luanda or Tehran, because they probably haven’t been in a stadium in either city in a long time. Instead they dawned the colors, joined with friends, and filled the stadium. They also cursed their players when they messed up, and shouted their favorite player names, over and over.

As I sat there thinking to myself…this is not a matter of nationalism for one’s country. This is about culture… roots.. and remembering. To cheer for a miracle or at least, a good day, for the idea of a noble and admirable nation that at that moment.. in that stadium… becomes a reality.

On the way out of the stadium, I was happy to hear Portuguese. Angolan Portuguese of course, the sweetest of all the accents, as far as I’m concerned. I listened and watched, as families and neighbors joked with each other about the failures of their team. Flag trading and handshakes were also a common sight between the two groups of fans.

At this point, lots of sports writers these days would praise this is the key to world peace and a sign of how great the world is. But I disagree. As nice as it was, both these groups have sufferred greatly to arrive where they are today. Entire lives were uprooted because of overwhelming and complicated circumstances.

A world cup match may provide some nice stories and some unforgettably sweet moments, but it should not mask the truth about the kind of world we live in and helped create.