Following his detention by Chinese authorities, outspoken artist/activist Ai Weiwei transformed the former island penitentiary of Alcatraz into an artistic platform. The exhibition engaged 900,000 visitors about the plight of prisoners of conscience around the world.
Yours Truly, a piece in the exhibit, invited visitors to compose messages of hope on postcards to prisoners incarcerated or exiled due to their beliefs, affiliations, and nonviolent expressions of dissent. The film follows these postcards around the globe as director Cheryl Haines meets with former prisoners of conscience and their families to discuss their impossible choices and the comfort they found in messages sent by people they would never meet. The film explores Ai Weiwei’s inspiration for the project. Interviews with the artist, his mother, and lifelong friends uncover the touching story of a childhood spent in exile. Ultimately, the film is a call to action, extending the reach of Ai Weiwei’s art by asking viewers to take to heart the issue of global human rights. In Mandarin and English with English subtitles.
More than 50,000 postcards were written by visitors and sent to prisoners of conscience, displaying the national flower or bird of their country.
After 10 years of research, Adam Higginbotham’s book, MIDNIGHT IN CHERNOBYL: The Untold Story of the World’s Greatest Nuclear Disaster,provides the first complete account of the catastrophe that encircled the world and helped precipitate the fall of the USSR. It is published by Simon & Schuster.
Some articles referring to the event can be found here:
Since the explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in 1986, an area of more than 4,000 square kilometres has been abandoned. That could be about to change, as Victoria Gill discovered during a week-long trip to the exclusion zone.
On April 26, 1986, technicians conducting a test inadvertently caused the fourth reactor to explode. Several hundred staff members and firefighters then tackled a blaze that burned for 10 days and sent a plume of radiation around the world in the worst-ever civil nuclear disaster. More than 50 reactor and emergency workers were killed at the time. Authorities evacuated 120,000 people from the area, including 43,000 from the city of Pripyat. Below, recent images from Chernobyl and nearby ghost towns within the exclusion zone, as well as memorials held in Ukraine and Russia.
Michael Kaufman is the co-founder of the WHITE RIBBON CAMPAIGN, the largest international effort of men working to end violence against women. He has worked across North America and in 50 countries with the United Nations, governments, NGOs and businesses, as an adviser and speaker. He is a senior fellow with Promundo, based in Washington, D. C. He is the author, or editor, of 8 books, including CRACKING THE ARMOUR: POWER, PAIN AND THE LIVES OF MEN, and BEYOND PATRIARCHY: ESSAYS BY MEN ON PLEASURE, POWER, AND CHANGE. His latest book is THE TIME HAS COME: WHY MEN MUST JOIN THE GENDER EQUALITY REVOLUTION, published by Counterpoint Press.
In addition we hear from Carey Gillam, author of WHITE WASH: THE STORY OF A WEED KILLER, CANCER, AND THE CORRUPTION OF SCIENCE, to report on the unanimous SF Federal Court jury verdict just yesterday afternoon, on March 19, 2019, determining that Monsanto’s glyphosate based weed-killer, Round-up, was a “substantial factor” in former Gualalla resident Edwin Hardeman’s developing Non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
David Treuer is Ojibwe from the Leech Lake Reservation in northern Minnesota. The author of four previous novels, most recently Prudence, and two books of nonfiction, he has also written for The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Esquire, Slate, and The Washington Post, among others. He has a Ph.D. in anthropology and teaches literature and creative writing at the University of Southern California.
David Treuer’s latest book, THE HEARTBEAT OF WOUNDED KNEE: NATIVE AMERICA FROM 1890 TO THE PRESENT, is published by Riverhead Books.
Here is an edited extract from The Heartbeat at Wounded Knee: Native America from 1890 to the Present, referenced in this interview, which was published in The Guardian.
More than ten years ago, scientists at North Carolina State University dared to go where few had gone before. They began to explore the biodiversity of backyards, bedrooms, belly buttons, and more. But they didn’t do it alone. The work required the collaboration of scientists at many other universities, as well as that of thousands of non-scientists around the world, including children, who helped to take samples, ask questions and even to think about new kinds of analyses. NEVER HOME ALONE: FROM MICROBES TO MILLIPEDES, CAMEL CRICKETS, AND HONEYBEES, THE NATURAL HISTORY OF WHERE WE LIVE, published by Basic Books, tells the big story of the tens of thousands of species discovered in our homes. It argues that, as often as not, more biodiversity in your home ends up being better than less.
Rob Dunn is a biologist in the Department of Applied Ecology at North Carolina State University. Central to all of his work is the sense that big discoveries lurk not only in faraway tropical forests, but also in our homes and neighborhoods. His books include, EVERY LIVING THING; THE WILDLIFE OF OUR BODIES: PREDATORS, PARASITES AND PARTNERS THAT SHAPE WHO WE ARE TODAY; THE MAN WHO TOUCHED HIS OWN HEART; and NEVER OUT OF SEASON.
Julian Brave NoiseCat is an enrolled member of the Canim Lake Band Tsq’escen in British Columbia. He is a graduate of Columbia University, and received a Clarendon Scholarship to study global and imperial history at the University of Oxford. He was formerly the native issues fellow at The Huffington Post. He writes for The Guardian, The Nation, The Paris Review, CBC, Vice, Pacific Standard, Dissent, Jacobin, Fusion, Indian Country Today, Salon, High Country News, Canadian Geographic, Frontier Magazine, World Policy Journal as well as other publications.
Julian Brave NoiseCat, a contributing editor of the newly unveiled Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada, points on a giant map at a launch event in Toronto, Wednesday August 29, 2018. The Indigenous Peoples Atlas of Canada includes a four volume print atlas, an online atlas, an app, and a giant floor map. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mark Blinch)
“It is not light that is needed, but fire; it is not the gentle shower, but thunder. We need the storm, the whirlwind, the earthquake. The feeling of the nation must be quickened; the conscience of the nation must be roused; the propriety of the nation must be startled; the hypocrisy of the nation must be exposed; and the crimes against God and man must be proclaimed and denounced.” from A Democracy in Exile Fights Against Fascism
In this edition of Forthright Radio, we welcome back Professor Henry Giroux, who holds the McMaster University’s Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest in the English and Cultural Studies Department, and who is the Paulo Freire Distinguished Scholar in Critical Pedagogy. He is a prolific author and journalist. His books -more than 65 – include AMERICA AT WAR WITH ITSELF; DISPOSABLE FUTURES: VIOLENCE IN THE AGE OF SPECTACLE; HEARTS OF DARKNESS: TORTURING CHILDREN IN THE WAR ON TERROR; ZOMBIE POLITICS AND CULTURE IN THE AGE OF CASINO CAPITALISM, and THE VIOLENCE OF ORGANIZED FORGETTING.
Articles by Professor Giroux cited in this interview include: