September 1, 2011 § Leave a comment
August 4, 2011 § 1 Comment
I don’t do radio very often, but I love it. It always takes me a long time to trim down my inevitably massive scripts, I want to keep all my charactors. However I love the chance to let the subjects of a story speak for themselves. Radio is much more effective at this than photography.
Download and listen to this dispatch from the Nuba mountains for CBC:
July 31, 2011 § Leave a comment
Nuban SPLA soldiers (including a women in the foreground who has fought against Khartoum for decades and managed to have seven children) show off captured weapons near Dalami. See photo gallery from the Nuba mountains here.
It’s a new Sudan that AL Bashir has inherited. And after generations of waging war against Sudan’s peripheries in Darfur, the South, and the East, the Nubans are reminding AL Bashir of this. The have handily defeated Khartoum’s army over the last few weeks even under heavy bombing on military and civilians targets by SAF. The current media narrative is all about the war crimes, and what advocacy groups call genocide or ethnic cleansing, the Nubans as victims. After numerous interviews in the Nuba mountains there is nt doubt in my mind that we will find hundreds dead when an investigation is allowed in Kadulguli. And there is no return for the many children blasted apart by bombs targeting civilians.
After nearly two weeks of reporting behind SPLA frontlines I believe the narrative in the next few weeks will not be about Nuban as victims, but Nubans as the vanguard of a new revolution inside Sudan. If the Nubans can join with Darfur rebels groups like JEM, and the Blue Nile SPLA, then it will be impossible for the cash strapped Khartoum to defeat them. If the south helps this alliance, and it will have to, then Al Bashir should be afraid. Very afraid. But organizing this alliance of different rebel groups is not an easy task, and AL Bashir is good at dividing and conquering. The future of the new Sudan in the north lies in the ability of the marginalized groups to stick together, at least until they reach Khartoum.
February 26, 2011 § Leave a comment
In Benghazi, the town of the eternal revolution celebration. Every night families and youths poor onto the street and shake the town with cheers, home made dynamite bombs, and the tack tack sounds of liberated AK-47s. The earned it with their blood as countless youth ran to their death during protests and the fight ton control the army base.
It’s midnight and freezing, but still outside the dingy office I’m filing from a crowd of men still chant against Qaddafi.
Hundreds of journalists are now arriving, reporting from the “zona libre” and wondering if it is safe to move forward into the no man’s land between Benghazi and Tripoli.
I have never reported in a place so generous as Libya. People stop their cars and pick you up, it is impossible for a journalist to buy anything here. I haven’t been able to use my money for days. People buy you coffee, drive you miles across town, thrust cookies sweets, and more sweets into your hands at every moment. And everyone wants you to come have dinner with them. I wish reporters where always this welcome.
One thing you notice here is that Libya is quite well off. The houses are large, and everyone seems to have a car. But comfort is nothing when you live without freedom say many people here: “We’d rather not have bread than live with having to be silents,” says a TV engineers next to me, continuing, “Every morning I wake up and think I am dreaming.”
But he’s not.
And Qaddafi’s nurse just went home to Ukraine.
February 23, 2011 § 1 Comment
Just arrived in Sallum on the border of Egypt and Libya after a long bus ride from Cairo. Endless beach resorts turns into endless seaside scrub which turns into the border of Libya. The bus was full of Egyptian soldiers. Close to town long lines of empty buses waited to pick up fleeing Egyptians.
Salum is a one street town selling chicken, suitcases, cellphones, perfume and cigarettes. The few dirty hotels are full of journalists and on the street men dragging suitcases tell stories of the violence they left behind to excited crowds of locals. In the shesha joints small TVs blare Libyan state TV reports of pro-Qaddafi protests.
Tomorrow heading to the border to visit Free Libya. The east appears to be remaking itself from scratch, the Guardian reports on captured mercenaries being interrogated by lawyers and a long line of cruise ships waiting to take away stranded foreigners. Meanwhile Qaddafi digs in, and everyone worries about the damage he will do before he goes.
It’s amazing watching these dictators give their speeches on TV, completely unable to acknowledge the reality and the fact they are hated by so many.
It seems the key to understanding Libya lies in the tribes which Time reports were created by Qaddafi to divide and conquer any opposition. Time quotes a protester saying that it is time to unite as Libyans, not along tribal lines, but this is always hard to do. In the future it will be the key to peace. But peace seems a long way off. Hard to imagine Qaddafi going without a long protracted fight.
The east may be organised by years of oppression, but the west is a much more complicated situation and its impossible to know how the two sides can meet.
In other news the New York Times just started using the word rebels rather than protesters to describe the uprising.
February 21, 2011 § Leave a comment
February 20, 2011 § Leave a comment
Friday was surreal, drifting through someone elses happiness. Hoping for resolution, peace and prosperity, but hearing form everyone, even those cheering the loudest that this was just the beginning, that the real change still had to come.
A girl complained that her parents who forbade her to protest (she did anyway) wanted to have a party the next evening. “She was insulting us just days ago, she said, and now she wants a party!” Another man Mo, short for Mohammad told me next to a crowd of protesters at the building where the army is keeping all the disappeared people, that he had lived in America, that he had had 5 wives, and traveled to 50 countries.
Cynical after all his travels he said he had set up a camp in the Sinai a place without laws he said. ” I have a Camel. I feed it grass, it shits, I take the shit and grow a garden. I don’t believe in all these demonstration, look at the British asking the authorities when they can march, then walking around in circles under the gaze of the police men. They (the powerful) want us to demonstrate, but what I have done is build my own world. He mentioned his Camel again and said. “ I can probably provide for 1000 people. That’s a start.”
Meanwhile a solider had started sweet talking the crowd into dissipation. One solider took his hand off his gun to stroke an infant’s hair, while another spoke into a mega phone. The protesters interrupted him with chants calling for the release of the disappeared. But it was growing late and the rage that bought us here left with the setting sun. “We want them to know that we are still here,” said one young protester.
Across Cairo families and groups of young people walked through the streets, those with money bought pizza and falalfal, those without, just walked. Walking through their new freedom savoring it Ike it was a dream that could vanish.
As I left for the airport after 24 hours in the capital of the revolution, the morning after was clear present everywhere. As we drove through the city of the dead, where people live in apartments on top of graves and the old regime wanted to clear and turn into shopping malls, Sam the taxi driver , complained about the lack of tourists while telling joke about Mubarak. “When Mubarak died he met up with our first two rulers. He asked them how they got there. The first said I was poisoned, the second said he was assassinated, then they asked Mubarak what killed him, Facebook he said and they laughed at him. The next joke concluded with someone interrupting a dream Mubarak had about 3 chickens. The chickens the dream interpreter said, mean fuck you your mother and your father. And Sam laughed, more amused by the chance to say fuck you to his ex- dictator than the jokes wit. Then we turned onto the highway passing out of the city of the dead to find a bizarre traffic conundrum.
One on side of the highway was a traffic jam, but then we noticed a line of cars moving the opposite direction. On our side of the highway the traffic was light and we turned against it following in a a line of cars driving directly against the traffic weaving back and forth in the anarchy of the revolution. Later we passed the blockage. Military were evicting people who came from the slums and moved into new apartment blocks owned by the government. This was happening across the country as the poor took matters into their own hands.
As we neared the airport Sam pointed out business after business owned by the military or Mubarak’s family. Then we passed a middle class family walking down the divider of the highway painting the curb. One girl arched her back in discomfort, obviously not used to doing anything physical, the father mixed another bucket of paint and smiled at the slow line of traffic. Sam exclaimed “this is the new Egypt.” They only had completed a few dozen feet, but the work was high quality and the fresh black and white brush strokes stood in sharp contrasts to the dusty grey of the highway, the cars, and the sky. A grey that continued until we go the gleaming shopping centers of the airport. Owned by the bother of Mubarak’s wife said Sam before dropping us off at the airport for a plane to Morocco. The next country planning protest, and the next country where a revolution was deemed “impossible” by many analysts.