HV115- Refugees

Hearing Voices from NPR®
115 Refugees: Forced to Leave
Host: Barrett Golding of Hearing Voices
Airs week of: 2011-05-11

“Refugees” (52:00 mp3):

The journeys of people driven from their homeland by war, disaster, and persecution:

“From Afghanistan to Amarillo” (2007 / 6:15) Ann Heppermann & Kara Oehler

From One Thing: The producers spent a year talking to refugees living in USA about why they had to leave their country, how they got here, and what “One Thing” they brought with that reminds them of home. In this first of several stories from the series, the Sher Ali family, a mother and nine children, was the first Afghan family to be resettled in Amarillo, Texas in 2000. They fled the Taliban in the middle of the night with only the clothes they wore. Their one thing was a photo of their father. (Produced for Weekend America w/ photo gallery.)

“Blues for the Karen” (2008 / 5:00) Jack Chance

The stories of Burmese refugees, the Karen people, recorded in the camps on the Thailand-Burma border, and in their new American homes. Thru it all their music preserves their culture. Part of The Mountain Music Project.

“From Iraq to Detroit” (2007 / 6:18) Ann Heppermann & Kara Oehler

The One Thing for the Augustin family was their home movies. Their religious beliefs forced them out of Iraq: Mom Nujood is a Chaldean Christian and Dad Abdullahad is a Latin Catholic. The Augustins left a comfortable life in Baghdad for Jordan, where limited opportunities siphoned much of their savings. They arrived in Detroit, where son Arkan takes pre-med courses at the local community college, while working part-time at a grocery store. (Produced for Weekend America: From Iraq to Detroit.)

“Refugee Dreams” (2007 / 4:11) Dmae Roberts

Starting with the fall of Saigon in April 1975, refugees from Vietnam awaited approval to move to the US and other countries. By 1979, there were almost 62,000 Vietnamese in refugee camps, with more than 140,000 people displaced from Cambodia and Laos. Portland, Oregon, was one of the medium-sized US cities that dealt with the relatively sudden influx of every major ethnic group (Vietnamese, Lao, Hmong, Mein and Cambodian) from Southeast Asia. More than 25 former refugees were interviewed for radio piece, and movie below.

Produced by Clark Salisbury, Anne Morrin, Sara Kolbet and Dmae Roberts for the Peabody award-wining series Crossing East.

Music by Cambodian refugee Daran Kravahn from his Music Through the Dark.

“Suay Chante” (3:15 mp3):

Dmae did two pieces on him, at PRX: “Music in the Killing Fields: Daran Kravanh” and “Daran Kravanh.” He is a refugee from the Khmer Rouge, and now a candidate for Prime Minister of Cambodia (Khmer Anti-Poverty Party) in the 2013 election.

“From Sudan to Omaha” (2007 / 6:57) Ann Heppermann & Kara Oehler

That One Thing: Malakal Goak worked with an international relief organization in Sudan. But as the civil war spread, officials in the north jailed him for supporting rebels. He escaped and lived as a refugee in Kenya, then ended up in Omaha. The one thing Goak brought with him was a love song his father composed. (Produced for Weekend America, w/

“From Burma to Indianapolis” (2007 / 6:20) Ann Heppermann & Kara Oehler

One Thing more: In 2007 agencies in Indianapolis resettled more than 600 Chin refugees, mainly from camps in Malaysia. The Chin are one of the largest ethnic groups in Burma, and mainly Christian. Many Chin have set up churches on the south side of Indianapolis, and are practicing Christianity openly for the first time in years. Sui Tluangneh was forced to flee his country because of the item he brought with him: a poem. (Produced for Weekend America: From Burma to Indianapolis w/ poem and pictures

“Cargo Flight to Somewhere” (2003 / 5:27) Judith Sloan & Warren Leher

Bovic Antosi lost his wife, his children, and his livelihood to tribal violence in the late 1990s. He escaped his homeland, the Democratic republic of Congo (formerly Zaire) as cargo, only to end up incarcerated for two years in a detention center adjacent to JFK airport. The audio piece is his story in his own words, accompanied by a song from African musician Kingsley Ogunde.

It’s part of Earsay documentary series, Crossing the Boulevard, chronicling the lives of immigrants and refugees living in Queens, New York.

“From Burundi to Phoenix” (2007 / 6:50) Ann Heppermann & Kara Oehler

One (Last) Thing: Phoenix, Arizona is now the home for a large number of resettled Bunrundians. (More audio, images, and video at Weekend America.)

After their One Thing series aired, Ann Heppermann & Kara Oehler combined their prodigious production experience and their refugee radio narratives with crazy composition skillz of musician/sound-artist Jason Cady to create this:

“Chorus of Refuge” (6:39 mp3):

“Chorus of Refuge” is a sound installation for six radios in which the stories of six refugee populations (Somali Bantu, Burundi, Afghani, Sudanese, Iraqi and Burmese) from six different cites across the United States (Portland, Phoenix, Amarillo, Omaha, Detroit and Indianapolis) are transmitted simultaneously to six radios in one space. Details at The Unobserved.

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