Librarians in Scotland have discovered a spate of exquisite paper sculptures, popping up anonymously inside their edifices, with notes, such as:
We know that a library is so much more than a building full of books… a book is so much more than pages full of words… This is for you in support of libraries, books, words, ideas… a gesture (poetic maybe?)
Shortly after the World Trade Center fell in autumn 2001, it became clear the United States would invade Afghanistan. Producer Scott Carrier decided he ought to go there too. Why? To see for himself: that’s what writers do. Who are these fanatics, these fundamentalists, the Taliban and the like? And what do they want?
For the weekend of 9/11/11, Hearing Voices from NPR presents Prisoner of Zion. Carrier narrates his trip to Afghanistan. With his young guide and translator, Najibulla, they tour the horrors of war.
Years later Naji tells Scott he must leave his homeland — the dangers for a translator have become extreme. Scott gets Najibulla accepted at Utah Valley University. Naji, it turns out, handles the Mormons quite well, while Scott, teaching at the same school, has a hard time with them. At the end Naji is graduating, about to get married, and start a new job; while Scott wonders whether he can stand teaching another year — or if he’ll wind up on the street like Naji.
→ From Afghanistan: A photo-audio-essay by Scott Carrier; with sounds, images, songs and prayers of the Afghan people.
KUER: 8/30/11: Prisoner of Zion
SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (kuer) – Wednesday, Doug is joined by independent radio producer Scott Carrier. When the US invaded Afghanistan after the attacks on 9/11, Carrier decided to go there too. He wanted to meet the enemy himself and find out what life is like in their world. But when he returned, he also found an enemy at home. It was the fear and anger that he says Americans have towards others. Scott Carrier has just published a book of stories from the post-9/11 world. It’s called “Prisoner of Zion.”
Soon after the World Trade Center towers fell in autumn 2001, it became clear the United States would invade Afghanistan. Writer and This American Life radio producer Scott Carrier decided to go there too. He wanted to see for himself: Who are these fanatics, the fundamentalists, the Taliban and the like? What do they want?
In his new book, Prisoner of Zion, Carrier writes about his adventures, but also about the bigger problem. Having grown up among Mormons in Salt Lake City, he argues it will never work to attack the true believers head-on. The faithful thrive on persecution. Somehow, he thinks, we need to find a way—inside ourselves — to rise above fear and anger. Prisoner of Zion is Scott Carrier’s second collection of dramatic tales and essays.
In 2001 I stopped by Stetson’s house, on a beautiful marshland near Jacksonville, Florida. We talked about his 1939-40 recording expedition, accompanied by Zora Neale Hurston, documenting the songs and stories of Florida. That interview and those recordings become the NPR story “The Sound of 1930s Florida Folk Life” (22:00 mp3):
The Klan Unmasked is Stetson’s story of infiltrating and undermining the KKK. He tell it in this next clip, “Nazi-minded Klansmen” (4:26 mp3):
His good friend Woody Guthrie wrote a song about him, “Stetson Kennedy.” lyrics: Woody Gurthrie; music: Billy Bragg & Wilco, from Mermaid Avenue Vol. II (2:40 mp3):
I done spent my last three cents
Mailing my letter to the President
Didn’t make a show, I didn’t make a dent
So I’m swinging over to this independent gent
Writing his name in
Writing his name in
I can’t win out to save my soul
Long as Smathers-Dupont’s got me in the hole
Them war profit boys are squawking and balking
That’s what’s got me out here walking and talking
Knocking on doors and windows
Wake up and run down election morning
And scribble in Stetson Kennedy
I ain’t the world’s best writer, ain’t the world’s best speller
But when I believe in something I’m the loudest yeller
If we fix it so you can’t make no money on war
Well we’ll all forget what we was killing folks for
We’ll find us a peace job equal and free
We’ll dump Smathers-Dupont in a salty sea
Well, this makes Stetson Kennedy the man for me
An expert on both Russia and insurgency offers the definitive guide on activities in Southern Russia, explaining how the Russian approach to counterinsurgency is failing and why the conflict will continue to escalate.
The unique geopolitical characteristics of the North Caucasus has made it a site of conflict for thousands of years. It was, in many ways, the testing and training grounds for today’s conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. Understanding this volatile region is especially important now in light of President Obama’s effort to “reset” the relationship between Russia and the United States.
The Insurgency in Chechnya and the North Caucasus: From Gazavat to Jihad is an exhaustive treatment of the 400-year period leading up to the present. Thematically organized, it cuts through the rhetoric to provide a contextual framework through which readers can understand the conflict in the region.
The book is part of the Praeger Security International series. Some early praise for Schaefer’s work:
“Incisive, insightful — in short, invaluable.” – Liz Fuller, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty
“A must-read for anyone who wants to understand the nuances of the conflict in Caucasus.”
– Brian Glyn Williams, Associate Professor, University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth
“Demystifies our longest running graduate-level conflict…” – Col. Andrew N. “Nick” Pratt, USMC (Ret.), Director, Program on Terrorism and Security Studies and Professor of Strategy and International Politics, George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies
In Mom, Dave Isay, StoryCorps founder and editor of the bestselling book, Listening Is an Act of Love, presents a celebration of American mothers from all walks of life and experiences. Selected from StoryCorps’ extensive archive of interviews, Mom presents the wisdom that has been passed from mothers to their children in StoryCorps’ recording booths across the country.
The publshers of Reality Radio have allowed to post a bit of their book. From John Biewen’s Introduction:
The goal is to bring together producers with distinctive, powerful, and richly varied approaches to their craft. Some of our essayists call themselves audio artists. They push the boundaries of journalism to the breaking point—okay, beyond the breaking point—in the service of an aesthetic vision but also in pursuit of a different (higher?) sort of truth. Others describe themselves primarily as storytellers, drawing mainly on the narrative power of the spoken word. Still others see themselves as journalists; on the surface, at least, they emphasize information over formal innovation. But the journalistic documentarians, too, give careful attention to form and, in fact, employ plenty of (conventionally sanctioned) artifice along the way.
Here’s an excerpt of the essay “Coming Home,” by Katie Davis:
A boy rumbles by on his skateboard, says his name is Julio and asks to pet the dogs. Sure. Another twelve-year-old bellows like a carnival hawker, “Hey lady, you got a tire patch?” Sure. And I give Joaquin ten dollars to run to the bike store to buy three patch kits, one for him, and the rest I’ll keep for other kids. The super from the building down the street notices the cluster of kids and lugs up two old bikes he found in the alley. And this is how, without planning, I start a recycle-a-bicycle program on my front porch. Everything takes place on my front porch for a long while.
I become known as the “bike lady,” the lady who always has granola bars and time to sit and listen. After a year, I form a youth group called the Urban Rangers and begin raising money to pay for bike parts and snacks. Two teenagers ask me start a basketball team. Sure why not? And then as I explain my philosophy to the guys, that winning is not important on this team, and everybody will get to play in every game. “No, no,” the boys interrupt and begin coaching me on how to be a coach. The dialogue is funny and that night the rusty part of my radio brain begins chanting, Good tape. Good tape.
So, I call an old friend at NPR and float the idea of writing an “essay with tape” about my team. I warn the show producer that the story will be personal, like a diary, that I break the rules of journalism in every paragraph. I write in the first person and I have not kept any objective distance from these boys. I give money to two brothers because I know they are hungry. I hire another kid’s father because they are struggling on $12,000 a year. The boys hang out at my house, they come to tell me about problems. I no longer wanted any distance between me and these neighborhood kids. NPR solves the issue of my status by calling me a commentator. My transition from reporter to commentator took four years of neighborhood porch sitting and trouble shooting and is distilled into this one word.
Writer Charles Bowden reports from the US-Mexico border about the drug wars, the poverty, and the environment. His writing is harsh but unflinchingly accurate. Host Scott Carrier portrays Bowden in the words of the people he has written about.
Fuck You, Penguin is “a blog where I tell cute animals what’s what. Lotsa crazy critter pix like the aye-aye to the right (title of post: “Slow-burn cuteness: the silent killer”), and the zonkey below.
The 1929 BBC Handbook was untroubled by controversy. Seven years on from its first cracklings, John Reith’s pioneers were still drunk with the glory of it all. “Broadcasting, that magical agent,” they wrote, “has made available by means of comparatively simple apparatus and at next to no cost the finest things there are to hear.”
Meanwhile C. A. Lewis, Reith’s deputy, spoke of the aerial posts “like spears against the sky”, as sounds were carried “along the roadsides, over the hills, brushed by trees, soaked by rain, swayed by gales … [to] the shepherd on the downs, the lonely crofter, the labourer in his squalid tenement, the lonely invalid on her monotonous couch”. Grim old Reith himself put it more succinctly: “There are two kinds of loneliness: insulation in space and isolation of spirit. These are both dispelled by wireless.”
Joe Bageant is a Well Read Neck. Just finished his illuminating look at the typical towns of Billy Bob & Bobby Sue Sixpack, and why they don’t vote lib’rul, Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America’s Class War:
With Micheal Savage and Ann Coulter openly calling for liberals to be put in concentration camps, with the CIA now licensed to secretly detain American citizens indefinitely, and with the current administration effectively legalizing torture, the proper question to ask an NRA member may be, “What kind of assault rifle do you think I can get for three hundred bucks, and how many rounds of ammo does it take to stop a two-hundred-pound born-again Homeland Security zombie from putting me in a camp?” Which would you prefer, 40 million gun-owning Americans on your side or theirs?