Hearing Voices from NPR®
022 Mushroom Cloud: Tales of the Atomic Age
Host: Larry Massett of Hearing Voices
Airs week of: 2012-08-01 (Originally: 2008-07-30)
Documents of our changing perceptions of weapons of mass destruction:
Bomber pilots and bombing victims, and and Colonel Paul Tibbets, pilot of the Enola Gay in “Enola Alone” by Antenna Theater, mixed by Earwax.
Political speeches and popular songs chart our changing attitudes towards weapons of mass destruction in the “Atomic Age.” Residents recall the Nevada and Utah nuclear bomb tests in the 1950s in their “Downwinder Diaries,” produced by Claes Andreasson.
Poet Lawrence Ferlinghetti has “Wild Dreams of a New Beginning,” an excerpt from “One of These days (or Nights)” produced for radio by Erik Bauersfeld (Bay Area Radio Drama), with sound design by Jim McKee (Earwax), and original music by Wieslaw Pogorzelski.
Americans across the country answer Scott Carrier‘s question: “What Are You Afraid Of?”
The story of the Big Bang, with a beat, “Page One” by Lemon Jelly.
And selections from “Atomic Platters: Cold War Music from the Golden Age of Homeland Security” compiled by CONELRAD.com (including Slim Galliard’s “Atomic Cocktail” (1945), versions of “Jesus Hits Like an Atom Bomb” by Lowell Blanchard & The Valley Trio (1949) and by The Pilgrim Travelers, and 1950-60s Civil Defense public service announcements.
January 25, 2011. One year ago, a revolution began in Cairo’s Tahrir Square. For the next eighteen days, millions of Egyptians across the country would demonstrate in the streets, demanding the end of their 30-year dictatorship. They were inspired by Tunisians, whose protests, that same month, had forced out the authoritarian regime of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Now it was time for Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to go.
A few weeks after the protests, the advocacy group Human Rights Watch interviewed some of the organizers of the January uprising: union leaders, civil rights workers, young social media activists, family members of of murdered protestors, and mothers who brought their kids to Tahrir to clean after the protests.. These Human Rights Watch interviews provide a rare, eyewitness account of a revolution, told by the Egyptian people, the activists, human rights defenders, and bloggers who persevered during those eighteen days.
A preview of our upcoming HV hour, “Voices from Tahrir” — a collaboration with Human Rights Watch. This public radio documentary features eyewitness accounts and recordings of the January uprisings (January 25 – February 11 2011) — the one-year anniversary approches:
Produced for the Vermont Folklife Center: In December 1944 the Allies were closing in on Germany. Hitler had a desperate plan to save the Third Reich, a massive assault he believed would so demoralize that the Allies, they would seek a separate peace, leaving only the Russian army on the eastern front. On December 16 the Germans unleashed an offensive that would become the most brutal battle of the European war: the Battle of the Bulge. Nineteen thousand Americans were killed, about the same number were taken prisoner. We hear from four Americans soldiers about their time in — before, during and after — a German POW camp: Cliff Austin, Harrison Burney, Bill Busier, and Robert Norton.
VFC Radio published a transcript and a CD of “Prisoners of War.” Harrison Burney wrote “From The Bowels of Hell, a soldier’s memoir of World War II, 1944-1945 (143k PDF). Music: “Reitba” and “Concerto No. 3 for Double-Bass and Piano,” composed and performed by cellist Francois Rabbath; “String Quartet in C Major”, the second movement in the “Emperor” by Franz Joseph Haydn, performed by the Concord String Quartet; and “St James Infirmary” from pianist Allen Toussaint’s The Bright Mississippi.
From the series Neighborhood Stories– Park Life, profiling the daily life of a community’s urban oasis: “Country Bobby” Lowry is the guardian of Walter Pierce Community Park in Washington, D.C. He’s been keeping an eye on the park for almost three decades, and knows more about how it than any city official — he knows the trees, the plants and the kids. In the first of four stories about the park, we meet this transplanted farm boy who never takes shortcuts in his work. See NPR’s has great photo gallery.
Utah’s Zion National Park draws 2.7 million visitors a year, and a major attraction for hearty hikers is a trek along the Grotto trailhead to Angel’s Landing. From the banks of the Virgin River, the yellow-and-red sandstone sides of Zion Canyon rise 2,000 feet. It feels like being inside a huge body. The canyon walls are the rib cage spread open and Angel’s Landing is like the heart.
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.
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.
“On October 1, 1945, I stood at the hypocenter of the Hiroshima atomic bombing and made a slow revolution. In that instant I had a difficulty grasping that this city had been felled by a single explosion.”
For Memorial Day, two stories recorded in Vietnam, one after the war, and one during:
In 1966, a young Lance Corporal carried a reel-to reel tape recorder with him into Vietnam. He made tapes of his friends, of life in fighting holes, of combat; and he continued to record until, two months later, when he was killed in action. Friend and fellow marine, Tim Duffie, remembers him in “The Vietnam Tapes of Michael A. Baronowski,” produced by Jay Allison and Christina Egloff for Lost & Found Sound. NPR: story | response | credits/links; American RadioWorks: transcript; Lance Cpl Baronowski: Memorial.
Host Alex Chadwick first went to Southeast Asia was as a soldier in the Sixties. Two decades later, he made a “Return to Vietnam” as a journalist, on the anniversary of the Tet offensive, to find what had and hadn’t changed since the war (producer: Art Silverman, engineer: Flawn Williams).
Germans in the Woods: Joseph Robertson was an infantryman in the U.S. Army during World War II, where he fought in the Battle of the Bulge. The stark black and white images in this short haunt the viewer, just as Robertson is haunted by his memories from that battle. (Directed by: The Rauch Brothers. Art Direction: The Rauch Brothers. Background Painting: Iandry Randriamandroso & Tim Rauch. Producers: Mike Rauch & Lizzie Jacobs. Animation: Tim Rauch. Audio Produced by: Michael Garofalo. Music: Fredrik. Label: The Kora Records. Publisher: House of Hassle.)
Assignment Afghanistan: Writer/photographer Elliott Woods gathered some devastating sounds & stories during his 2010 embed with Lima Company, US Marines. HV collaborators, Jesse Dukes with Shea Shackelford, produced the slideshow series for the Virginia Quarterly Review.
The voices of Sergeant Wallace Trahan, Sergeant Aaron Kelly, Sergeant Zachary Scoskie, and Colonel Diane Huey, interviewed at a Bagram Air Base hospital (outside Kabul, Afghanistan) by NPR’s Quil Lawrence, and mixed bg Jim Wildman for Morning Edition:
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
For Veterans Day, Vietnam, Korean, and World War Two vets, recorded by StoryCorps, along with a Marine Sergeant’s recent “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” discharge. And we plug into the iPods of active-duty troops in Iraq (photo gallery), asking them what they’re listening to, and what their lives are like:
Bob Harlee served as an Army Chaplain for 18 years. In 1965, Harllee was sent to Vietnam, and he had to leave his wife and three children behind. One of those children, Carol, now 47, recently asked her father about his life in those days. As part of the 101st Airborne out of Fort Campbell, Ky., Harllee had to reconcile his role as a spiritual guide within a unit whose job it was to destroy the enemy. Still, Harllee says, his task was clear: “to encourage everybody to keep their faith strong, even though they’re in the midst of the most terrible thing that mankind can bring upon itself.” Bob Harllee died in Charlottesville, Va., several months after his interview session. He was 73.
Soldier Soundtrack, Iraq- Song: “Send in the Clowns” by Barbara Streisand from The Broadway Album. “They’re not really geared towards a democratic or republic sort of society… the biggest issue will be trying to keep Iran or Syria from moving into the power vacuum when we leave…”
The history of this manual is described in the book The Men Who Stare at Goats, by Jon Ronson. In brief, the manual is a new age Hagakure: Book of the Samurai, and was required reading among our elite troops in the eighties and nineties, describing the warrior as a seeker of truth whose main weapons are love and compassion — practices that were ultimately twisted and perverted in a very American fashion into interrogation and torture techniques used in our war against terrorism.
In order to understand how this all played out, you’ll have to read the book. Don’t see the film, it’s a joke.