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Rebuilding Beirut’s village in a city
A year ago Johnny Khawand saw the home he grew up in ripped apart by the massive explosion in a chemical dump in the port of Beirut, Lebanon – one of the largest non-nuclear blasts in history. For hours Johnny fought to save neighbours trapped in the rubble, seeing some die in front of him. Now, after months of restoration work, he’s coming back to try to rebuild his life, hoping that the unique spirit of his close-knit, multi-faith neighbourhood – Karantina – will survive. As he enters his house again for the first time, memories flood back – both comforting and distressing. Johnny and other survivors have formed close bonds with some of the volunteers, including engineers and architects, who’ve spent the last year rebuilding the district for free. They’re passionate about restoring its ancient buildings exactly as they were before. But they’re angry that they’ve received no help from the Lebanese state, which is accused of negligence over the explosion. And Johnny and others now fear that wider redevelopment plans will bring in big money and change Karantina’s character forever. Tim Whewell asks if Beirut’s “village in a city”, with its many layers of history and memory, can survive?
Reporter and producer: Tim Whewell
Producer: Mohamad Chreyteh
Editor: Bridget Harney
(Image: Beirut explosion survivors Manal Ghaziri and Johnny Khawand outside the ruins of a neighbours' house in the Karantina district. Credit: Mohamad Chreyteh/BBC)
A tale of two Tokyos
The wait is finally over for the Tokyo Olympics, 2020. Ken Nishikawa and Nick Luscombe take inspiration and hope from the Tokyo Olympics of 1964, which kick-started a new internationalism in Japan as the first Olympic games to be held in Asia. Together they meet the designer of the new grand stadium Kengo Kuma and many more Tokyo residents whose lives were touched by the games in 1964 to contrast the Tokyo of the past with the city and its people today.
Two smiley faces: Episode four
So how do you get an emoji added to the list? We hear from the women who have had hundreds of emoji approved between them, from the sari, to the mirror, to the one-piece bathing suit. How did they do it? And will Amy and Rachel finally get their drone emoji? We ask the woman who is in charge of it all.
The road to rock'n'roll
In a segregated US, black audiences, entertainers and entrepreneurs established their own network of live performance venues known as the Chitlin’ Circuit. Concentrated primarily in the Deep South, it provided many pioneers of modern music with the platform to hone their craft and perfect their style as they travelled the country. Virtually every notable African-American performer from the '30s to the '60s graced the circuit. From famous urban institutions like The Apollo Theater in New York or The Howard Theatre in Washington D.C, to a run-down barn on a country back-road. It was in these settings, amidst a backdrop of segregation, that the sounds of rhythm and blues and rock’n’roll emerged and evolved, long before they captivated the world. Bobby Rush shines a light on a hugely influential network of venues that paved the way for rock’n’roll and shaped music history.
The Tokyo Olympics
A year later than planned, due to the pandemic, the Tokyo Olympics are underway. Yet Covid cases in the capital are rising, and a recent poll showed that 55% of people in Japan were opposed to the Games being held in Tokyo with fears that it could become a super spreader event. For the athletes, it’s business as usual, albeit under extraordinary circumstances. Host Nuala McGovern hears from 19 year old US-born Joseph Fahnbulleh, who is representing Liberia on the athletics track in the 200 metres race; and Mary Hanna who has competed in five previous Olympics as part of the Australian equestrian team
Dangerous liaisons in Sinaloa
The Mexican state of Sinaloa is synonymous with drug trafficking. With the profits from organised crime a driver of the local economy, the tentacles of ‘narco cultura’ extend deep into people’s lives – especially those of women. In the city of Culiacan, plastic surgeons service demand for the exaggerated feminine silhouette favoured by the men with guns and hard cash. Often women’s surgery will be paid for by a ‘sponsor’ or ‘godfather.’ Meanwhile, a group of women trackers spend their weekends digging in isolated parts of the state, looking for the remains of loved ones who disappear in Sinaloa’s endless cycle of drug-fuelled violence.
Producer / presenter: Linda Pressly
Producer in Mexico: Ulises Escamilla
Editor: Bridget Harney
(Photo: Lawyer Maria Teresa Guerra advocates for women in Sinaloa. Credit: BBC/Ulises Escamilla)
A wide range of experiences
I love this podcast. It makes it easy to become less ignorant through short episodes regarding a wide range of topics. I feel like I am a more globally aware person after making "The Documentary" part of my routine. Thank you BBC. Love you.
Thanks for Share
Gracias desde Mexico, Thanks from Mexico (Yucatan) is great you can share your documental Carlos Olais