A critical, collaborative, and independent monthly Audio Journal combining analysis, reporting, and satire, comprised mainly of hard-hitting interviews/conversations, on-the-scene reports, reviews, informed commentary, and readings on the Middle East and beyond.
The Political and Economic Crisis in Lebanon - Status/الوضع
The country of Lebanon has been in social and economic upheaval over the past few years, sending many of its beleaguered citizens into international exile in search of basic economic survival.
VOMENA's Khalil Bendib speaks with Lebanese activist and academic Rayan El-Amine who, after a decade in his native land, has returned to the Bay area with his family, about the travails of a country that is geographically diminutive but has always loomed large in the conscience of the world.
From Mali to Dubai: The United Arab Emirates & African Gold - Status/الوضع
Now approaching seventy tons annually, gold has replaced cotton as Mali’s leading export, turning that country into Africa’s third-largest gold producer. The primary destination of artisanal gold seems to be the United Arab Emirates. By all evidence, the gold that shines in the souks of Dubai is the product of a complex web of criminal networks, terrorist groups and internationally sanctioned regimes, who use this non-industrially mined gold to launder their money.
The Emirates have long been a global hub for transnational African merchants, who travel to Dubai to purchase imported goods such as Japanese-made auto parts or Chinese-made garments. Emirati authorities and commercial players are now exploiting their country’s existing commercial status to make the UAE an important node for the trade in precious metals, especially gold. These buyers are actively financing associates in Mali and throughout the Sahel and Sahara regions, driving the expansion of artisanal mining into new areas."
Malihe Razazan speaks with Bruce Whitehouse about the reasons why Mali is emerging as the main production hub for Sahelian countries and why Dubai is the number one destination for artisanal gold trade.
The Islamization of the Education System in Iran following the 1979 Revolution - Status/الوضع
Last September, Mahsa-Jina Amini, a twenty-two-year-old woman from the Kurdish region of Iran, died while in the custody of Iran’s notorious "morality police."
During the funeral in her hometown of Saghez, which was to become the epicenter of the nationwide protests in Iran, women took off their headscarves, chanting ‘Women Life Freedom’, a slogan which became an iconic chant both within Iran and beyond.
Images of young women protesters openly taking off their headscarves and burning them sent the unmistakable message to the ruling clerics that they could no longer impose their draconian and nonsensical laws on women and girls in Iran.
Throughout the country, in the schools, universities, and streets young people became the leaders of protests calling for an end to the oxymoronic "Islamic republic.“ But, as predicted, the brutality employed by the regime’s security apparatus to suppress the protests at any cost took on epic proportions. Over 500 protesters have reportedly been killed so far, including 70 children.
In addition, to this day four protesters have been executed by the state, with many more also facing the death sentence. Hundreds of protesters were also blinded by Metal Pellets and Rubber Bullets.
Furthermore, over the past six months, human rights organizations have documented the pervasive use of torture and abuse of detained protestors. A newly released report by Amnesty International, for example, reveals that the Iranian authorities have, among other torture methods, used sexual violence against imprisoned children.
Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Diana Eltahawy, has said that "Iran’s violence against children exposes a deliberate strategy to crush the vibrant spirit of the country’s youth and stop them from demanding freedom and human rights.”
Professor Shahrzad Mojab, who is our guest today, says that much of the push for the current protests has come from young people, who are more aware than previous generations of women's issues thanks to social media. "They have their own powerful reason for wanting a change of regime: a desire for a better future."
Professor Shahrzad Mojab is a scholar, teacher, and activist, and she’s internationally known for her work on the impacts of war, displacement, and violence upon women’s learning and education.
Malihe Razazan spoke with her about the protest movement, the islamization of the education system as well as the role of young women in the protests, and started by asking her to talk about the genesis of the slogan "Women Life Freedom," and how it encapsulates the spirit and objectives of the protests in Iran.
Ilan Pappé on the Latest Developments in Israel - Status/الوضع
Even by Israel’s abysmal standards, provocations against the people of Palestine have seen a dramatic escalation since the arrival of Bibi Netanyahu’s new government three months ago: hundreds of innocent civilians murdered, including many children, an outright anti-Palestinian pogrom in the West Bank that was cheered on by the minister of interior, a brutal attack on worshippers inside one of Islam’s holy sites in the middle of Ramadan, as well as statements by a key government official declaring that the Palestinian people simply does not exist.
At the same time, a historic wave of protests contesting the new government’s attempts to temper with the role of the judiciary claims to defend democracy in the holy land without a single mention of the central question of Palestinian civil and human rights. We asked asked prominent Israeli historian Ilan Pappé for his take on these recent developments.
Status/الوضع - Why did the U.S. invade Iraq twenty years ago? A conversation with Sinan Antoon & Omar Sirri
The 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq resulted in massive death and destruction, and fueled sectarian tensions, which culminated in a violent civil war. More than 300,000 Iraqis have died from direct war violence and 9.2 million people have been internally displaced, according to Brown University's Costs of War Project.
The brutal invasion and occupation of Iraq entrenched the country in a cycle of sectarian violence and impacted every aspect of life in Iraq, from governance to health care, infrastructure, economy and the environment and long term trauma
In a recent piece in the Guardian, one of today’s guests Professor Sinan Antoon writes, “I had always hoped to see the end of Saddam’s dictatorship at the hands of the Iraqi people, not courtesy of a neocolonial project that would dismantle what had remained of the Iraqi state and replace it with a regime based on ethno-sectarian dynamics, plunging the country into violent chaos and civil wars."
This week, we bring you the first part of our conversation about the reasons behind the catastrophic invasion of Iraq.
Status/الوضع - Professor Khalid Medani discusses the root cause of the ongoing crisis in Sudan (Part 1)
Clashes between Sudanese armed forces and the Rapid Support Forces spread to different regions in the country, creating a humanitarian crisis of immense proportions. Hundreds have died and tens of thousands of Sudanese are attempting to escape the violence. Host Shahram Aghamir spoke to Prof. Khalid Medani about this topic.
Great way to keep up with news from the MENA region. Engaging interviews that do a good job of putting current events in deeper context.
Great and love it, try to make it short
Great show and interesting but it’s is a long for a pdcast