Promo Box: November 2011 Archives

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Guyana: jungle tourism and Jonestown

Cult leader Jim Jones led more than 900 Americans to mass suicide in at their remote jungle compound in Guyana in 1978. Some want it re-built to boost tourism in Guyana. (Photo/AP-Getty Images)

Jonestown revisited 

In 1978, American cult leader Jim Jones presided over the deaths of more than 900 followers of the People's Temple, based in Jonestown, Guyana. 

The dead were most killed with cyanide, which some willingly took after poisoning their children with it first.   

Today, the government's being asked to declare it a tourist attraction despite its grisly history, recalled in this excerpt from a story filed back in the day by Bronwyn Drainie with the CBC Radio program, Sunday Morning.

In the 33 years since that report, the jungle's grown back and the Jonestown buildings have been looted, burnt and shunned by superstitious locals. But one man who witnessed the massacre's grim aftermath believes it should be a tourist attraction.

Dispatches contributor Sarah Grainger is hacking through the bush to see what once was, and what some want it to become.  

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Santa, Peru buries death-squad victims

Maribel Barrientos cries during the funeral procession for her two brothers in Peru, killed by death squads 19 years ago. (Photo/Mattia Cabitza) 

Requiem after 19  years
A sombre funeral erupts in heartfelt
applause, when mourners came to honor a group of men killed by death squads in 1992.

It was a time when guerillas were clashing with the government, and civilians were targetted by both sides.

The country's Truth And Reconciliation Commission estimates 70,000 people simply...disappeared.  As mass graves emerge, the dead are finally embraced, as we hear from Mattia Cabitza, from Santa, Peru.

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Surviving is winning in Afghan politics

Fawzia Koofi, seen with Afghan President Hamid Karzai over her right shoulder, She hopes to live long enough to run to replace him. Photo/Laura Lynch

From the moment she was born, Fawzia Koofi had to struggle to survive.

Now that she's running for president of Afghanistan, she's in another fight for her life.

She's just 35, and in pictures rarely smiles. Her round face stares out, serious and defiant behind a ring of bodyguards protecting her from assassins anxious to end a political reformer.

If she has her way, she'll be the first woman to ever lead the country. And she's used to firsts. First girl in her family to go to school. First woman elected to government office. But first female president in 2014?

Fawzia Koofi says she has to survive first, as Canadian correspondent Laura Lynch discovered in a visit to her house.

Listen to Laura's dispatch

The November 27 Dispatches program

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Ben Hur Live? More like Ben hurt.

The arena rock spectacular Ben Hur Live features real animals, a few ancient languages, a lot of skimpy outfits, and a few anachronisms as it arrives in Rome. (Photo/Getty Images Europe)

 Ben Hur? More like Ben Hurt

When Ben Hur was made back in 1959 -- it was box office gold. Good thing, because it was also the most expensive film ever made. 

And extravagant? 15,000 extras for the chariot scene alone. 

But it did huge box office, and saved the studio.  And 52 years later, Ben Hur's chariots have arrived in Rome, but this time, as a theatrical spectacle. 

And how's that working out? Dispatches contributor Megan Williams has a view from the audience. 

Hear Megan's View from Here 

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Rebel town overrun in Sudan's Blue Nile

Satellite photos are being used to reveal attacks on civilian populations and the location of mass graves. Photo/Satellite Sentinel Project

Spying eyes from space

This week on Dispatches, Rick MacInnes-Rae interviewed Jonathan Hutson of the Satellite Sentinel Project about using satellite photos to monitor human rights abuses and war crimes.  Jonathan said Kurmuk, in the Blue Nile state of southern Sudan, is a place where they could see Sudanese troops massing against rebels and threatening civilians.

Jonathan Hutson's interview

Since we aired that interview, Sudanese forces have indeed taken Kurmuk, he reports.

Sudan's Defence Ministry posted an ominously-worded statement on its website saying it is now "cleansing the town."

A rebel spokesman confirms their retreat, but says "this is not the end of the war in Blue Nile (state.)"

In October Jared Ferrie reported to Dispatches from the rebel positions of Kurmuk, where he saw that the "next" southern Sudanese civil war had already begun.  Sudanese planes were routinely bombing rebels and civilians, and the rebels were poised -- armed and well trained.

The responsibility to protect 

Rick met Jonathan at a conference in Montreal recently, where they were talking about
the responsibility of all nations to protect people being harmed by one of their own -- called by the UN "The Resonsibility To Protect". It's something, advocates say, that trumps sovereignty on the world stage. 

This tall bearded guy, Rick remembers, was describing an effort to detect war crimes being committed in Sudan and to deter those who might commit others, by using satellite images.

Listening to him was like hearing a CSI script read aloud.  Mass graves sought and found with forensic precision. 

The Satellite Sentinel Project was begun last year by actor George Clooney, and the American organization known as "ENOUGH - The Project To End Genocide And Crimes Against Humanity." 

Follow this link to all of this week's Dispatches show

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Centuries-old baroque music survives in Bolivian jungle

Reinaldo Yambami conducts the baroque orchestra and chorus of young people of Santiago de Chiquitos, in a concert in the village of San Xavier in the Chiquitania region of Bolivia. Baroque music was introduced by Jesuits, more than 300 years ago. (Photo: Mattia Cabitza)

Bolivia's baroque roots

In the early 1700s, Italian composer Domenico Zipoli composed his share of music.  He moved to Madrid, joined the Jesuits and went to the colonies of South America, where he composed this mass.
A movement from his mass played by the young people from San Xavier.
This music is still vigorously performed today by a children's orchestra from a small town in Bolivia. 
Turns out baroque music was used by Jesuits in the quest for converts. Now, it's been preserved in a cultural bubble, protected by rural isolation --and by indigenous children for whom this music is a passion. 

That's why choirs and orchestras from 10 villages recently took part in a five-day festival in this remote region, as we hear from journalist  Mattia Cabitza on his way to the show.