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Promo Box: April 2012 Archives

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Dispatches correspondent honored for Human Rights reporting

The Canadian Association of Journalists has awarded the CBC's Alison Crawford its 2011 award for Human Rights Reporting.

Her Dispatch, aired last October, is entitled "The Eyes of Rosa and Antonio". You can hear it here.

 

Rosa Gomez and Antonio Savone suffered at the hands of the same torturers. They reunited to try to jail their tormentors. Photo/Alison Crawford


Still cleaning up after Argentina's dirty war

Some guilty verdicts were handed down this week (October 2011) in a case that began many years ago in a very dark place in 1970s Argentina.

They called it "the Singing Room." And sometimes, "the Barbeque," which is closer to what it really was; a torture chamber in the basement of a Mendoza police station.

And it was bad, what they did to Antonio Savone. Much worse for Rosa Gomez, the woman whose eyes he could see -- and whose cries he could hear -- coming from the cell facing his.

Argentina was in the grip of a murderous dictatorship, and last March, Antonio headed back to meet Rosa face-to-face, and confront their captors.

The CBC's Alison Crawford begans our story in Antonio's Toronto home, as he packed to testify in Mendoza.

Listen to Alison's dispatch

This week (October 2011), five of the six defendants in the D-2 case were convicted of crimes ranging from kidnap to torture and murder.  The judge called them all "crimes against humanity."  Four were given life sentences, including the man who killed Rosa's husband. A fifth got twelve years and another was acquitted, but is already convicted of crimes in another detention centre. All will go to prison; they had been under house arrest. Report in El Sol (the Mendoza Sun)

And Antonio was in court to hear the verdict. He'll return in 2012 to testify against those accused of sexually assaulting Rosa Gomez.

Meanwhile, two judges have been suspended as a result of the investigation into human rights violations, though the prosecutor, that signed off on the "confession" Antonio was unaware of until his trial, has skipped the country and is claiming refugee status in Chile.

Antonio has also been contacted by a novelist and a filmmaker interested in documenting his story.  And an artist who wants to draw his eyes. 

Finally, he tells us by email that he speaks with Rosa all the time. "I feel very close to (her)" he writes. She is now, "a part of my life."

Dispatches thanks CBC producer Mariel Borelli for performing the voice over translation for Rosa Gomez.

 

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Yemen: A lesson in insecurity


The Romans called it "Arabia Felix".  Happy Arabia.

But Yemen, as it's known today, is anything but. Buffeted by rebellion and its own Arab Spring, political instability is on vivid display now that miltants have seized an entire province and sent its residents packing.

Today many live with the legacy of unrest that's driven them from their homes to refuge in distant schools where Canadian journalist Lindsay Mackenzie says the only lessons they learn, are the hard ones.

Listen to Lindsay's documentary





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Peace without justice in Liberia

Comfort Tokpah, 50, lost her husband and brother in Liberia's civil war and was forced to marry a child soldier. (Photo: Bonnie Allen)

Peace without justice in Liberia

Later this month, we'll hear a verdict in the case of the first African Head of State ever tried for war crimes.

Charles Taylor, a former President of Liberia, faces 11 counts for crimes he allegedly committed in neighbouring Sierra Leone.

They include murder and rape, and recruiting child soldiers

Remarkably enough, neither he -- nor anyone else -- faces any charges for triggering a war in his own country, which killed 1/4 million Liberians.

And now compels the innocent to live side-by-side with people guilty of committing atrocities against them. Dispatches contributor Bonnie Allen tells us two of those stories.

Listen to Bonnie's documentary

And a cruel footnote to that story: Alhaji Kromah, the former rebel leader in charge of the state broadcaster where Moses works, just got a new, more important, government job.

The President's appointed him an Ambassador-at-large in the Foreign Ministry. Observers say it likely means his prospects for prosecution are even more distant. But on the upside, it means Moses won't have to look at him every day.

The April 12 Dispatches program
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Connie Watson's Fixer: the face of a new kind of Cuba


 

Cuban film maker Rolando Almirante working on a set in Old Havana. His movie documenting the roots of son music is but one of the many projects he's been able to launch with the new economic freedoms being allowed by the country's Communist regime. (Photo: Connie Watson)

When correspondents arrive in foreign countries they have to hit the ground running, and do it with the help of savvy local hires we call "fixers." 


They give us the lay of the land and help us find the people and events that tell the story of the place. 

But for the CBC's Latin America correspondent Connie Watson, her fixer turned out to be the story of a new kind of Cuba, even as he guided her through the Pope's recent tour of the country.
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Turkish minorities tread carefully in opening doors to multi-culturalism


People in Instanbul enjoy the newly-revived Baklahorani Carnival. What was once a pagan Christian rite, has morphed into one of the few celebrations of Turkey's multi-cultural past and present. Dominant Turkish nationalism has made its organizers tread with caution. (Photo/Meghan MacIver)

Dancing to the tune of reconciliation

With a history of conflict dating back more than 600 years, Greeks and Turks are not often found at the same party. As recently as the 90s, they sent warships into the Aegean in a sovereignty dispute over a tiny rump of rock cherished only by goats. And don't even get them started on Cyprus.

But now it seems, times are changing, ever so slightly.

Canadian journalist Meghan MacIver has found some Greeks and Turks dancing to the same tune at an unusual, and very historic party in Istanbul.

Listen to Meghan's dispatch

The April 5 Dispatches program

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