The View from Here: September 2011 Archives

Al Qaeda: up close with the bosses

Osama bin Laden poses with his then second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahri in Afghanistan in 2001. Photo/Reuters

Rahimullah Yusufzai is one of Pakistan's leading journalists and war correspondents.

As the Resident Editor of the Pakistani daily The News's Peshawar bureau, he's considered an authority on the Tribal Areas - the frontier between Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Yusufzai was also among the first to repeatedly interview Al Qaeda's past and present leaders, and in this excerpt he recalls the secrecy and stealth surrounding Osama bin Laden.

Hear Rahimullah Yusufzai's account of his first meeting with bin Laden and his advisor Ayman al Zawahri in May, 1998

Click here for the entire interview with Rick Macinnes-Rae

Peace and death on Tripoli Street

Mohamed put down his gun after the rebel victory and went back to his coffee shop. His best friend was killed in the battle for Misrata. Photo/Derek Stoffel CBC



Rebuilding Tripoli Street

As fighting scales down in the Libyan street, the victors are confronting the wreckage of war and the political rebuilding ahead.

CBC's Middle East correspondent, Derek Stoffel took a walk down Tripoli Street in the northwestern city of Misrata, where 350,000 people emerged from cover -- put down their guns and counted the dead.

Derek's dispatch  


The charred tank on Tripoli St. Photo/Derek Stoffel CBC

...and the black guest workers, who will do the rebuilding

Much of Libya's black African population has gathered in camps. Rebel forces treat anyone with dark skin as a suspected Gadhafi mercenary. Photo/Reuters.

Ghadafi recruited heavily in west Africa and Sudan for his fighters, because they have no other Libyan loyalties.  And as one expert says, "It's hard to get your OWN people, to SHOOT your own people."

But with the war now over, in places like al-Bayda in the northeast, Amnesty reports the execution of 50 African mercenaries, and the lynching of a dark-skinned man just for wearing a police uniform.

In much of Libya, it's dangerous to be black. And journalist Marine Olivesi found hundreds of them cowering in an unlikely hiding place in Zanzur, near Libya's border with Egypt.

Marine's View From Here

The September 15 Dispatches progam

Lamont Tilden remembered

     Lamont Tilden

Rick MacInnes-Rae's

 tribute to a CBC hero


Lamont Tilden was 98.  He was a familiar voice on the CBC for 40 years.  He announced everything from the start of the Second World War to Santa Claus parades.

I was among a generation of reporters he schooled in the '70s.  Monty's silky delivery and precise language set lofty standards for the new kids, and I expect I was one of his greater challenges.

Some might say he was Old School, except the values he taught aren't dated.  Write clearly. Speak clearly. And practice. Values I've tried to keep faith with over 35 years. 

As we mark 75 years of public broadcasting here at the CBC, it's important to remember one of those who informed so much of it.  And in a way, Monty's still on the air.  In programs like this one. Our condolences go out to his family.

Some of our listener response, in Your Dispatches

30 Mosques/30 days goes worldwide

Aman Ali and Bassam Tariq are two young American Muslims who, a year ago, completed an eye-opening road trip --  crossing the U.S. in a quest to worship at 30 mosques, in 30 states, in the 30 days of Ramadan.  The previous year, in a kind of rehearsal, they broke their 30 daily fasts at 30 different mosques in New York City. Both years they reported to Disaptches.

Here's what they wrote Dispatches about this year's trip -- a visit to the 20 states they missed last year:  (link to earlier reports)

We started out in Alaska at the beginning of the month and made our way to the east coast with over 13,000 miles of driving underneath our belt. We conclude in our hometown of NYC.

One of the questions we're raising this year is what is the relevance of Islam in America? With the 10th anniversary of 9/11, have Muslims only formed their identity in response to the attacks? 

Some of the highlights of our trip include meeting a gay Imam in Washington DC, getting berated by a mosque for visiting a woman's prayer space in Arkansas (both of which caused heated discussions on our blog, almost 500 comments), hanging out with a Native American Muslim and meeting devout Muslims covered in tattooes and piercings.

We also got the friends of the convicted Christmas tree bomber in Oregon to write him letters about how they felt betrayed about what he did and wrote a love story about woman who left her entire life in Malaysia to marry an incarcerated prison convict in South Dakota she was pen pals with.  The list goes on and on.

We raised over $12,000 to fundraise this trip through individual contributions through Twitter and Facebook. This year we also started a movement where we now have people in Belgium, France, Indonesia, Malaysia, Chicago, Toronto, Washington DC, and the Netherlands doing 30 Mosques in 30 Days in their respective communities.

 Their website

The Sky Cries Blood, Afghanistan 2002.

In early 2002, the CBC's David McLauchlin and Connie Watson, with producer Tim Hardinge, were among a handful of western journalists to get into Afghanistan.
The Taliban government had been driven out by relentless American bombing and the mobilization of The Northern Alliance, mostly the militias of the warlords that had been fighting for years against the Soviets, and then one another.

Connie headed toward Kabul.  David went to Herat and the Iran border.  They created, with Dispatches senior producer Alan Guettel, The Sky Cries Blood -- a three-hour radio special that had them handing off to each other, back and forth, in short scenes from the villages, neighbourhoods, refugee camps and countryside of a broken nation, back when there was so much hope that it could be fixed.  They found humour, music and hardship. A lot of amputees; a lot of widows.  But wonderful people. Victims and survivors

Connie and David traveled separately for several weeks. Telephone contact was hardly possible. Connie stayed until March 21 -- the first day of Spring and the official New Year's Day of Afghanistan -- and that's what the last hour builds to. 

Connie went back in 2003 as part of a CBC project called Yesterday's Promises.  David, after a tour through Congo, died of brain cancer in May 2003.

The title The Sky Cries Blood comes from the translation of a poem a widowed mother and war survivor wrote and gave to Connie.  

Part One opens with a poem by Sufi theologian Jalal ad-Din Rumi -- an open invitation to come into the region.

 Part One   (52:52)

 Part Two (58:11)

 Part Three  (55:50)