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The View from Here: February 2012 Archives

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A box full of light saves lives

Solar panels, lights, and battery chargers.  All that's needed to give doctors and patients a chance when the power goes out.  Photo/We Care Solar

They were in the middle of surgery again when the power went out in the Nigerian operating room.

Luckily, a visiting American doctor had a flashlight.

But Laura Stachel figured there had to be a way around the recurring problem.

And with husband Hal Aronson, a solar energy educator in California, they came up with something called the Solar Suitcase.

She joined us while unpacking one in a maternity clinic in another part of Africa to explain how it's providing lifesaving light.

 join Laura in the examining room

Dr. Laura Stachel at work with her Solar Suitcase in Sierra Leone. She's co-founder of WE CARE Solar, creating technology to benefit maternal health in the developing world.

Thanks to Lisa Russell for helping us record that interview with Laura Stachel in Sierra Leone. 

The February 23 Dispatches program

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They die so we might know

"We need war correspondents out there who are prepared to risk their lives to bear witness to events others would prefer went unreported."

Rick MacInnes-Rae's reflection on the death in Syria of fellow war correspondents:

A Turkish journalist in Ankara, on February 24, 2012, holds pictures of French photojournalist Remi Ochlik (L) and Sunday Times correspondent Marie Colvin, killed in an alleged rocket attack by Syrian regime forces against a makeshift opposition media center in the besieged city of Homs in Syria on February 22. PHOTO ADEM ALTAN/AFP/Getty Images) .

I didn't know Marie Colvin, though I met her once, very briefly, in the mine-strewn mountains of Albania, where reporters were camping out to interview refugees pouring over its border from Kosovo, and waiting for our chance to go in.

She was a force of nature. An experienced war correspondent who struck me as a cross between the CBC's Ann Medina and the BBC's Kate Adey, two other journalists I've never met, but much admire.

Colvin, along with photographer Remi Ochlik, died Feb. 22 while covering the civil war in Syria.

I thought she was gutsy, and relentless, and sardonic. And like I say, I didn't know her at all well, but I'm pleased the many tributes coming in since her death confirm those were some of her qualities.

This was back in 1999, a couple of years before she began wearing a distinctive black eyepatch. But she already seemed to me as raffish as a Barbary pirate.

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Kennedy's very bad day in South Sudan

Journalist Kennedy Jawoko in Juba, South Sudan -- before his harrowing motorcycle accident (Photo: Kennedy Jawoko)

Journalist Kennedy Jawoko gets around. Ugandan by birth, he went to school in Israel and Canada. 

And he recently went to do a story for us in the newly independent country of South Sudan, ensnared in escalating conflict with neighbouring Sudan.   

And that turned into something Kennedy couldn't get around, and turned HIM into a story.  

Now, he's no stranger to the hazards of the road. Someone stole his laptop on one assignment. He contracted malaria on another. But this one left him bleeding and captive in a ditch.  

When Kennedy started telling Rick about it, we knew we had to get him to tell our listeners too. 

Rick's conversation with Kennedy


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Young Senegalese "fed up" with regime



The "Fed Up" movement leaders hold a news conference determined to spark Senegalese out of their "defeatism" and to reclaim their government.  Photo/Amanda Fortier

"Spring" wind blows into Senegal streets

This weekend's election in Senegal isn't passing the smell test with some, and now there's a whiff of Arab Spring in the air.

It's an old story. A president comfortable in power tries engineering more of it.

But that didn't sit well with a small band of disaffected Senegalese young people, and it's morphed into a movement, spilling into the streets of this small African country.

It's a call out a president reneging on his promise to resign.

And we found Canadian journalist Amanda Fortier in with the ringleaders.

hear Amanda's dispatch

 The February 23 Dispatches program

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A special court for post-trauma vets

 

Judge Wendy Lindley (left) presides over the Orange County Combat Veterans Court, an alternative to conventional justice for PTDS war veterans  (photo/California Courts)


Like a lot of veterans returned from the wars, Michael Jones has seen things, done things, that prey on his mind, and would be illegal anywhere but a battlefield. 

But when veterans cross that line when they get back to the world, are they entitled to a different kind of justice than most civilians can  expect?

California is one state that decided to cut them a break. And the results would seem to bear it out. CBC Correspondent Jennifer Westaway is there as a very special court comes to order.

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Baad justice haunts Afghanistan

Young women who escape Afghan marriages arranged to settle disputes (a practice called baad) hide in a secret safehouse, where they learn to sew. (Photo/Laura Lynch)

The New York Times this week featured a report on Baad -- the Afghan tradition of givng daughters to settle disputes. Last fall, Dispatches presented this report:
 
In Kandahar, Canadian troops are taking their base apart now that their combat role is over in Afghanistan.  

Afghans meanwhile, are still putting together the framework for justice and governance to keep the country together once western troops depart. 

Millions have already been spent training judges and building courthouses. 

But ten years after the war began, many Afghans still resort to old traditions which have cruel consequences for women, as we hear from Canadian journalist Laura Lynch at the jail where many wind up.  

 

Sohaila's father married her to a warlord to settle a dispute in an Afghan practice called baad. She escaped, married on her own, but she and her husband were captured and sent to jail. Her father says she has to kill her son to come home. (Photo/Laura Lynch)

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Brigadier-General Richard Giguere, shown Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at Kandahar Airfield. (Photo: Colin Perkel/CP)

A Brigadier-General's dispatch

Brigadier-General Richard Giguere spent 18 months inside and outside the wire, practising this mantra: in an insurgency, get the people on your side.  Civilians are the centre of gravity.

Rick asked him about his thoughts on that, on challenges to the rule of law in Afghanistan and the mission still ahead.