The View from Here: March 2012 Archives

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Cape Town "car guards" offer "protection"

A few weeks ago, Anders Kelto told us about car guards in Cape Town

Listen to The Car Guard Song - Derick Watts & The Sunday Blues (Eminem feat. Rihanna Parody)


Lionel is a "Beach Buddy" in Muizenberg, a suburb of Cape Town, South Africa. They're licensed versions of the ubiquitous "car guards", who demand payment to watch over parked cars and (sometimes) guard against theft. (Photo: Anders Kelto)

Here's the Horatio Alger story: how to pull yourself up by your own bootstraps, in a South African parking lot.
For a few rand, they'll make sure your car is safe where you parked it.  Car-guarding is a good way to rise it up from dire poverty.  Even if guarders aren't always effective,  

Listen to Anders Kelto's View from the car parks of Cape Town

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Liberian journalist hides, for reporting sexual mutilation

Mae Azango is a journalist in Liberia. She's in hiding fearing for her safety after breaking a national taboo and writing a story about a secret sect that practices female genital mutilation. (Photo: New Narratives)

On March 30 it was reported that traditional tribal leaders have agreed to a deal with the Liberian government to stop the practice of sexual mutilation of young girls.  This follows a brave expose by a Liberian journalist who went into hiding because of death threats for reporting the practice continues in secret. (link to Mae's follow-up piece below)
Last week and this week Dispatches covered the story:
At age 13, Ma Sabah was taken into the African bush and circumcised according to the tradition of her people.

When you put it that way, it almost sounds noble. But what Ma remembers is four women holding her down while another took a knife and hacked at her genitals.

That was more than 30 years ago. But for writing her story this month, reporter Mae Azango received death threats. She's now in hiding in Liberia, where we've managed to reach her.

Listen to Rick's interview with Mae Azango 

Journalist Mae Azango, is in hiding in Liberia. She's a reporter with the daily newspaper FrontPage Africa, and the website New Narratives.

The March 22 Dispatches program

March 29th: More from a Liberian journalist in hiding

Last week on the program, we heard from Mae Azango, a Liberian journalist forced into hiding after receiving death threats for a story she wrote about the tradition of female genital mutiliation.

As she told us, some Liberians believe it deters adultery.

Since then, the Liberian government has cautioned journalists to be careful reporting the story but urged tolerance for her.

It also says it sent out letters to those who perform the procedure four months ago, asking them to end it.

Mae's reaction?

For the record, this is the first time the Liberian government has said it wants to stop female genital mutilation.

But the Minister of Gender and Development - Julia Duncan Cassell - admits there's a big difference between asking traditional leaders to stop it, and getting them to actually stop it.

Her comment

Mae's follow-up piece:

Your comment

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Mexican tabloids: Black & White -- and dead all over

A typical front page for one of Mexico's biggest Nota Roja tabloids. The term means 'red press', referring to the bloodshed it features. Mexico's drug war has provided them with plenty to write about. (Photo/El Manana)

Surging drug violence brought Mexico together with the U.S. and Canada this week to talk about military co-operation to contain it.

But it took the Pope's visit to cause a temporary halt.  One cartel hung out signs welcoming Benedict and pledging not to attack rival gangs while he's in the country.

With his departure, the killing that's claimed more than 47,000 lives has resumed. And with it, the debate over how best to treat it in the Mexican press -- that ranges from black-and-white, to red all over.

Canadian journalist Myles Estey has been watching it at work in one of the most dangerous cities in the world.

Letters about violence in Mexico in Your Dispatches
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The trials of Tweeting in China

Twitter may be blocked in China, but the Chinese have Sina Weibo, which the government tries to police but may already have lost hold of. (Photo: Reuters)

China last week shut down its sanctioned version of Twitter, when rumours of a coup spread like the proverbial "prairie fire" throughout the country.  A couple of weeks ago, Rick spoke with a journalist who knows how this "tweeting" system works. 
We know it as Twitter, though not in China, where it's blocked by state surveillance.

Instead, the state permits the Chinese version -- something called Sina Weibo. The principles are similar to Twitter. The parameters, not so much.

Not when Big Brother has its algorithmic finger posed above delete, just waiting to wipe out any sign of dissent in those 140 characters on Weibo.

That hasn't stopped hundreds of millions of Chinese from signing up. It just means they have to find clever ways around it.

Author Rachel DeWoskin has been looking into it. She lived in China for five years in the 90s, writing and consulting and eventually becoming a TV star in a hugely-popular Chinese program similar to Sex and the City. Her findings appeared in a recent edition of Vanity Fair magazine. She joined Rick from Chicago.

 Rachel's interview with Rick  

The March 22 Dispatches program

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Help for kids of India sex workers

Kalaivani was forced into sex work after her husband died and she had a family to support. Now she counsels women in Chennai's sex trade, and is proud that her two children have become educated professionals. (Photo: Priya Sankaran)

The lure of stardom has been the downfall of more than a few young women drawn from poor villages to the  lights of "Kollywood" -- the film industry in Chennai, the city once known as Madras.  The sex trade flourishes, and exploits them and thousands of mothers left by their husbands.
 The CBC's Priya Sankaran found a program here that is helping the chidren of sex workers break class, gender and caste barriers to at least get an education, in a secret location..

Listen to Priya's dispatch  

The March 22 Dispatches program

(There are no photos of the children or their teacher, to protect them all)

Baby was a sex worker for years. She describes all of the bribes they have to pay each night they work.(Photo: Priya Sankaran)

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In Italy, a long drink of yesterday's wine

Vats of slow wine: ancient methods and a lots of patience make for vintages that only get better. (Photo: Luigi Fraboni)

The Slow Food movement began in Rome, a backlash against the arrival of a McDonald's near the fabled Spanish Steps, more than 25 years ago. 

Since then, it's gone global. Around the world, thousands reject fast food in favor of the slow kind, the sustainable kind, raised by traditional methods. 

You can even get Slow Fish.

And now, in these times of high-flying technology, Nancy Greenleese says there's increasingly a place for Slow Wine in the vineyards -- and on the tables -- of Italy. 

 Nancy's taste of the past