June 9, 2008

Pt 1: Nongovernmental Organizations in Zimbabwe - Zimbabwe's opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, faced major difficulties in its campaign to win political control of the country. In the first week of June 2008 alone, one of its members of parliament was arrested at his home in Harare and accussed of fomenting violence.

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Pt 2: Bat Fungus (Documentary) - In 2007, researchers spotted the first case of "white nose syndrome" on a bat in Albany, New York.

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Pt 3: RAND Corporation - In a scene from Stanley Kubrick's classic black comedy, Dr. Strangelove, the fictitious character commissioned doomsday research by a fictitious organization called the 'BLAND corporation'. But Strangelove was, in fact, inspired by a real person and a hugely influential - and very real - American think-tank called The RAND Corporation.

Read more here

Satire

It's Monday June 9th.

Zimbabwe's leader Robert Mugabe says he will allow a United Nations envoy to help the country conduct a free and fair presidential runoff election later this month.

Currently, the envoy says his first task will be.... to find out where all the opposition party members went.

This is the Current


Nongovernmental Organizations in Zimbabwe


Stephanie Nolen

Zimbabwe's opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change, faced major difficulties in its campaign to win political control of the country. In the first week of June 2008 alone, one of its members of parliament was arrested at his home in Harare and accussed of fomenting violence.

He was later released, but with Zimbabwe's Presidential run-off approaching, the tension inside the country was mounting.

On June 8, 2008, supporters of president Robert Mugabe prevented opposition members from holding a rally in a suburb of the capital, Harare.

Between March and early June 2008, five prominent members of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change were murdered. The MDC's leader, Morgan Tsvangirai was detained twice in one week while campaigning in the countryside.

And the government barred all nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) from operating in Zimbabwe, even the ones that were providing food to about a quarter of the country's population.

Stephanie Nolen, the Globe and Mail's Africa Correspondent, joined us from Johannesburg to give us an update.


David Rieff

The government's decision to bar all non-governmental organizations from operating in Zimbabwe was extremely risky, since hundreds of thousands of Zimbabweans were depending on food aid to survive. Shari Eppel, a human rights activist from Zimbabwe who works with the British aid group Oxfam, gave us her thoughts about the situation.

Just days before his government clamped down on foreign aid groups, Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe accused them of being agents of the West that are supporting opposition political parties. It wasn't the first time humanitarian organizations became caught in a political debate, and it probably won't be the last.

David Rieff has written extensively about the politics of humanitarianism and consults with aid organizations about the issue. He joined us from Paris.


Jim MacKinnon (Oxfam coordinator for Southern Africa)

Not everyone thinks NGOs should be entirely apolitical. Jim MacKinnon, Oxfam Canada's coordinator for southern Africa, has more than two decades of experience working in Zimbabwe and he's thought a lot about this issue. He joined us from Ottawa.


Listen to Part One:

 

Bat Fungus (Documentary)

In 2007, researchers spotted the first case of "white nose syndrome" on a bat in Albany, New York.

After that initial discovery, it began sweeping through dozens of caves and mines across the northeastern United States, making "white nose syndrome" a deadly problem. It has killed tens, and likely hundreds of thousands of bats across New York State, Connecticut, New Hampshire and Vermont. It's affecting almost every species of cave-dwelling bat. And it may be headed north to Canada.

CBC Radio's Susan McKenzie has been investigating "white nose syndrome" in Vermont and she joined us from Montreal.

Music

Artist: Steve Dawson
Cut: CD10 "Ruby"
CD: "We Belong to the Gold Coast"
Label: Black Hen Music
Spine #: BHCD 0030


Listen to Part Two:

 

RAND Corporation


Alex Abella, Author

In a scene from Stanley Kubrick's classic black comedy, Dr. Strangelove, the fictitious character commissioned doomsday research by a fictitious organization called the 'BLAND corporation'. But Strangelove was, in fact, inspired by a real person and a hugely influential - and very real - American think-tank called The RAND Corporation.

Since the 1940s, The RAND Corporation has helped to define American foreign policy, military strategy and political thought. And it's had a hand in influencing US government decisions from John F. Kennedy's New Frontier, to the Vietnam War; from the collapse of the Soviet Union to the War in Iraq.

Alex Abella has chronicled The RAND Corporation's influence in his book, Soldiers of Reason: The RAND Corporation And The Rise Of The American Empire. He joined us from Pasadena, California.


Last Word - Cardboard Cutouts of Police Officers

We ended this episode by introducing you to Wilson, a life-sized cardboard cutout of a police officer holding a radar gun. He's part of the Vancouver Police Department's "Operation Silhouette." Police in Vancouver are trying to crack down on speeding. So at the beginning of June 2008, they began putting eight Wilsons at strategic locations across the city, in the hopes that they might catch people's attention long enough to slow them down a bit.

We therefore closed this show with some thoughts from Constable Jana McGuinness about the campaign.


Listen to Part Three:

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