Sunday, March 6, 2011 | Categories: Episodes
Arab Revolutions - In our First Hour, "What experience and history teach is this -- that people and governments have never learned anything from history." The philosopher Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel said that back in 1832. A rather cynical assessment from a founder of something called German IDEALISM.
It suggests, of course, that history is doomed to repeat itself even if we DO learn about it. But is that always a bad thing?
Right now, as we watch events unfold in the Middle East... comparisons are being drawn to previous periods of world upheaval... 1989, 1968... AND 1848... The Year of Revolutions, the Spring of Nations. Its sparks spread across Europe -- and even elsewhere -- calls for autonomy, prosperity, overthrow. These days many pundits are calling the changes in Egypt, Yemen, Tunisia and elsewhere "The Arab 1848." We'll find out why in our first hour, when we talk with two historians who are experts on those months of revolt 163 years ago.
That's in Hour One.
Read more about hour one here
Esther Wheelwright - In our Middle Hour, history is HER story too... though it's not told as often. This morning, we'll hear the incredible, true saga of Esther Wheelwright: New England Puritan, adopted child of Abenaki Indians, Ursuline nun in Quebec. She packed a lot into one life, especially for a woman in 18th century North America. Now her tale is the subject of a new book by decendant Julie Wheelwright. We'll hear her tell it.
That's in Hour Two.
Read more about hour two here
Spring Breakup - In our Final Hour, music and more from Spring Breakup. The duo has a unique sound, as well as a very real and often funny take on life... especially on, well, break-ups. They're a bit obsessed with them really. We'll hear why, and we'll enjoy some of their songs.
Read more about hour three here
Elsewhere in the program: Remembering A. Frank Willis, some musings on the March Break stay-cation and how it trumps a Disney Cruise and Episode 9 in our series Stranger Than Fiction.
Michael is on location this week, but he will be back next Sunday March13th
It's happening with remarkable speed and heading in a direction that no one can predict.
Three months ago, a Tunisian street vendor set himself on fire in front of the local governor's office. Mohamed Bouazizi was protesting governrment corruption - his goods and his property had been confiscated and the authorities refused to give them back. That act of defiance lead to street protests that quickly toppled the Tunisian regime. A month later, the spark lit in Tunisia brought down the entrenched Egyptian regime. And now, the revolutionary wave is threatening the autocratic leaders of Libya, Oman, Yemen and nearly every other country in the Middle East.
It's impossible to know how all these movements will transform the region, but one thing is undeniable - 2011 will be seen as a revolutionary year in world history.
But is it like other revoltuionary periods in the past?
Observers have compared the current upheaval to the 1989 anti-Communist revolutions that transformed the East Bloc of Europe. Others have talked about "people power" and the peaceful protests that ended decades of military rule in the Philippines. But there is arguably no more revolutionary year in history than 1848, when nearly every European capital - from Paris to Berlin to Budapest - was consumed by a wave of protest and unrest - followed by and violent backlash and political repression.
The revolutions of 1848 and 1989 had nearly opposite outcomes.....and if we try to put what's happening now in some sort of historical context, which history should we be looking at?
Mike Rapport teaches history at the University of Stirling in Scotland. He's also the author of "1848: Year of Revolution." He was in a studio at the University.
Timothy Roberts is an assistant professor of history at Western Illinois University. He previously taught at Bilkent University in Ankara, Turkey. He's also the author of "Distant Revolutions: 1848 and the Challenge to American Exceptionalism." This morning, he's in a studio in Tallahasse, Florida.
The More You Have Freedom
With his mane of jet black hair, jam-packed backpack and wrinkled jeans it is easy to guess that Mehdi Ghazi is a student.
Even in the frigid -15 degrees of a Montreal winter he doesn't wear gloves to protect his hands.That is pretty surprising given that Mehdi grew up on the Mediterranean coast in Algeria.
And that he uses his hands to create magic.
The classical music critic at Montreal's La presse newspaper calls Mehdi a "piano virtuoso" whose playing already rivals some world famous musicians. That's pretty tall praise given that Mehdi has only given one professional concert. And that six years ago it was only by chance that he was discovered by a Quebec pianist who was on concert tour across North Africa and the Middle East.
From his piano bench in Montreal's Music Conservatory, Medhi Ghazi is practising for a career, and planning to one day take lessons he has learned back home.
Our Sunday Editon documentary from David Gutnick this morning is "The More You Have Freedom."
A. Frank Willis
A. Frank Willis was not the type of Newfoundland musician you've probably heard about.
He wasn't played on radio on the mainland. He didn't have a major record label. And he was not on the radar of most music critics. But he is a legend to the people who loved him, who hail from small communities in Newfoundland and Labrador.
For more than forty years, A. Frank brought his combination of country music, traditional Newfoundlandia, and raucous humour to town halls, motel bars and hotel lounges. A one of a kind, one man band.
A. Frank Willis died this week. He was 60 years old.
A. Frank's fans were devoted to him and he returned the devotion. He would play whenever, and wherever, they wanted him to.
In his later years, much of the demand came from northern Alberta, where thousands of ex-pat Newfoundlanders headed to work in the oil and gas industry. He spent a lot of time entertaining in and around the work camps at the edge of the tar sands.
That's where producer Heather Barrett found him in the winter of 2006. This is a repeat broadcast of her documentary, "Take Me As I Am".
The bare bones of this story have the makings of a mini series.
A seven-year-old girl is captured by Indians and taken to live in the wilds of 1703 New France. She survives the abduction, near-starvation, and epidemics.
She is converted to Catholicism and taken by Jesuit priests to Quebec where she enters a convent school and eventually becomes an Ursuline nun, cutting all ties with her family.
Despite all odds, she rises to become Mother Superior - the highest position available to an eighteenth century woman.
But, like so many women before and after her, Esther Wheelwright's story had been almost hidden from history.
Untold, that is, until one of her descendants became curious about her mysterious ancestor, and undertook to put some meat on the bones of the story.
Julie Wheelwright spent almost two decades exploring archives and historical sites, libraries and diaries. Her new book, Esther, the Remarkable True Story of Esther Wheelwright; Puritan Child, Native Daughter, Mother Superior chronicles a life of remarkable challenges and good fortune.
Julie Wheelwright was born in London , England, but grew up in British Columbia. She now makes her home in London, which is where we reached her.
Essay - Hotel at Home
The kids are getting twitchy. The parents are getting twitchier.The school break is almost upon us.
What to do? Especially in tough times.
A beach would be so lovely. So would a ski hill. But hideously expensive too.
There IS always the stay-cation.
Over the years, that's an option that Kyla Hanington has had to consider - often. And she has developed her own special way to make it happen.
This is her essay - Hotel at Home.
Mark Twain once wisely said that the greatest inventor of all is accident, and that certainly rings true for musicians Kim Barlow and Mathias Kom.
She lives in Whitehorse, he lives in St. John's, and their chance encounter in Peterborough, Ontario led to the invention of a new musical duo called Spring Breakup.
When they first met, Kim had been performing as a solo artist on the Canadian folk circuit for more than a decade; and Mathias was an indie-rock musician. His band, The Burning Hell, had been touring in Canada and Europe.
Their new album, "It's Not You, It's Me" has been earning rave reviews.
Mathias Kom was in our studio in St. John's and Kim Barlow was at CBC Whitehorse.
Mail - Content On Demand
On last week's program, Ira Basin brought us the story of "Demand Media". They are maybe the biggest company you never heard of...they are the people who answer crazy questions you type into your search engine. All those questions like : How to bake shortbread? How to develop sinewy arms. Or Ira's favorite...How to measure pants.
Ira reported on the company, and on the people who write for them--for three cents a word !
This sent one of our more regular letter writers straight to his computer.
Stranger Than Fiction #9
Desire and self-denial are at the heart of this week's Stranger Than Fiction.
Sheila Heti explores her own appetites and discovers that lurching between all or nothing-ness leads pretty well no-where.
Sheila Heti is the author of Middle Stories, Ticknor, and How Should a Person Be?
Here is her true story, The Impossibility of Amputation. This is part 9 of our 10-part series, Stranger than Fiction.