Bookmark and Share

September 30 & October 3, 2010: from Paris - New York - Afghanistan - Chiapas - Culver City, CA

The dark under The City of Light (photo/Don Duncan)


Conflict in the catacombs: hard-core crypt crawlers take exception to the teen tomb tourists partying in their playground under Paris.

An odyssey where rape is an acceptable risk. The peril facing Latina migrants on the road.

A playground merry-go-round that doubles as a water pump. A perfect labour-saving device for underdeveloped countries. So why isn't it working?

And, a comic's take on the Middle East. Serious lessons learned from his tour of the Arab street.

Listen to the podcast.
To download, right click -- then select "save target as"

Or listen to the broadcast...


Paris underground

Cataphile "Riff" heads underground in the Paris catacombs (photo/Don Duncan)


Most of us think of the catacombs under Paris as a final resting place for the dead.  A tourist attraction by day.

But at night, when they are supposed to be off-limits, they come alive with cataphiles who flout the law and go roaming the hundreds of kilometres of former limestone quarries.

But now the information age is exposing some of their secrets.

As Dispatches contributor Don Duncan reports,  there's a culture clash emerging from those gloomy depths.

Don's dispatch....

Download Flash Player to view this content.

Troubled water

Six years ago we told you about a clever concept that promised to supply and store clean water for needy African communities.  It was called a Play Pump (LINK), and the concept was breathtakingly simple.

You attach a common schoolyard merry-go-'round to a pumping system. And when the kids climb on and spin it, it draws water from an underground well and stores it in a tank above ground.  The maintenance costs are covered by selling ad space on the side of it.

In our story back then, contributor Nicola Fell spoke to Play Pump founder Trevor Field in South Africa...

Download Flash Player to view this content.

The device seemed to have a bright future.

Amy Costello of PBS Frontline also covered that story . She returned to find out that things hadn't gone exactly as planned...

Download Flash Player to view this content.

We caught up with Amy after she returned to the United States to find out what exactly has gone wrong with all those pumps.

Rick's conversation with Amy...

Download Flash Player to view this content.

You can watch Amy's documentary "Troubled Water"  and read more about the story on the PBS/Frontline website.


Hearts and minds radio


There's a new push going on in Afghanistan against the Taliban...but as Rick reveals, it sounds a lot like something we've heard before.

Listen to Rick...

Download Flash Player to view this content.

Good-bye Orphan Ann.  Real name Iva Toguri D'aquino. She was actually an American stranded in Japan when the Second World War broke out, and forced to make those infamous broadcasts.

After the war the US jailed her for treason. But she was eventually pardoned by Gerald Ford, and honored by American veterans before she died just four years ago. 

Propaganda radio.  Nothing's ever what it seems.   

But we are.


A long shot

For migrants trying to slip over the American border, the way north is violent and dangerous. Especially for women.

Assault and rape have become commonplace. So common in fact, many women prepare for it, by taking contraceptives before they travel. 

In their desperation, they see rape as an acceptable risk, if it means escaping poverty.

Dominique Jarry-Shore brings us their story. It's  a harrowing descent into the harsh reality awaiting migrants on the move.

Dominique's documentary...

Download Flash Player to view this content.


Brown and friendly

With all the worry about nukes and the rants of Mahmoud Ahmedinajad, it's a difficult time to be of Iranian descent in the US.

Not many of them walking around joking about themselves or the Middle East. Which makes the observational comedy of standup comic Maz Jobrani a little different.

He's an Iranian-American who recently took his act on the Arab road with stops that included the Gulf state of Bahrain.

Listen to Maz in Bahrain...

Download Flash Player to view this content.

You may have caught Maz Jobrani's act on Leno or Craig Ferguson. He's also been  in movies and shows such as ER.

He's a lean and bald 38-year-old, with this swooping horseshoe mustache and an equally swooping take on race in America and the Middle East, for that matter.

Maz Jobrani's conversation with Rick, from Culver City, California...

Download Flash Player to view this content.


This program is the work of producers Dawna Dingwall, Alison Masemann and Steve McNally. With technical producers Tim Lorimer and Victor Johnston, Senior producer Alan Guettel and Rick MacInnes-Rae.

  • Commenting has been disabled for this entry.