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December 16 & 19: from Haiti - Moscow - Cambodia - South Africa

Haitian crowds surge along Champs de Mars Blvd. near the presidential palace. Photo/David Gutnick CBC

Moonshine, machetes and mayhem: Our correspondent's end notes from the crisis in Haiti.

Moscow vs. the mosque: a religious dispute mirrors new tensions between Russia and its Muslims.

Exporting children: why Cambodians are keen to put their kids to work in another country. 

Xenophobia South Africa: The director of a new film about moral choices and mob violence against foreigners.


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Haitian preacher calls for prayers to end the spread of cholera and post-election chaos. Photo/David Gutnick CBC

Haiti: Violence in the time of cholera    

As they say in Haiti, "Lanne pase toujou pi bon." 

Past years are always better.

But it's unlikely they'll say it about this one. A political disaster in the form of a botched election has spread itself over natural disasters of earthquake and cholera.

And the end game's nowhere in sight for any of it.

For her reflections on this ongoing story I'm joined by the CBC's Connie Watson, as she ends a third tour of Haiti in 2010.

Listen to Rick's chat with Connie now


Some soccer fans in Moscow chant "Russia for Russians" after clashes with the city's growing population of Muslims from Russia's North Caucasus. Photo/Misha Japaridze/Associated Press

Trying to put the mosque in Moscow

Here's a strory about people looking to build a place to pray.

Though it's not quite that simple when the place is Moscow, and the people are Muslims.

And not because of 9/11 or the emotions evoked by the proposed mosque near Ground Zero in New York.

Russia has its own long, uneasy history with Islam, and it's now starting a new chapter as we hear from Karen Percy at an overcrowded mosque where the faithful spill into the snow. 

Listen to Karen's dispatch


Tay Champei, 21, was severely abused by her employer in Malaysia and had to return to her home province of Preah Vihear in Cambodia. Photo/Brian Calvert

Cambodia's human exports

Malaysia needs maids, apparently. And Cambodians need cash. Opportunity knocks.

So Cambodia's encouraging people to head south and work as domestics. Especially girls.

In practice though, it gets a little unsavoury. It's created an industry of aggressive recruiters and false documents.

In one rural community which has sent a lot of girls away, the guy who hooks them up is headquartered at the local whorehouse.

Some do prosper in Malaysia. But others return home to Cambodia, damaged.

Dispatches contributor Brian Calvert is in the north looking at the reasons for it.

Listen to Brian's documentary now



Yamkela, one of the young people featured in Where do I Stand?, does homework with her mother. Photo: Where Do I Stand/Molly Blank

South Africa: Why hate thy neighbour?

During apartheid, it was a struggle to be black in South Africa.

All the more remarkable then, when in 2008, the oppressed became the oppressor.

Fear of foreigners prompted black-on-black violence targetting exiles from countries like Rwanda, Somalia, Zimbabwe and the Congo.

Black South Africans, burned them out.

When it was over, 62 lay dead in the ashes of xenophobia. Over a hundred-thousand had to flee their homes.

American filmmaker Molly Blank wondered how that felt. And why some had joined the two-month rampage while others hadn't. And how they made that choice.

So she turned her camera on seven impressionable teens caught in the middle of it, and asked them to tell their stories.

Here's an excerpt

Voices from the new documentary entitled Where Do I Stand about the black-on-black violence against immigrants in South Africa two years ago.

Listen to the film's director Molly Blank now

Blank, by the way, was a teacher before getting into journalism. And she makes her film and a resource kit available to teachers who might want to use it in a school civics class.


Island of Shame Photo/Princeton Press

"Leaks" spring on Island of Shame

When Britain announced a marine park on its colony in the Indian Ocean earlier this year, it was touted as "a victory for ocean conservation."

But Wikileaks documents suggest the real purpose is to prevent indigenous people from returning to their former homes in the Chagos Archipelago, the site of a huge American miltary base on the island of Diego Garcia.

American author David Vine documented the story in his recent book, Island of Shame and came on Dispatches last year to reveal the scheme that expelled two-thousand islanders into poverty in distant countries.

Listen to an excerpt from the Vine interview

Vine notes that while Britain and the U.S. have publicly distanced themselves from their own government's abuses there in the 60s, the Wikileaks reveal that behind-the-scenes, little has actually changed.

It's unclear how the latest revelations will affect the islanders in the event they win a pending court case that seeks the right to return. David Vine David will be back on the program in the New Year to elaborate.


Larry Joe walked out of prison December 13th. His album Crazy Life was released on the same day. Photo/QCT Music

Songs of redemption?

Larry Joe got out of jail this week. And no, you aren't supposed to know who he is, though you may someday.

He just did almost three years for burglary in South Africa, and in the course of it, caught one of those once-in-a-lifetime breaks.

Aron Turest-Swartz, co-founder of the pop group Freshlyground, heard Joe sing. He dropped what he was doing -- and turned Joe's jail cell into a recording studio.

Now that he's out, so's his album.

How it all happened -- and what he does with this opportunity -- is a story we'll bring you in the New Year.

But we can't resist giving you this sample now

The story of Larry Joe, coming up in a future edition of Dispatches.



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

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