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February 23 & 26: from Sierra Leone - Senegal - Dharamshala, India - Chicago

From our correspondents around the world...


"Y'en a marre" means "fed up". Students at Cheikh Anta Diop University‚Äč in Dakar say "we want to study." Photo/Amanda Fortier

From the streets of Senegal, the rise of the "Fed Up" movement.  Political unrest flares in another African state.

The story of the solar suitcase.  A doctor with an idea that's bringing light and saving lives in the developing world.

And, a special feature interview with the first American ambassador for war crimes.  We hear about the timidity of nations and the torment of a man who seeks justice for the victims of genocide.


Listen to the program now (left click)

Listen to individual items from the program

Download the podcast (right click: save target as) 

Rick's essay on war reporting and the death of Marie Colvin

The "Fed Up" movement leaders hold a news conference determined to spark Senegalese out of their "defeatism" and to reclaim their government.  Photo/Amanda Fortier

"Spring" wind blows into Senegal

This weekend's election in Senegal isn't passing the smell test with some, and now there's a whiff of Arab Spring in the air.

It's an old story. A president comfortable in power tries engineering more of it.

But that didn't sit well with a small band of disaffected Senegalese young people, and it's morphed into a movement, spilling into the streets of this small African country.

It's a call out a president reneging on his promise to resign.

And we found Canadian journalist Amanda Fortier in with the ringleaders.

hear Amanda's dispatch



Solar panels, lights, and battery chargers.  All that's needed to give doctors and patients a chance when the power goes out.  Photo/We Care Solar

A box full of light, and life

They were in the middle of surgery again when the power went out in the Nigerian operating room.

Luckily, a visiting American doctor had a flashlight.

But Laura Stachel figured there had to be a way around the recurring problem.

And with husband Hal Aronson, a solar energy educator in California, they came up with something called the Solar Suitcase.

She joined us while unpacking one in a maternity clinic in another part of Africa to explain how it's providing lifesaving light.

 join Laura in the examining room

Dr. Laura Stachel at work with her Solar Suitcase in Sierra Leone. She's co-founder of WE CARE Solar, creating technology to benefit maternal health in the developing world.

Thanks to Lisa Russell for helping us record that interview with Laura Stachel in Sierra Leone. 


Photo/Princeton University Press

War crimes warrior: successes and failures

In the world of war crimes, it's good to be King.

Monarchs and other heads of state have long enjoyed impunity from prosecution for some of the worst atrocities in history, and to some degree, still do.

But if that impunity comes crashing down someday, American diplomat David Scheffer will take some solace from it.

He spent several years in the Clinton Administration, helping create the International Criminal Court and the war crimes tribunals for Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Sierra Leone and Cambodia.

No easy task he says, when sometimes your own country is working against you.

Scheffer went on to be named the first American Ambassador-at-large for war crimes issues. But despite his successes, he has a guilt-filled recall of his failures, and a corrosive scorn for the "unbearable timidity" of some of those he dealt with.

Prof. David Scheffer Photo/Princeton University Press

They're laid out like casualties in his candid new book, All The Missing Souls.

 David Scheffer in conversation with Rick

Professor David Scheffer is director of the Centre for International Human Rights at Northwestern University School of Law.  

In an excerpt from his book, Scheffer explains that even once tribunals were set up to try indicted war criminals, apprehending them was difficult. 

hear an excerpt

On next week's show...

The alarming rise in suicide by fire by Tibetan clerics and other activists.

The Dalai Lama says it goes against Buddhist teachings, but many of his followers disagree.

listen to a clip from next week's documentary

Letters about last week's show

Jennifer Wade of Vancouver had a strory of her own to relate to Jennifer Westaway's report from California on special courts in the U.S. for PTDS veterans who commit crimes on the February 16th Dispatches program 

I wonder if we dream to think people can ever come back from the brutality of war and  be "normal" again? My father, a Canadian, was a psychiatrist with the Indian Medical Service during World War II, and as such, ran a convalescent home in Naini Tal, India, for the soldiers coming and going from the Burma Front.

Often he would say that what returns from the war to a nation makes for the real tragedy.
His hope was just to give the returning soldiers some purpose, perhaps some new purpose since many of them had come to see life as cruel, meaningless, and pointless. But he never once even pretended they could be the same men who left for war.

I often think about his observations as our soldiers now return from Afghanistan, a tragic war that in my opinion, never should have been. 

William Burr writes:

    Hi Rick,

Just heard Jennifer Westaway's documentary on the veterans' court in the U.S. Loved it - stayed in the car in my driveway to listen instead of going into the house. Thanks so much to you and her for bringing it to me.



Lois Seigel of Pembroke, Ontario heard Rick's comments on dissident poet Zhu Yufu in the February 16 Dispatches program.  He's been imprisoned for evoking the Tiananmen Square massacre in his call for an Arab Spring-type movement in China.

Hi, Rick: 

I have just listened to a portion of your Dispatches program today, and you made reference to the uprising in Tiananmen Square in 1989.  I am currently reading a book which was written by one of the ring-leaders of that uprising.  Her name is Chai Ling and the title of her book is "A Heart for Freedom", published by Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. in 2011.  I would recommend this book to you. 

It tells her story of that uprising, her daring escape to America and her current quest, which is to free the girls of China.  I am finding it quite an interesting account, even though it happened over 20 years ago. I was lying in bed that Sunday morning, when I heard that the tanks had entered the square.  My heart was broken for those people who wanted freedom so badly.  I prayed that they would succeed, but that did not happen.

My husband and sons were at a fishing lodge, so I was alone.  I grieved for those Chinese people all day! and then some.  Some of her colleagues are exceptionally brilliant people, and some of them have worked for Mitt Romney and Warren Buffett.  She started her own corporation  -  but I won't give away her story.  I hope you enjoy the read! 


Rob Wells of Edmonton heard Alexa Dvorson's February 16th Dispatches piece about a German group fighting to change streetnames that honour people associated with the atrocities of Germany's colonial past in Africa.

I just listened to your program about the movement to change the names of German streets named after perpetrators of crimes against humanity.
I can only conclude that the Canadian media including the CBC is disingenuous in the way it is quick to expose human rights violations in other countries, yet is willfully blind to the crimes against humanity committed in our own country. Wouldn't it improve your credibility if you also reported on how Dr. Margaret Thompson, as a member of Alberta's Eugenics Board, directed the castrations of infiertile Down's syndrome boys for her genetics research (a fact verified in the Leilani Muir case) and yet Dr. Thompson is honoured with the Order of Canada?  

Wouldn't it also demonstrate journalistic integrety to report to Canadians how the Governor General refuses to strip Dr. Thompson of her Order of Canada in spite of her involvement in these atrocities?   How does the CBC feel about the Edmonton Cancer hospital being named after the Social Credit Health Minister who pressured the Eugenics Board to approve more sterilizations?
I vote for stripping Dr. Thompson of her Order of Canada, and stripping the name "Cross" from the Cross Cancer Institute in Alberta.

Thank you 
p.s.    I've attached a copy of my petition to the Governor General requesting that Dr. Thompson be stripped of her Order of Canada.  My petition was denied. 


David Shenfield of London, UK also commented:

Those campaigners removing the streets named after imperial are burying Germany's shameful past. While the name of a mass murderer is apparently honoured his crimes can be named. Your article showed that Hitler was not the first German leader to use genocide for political ends. 

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

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