Your Dispatches: February 2012 Archives

Bookmark and Share

US criminal court for PTSD veterans

Jennifer Wade of Vancouver had a story 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.


Your comments?

Bookmark and Share

From our tribute to a jailed poet in China

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! 

  Your comments?

Bookmark and Share

Germany changes streetnames of colonial past

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. 

Your comments?

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.


Thank you

Bookmark and Share

Tibet confrontation overlooked by media?

Susan Clark of Victoria, B.C. comments on something she hasn't heard on Dispatches:


Hello, Rick,

I just heard your CBC RadioOne ad which was headlined "Syria is a nation in agony."

I would like to add, emphatically -- as it seems that the media in Canada and the US, including the CBC is unwilling to acknowledge or heed it -- TIBET is a nation in agony.

Nineteen people -- a lama, monks, nuns, and lay people, too -- have self-immolated; eleven are known to have died of their burns. The whereabouts of some is unknown. The Chinese army is reported to have shot dead unarmed protesters recently.

I am a great fan of Dispatches, and have learned a great deal from it. I wonder whether the show, which likes to speak truth in uncomfortable places, would consider a program about the virtual media silence on the situation in Tibet. 

Of course, we all suspect that fear of displeasing Chinese leadership is a part of it. But perhaps China should become accustomed to being treated as other nations are as they move further into the world of international trade?

You've reported on Iran-Contra and you "excel under perilous conditions" according to your bio. Please consider taking on this dark place in international affairs, this media complicity, into some light. As it stands, it seems Tibet must suffer -- no matter the size of the public support (I was at a vigil last night in here in Victoria; I can't tell you how many passing drivers -- and even bicyclists -- honk when they see the HONK FOR A FREE TIBET. You have wonderful articulate spokespeople to call on: Lhadon Tethong, born in Victoria, BC for one (leader of Students for a Free Tibet, probably living in Quebec City -- I don't know). George Stroumboulopoulos interviewed her on the Hour; and she's been on the Current (many years ago). But probably someone less associated with the movement would be interesting, too? This is just media censorship.

We rage and rave about "media blackouts" in Syria and other countries. But the one in Tibet seems to have been effective; there is silence from those who know (lots of footage and information is coming out) and who live in free societies and could speak.

good wishes

ps: I see in a search that CBC TV news had a clip on February 3rd. I am not a CBC TV viewer (don't have a television and rarely watch on line). I don't remember I've heard anything on the CBC Radio in the last months, even years.  And next to the *hourly* updates on the situation in Syria, one guarded mention every six months on the television seems paltry.

From the Dispatches desk.  In the March 1 Dipatches program, we plan to run a piece from India about the debate among Tibetan Bhuddists in exile about whether the faith sanctifies self-immolation, and look at the new outlook among younger exiles. 

Your comments?

Bookmark and Share

Colombia's "no-name dead"

The February 2 edition of Dispatches featured Nadja Drost's moving piece about Puerto Berrio, a river village where many dead from Colombia's civil war wash ashore. Cheryl Sutherland of Ottawa responded:


I am a long-time listener of your excellent and wide-ranging program.

Every week you feature attention-worthy stories. Tonight's on the remarkable kindness and respect shown by villagers who bury and name the corpses that float by in the river was poignant, even transcendent.  For these villagers to offer decent burials and to care so devoutly for the graves of the unknown victims of violence is incredibly humane and kind. And in praying for the dead and also praying to them as intersessors, the villagers transform the horror of the deaths and casual disposal of their bodies into a caring, deeply spiritual response and recognition of the worth of human beings. I am deeply touched.

Thank you!

Dianne Hurdle had a similar experience:

At first listen, I found this story to be somewhat macabre. I remained incredulous. However, as I listened further, it made a lot of sense that these individuals invested so much into reclaiming lost souls and I saw it for what it is. An act of Humanity. Hurrah for the story.

Hear Nadja's documentary

email your comment