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Keton Kakkar, a current senior at Swarthmore, interviews his parents who emigrated from Afghanistan almost 40 years ago. Part of the Hindu minority in Afghanistan, they fled persecution and a new upheaval: the Soviet invasion of 1979. In this episode, Keton explores themes of changing landscapes, religious identity, emigration, and relocation.

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As part of a project connecting to Professor of Political Science Emily Paddon-Rhoads’ class on the Politics of Sub-Saharan Africa, several Swatties examine the role of music in Ugandan politics. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has been in power for three decades and has pushed the presidential age limit. In this troubling context, musicians take varying degrees of political engagement but are all restricted in their methods of expression by the government. How have artists responded? Some completely avoid politics; some see artistic expression as a mode of social activism. A number of musicians sang for Museveni’s campaign. Others ran for office to create change from within the system. Ugandan pop music reflects the disturbing trends of Ugandan politics. This week on War News Radio, our reporters Ozsu Risvanoglu, Lea Slaugh, and Sally Wang, with the help of Lisa Kato and Seimi Park, will take you on a journey with the music of parliamentary musician Bobi Wine (also known as “The King of Ghetto”), top musician Eddy Kenzo, and human rights activist/musician Bana Mutibwa.

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An alleyway in Sana'a

An alleyway in Sana’a

This week on War News Radio, we’re taking a look at the conflict in Yemen as it stands today, a topic that has fallen out of the focus of mainstream media sources. In 2015, we reported at length about the escalating tensions and later violence between the Houthis, a Shi’ite rebel group, and the Yemeni president, Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi. As the Houthis, backed by former president Ali Abdullah Saleh began to take over large parts of Yemen, a multi-nation coalition led by Saudi Arabia began airstrikes in support of Mansour Hadi. Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a jihadist group with a strong presence in Yemen, also added to the conflict. Houthi takeover of large portions of the country forced President Mansour Hadi’s government into exile but returned in September of last year after retaking several key areas. The violence displaced many Yemeni citizens from their homes and resulted in over 8,119 casualties in 2015, according to the United Nations.

Today, the conflict continues much the same as it did last year. The Saudi-backed coalition began an aggressive airstrike campaign in March of last year, and despite peace talks that began at the end of 2015, the campaign has continued. The United Nations denounced the airstrike campaign, and the United States has been criticised for providing bombs and other weaponry to the coalition. On February 14, human rights organizations reported the use of U.S. made cluster munitions, a type of bomb that is banned by international treaty. The European Parliament passed a non-legally binding motion to place an arms embargo on Saudi Arabia on February 26 in response to a petition signed by citizens across Europe.

Despite the Saudi airstrike campaign, much of the fighting takes place on the ground as well. The city of Taiz has made headlines as the center of a siege by the Houthi rebels. The fighting in and around the city has made humanitarian aid access difficult and many citizens are suffering famine-like conditions. Furthermore, the Islamic State recently claimed responsibility for a suicide bombing near the presidential palace in the port city of Aden. Amid updates about the heavy violence are reports and stories from Yemeni citizens and humanitarian aid workers. Individuals displaced by the conflict are often victims of bombs released by Saudi Arabian forces, and doctors are overtaxed by the amount of people seeking treatment. However, humanitarian aid groups continue to send resources and volunteers to alleviate the crisis’s impact on Yemeni citizens.

This piece was written by Amber Sheth and Eriko Shrestha

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Image by El Faro

This week on War News Radio, we hear from El Wanaco, a young Salvadoran rapper, and mine music for new ways to understand El Salvador’s history of violence, outside influence, resistance, and survival. Take a listen.

Y aquí, la versión en español:

This is the third and last piece in our series of interviews with Central American migrants, all of which are available on our website in English and Spanish.

#1: By Force/A la fuerza
#2: Too Close/Cerquita

BONUS: Featured tracks
Gracias madresita – El Wanaco
Inmigrante – El Wanaco
El Emigrante – Los Tigres del Norte
Prepárame la cena – Calle 13
Que vayas con dios – Big Boy
There is Something in my Heart – Ghetto Brothers
Don´t Believe the Hype – Public Enemy
Fuck tha Police – N.W.A.
Instrumental con guitarra – Marvin Palacios
Mix Mega Loco – DJ Emerson, El Mago Melódico, System Music
5 de julio – Sin Rivales
Milonga del fusilado – Yolocamba Ita
Cielo gris – Pescozada
Cuánto cuesta – Reyes del Bajo Mundo
Reflexión – Gangster Fury

(No copyright infringement was intended!)

Photos for this post by El Wanaco and El Faro.

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Aquí lanzamos la segunda crónica de nuestra serie sobre la crisis migratoria en México. Esta semana, les presentamos el testimonio de Alex, un migrante hondureño que creció en Canadá. Hace ocho años fue deportado, y las consecuencias de su exilio han sido muy graves.

Más enlaces:
La primera crónica, “A la fuerza”
La tercera, “Rap salvadoreño: una manera de escuchar la historia”


This week on War News Radio, we bring you two stories from different sides of the globe. First, we check the progress of the protest movement in Hong Kong, which began last year in response to proposed changes to the electoral system. Next, “Too Close”, the story of Alex, a Honduran man who was raised in Canada, but deported, and survived kidnapping and torture this summer while attempting to return. Take a listen.

Alex’s is the second in a series of interviews we’re producing with Central American migrants crossing Mexico. You can listen to the first, “By Force,” on our website in English and Spanish. We’ve also produced a Spanish version of this story.

More stories from our series on Central American migrants:
#1: By Force/A la fuerza
#3: WNR Mixtape: Rap in El Salvador/Rap salvadoreño: una manera de escuchar la historia

Note: We believe we have resolved the technical difficulties that led to the lateness of this post. Our apologies for the delay.