North Korea's Nuclear Test: The History Behind the Story
On Memorial Day one week ago, North Korea detonated a nuclear device, setting off alarm bells in Washington and in Seoul. The U.S. and South Korean governments have raised their military alert levels since the nuclear test and subsequent firing of short-range missiles, and yesterday U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates turned up in an underground silo in Alaska to demonstrate American readiness in case of an attack by North Korea. But do the North Koreans want war? Has Obama changed course from Bush? We talk to a progressive analyst of the Korean conflict to find out the history behind this latest tense moment.
PAUL LIEM is the president of the Korea Policy Institute, a research and educational institute connected to a national network of Korean American community organizations and social justice groups in Korea. He has been active on Korean peninsular issues for four decades and has visited North Korea in three different decades.
The Secret History of Diego Garcia
Forty years ago, the US and British governments forcibly expelled between 1,500 and 2,000 indigenous residents of Diego Garcia, an island in the Chagos Archipelago in the Indian Ocean, to make way for a US military base. It has since been the launching pad for military actions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and may house a secret CIA prison. It sports a nine-hole golf course, burger joints, and internet cafes which cater to those who staff the base. Meanwhile, most Chagossians live in poverty 1,200 miles away, barred from returning to their homeland. We’ll speak with scholar David Vine, whose new book on Diego Garcia combines interviews with former island residents and military officials with declassified government documents to tell the secret history of this form of empire.
DAVID VINE is assistant professor of anthropology at American University. His work focuses on issues including forced displacement, U.S. foreign and military policy, military bases, and human rights. His writing has appeared in numerous publications, including The New York Times, Mother Jones online, Foreign Policy in Focus, and the Chronicle of Higher Education. Committed to using academic work to help solve major public problems, he has also conducted research on gentrification in Brooklyn, NY, environmental refugees, and summer league basketball in Washington, DC. Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia is published by Princeton University Press. More here.
"Pei Natal" by Charlesia Alexis
Tiananmen, 20 Years Later
This week marks the 20th anniversary of the government crackdown on protesters in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. On June 4, 1989, Chinese troops opened fire on tens of thousands of unarmed students who had been camped out there to call for democratic reforms and an end to government corruption. Tomorrow evening at the Asia Society in New York, Tiananmen Mothers and Human Rights in China will screen a film called “Portraits of Loss and the Quest for Justice.” It features the stories of eight victims of the Tiananmen massacre, some of whom survived and some of whom died during the protests. We will be joined by Sharon Hom, Executive Director of Human Rights in China, to discuss the film, the events it commemorates, and the twenty years of government silence that have followed. Click here
to learn more.
SHARON HOM is executive director of Human Rights in China and a professor of law emerita at CUNY School of Law, where she taught for eighteen years. She has testified on a variety of human rights issues before key US and international policymakers, including the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Relations and the European Parliament. She has published extensively on Chinese legal reforms, trade, technology, and international human rights, including a chapter in China’s Great Leap: The Beijing Games and Olympian Human Rights Challenges (Seven Stories), edited by Minky Worden. And she edited, with Stacy Mosher, Challenging China: Struggle and Hope in an Era of Change (The New Press).
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