Shows: August 12, 2013

Photo for 'Wafaa Bilal Explores 'Ashes' of War'
Wafaa Bilal

Korea's "Comfort Women" Remembered in California

The small city of Glendale recently unveiled a memorial to the Korean comfort women of World War II. The term refers to the women whom the Japanese military systematically raped and abused over the course of the war. Up to 200,000 women from various countries may have been subjected to brutal captivity and sexual enslavement. But it was not until the 1990s that their stories started to emerge in public light, through a global campaign led by human rights advocates and by the survivors, who known as the halmoni or grandmothers. The memorial in Glendale is another step in their ongoing struggle for recognition and for reparations from the Japanese government, and yet attracted unexpected opposition from Japanese nationalists. We spoke with Phyllis Kim of the Korean American Forum of California, the group that helped coordinate the project, about the memorial and the political controversy it sparked.

Check out related coverage of this story at CultureStrike.net.

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Wafaa Bilal Explores "Ashes" of War

Iraqi-born artist Wafaa Bilal has always played with ideas of conflict, spinning images of violence and destruction--many of them drawn from his own experience in Iraq--into installation works of extraordinary complexity, moral ambivalence, and wry humor. His provocative installations have framed him as the subject of violence: in one project, he allowed gallery viewers to fire bullets at him for fun, he’s also surgically embedded a 24-hour surveillance camera in his head. His latest photography collection, titled “Ashes,” (featured in the group exhibit "Contained Conflict" in New York) is more subdued, focused on how images of war are invoked in the public imagination through media snapshots of moon-like ravaged landscapes.

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Apple's Rotten Labor Practices

Do you think your iPhone was too expensive? You might be surprised to hear what it costs an average Chinese worker to make that little gadget. Their low-wage labor comes at the expense of their health and safety, as well as their basic social and economic rights. The New York-based group China Labor Watch has just come out with a new report detailing many abuses at the Apple contractor Pegatron. According to the investigation, the exploitation at Pegatron reflects a pattern of systematic exploitation across China’s electronics industry. We speak with Li Qiang, head of China Labor Watch, on the role of contractors like Pegatron in Apple’s state-of-the-art, yet brutally Dickensian, manufacturing system.

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Inside China's Working Class

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We present “From Chinatown to China,” a panel discussion, recorded at the Left Forum, on the challenges Chinese workers have faced in this period of social transformation and hypercapitalist growth. Helena Wong of the advocacy group CAAAV talks with organizer Alex Tom about his research visit to China. And longtime labor activist Ellen David Friedman offers a historical perspective on China’s social evolution and the potential for new political movements to emerge.

Audio for this show, including full clip of the panel discussion, is combined with the preceding segment on labor in China. Please download the segment listed above to hear both segments as a package.

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