Shows: April 14, 2020

Photo for 'Listen to the Entire Show: Pandemics, Racism, War Crimes and Climate Change'
Steven Senne, Associated Press

Listen to the Entire Show: Pandemics, Racism, War Crimes and Climate Change

On this episode of Asia Pacific Forum: Anti-Asian Violence and Discrimination in the Coronavirus Era, International Criminal Court Opens Door to Investigating US War Crimes Charges, MoMA Divest Disrupts Iraq War Art Exhibit, and Confronting the Danger of Environmental Activism in the Philippines with Spirit Questing.

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Anti-Asian Violence and Discrimination in the Coronavirus Era

With the establishment of the United States as the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, millions of Americans are feeling the impact of the crisis. But many in Asian American communities are also facing hatred directed towards those perceived to be responsible because the president and other public figures have played up the fact that the virus emerged in China.

We speak with Professor Russell Jeung, professor of Asian American studies at San Francisco State University about his work monitoring anti-Asian violence and discrimination in the coronavirus era, including the website Stop AAPI Hate where individuals can report hate incidents.

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International Criminal Court Opens Door to Investigating US War Crimes Charges

As the Trump administration scrambles to broker a deal with the Taliban that will allow the US to reduce its military presence in Afghanistan, the International Criminal Court is providing victims of that war one last chance to seek justice. The ICCís Appeals Chamber reversed an earlier decision by the Courtís Pre-Trial Chamber, which had blocked the ICC Prosecutor from initiating a formal investigation into human rights violations and related crimes against humanity. Because the investigation would involve many US officials, the Trump administration, not surprisingly, sought to pressure the ICC and stonewall the investigation. The new ruling from the Appeals Chamber gives a greenlight for the investigation to go forward. Though the US has historically ignored and refused to comply with the ICC, the human rights lawyers involved in the case hope that moving forward with the ICC process will strike a blow against the near total impunity that many US officials have enjoyed up till now.

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MoMA Divest Disrupts Iraq War Art Exhibit

At the Museum of Modern Artís PS1 Space in Queens, a group of activists from the MoMA Divest campaign staged a demonstration at a controversial exhibit featuring artistsí reflections on the Iraq War, titled Theater of Operations: The Gulf Wars 1991-2011. The group delivered the demands of many artists and activists calling for divestment from morally corrupt enterprises such as private prison companies, and the defense contractor Constellis Holdings, formerly named Blackwater, which was heavily involved in the Iraq war. The protesters had intended to tear up the works of one of the artists, Ali Yass, who had asked for his artwork to be destroyed as a statement of protest. In the end, MoMA managed to remove Yassís works before the protesters had a chance to get to them on March 1, but they found a workaround.

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Confronting the Danger of Environmental Activism in the Philippines with Spirit Questing

At the start of the year, the Philippines faced the looming threat of a Taal volcano eruption and was the first country outside of China to experience a death as a result of the coronavirus. And when it comes to making lists, there is no shortage of mentions of the Philippines when it comes to both climate change and the dangers of being an environmental activist. The Global Climate Risk Index ranks the Philippines as the second most affected by climate-related disasters out of 181 countries and Global Witness ranked the Philippines and Brazil as the most murderous country for land and environmental defenders. I spoke to Peachie Dioquino Valera, a Philippines based environmental activist, Futures Learning Advisor for Center for Engaged Foresight, and member of the Spirit Questors. Valera offers a ground-level perspective of the dangers of being a land and environmental defender in the Philippines, the link between environmental justice, corporate greed, illegal mining and logging, and the need for nature elementals rights. We hear about Valeraís unique activism to confront extrajudicial killings in the country through spirit questing.

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This program is brought to you by Olivia Canlas, Michelle Chen and Saurav Sarkar of the APF collective.

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