I hear with my little ear: Podcasts 1-7 April 2019

256px-Kibera_slum_Nairobi_Kenya_01BBC Documentary Podcast. When my son was living in Nairobi, just a few blocks away was Kibera, a huge urban slum, completely self-contained with its own internal economy but no water, drainage and intermittent electricity. This documentary The Slumlords of Nairobi looks at the failure of policy and governance that makes this an almost intractable problem.

chaninSaturday Extra In this short episode, The Story of Australia House, Geraldine Doogue interviews Eileen Chanin, the author of Capital Designs: Australia House and Visions of an Imperial London. She talks about the way that the newly-federated Australia felt that it needed a presence in London to reassure investors after the 1890s Depression and the act of Federation itself. Meanwhile, London itself was repositioning itself as one of Europe’s great cities, and the presence of grand houses on the Strand was part of London’s own image-making.  I’ve been to Australia House- we went there to vote for Kevin 07 more than ten years ago.

This week it is the 25th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide. Geraldine Doogue spoke with former US ambassador at large for war crimes issues Stephen Rapp, who organized the prosecutions after the genocide, most particularly the Media Trial of the radio stations that contributed to the slaughter. And in her interview with Arthur Asiimwe, the Director General of the Rwanda Broadcasting Agency, she discusses with him how radio, in particular, can contribute to the 25th anniversary reflections. (If you’re interested in seeing my impressions of Rwanda, I wrote about it in my travel blog)

caliphateCaliphate. With governments around the world faced with the dilemma of what to do with the women and children of ISIS fighters in Syrian refugee camps, it seemed a good time to finish listening to the Caliphate podcasts that I’d started listening to months ago. I took up again at Chapter Seven where they talk about the fall of Mosul – quite a strange experience to listen to this while travelling on a train into the city, trying to imagine Melbourne reduced to an unrecognizable rubble. Chapter 9 was confronting, where they interviewed Yazidi girls taken as sex slaves. Then Chapter 10 where they return to a Canadian ISIS recruit who has returned back to Canada, albeit under surveillance, but seems just as radical as he had been when he went to join ISIS a few years earlier. Makes a blithe “Bring the women and children home” rather problematic, I think, given that these Australian women consciously chose to go there. Anyway- if you’re going to listen to this series, now is probably a good time.

Duolingo. Are the Duolingo podcasts getting easier or is my Spanish getting better? I listened to Antártida (Antartica), but it wasn’t very interesting. La nana (The Nanny) was about a Chilean journalist who dreamed of living in Paris and working as a journalist. But when she got there, she realized that rental prices were so high that the only way that she could live in central Paris was to work as a nanny. And so, she joined the numbers of international nannies who work in Paris, poorly-paid and often exploited, but very committed to the children in their care. Made me think of the film Roma, in a different context.

Espanolistos.  As readers of my other travel blog The Land of Increasing Sunshine will know, I went to Colombia for a week in February with Andrea and Nate from Spanishlandschool, where I did a (very!) intensive online course last year. Espanolistos is a fairly low-tech podcast where they just talk for about half an hour. It’s all in Spanish from start to finish, at intermediate level, and you can download a transcript (after episode 20)  if you get lost. I started with their Introductory Episode, then listened to Episode 1 ‘ Differences Between Colombia and the United States‘ . Andrea is from Colombia (hence the focus on Colombia in the podcasts) and her husband Nate is from Texas USA, and it’s reassuring to hear fluent but still not-perfect Spanish.

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