WBEZ | Opinion http://www.wbez.org/tags/opinion Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en The Nation: All homework and no play http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-07-12/nation-all-homework-and-no-play-89020 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-July/2011-07-12/homework.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Britney Wilson is a writer, best-known for her poetry which was featured on the HBO series </em>Russell Simmons Presents: Brave New Voices<em>. She is currently pursuing her B.A. in English at Howard University. </em></p><p>In an era when many schoolchildren are "waiting for superman" to save them from the inadequacies of the education system, some people seem to think that students are working too hard.</p><p><em>The New York Times</em> recently wrote an article detailing one New Jersey school district's impending decision to join several other schools across the country in reducing the amount of homework assigned to students. The article suggests ten minutes of homework per night beginning with first graders and increasing at ten minute increments for each successive grade level, with no homework on weekends, school holidays, or extended breaks.</p><p>The argument is that young students are being overworked and overwhelmed at the expense of their social development and the carefree lifestyle that is supposed to be associated with childhood. Some educational experts also believe that too much homework can hinder, rather than help, students' learning experiences. According to the research cited on <a href="http://www.stophomework.com/">www.stophomework.com</a>, a website created by Sara Bennett who co-wrote the book <em>The Case Against Homework: How Homework is Hurting Our Children and What We Can Do About It</em>, in countries like Greece and Thailand students are assigned a lot of homework and perform worse on "achievement tests" in comparison to places like Japan and Denmark where students receive little homework and perform better on these tests.</p><p>Studies also show that students are more sedentary, getting less sleep, and reporting more experiences of anxiety than schoolchildren in the past. All of these occurrences are being at least partially attributed to increased amounts of homework.</p><p>But there's another side. While homework can sometimes be mechanical, excessive, and lack an obvious objective, one cannot deny some benefits. How many people would have learned their multiplication tables without at least some rote memorization or done those math worksheets they hated so much if they weren't required?</p><p>As a child, whenever I complained about my homework, my mother always said that she had her job and that school was mine. Stressed or not, it is the only real responsibility many children have.</p><p>Maybe students shouldn't have to spend their entire evening on these tasks, but how much can they really accomplish in ten minutes? No student wants to spend his or her entire winter break doing homework, but how much information will be retained if no work has been done in the interim?</p><p>Some students don't do the three hours of homework they are assigned, so what portion of their reduced assignments will they do? Also, just because students are doing less homework doesn't mean that they are sleeping more or being more physically active. Would we prefer students spend hours playing <em>Call of Duty</em> or reading <em>Call of the Wild</em>?</p><p>Homework time cannot be streamlined any more than student performance can. Rather than focusing on time quantity, education officials should focus on the quality of homework assignments in order to ensure that students are practicing skills that address their individual needs in the most beneficial manner possible, no matter how long it takes. </p> Tue, 12 Jul 2011 09:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-07-12/nation-all-homework-and-no-play-89020 Foreign Policy: Can Obama Save The Arab Spring? http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-19/foreign-policy-can-obama-save-arab-spring-86764 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-19/protest.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Nathan Brown is a professor of political science and international affairs at George Washington University and noresident senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.</em></p><p>The stunningly quick fall of Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia and Hosni Mubarak in Egypt had many observers in the West reaching for familiar historical analogies of momentous upheaval: the fall of the Berlin Wall or the revolutions of 1848. Those living in the Arab world likewise had their own set of analogies to add to the mix, from the Egyptian nationalist uprising of 1919 to the set of upheavals in the decade after the 1948 war that toppled a feckless republic in Syria and ineffectual monarchies in Egypt and Iraq — and threatened the remaining Arab regimes.</p><p>But some five months after demonstrations began in Tunisia, those comparisons all seem overblown. Generals are running Egypt, Libya has descended into civil war, and dictators have fended off challenges in Syria and Yemen. Some regimes, such as Bahrain, anxious to cling to power, have chosen to manipulate their countries' ethnic and sectarian divisions. And many old problems, such as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, seem to be reasserting themselves and may be even further away from being solved.</p><p>U.S. President Barack Obama's speech today, will be an apt occasion to address the ambiguity of the new regional status quo. Far from celebrating a historic revolution, we should now be asking whether anything has changed at all — and if it has, has it been changed for the better?</p><p>Yes, there is significant change. My heart tells me that it is likely to be for the good in the long term; but my head tells me that it is far too soon to tell. There is reason for both great optimism and tremendous fear. And there is also room for confusion — the upheavals in the Arab world are taking shape in starkly different ways in the various countries of the region. Still, certain things are clear.</p><p>Most importantly, perhaps, the deep gap between rulers and ruled in the Arab world is now undeniable. Or, to put it more precisely — because nobody but the delusional or sycophantic denied that chasm — it is now unavoidable. It was no secret that most existing regimes were cruel and corrupt. But now the people of the region feel compelled to confront these injustices, in hopes that their political life can be different. Arabs have long articulated various grievances — economic, social, cultural, and international — but now they are increasingly zeroing in on fundamental political reform as the way to begin solving all these problems.</p><p>Better politics won't cure everything, but nothing will get better until the societies of the region get their politics right — so seems to be the prevailing ethos. If citizens lack jobs, if they are beaten by the police, if their rulers are corrupt, and if the existing international order only serves the will of powerful states, then part of the solution starts with a better political system at home — one that is structured to make authorities accountable to the people and avoid the concentration of power in the hands of permanent rulers. Political reform will not solve any of these problems by itself, but it is seen as a necessary first step.</p><p>The resulting struggle looks at first glance to be completely domestic, and in the short run that is where the attention will be. But part of the discontent with existing regimes is their international impotence and even complicity in an order widely perceived to be unresponsive to the rights of the weak. The Arab upheavals are less about ignoring world problems than about postponing them until political reform produces systems capable of addressing them. The new politics will therefore not replace the old politics, but only make them more complicated.</p><p>And that means that international actors will also need to confront the Arab world's gap between rulers and ruled. Western officials have long admitted in private (as the diplomatic cables revealed by WikiLeaks made abundantly clear) that the Arab regimes were often venal and repressive. But many of those same regimes seemed indispensable, so their flaws were ignored. That era has completely passed; the era in which Western decision-makers could view Arab societies primarily through the eyes of Arab rulers is over.</p><p>But if Arab states have failed their societies, they have done so in a variety of ways — and the societies they have failed also differ among themselves. That helps explain why the upheavals have played out so differently in different countries. Egypt and Tunisia, with relatively cohesive societies and very strong institutions, march one way; deeply divided societies with weak institutions, such as Yemen and Libya, tumble along another. In Jordan, deep cleavages have made all actors pull their punches; in Bahrain and Syria, the regimes have cynically played the sectarian card to their own advantage. And there have been great differences in the efficacy of the various official responses to protests: clumsiness from Egypt and Tunisia, thuggishness from Libya, Syria, and Bahrain. The surprise here may be the tired Palestinian leadership: Formerly divided between the West Bank and Gaza, Fatah and Hamas managed to stay one step ahead of popular pressure by kissing and making up.</p><p>Historical analogies with Europe in 1848 or the Arab world in 1948, while often facile, do point us in a helpful direction. A regional upheaval can play itself out in many different ways. What appears an unstoppable historical force in one country can be a mere disturbance in another; what is deeply entrenched on one day can disappear the next. But underneath the uncertainty and diversity, four regional trends can already be discerned.</p><p>First, an Arab public sphere has emerged based on a rich blend of new (Internet-based) and old (printing press) technologies. And that public sphere has discovered a strong political voice. The various fora have their quirks, biases, and bars to entry, and none completely escapes official monitoring and control. Al Jazeera presents one view of regional change — but it also shows some loyalty to its Qatari patron. The Egyptian print media are feisty and free — but lay off the military. Such silences and gaps are real, but the cacophony of the current day contrasts starkly with the monotonous and turgid public discourse of a generation ago.</p><p>Second, politics crosses borders even when it seems to be domestic in focus. When Americans watched Egyptians gather in Tahrir Square earlier this year, it marked the first time in decades that an Arab crowd inspired more sympathy than fear in the United States. But audiences across the Arab world felt more than sympathy — they felt a very strong sense of identification. The newly political public sphere is more genuinely pan-Arab than the Potemkin Arab unity schemes of the 1960s.</p><p>Third, it is not only feelings that cross borders. Repertoires of action (such as gathering in the public square), slogans ("The people want the fall of the regime!"), and techniques (focusing on a unifying, non-ideological demand) travel as well. Arab publics are learning from each other and developing their new political vocabulary together. And conversations with activists reveal<strong> </strong>that the seepage of ideas and practices takes place not merely by osmosis but also by active transport. Leaders of newly emerging groups in various countries are working to create diffuse networks. The way that Arab publics have learned to speak, feel, and act differently than in the past has been exhilarating, but also destabilizing and disorienting. And it might yet prove to be futile.</p><p>But we come then to the fourth and final change — one that is clear even in the midst of upheaval: Change itself now has a standing place on the agenda. Prior to 2011, it was never quite clear what an Arab ruler would have to do to lose his job. Launching a catastrophic war, presiding over economic decay, bilking the public coffers — none of these things was cause for dismissal. Despite an unearned reputation for political instability, the Arab world contained political systems that seemed impervious to change. That is no longer the case. Many rulers may survive the current upheavals, but all will be shaken and even the survivors will have to recast their rule in some way (for better or worse).</p><p>In short, if the past five months can be said to have achieved anything, it's that the term "former ruler" is no longer an oxymoron in the Arab world. When the U.S. president speaks, he will have to be concerned not only by how his words play to regional leaders, but also by how they will be heard by Arab societies. Copyright 2011 Foreign Policy. </p> Thu, 19 May 2011 06:41:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-19/foreign-policy-can-obama-save-arab-spring-86764 West Bengal: Can Trinamool Party Oust Communists? http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-10/west-bengal-can-trinamool-party-oust-communists-86360 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-10/trinamoolladies.jpg" alt="" /><p><p><em>Commentator Sandip Roy grew up in Calcutta. He moved back there earlier this year after living in the U.S. for 2 decades.</em></p><p><em>Five states in India have chosen who will run their governments. The election results will be announced on May 13. One election has drawn particular attention inside and outside of India. In West Bengal, the Communist party has ruled for over three decades, the only state in India where it's been in power that long. And this time, there's a serious challenger. Calcutta is the capital of West Bengal. Commentator Sandip Roy says the city is crackling with excitement.</em></p><p>It's a hot, muggy day. I'm in the middle of a streetside rally in Calcutta, and I can hear Mamata Banerjee saying the eyes of the whole world are on West Bengal.</p><p>Mamata is India's railway minister but she wants to be chief minister, the elected head of West Bengal's government. This middle-aged woman in a white sari and bathroom slippers just might topple the ruling Communist Party.</p><p>Mamata doesn't promise anything radical – more industry, investment, clean government. She's really about change. In Calcutta, usually nothing much changes. It was once the capital of British India, but these days it's the city that time (and India) forgot. Trams still trundle down the congested streets lined with quietly moldering mansions.</p><p>But this election has everyone abuzz. Historian Bharati Ray says that "to oust a government after 35 years of rule, a Communist government — particularly after what happened in Russia and what is happening in Cuba — is of international interest."</p><p><strong> </strong></p><p>Over those 35 years, elections don't <em>seem </em>to have changed much, though the voting machines are now electronic. There's brightly colored election grafitti all over the walls. Posters still flutter from the backs of rickshaws. The Communist party faithful marches down the streets shouting "<em>long live the revolution</em>."</p><p>But both campaigns have tiptoed across new frontiers. Mamata's Trinamool Congress party got into social media, inspired by the Obama campaign. The local newspaper rated the parties' websites. The Communists came out ahead.</p><p>The Trinamool vice president, Derek O'Brien, says <em>his</em> side won the cookie race (hammer and sickle cookies for the Communists or Trinamool cookies with their three leaf clover-ish logo). "I was very happy to know we were selling 8 to 2" he says. "And the cookies [were] very expensive by Indian standards – a dollar and half."</p><p>But campaign cookies — and text messages and American-style town hall debates — are just the icing of democracy. The real story of change in this election is not high tech versus low — or even Mamata versus the Communists.</p><p>It is the way the elections are reported and conducted, argues journalist Ruchir Joshi. India's democracy is strong but politics can be dangerous here. Just a few years ago, West Bengal police shot dozens of people during a political protest.</p><p>"Earlier," says Joshi "a lot of nastiness in Indian politics would happen because who is going to see if I put a bullet through your head. That is more and more difficult to do now."</p><p>This time, a strengthened election commission monitored polling places. And television and the internet reach into the smallest communities.</p><p>"For the first time the normal public has a sense I can go and vote for who I want," Joshi continues. "There is a special election bubble which gives people courage."</p><p><em> </em></p><p>I couldn't vote in this election. I'm an American citizen. But all around me I see inkstains on people's fingers, the indelible mark that says they voted. It makes sure you don't get to vote twice. But I also see it as a stamp of courage and the faith ordinary Indians have in their chaotic democracy. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1305087150?&gn=West+Bengal%3A+Can+Trinamool+Party+Oust+Communists%3F&ev=event2&ch=1057&h1=Commentary,Opinion,World&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=136143637&c7=1057&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1057&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110510&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=3&v21=D%3Dc2&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Tue, 10 May 2011 13:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-10/west-bengal-can-trinamool-party-oust-communists-86360 Osama bin Laden Joins His Own Legacy Of Death http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-07/osama-bin-laden-joins-his-own-legacy-death-86191 <p><p>When I covered the siege of Sarajevo, I heard stories about a slim, tall renegade Saudi prince who reportedly went there a couple of time bearing sacks of money.</p><p>"Our Muslim brothers are being killed, our women raped, our children massacred, all under the eye of the United Nations," the prince was said to have declared. "The West sends Blue Helmets and dried beans. We bring you guns and men."</p><p>It wasn't until later in the 1990's that I learned he was Osama bin Laden.</p><p>Over the years, and especially since 2001, bin Laden's light, milky eyes and gray waterfall beard became the portrait of evil for Americans—and not just Americans.</p><p>A few years ago, I was writing a novel about the siege of Sarajevo and went back to find reports of some of bin Laden's remarks in the early 1990's, wondering how a man who had killed so many people—including so many Muslims, in Kenya, Tanzania, Egypt and New York--had become so compelling a figure that Osama was reportedly the most popular boys name in many parts of the Arab world.</p><p>I wasn't surprised to find that he traced much of what he despised back to Jews. That song has been sung for centuries. He assailed all non-Muslims as Crusaders. But bin Laden had a pattern of rolling grains of truth into fantasies.</p><p>When he told an Arab newspaper, "Oil is the elixir of their lives in the West," I remembered all of the American columnists who had said that, too. When he admonished young Muslims to avoid being dazzled by western music, movies and materialist toys, he almost sounded like a beleaguered suburban father in Shaker Heights. "They take your soul, and give back nothing," he said.</p><p>He told Arab interviewers, "I am rich, and I live among refugees," although of course bin Laden spent millions to kill people, and to try to save his own skin.</p><p>The only inspiration he offered was his willingness to kill. He mocked Americans for whisking U.S. troops out of Somalia in 1993 after 19 US soldiers died in Mogadishu, telling Britain's Channel 4, "Americans are afraid of death. They are like little mice." But the young who rallied to him, he said, "know that those who are not killed are going to die [one day], and that the most honorable way to die is to die for the sake of God's cause."</p><p>He seemed to end each presentation by saying, " . . . may the peace of the Prophet be upon you," invoking the name of the great religious leader he professed to serve as some kind of linguistic lather that he thought could rinse cold blood from his knuckles. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1304771551?&gn=Osama+bin+Laden+Joins+His+Own+Legacy+Of+Death&ev=event2&ch=4495795&h1=Simon+Says,Commentary,Opinion,World,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=136083952&c7=1057&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1057&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110507&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=7&v21=D%3Dc2&c31=4495795&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Sat, 07 May 2011 07:10:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-07/osama-bin-laden-joins-his-own-legacy-death-86191 Keeping Focus During Loss http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-02/keeping-focus-during-loss-85945 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-02/sept11.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>On Friday, I talked to the pastor of a church in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. He was trying to figure out what to say on Sunday to comfort and encourage people in his community who had lost people they love and the homes they had built because of those devastating tornados that ripped through the American South last week.</p><p>On Saturday, I put on a pretty dress and went to a fancy dinner where I listened to the president try to put to rest the ridiculous and irrelevant suggestion that he was not born in this country, and thus not eligible to serve in the job he has already held for two years now. The charge was being pressed by a rich luxury property developer and reality show star whose mode of argument — other than attacking peoples' heritage — is to criticize women for not being attractive enough to him.</p><p>Then came Sunday, when we learned that the man who had masterminded the terrorist attacks on our country almost a decade ago, was now dead — his body in the hands of the government, the people he tried to destroy.<br />It was hard to know how to feel, hard to know how to react. The president, in his remarks to the nation late last night, asked the country to remember the sense of unity and gratitude that we found in the midst of our grief almost a decade ago.</p><p>I remember that day.</p><p>I was in New York, just a few miles from where the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center fell. I was about to film a television program that would quickly become irrelevant. Sometime very late that night, I remember being out near ground zero. I was standing on a box trying to figure out what to say when it was time for my television live shot.</p><p>The big search lights were glaring as the rescue efforts went on, the awful burned smell in the air, when this young black man — maybe in his late teens, maybe in his early twenties — approached me. He was wearing baggy jeans, drooping low and an oversized sweatshirt pulled over his head. He said — and I swear this is true — "I just want to say that I deplore this dastardly act and I stand with all of my fellow Americans at this time."</p><p>Can I just tell you? I hope the president is right; I fear he is not. Why do we need a crisis and an enemy, to remind us not to get stuck on stupid?</p><p>In fact, some of the political discourse of recent weeks reminds me of the days just before 9/11, when much of the media was preoccupied with similarly inconsequential noise that had nothing to do with the lives of most people. And we all knew it. The preoccupation was only interrupted by the deaths of nearly 3,000 people on that terrible day.</p><p>So again, we have been preoccupied with noise about the president's birth certificate and grades and grade point average, while our fiscal condition deteriorates, many parts of the world are in chaos and our men and women in uniform continue to die. That doesn't even account for the unforeseeable suffering we've experienced recently, like those devastating tornadoes.</p><p>In the days and weeks ahead, I am sure that through good reporting and intelligence, we will learn a great deal about where bin Laden has been, what other havoc he had planned and, perhaps, what made it so hard to catch him. But what intelligence briefing can we read to find out why we can't seem to keep sight of the greatness of this country — in the absence of grief and loss — or at least stop wasting our time on nonsense? Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1304359948?&gn=Keeping+Focus+During+Loss&ev=event2&ch=10617064&h1=Can+I+Just+Tell+You%3F,Commentary,Opinion,World,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=135922031&c7=1057&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1057&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110502&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=46&v21=D%3Dc2&c31=10617064&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Mon, 02 May 2011 12:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-02/keeping-focus-during-loss-85945 Raid On Bin Laden Was Live-Blogged, Though The Blogger Didn't Know It http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-02/raid-bin-laden-was-live-blogged-though-blogger-didnt-know-it-85941 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-02/sohaib_sq.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>"Helicopter hovering above Abbottabad at 1AM (is a rare event)."</p><p>With <a href="http://twitter.com/#!/ReallyVirtual/status/64780730286358528" target="_blank">that fairly innocent sounding post on Twitter</a>, Shohaib Athar became, in his own words, "the guy who live-blogged the Osama raid without knowing it."</p><p>A computer programmer who The Associated Press reports is 33-years-old and lives in Abbottabad, Pakisan, Athar tweeted throughout the night about what he was hearing — without realizing for hours what was happening.</p><p>At first he was annoyed:</p><p><blockquote></p><p>"Go away helicopter - before I take out my giant swatter :-/"</p><p></blockquote></p><p>But he was soon worried as his building shook and there were reports that a helicopter had crashed:</p><p><blockquote></p><p>"A huge window shaking bang here in Abbottabad Cantt. I hope its not the start of something nasty :-S"</p><p>"and now I feel I must apologize to the pilot about the swatter tweets :-/"</p><p></blockquote></p><p>And then, as word started to spread about who had been killed, a dawning realization:</p><p><blockquote></p><p>"I need to sleep, but Osama had to pick this day to die :-/"</p><p></blockquote></p><p>Followed by a flood of e-mails, many from the news media, and a bit of a plea:</p><p><blockquote></p><p>"I am JUST a tweeter, awake at the time of the crash. Not many twitter users in Abbottabad, these guys are more into facebook. That's all."</p><p></blockquote> Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1304356343?&gn=Raid+On+Bin+Laden+Was+Live-Blogged%2C+Though+The+Blogger+Didn%27t+Know+It&ev=event2&ch=103943429&h1=Abbottabad,Shoaib+Athar,Osama+Bin+Laden+Killed,War,Pakistan,Foreign+News,Osama+bin+Laden,The+Two-Way,Commentary,Opinion,Digital+Life,Technology,World,Home+Page+Top+StHome+Pageories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=135913093&c7=1049&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1049&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110502&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=135914573,135914571,135908383,134978770,128701661,127602464,126934618,103943429&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Mon, 02 May 2011 05:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-05-02/raid-bin-laden-was-live-blogged-though-blogger-didnt-know-it-85941 Photographers' Focus Was On Other Side Of Lens http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-04-23/photographers-focus-was-other-side-lens-85588 <p><p>I think people in war zones sometimes speak more freely to photographers than they do to reporters. Microphones and notepads can make people conscious of what they're saying. But photographers can talk to them as people, not names in their stories. Photographers ask things like, "Do you have children? Do you like Katy Perry?" instead of, "What political faction do you belong to?"</p><p>A couple of great photographers died in a rocket attack of government forces on Misrata, Libya, this week.</p><p>Chris Hondros of New York had also worked in Kosovo, Angola, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Liberia for Getty Images. Mr. Hondros was 41, and told colleagues on a rocky 20-hour boat ride into Misrata that he had recently gotten engaged.</p><p>"I don't want to be a really old dad," he said.</p><p>Doctors Without Borders had a remembrance on their website which said, "Chris never just took photos, he was always thinking about who was on the other side of his lens and what they were experiencing. He wanted his photographs to make a difference."</p><p>Tim Hetherington was 40, from Birkenhead, England. He had also seen conflicts around the world, but as his collaborator, Sebastian Junger, told ABC News, "Tim with his camera wanted to understand life. Life includes war, unfortunately. He would say, 'Look, war is terrible. Terrible things happen in war. But people also love really profoundly in war and they laugh in war.' "<br /> <br />Mr. Junger and Tim Hetherington made the film <em>Restrepo</em>, about a year in the life of a U.S. infantry regiment in a deadly forward base in Afghanistan. It won this year's Sundance award for Best Documentary.</p><p>As rockets rained down this week, Tim Hetherington sent a message over Twitter: "In besieged Libyan city of Misrata. Indiscriminate shelling by Qaddafi forces. No sign of NATO."</p><p>That last remark poses an uncomfortable question. If NATO has pledged to try to keep Muammar Gadafi from slaughtering his own people, where is NATO while civilians in Misrata are being massacred in front of the watching world?</p><p>The most conscientious Western war reporters and photographers are usually modest in remembering risks. Those of us who've reported wars understand that a bullet or blast may catch up with us. But most of us will live to go home, eat well, and sleep safely. A few of us will get recognition and rewards. The people besieged in Misrata today are imperiled and hungry. They may feel abandoned.</p><p>Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros tried to take photos to pierce our hearts and move us to care. It would honor them to pay attention not only to their pictures, but the brave, grieving, and embattled people that they died to show us. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1303561939?&gn=Photographers%27+Focus+Was+On+Other+Side+Of+Lens&ev=event2&ch=4495795&h1=Simon+Says,Commentary,Opinion,World,Home+Page+Top+Stories,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=135654614&c7=1057&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1057&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110423&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=7&v21=D%3Dc2&c31=4495795&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Sat, 23 Apr 2011 07:05:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-04-23/photographers-focus-was-other-side-lens-85588 The NBA Playoffs: Brandon Roy Isn't Crying, But He's Thinking About It http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-04-20/nba-playoffs-brandon-roy-isnt-crying-hes-thinking-about-it-85584 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-22/112277804.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>It's been a great NBA playoff season so far — something for everyone, you might say.</p><p>You want nail-biters between classic rivals? We give you the Celtics and Knicks. The C's have won the first two games by a combined <em>five points</em>. Last night, New York's big three — Amare Stoudamire, Chauncey Billups, and Carmelo Anthony — were reduced to a big one. Anthony made the most of it, with 42 points, 17 rebounds and six assists. But it wasn't enough, as the Celtics showed again that the playoffs are all about finishing close games — which they've now done twice.</p><p>For those seeking surprise outcomes ("I like surprise outcomes and long walks on the beach"), how about Memphis and New Orleans beating NBA royalty San Antonio and Los Angeles in the first games of those series?</p><p>But for those who like their pro basketball emotions good and raw, consider the case of Portland Trail Blazers shooting guard Brandon Roy.</p><p>Roy's team lost last night to Dallas to fall behind 0-2 in the series. A three-time All-Star and the 2007 Rookie of the Year, Roy racked up a box score line that was, in a word, dreadful. In fact, it was the worst of his pro career (fortunately for his pro career). He took one shot from the field, and he missed it. He shot two free throws, and he missed both of those, too. No rebounds. No assists. He was on the court for a grand total of seven minutes and 59 seconds.</p><p>But what really got him — what turned this stellar professional into a million lip-quivering 10-year-olds sitting on a million benches in a million basketball games — was the fact that his coach kept looking <em>past</em> him when calling for subs.</p><p>"There was a point in the first half, and I was thinking, 'You better not cry,'" Roy, one of the first players to leave the locker room, told the <a href="http://www.oregonlive.com/blazers/index.ssf/2011/04/brandon_roy_reaction_always_th.html" target="_blank"><em>Oregonian</em></a>. "I mean, serious. I mean, there was a moment where I felt really sorry for myself. Then I was like, nah, you can't be sorry for yourself. I'm a grown man."</p><p>Good thing for Portland head coach Nate McMillan that Roy seemed to self-correct right at the end there. Roy <em>knows</em> he's a grown man, meaning McMillan won't have to channel <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTq0JakJ3jA" target="_blank">Marlon Brando</a> or <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6-ZMO8jhbwg" target="_blank">Tom Hanks</a>.</p><p>But read a little further in the newspaper article, and there are some worrisome signs.</p><p>"I think my nature I've never been one to confront. Never been the one to create controversy," Roy told the paper. "I think Coach is comfortable with his guys and it's hard for him to get me back in there. If that's what he is comfortable with, then I'm going to try and support the team. And if he can get us past [the first round], then he can. I just always thought I would be treated a little better, but ... it is what it is. I'll be all right. I'll go home, see my kids, and be happy."</p><p>Hey, we in Portland who have watched and admired Brandon Roy as he's become the very positive face of the Blazers — we're all for good, positive parenting. But finding refuge in his family <em>during the postseason</em>? And telling a reporter you've "never been one to confront"? Knowing that a reporter will, well, report that? It's all sounding a bit passive-aggressive, and not like the kind of thing a team wants to deal with as Game 3 looms tomorrow night and Portland tries to figure out how to get its other bench players (scoreless in the second half of Game 2 and outscored by Dallas 39-to-11) contributing as well.</p><p>In Roy's defense, he has been an absolute rock in Portland since he finished four years at the University of Washington (an NBA star who went to college for <em>four years</em>?). A team maligned as the "Jailblazers" became a franchise led by an outstanding player and upstanding citizen.</p><p>But this year has been a bear for Roy. A rising star and only 26, he suddenly and painfully had to confront not one but two balky knees that literally grounded his ascent into the NBA stratosphere. Surgeries took him out of action for a couple of months, and since his return, the team has been careful not to play him too much.</p><p>He says the knees now feel fine. Late in the season, he played an important role in two wins over Dallas. But something is wrong early in the playoffs. Roy isn't producing. His coach isn't playing him. And the face of the Blazers that was so promising so recently is now just trying not to end up streaked with tears.</p><p>Portland's a great home team, and the Blazers could still turn the series around. But if they don't, there may not be enough Kleenex to go around. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1303512236?&gn=The+NBA+Playoffs%3A+Brandon+Roy+Isn%27t+Crying%2C+But+He%27s+Thinking+About+It&ev=event2&ch=93568166&h1=Sports,Monkey+See,Commentary,Opinion&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=135574746&c7=1055&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1055&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110420&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=126679908,93568166&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Wed, 20 Apr 2011 15:26:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-04-20/nba-playoffs-brandon-roy-isnt-crying-hes-thinking-about-it-85584 Two War Photographers On Their Injuries, Ethics http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-04-18/two-war-photographers-their-injuries-ethics-85500 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/npr_story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-21/marinovich-greg-kelly-millar-.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Combat photographers Tim Hetherington and Chris Hondros were killed Wednesday in Libya, and two more photographers were seriously injured. On Thursday's <em>Fresh Air</em>, we air an interview taped Tuesday with combat photographers Greg Marinovich and Joao Silva, both of whom have been seriously injured in the field.</p><p>Marinovich has been shot and wounded four times while covering conflicts in South Africa and Afghanistan. Silva lost both of his legs in a land mine explosion in Afghanistan last October while working as a contract photographer for <em>The New York Times</em>.</p><p>Silva has photographed wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, the Balkans, the Middle East and southern Africa. On the day he stepped on the mine in Afghanistan, he was embedded with a unit of the 4th Infantry Division and a <em>New York Times</em> reporter. Two other people and a minesweeping dog walked through the area where the mine was just before he approached.</p><p>"I was like third man in line, and I just happened to put my foot maybe a little more to the left or a little more to the right, and <em>bam</em>," he tells <em>Fresh Air</em>'s Terry Gross, speaking from the Walter Reed Army Medical Center, where he is recovering. "Basically I heard the metallic sounds — bang — and got thrown over. My initial reaction was to ask the guys around me for help. The guys around me were a little bit dazed from the explosion, but they grabbed hold of me pretty quickly and dragged me away from the kill zone."</p><p>While he was being dragged away, Silva continued to snap photographs. He asked the<em> New York Times</em> reporter, Carlotta Gall, for a satellite phone to call his wife.</p><p>"I called my wife. I told my wife, because I had seen my legs were gone, I told my wife, 'Listen. Legs are gone. But I think I'm going to be OK. I think I'm going to live.' "</p><p><strong>Silva's Recovery</strong></p><p>Soon after, a medevac helicopter landed on the scene. Silva was transported first to Germany and then to Walter Reed, where he spent three weeks in the intensive care unit. In February, he took his first steps at the hospital using two prosthetic legs.</p><p>"I walk between parallel bars and use a walker when I walk longer distances," he says. "So I'm not quite balancing on my own yet, but I'm sure that will come in time."</p><p>But Silva has also suffered medical setbacks. After surgery to repair his rectal cavity and urethra, he picked up an infection and has been battling constant fatigue and pressure.</p><p>"The side of my face feels like it's the size of a melon," he says. "My eye's completely closed. There's a lot of pressure from the swelling. My white blood count has risen, so the rest of my body does feel it."</p><p>Silva faces more reconstructive surgeries to repair his urinary tract and intestinal cavity and will very likely spend several more months at Walter Reed. He hasn't picked up a camera since the incident.</p><p>"Right now, I'm focusing on my recovery. I'm either wheelchair-bound or I'm lying on my back," he says. "It's really difficult to shoot in those kind of circumstances. Bottom line, I don't feel the need. I don't want to. I have no need to. Maybe later on, closer to the end of my rehab when I'm a bit more mobile. And I might do it before everything closes up. But right now, no. I need to be more mobile."</p><p><strong>Greg Marinovich</strong></p><p><strong> </strong></p><p>Marinovich has visited Silva several times in the hospital. The two photographers are good friends and two of the four members of "The Bang-Bang Club," a group of photographers who documented the final bloody years of South African apartheid before the 1994 elections.</p><p><strong> </strong></p><p>Marinovich stopped shooting in the field after his fourth gunshot injury, which took place in Afghanistan. He had previously been shot three times in South Africa.</p><p><strong> </strong></p><p>"After Afghanistan, I realized that this was just not productive," he tells <em>Fresh Air</em>'s Gross. "After several weeks [after being shot for the fourth time], it just dawned on me that I don't want to do this anymore, and I don't want to be injured anymore."</p><p>In 1994, Marinovich was shot and his friend Ken Oosterbroek, another member of the Bang-Bang Club, was killed while covering a battle in South Africa.</p><p>"I thought [the bullet] had gone through me," Marinovich says. "Nobody wanted to look. I wasn't breathing properly and all sorts of things because my lung had been punctured. And there were a couple of other wounds, rather embarrassingly, in my buttocks and in my hand."</p><p>In his memoir, <em>The Bang-Bang Club: </em><em> Snapshots from a Hidden War</em>, which he co-wrote with Silva, Marinovich describes thinking his injury in South Africa was it.</p><p>"I had paid my dues," he wrote. "I had atoned for the dozens of close calls that had always left someone else injured or dead while I emerged from the scenes of mayhem unscathed, picture in hand, having committed the crime of being the 'lucky voyeur.' "</p><p>And that sensation of guilt, Marinovich says, stayed with him while covering other war zones.</p><p>"Just seeing someone — especially a mother over a young child or a young fighter or a young civilian who's being killed — and that look they give you as you come to photograph them, while you're kind of apologizing about photographing," he says. "And people want you photographing to show what's happened, but that look of hatred — that sometimes you get from a mother — is just so disturbing."</p><p>Marinovich received the Pulitzer Prize in 1991 for Spot News Photography. He later became the Associated Press' chief photographer in the Middle East. Joao Silva has received numerous awards, including the World Press Photo award. Silva and Marinovich collaborated on the <em>The Bang-Bang Club </em>book, which has now been made into a film starring Ryan Phillippe and Taylor Kitsch. The film tells the stories of the four combat photographers who risked their lives to capture the atrocities committed during apartheid.</p><p><hr /></p><p><h3>Interview Highlights</h3></p><p><strong>Joao Silva on photographing wars</strong></p><p>"I have this fascination to be on the cutting edge of history [and] witness history firsthand. I've always wanted to show those that are fortunate enough not to live in a war zone the realities or certain realities of war zones, which is ultimately the point. We go out and we expose ourselves believing somehow that we have an impact on society."</p><p><strong>Greg Marinovich on interceding</strong></p><p><strong> </strong></p><p>"Journalism is not a profession. It's a craft. So you don't need any training to become one. You can just do it ,which is the route that I came. And so ethics and morality and the kind of <em>New York Times</em> set of rules about what you can and can't do and the guidelines that you receive there wasn't a part of my background. I came to it more as a citizen and as a person than a photographer. So my thoughts about interceding and not interceding — whether it was characters or a photographer — were unformed and they became formed. And what I stuck to was really, why does it matter if you intercede to save somebody or not? And I did, on many occasions, attempt and sometimes succeed and sometimes not. It's a very strange thing. It varies from day to day with what you're thinking and what you're feeling and what the situation is. To intercede, to change the picture, is unethical. To intercede at the cost of doing your job as a journalist, I think that's a personal choice you make. And I have no issue with people on the other side of that divide."</p><p><strong>Joao Silva on voyeurism</strong></p><p><strong> </strong></p><p>"Somehow the camera gives us access to the most intimate moments in peoples' lives. And you do feel out of place when you're photographing a mother cradling a dead son or whatever the case may be. Or a young Marine helping an injured friend — you do feel like you're somewhat out of place. But at the same time, you know that it's important to do it. It's what you're doing there. Otherwise, stay home and hang out with your PlayStation. ... You gotta learn to live with yourself and what you do. When you take pictures — and these are extreme situations — you are intruding. You're very fortunate to be able to record somebody else's history. I've always maintained that the true heroes are the people around me. ... I always understand that it's the history that I'm documenting — that's the whole point of being there."</p><p><strong>Greg Marinovich</strong> <strong>on the ethics of war photography</strong></p><p>"The other thing that photographers struggle with is the setting up of pictures. And by that, I mean, where the photographer interferes in the scene to make it a better picture — where essentially fiction and nonfiction blur — that we have real problems with. I remember a very famous New York-based photographer was at the funeral of Chris Hani, the communist leader who was assassinated by white extremists. He was directing the show to make for a better picture, and we all immediately wrote to his employer — his contract employer at the time was <em>Time </em>magazine — and he was pulled off the job immediately. And this other photographer we spoke about — the right-winger — he would hire a Mercedes-Benz and drive into the township and drive up and down the volatile areas until people started stoning his cars so that he could get the pictures."</p><p><strong>Greg Marinovich</strong> <strong>on the difficulties of publishing his 1991 Pulitzer Prize-winning series of photos, which showed a man attacked with a machete and then set on fire in South Africa</strong></p><p><strong> </strong></p><p>"I didn't try and get it published. At the time I was freelancing, and I was shooting for the AP and also for Sigma, the photo agency. And so I had two separate cameras. One had color negative for AP and one had color slide for Sigma. And the AP put the pictures up. They put up 18 pictures in all. And newspapers complained about the graphic nature of those pictures, and many didn't publish those pictures. It wasn't that the 'burning man' wasn't widely published at all — certainly not in South America and not in America, and I can understand that; they are very disturbing pictures, and that's up for a newspaper to decide what they want to publish — but the tangential argument from that is that it's not up to us as photographers to censor that. It's not up to us to not shoot it because it's too graphic or too disturbing. It's not up to us to not edit that and put that in the take, and it's certainly not up to the distributing agency to decline to put those pictures in the take because of their graphic nature. In fact, it was the New York office of the AP that almost didn't want to move those pictures on. Because London had taken them in ... and in New York, it was difficult. They almost didn't move the picture." Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1303411604?&gn=Two+War+Photographers+On+Their+Injuries%2C+Ethics&ev=event2&ch=1143&h1=Afghanistan,Photography,The+Impact+of+War,Opinion,Art+%26+Design,Interviews,Arts+%26+Life,World,U.S.,News&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=135513724&c7=1143&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1143&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110418&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c21=13&v21=D%3Dc2&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Mon, 18 Apr 2011 11:56:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/2011-04-18/two-war-photographers-their-injuries-ethics-85500 Is It Time To Clip America's Global Wings? http://www.wbez.org/story/intelligence-squared-us/2011-04-11/it-time-clip-americas-global-wings-85051 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/0" alt="" /><p><p>As the United States grapples with a struggling economy and continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, some argue that it's time to scale back its role in the world.</p><p>But others say that it's in the United States' interest to continue to be a strong leader and to act where it can.</p><p>Four experts recently took on the topic, facing off two against two in an Oxford-style debate on the motion "It's Time To Clip America's Global Wings."</p><p>Before the debate, part of the <em>Intelligence Squared U.S.</em> series, the audience at New York University's Skirball Center for the Performing Arts voted 37 percent in favor of the motion and 26 percent against, with 37 percent undecided. After the debate, 47 percent were for the motion — up 10 points — and 44 percent were against — up 18 points — making the side arguing against clipping America's global wings the winners. Nine percent remained undecided.</p><p>John Donvan, correspondent for ABC News' <em>Nightline,</em> moderated the April 5 debate. Those debating:</p><p><strong>FOR THE MOTION</strong></p><p><strong>Peter Galbraith</strong> is a Vermont state senator and the senior diplomatic fellow at the Center for Arms Control. Before joining the center, he was a professor of national security strategy at the National War College. Galbraith was the first U.S. ambassador to Croatia and mediated the Erdut Agreement, ending the Croatia War in 1995. His senior government positions include being deputy special representative of the secretary-general of the United Nations to Afghanistan in 2009.</p><p><strong>Lawrence Korb</strong> is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. Korb served as assistant secretary of defense (manpower, reserve affairs, installations and logistics) from 1981 through 1985. In that position, he administered about 70 percent of the defense budget. Korb served on active duty for four years as naval flight officer and retired from the Naval Reserve with the rank of captain. He received his doctorate in political science from the State University of New York at Albany.</p><p><strong>AGAINST THE MOTION</strong></p><p><strong>Elliott Abrams</strong> is senior fellow for Middle Eastern studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. He was deputy national security adviser in charge of Middle Eastern affairs in the George W. Bush administration. From 1996 until joining the White House staff, Abrams was president of the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. He was the assistant secretary of the state for U.N. affairs, human rights and Latin America in the Reagan administration.</p><p><strong>Eliot Cohen</strong> is the Robert E. Osgood professor of strategic studies at the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University and founding director of the Philip Merrill Center for Strategic Studies. His books include <em>Supreme Command: Soldiers, Statesmen, and Leadership in Wartime</em>, and with John Gooch, <em>Military Misfortunes: The Anatomy of Failure in War</em>. He directed the U.S. Air Force's official study of the 1991 Gulf War, and has served on a variety of government advisory boards, including the Defense Policy Board. From 2007 to 2009, he served as counselor of the Department of State. Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit <a href="http://www.npr.org/">http://www.npr.org/</a>.<img src="http://metrics.npr.org/b/ss/nprapidev/5/1302563539?&gn=Is+It+Time+To+Clip+America%27s+Global+Wings%3F&ev=event2&ch=6263392&h1=Intelligence+Squared+U.S.,Opinion,World&c3=D%3Dgn&v3=D%3Dgn&c4=135316625&c7=1004&v7=D%3Dc7&c18=1004&v18=D%3Dc18&c19=20110411&v19=D%3Dc19&c20=1&v20=D%3Dc20&c31=6263392&v31=D%3Dc31&c45=MDA0OTc2MjAwMDEyNjk0NDE4OTI2NmUwNQ001"/></p></p> Mon, 11 Apr 2011 17:54:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/intelligence-squared-us/2011-04-11/it-time-clip-americas-global-wings-85051