It’s Part 2 of the continuing series on American perspectives on the conflict in Northern Ireland. This time it’s Kelly Cullen, a senior at Pitt and a marine reservist, who explains why he took such an interest in the Troubles + what he learned from studying it.
Partly it’s a heritage thing for Kelly, having grown up in an Irish American family. But his interest in Northern Ireland also grows out of his impending deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan, and his creative writing projects.
The countdown to Bush’s exit is on — and it has special meaning to a group of 17 Uyghur men who have been incarcerated in Guantánamo Bay detention facilities since 2001 –despite having been cleared of enemy combatant status as as early as 2003. If soon to be-President Obama closes Guantánamo, the Uyghurs will finally be released — but the question then is, where will they go?
The Uyghurs are Turkic Muslims from the far West of China, but the US refuses to return them to China for fear of the abuse and execution they would face there. China and the Uyghurs are locked in a long-standing low-level conflict, like that of China and the Tibetans.
But even though it doesn’t want to give China the Uyghur detainees, the Bush administration won’t admit them to the US, and it hasn’t been able to persuade European, Canadian, or Australian governments to resettle them either. If the Guantánamo system is finally closed in the coming weeks, the question of ‘what next’ for the detainees may prove just as Kafkaesque as their past seven years.
Ahmad Seyar Zia is, as he has proclaimed himself to be, the King of Love. He is a young Afghan man, studying abroad in India now. Born in Kabul, raised in different places around Afghanistan and Pakistan, he has developed his own life philosophies that, he finds, hold him apart from most other young people around him.
In today’s interview, Ahmad talks about growing up in the tumultuous past decades of Aghanistan, of the religious and philosophical system he’s developed, of taking up Tae Kwan Do after his brother lost his leg in a mine explosion, and why he’s intent on returning to his country.
Ian Knox is one of Northern Ireland’s premier political cartoonists. After studying for a career in architecture, he made his way into the world of cartooning and now contributes to a whole array of outlets – including The Irish News, Hearts & Minds, Sky News, and The Guardian. He talks about why he likes to annoy people, how he knows if his cartoons succeed in their attempts to shove his opinions down the audience’s throats, which politicians he most likes to draw, and how he survives his daily threat of a heart attack.
Back briefly in Belfast, Michael Semple speaks about his experiences in Afghanistan, including those which recently put him in the headlines. Semple was expelled from the country on Christmas last year, after the Afghan President alleged that he engaged in unauthorized activity in the country. He works for the EU’s Special Representative in Afghanistan, focusing on reconciliation and democratization processes in the country. Semple speaks about his past decades of work in Afghanistan, the expulsion, and the notoriety that came with it.
Episode 4 starts off with Colin Wililams, an executive producer of Sesame Tree, the new local version of Sesame Street. Then it turns to politics, with a conversation with Mary Alice Clancy about the international dimension of post-agreement politics, and the Bush administration’s involvement here. Finally, Aidan McGarry speaks about his research on the situation of ethnic minorities in Northern Ireland and his activism within the lesbian/gay community here.