Monthly Archives: February 2003

Tan Dun's Musical Map

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A map is commonly defined as a flat representation of selected features of the heavens or the earth. A map is also a guide, marking a route from one place to another.

Composer Tan Dun’s new musical map links one time to another. It melds the ancient music of his homeland, China’s Hunan province, with contemporary eastern and western sounds. Inspired in no small part by cellist and collaborator Yo-Yo Ma’s own musical journey, tracing the ancient silk trade routes, Tan Dun dedicates “The Map” to Yo-Yo Ma for his exploration of different times and cultures. “Sometimes the purpose of returning to your roots,” says Tan, “is to invent, to see how those roots have continued to grow.” Reaching back, moving forward, musically, with Tan Dun and Yo-Yo Ma.

Shostakovich, Cage, Britten and Tan Dun
Boston Symphony Orchestra February 21, 22, & 25 2003 8:00 PM. For tickets call SymphonyCharge at 888-266-1200.


Tan Dun, award winning composer

Yo-Yo Ma, award winning cello player

The Fight that Never Ends

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To understand the problem you almost have to forget about the numbers.

Over the next 20 years, in 45 countries, 68 million people could be killed by AIDS. If you try to concentrate on that, your mind gets lost. So instead imagine a handful of houses in a sub-Saharan African township. Men and women are sick, unable to work. One in five is likely to die from AIDS. So the gardens go untended, the animals go hungry and so do children. And slowly, slowly the spectre of famine grows.

Peter Piot, the head of the UN AIDS Fund, says this cycle of infection and starvation is leading to a “completely new order of global humanitarian crisis.” Peter Piot, brings his fight against AIDS to our studio


Peter Piot, executive director of UN AIDS, the Joint United Nations Program on H.I.V./AIDS

The Soul of Winter

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When they say “old man winter” they’re not talking about a gentleman. Towering snowbanks, thousands without electricity, iced-in airports, coastal flooding and slush. It is the season of wet mitts, and wind chill. In ancient Greece. winter was the time when the lively wine god, Dionysos, was torn into bloody pieces. A stark reminder that everything comes to end. Yet Dionysos always came back in spring.

Winter, for many, is a season of sorrow, darkness, loss. There are others for whom winter is a time of spiritual growth, of self-improvement. Many find their best artistic inspiration below zero. They say that being challenged by the weather brings out the best in the human character. Examining the soul of winter.


Robert Finch, author of “Death Of a Hornet and Other Cape Cod Essays”

Susan Felch co-editor, “Winter: A Spiritual Biography of the Season.”

Aaron Chick, a fishing guide in Ely, Minnesota

Stephen Fybish, a weather hobbyist.

Reassessing the Arab World

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Where are their voices of the Arab World? The flurry of news over the last few months has almost exclusively focused on UN resolutions, inspector reports, and transatlantic bickering. The run up to war with Iraq has often appeared more as a battle between the US and Europe rather than a discussion about, and with, the countries from the region where it matters most.

It’s hard to determine if the Arab leaders are choosing to remain silent, or if they’re simply being elbowed aside by the bullies at the Security Council; but either way, it’s clear they’ve been struggling to reach a consensus of their own. Just this morning, the Arab League finally agreed to a special summit next month to discuss the crisis over Baghdad. Appropriate enough, but perhaps too late to be heard, and perhaps, that’s on purpose.


Fawaz Gerges, Christian A. Johnson Chairholder in International Affairs and Middle Eastern Studies at Sarah Lawrence College

Saad Hattar, BBC Correspondent in Jordan

Mona Makram Ebeid, professor of Political Science and American Political Sociology at the American University in Cairo, and founding member of the Arab Organization for Human Rights.

Captured in Colombia

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Her captors included a 15-year-old girl and a 35-year-old grandmother. The rebels dressed in civilian garb, rifles and grenades their deadly accessories in Colombia’s 38-year civil war between Marxist guerillas, the Colombian government, and an outlawed right-wing paramilitary. But freelance journalist Ruth Morris wasn’t afraid. At first.

Foreign journalists had always enjoyed a sort of immunity from the violent struggles they covered. But when Morris and her photographer, on assignment for the Los Angeles Times, were detained at a rebel roadblock, it was the start of 11 days of captivity at the hands of the National Liberation Army. Ruth Morris is home safe. And she is our guest. A reporter. Her rebel captors. And the stories we haven’t heard about America’s war in Colombia.


Ruth Morris, Colombia correspondent, Los Angeles Times

Science and Security

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It is a sobering new twist on the old academic mantra: publish or perish. With news about anthrax and smallpox in the headlines, government officials and terrorism experts have been taking a new look at research journals, asking if, in some cases, scientists aren’t doing the terrorists’ work for them, publishing recipes for biological cocktails and other potential nasties that could be used against Americans.

Some of the country’s most prestigious scientific journals have adopted a new policy voluntarily weighing the “potential harm” versus the “potential societal benefits” before publishing what’s called “sensitive material.” It’s a major departure from the principle of open research. The debate over science and security.


Ronald Atlas, president, American Society for Microbiology, co-director, Center for Deterrence of Biowarfare and Bioterrorism, University of Louisville

Eckard Wimmer, professor of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology at State University of New York in Stony Brook

Patrick Brown, professor of Biology, Stanford University.

Why Marching Matters

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Why marching matters. Think of any street protest, and the images that come to mind are those of people walking purposefully down a city street. It’s a picture of movement, not of standing still. Last weekend, New York City officials denied anti-war activists a permit to march. Gathering was permitted, but not marching. But it’s hardly the same, says anyone who’s ever taken part in a protest.

Scholars agree. They say marching has emotional and political power that rallying does not. Walk with thousands of strangers and together you become a powerful group. Historically, marchers have transformed local causes into national movements, changed legislation and helped to end war. Analyzing the footsteps of protest.


Lucy G. Barber, author, “Marching on Washington: the forging of an American political tradition”
Frances Crowe, 83-year old antiwar activist from Northampton, Mass.

Colin Powell's Converts

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Hawks in dove land. Add to the scattered ranks of the world’s anti-war movement yet another small but growing faction: the conflicted peacenik. Politically left-leaning, ideologically dovish, and recently experiencing a change of heart.

Maybe it was Colin Powell’s case against Saddam Hussein that convinced them, or Hans Blix’s reports of stymied — or just stalled — inspections efforts….or just the growing sense that Saddam Hussein is a very, very bad man. They still grapple with questions of motive and multilateralism, leadership and legality. But they have come around to the notion that war with Iraq is just…it’s just not their first choice. Or even second. Today, the Connection goes transatlantic in a special co-production with the BBC. Voices from America and UK weigh in on the left’s tug of war over Iraq.


Timothy Noah, columnist,

Paul MacInnes, reporter, The Guardian

Simon Mayo, special co-host, The Simon Mayo Show, BBC Five

What Would Jesus Tax?

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Everyone loves to hate taxes. So in Alabama, the state with the lowest per capita tax in the nation, you’d think people would love their tax code. And rich people do. But most others argue that the tax code punishes the poor.

Newspaper editorials have railed against Alabama’s tax system for years, calling it unjust and unfair, wretched and racist. But nothing ever changed. However, one outspoken law professor has concluded that the tax code is more than unfair: It is “un-Christian.” She, along with Alabama church leaders, is saying that the Old and New Testaments make it clear that God does not favor oppressing the poor and that reform is needed to smite the self-satisfied rich and instead serve “the least of these.” What, or whom, would Jesus tax?


Susan Pace Hamill, tax law professor, University of Alabama Law School, author, “An Argument for Tax Reform Legislation Based on Judeo-Christian Ethics”

Joey Kennedy, editorial writer, The Birmingham News, won Pulitzer Prize for series on need to reform Alabama’s tax code.

Duct Tape Nation

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Duct tape nation. For the past ten days the country has been living under high alert. The risk of terrorist attacks is great, says the administration, and citizens should be prepared, be very prepared.

Official websites urge people to protect themselves by purchasing items like duct tape, plastic sheeting and bottled water. Hardware stores were picked clean. But yesterday, after imploring Americans not to seal their doors and windows, Secretary Ridge said the current code orange alert would be lowered soon.

This last announcement caught many off guard. Some say uncertainty and confusion are inevitable when dealing with terrorist threats. Others question the timing of the Administration’s alerts saying it’s all about sticking together a consensus for war. The threat, the rhetoric, and the politics of code orange.


Laura McEnaney, author of Civil Defense Begins at Home:
Militarization Meets Everyday Life in the Fifties;Eric Kupferberg, Lecturer on the History of Science at Harvard University.