Friday, February 12, 2010

A recent history of Yemen - Rear Vision

Here is a quick recommendation to the podcast Rear Vision from Australia's ABC. This is a very informative program that gives historical background to current issues. It compiles the explanations and thought from two or three specialists that are interviewed for the show.

A good example that would want to recommend was the show about A history of modern Yemen. In which Dr. Elham Manea (University of Zurich) and Dr. Paul Dresch (University of Oxford) retell the volatile political history of Yemen in the last 50 years. It shows how Yemen was the stage for proxy wars, not just between the opponents of the Cold War, but also between the regional players Saudi Arabia and Egypt. This chaos latched onto a much older phenomenon in the Yemenite history: religion. The resulting narrative is meant to explain how Yemen became a place where Islamist terrorists find their refuge and education. If that explanatory goal of the story is not entirely met, you should try and find out by yourself. It sort of went past me as I became much more interested in the earlier narratives of this old, old country.

Another chapter of Rear Vision that I just heard and enjoyed, was the show about Illegal immigration into Europe. Here you will learn that illegal immigration is first and foremost an issue of policy and political definition rather then one of physical trespassing. Most immigrants arrive legally, but attain illegal status by overstaying their visa or obtain employment beyond the limitations of their visa, or are refugees that forged the reason for flight. It becomes clear Europe is the economic magnet that knows not how to deal with the millions that are attracted.

More Rear Vision:
A history of the Israeli-Arab conflict,
Fish depletion,
Follow up on Iran and Versailles.