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Alegre’s Story. A World Report from Kuito, Angola

I’ve just returned from Angola, where I was filming a documentary on recovery and reconstruction in the town of Kuito, since the end of the war. This is a short radio essay telling the story of one of the people I met there, Alegre. It was broadcast on World Report on RTE Radio One.

Book review: Island of Shame

BOOK OF THE DAY in the Irish Times: Island of Shame: The Secret History of the US Military Base on Diego Garcia by David Vine Princeton University Press 259pp; £20.95 ‘YOUR ISLAND has been sold,” Rita was told. “You will never go there again.” As author and anthropologist David Vine records, “Rita felt like she’d… read more +

Review: ‘The Challenge for Africa’

In 1960, a young Kenyan woman named Mary Jo arrived in the United States. She was one of about 300 students in the ‘Kennedy Airlift’ scholarship programme, and amongst her peers was a young man named Barack Hussein Obama. In 2004, the year that Obama’s son gave the keynote speech at the Democratic Convention in… read more +

World Report: tragedy off the Libyan coast

Listen to a World Report on the phenomenon of migrants drowning in the Mediterranean, broadcast on April 4, 2009. Below is the original text of the report. — Smile flashed me this week. Let me clarify that. ‘Flash’ is African mobile phone slang for giving someone a missed call – letting them know you want… read more +

Interview: Steve Collins on famine relief

Steve Collins, doctor and aid worker, director of Valid International and Valid Nutrition. As told to Colin Murphy. Published in the Irish Independent. I went to Africa in the summer of 1985, on my holidays from medical school. I travelled through Uganda (where there was a coup), Congo on a bicycle, Chad (where a civil… read more +

The change is a coming

Listen to my extended radio report from Harlem on US presidential election night, and after. Includes an interview with the Rev Al Sharpton on the challenges ahead for the Obama administration and for the civil rights movement.

There’s a bright side somewhere, in Harlem

There’s a Bright Side Somewhere Jenkins Washington sings gospel, like his grandparents taught him.

Election night, November 4, Harlem

“Everybody here that voted for John McCain, raise your hand!” said Michael Hardy into the microphone. Nobody raised their hand. On 145th Street in Upper Harlem, the crowd in the meeting room of the House of Justice (motto: “No Justice, No Peace”) was feeling good. “It certainly looks like there’s gonna be a new day… read more +

Review: Bay of Tigers

Barely a few pages into Bay of Tigers, Pedro Rosa Mendes’ chronicle of travels in Angola in 1997, we learn “there are more than one hundred million mines buried in seventy countries, close to a tenth of them in Angola”. It is a depressing start, but in ways that may not be immediately apparent. Mendes… read more +