Late posting this. But I have a reason: Sick kid, high fever.
Today's show — ok, it was Monday's — If you've read the international news at all over the last decade, if you saw the movie Blood Diamond, if you heard Kanye's "Diamonds from Sierra Leone" (if not, you can watch the music video here), then you know what we're talking about.
Former Liberian President Charles Taylor's trial for war crimes started at the Hague yesterday. We were able to speak with the current Special Prosecutor Stephan Rapp briefly before the phone line (from the Netherlands!) deteriorated too badly to continue with the interview...
We also spoke with the previous prosecutor who brought the indictment against Taylor forward as well as Emira Woods, an Africa policy expert who is Liberian. Taylor is accused of being the mastermind behind some of the most gruesome behavior we have seen in recent years — recruiting soldiers as young as 8-years-old, keeping them high on drugs, then teaching them to rape, chop off limbs and burn people to death — all for the purpose of fomenting civil war in Sierra Leone, so he could control their natural resources, as well as those of his own country, Liberia.
Taylor refused to attend the first day of trial; he says the court won't be fair to him, and in any case he cannot be tried to any of which he is accused.
Africa watchers say this is an important test of whether these notorious "strongmen" can be brought to account before international law. We hope to be able to able to follow this story...the trial could last as long as 18 months.
...And how to introduce the next subject, I'm not exactly sure...
Thinking about Charles Taylor and his alleged crimes made us wonder how one can recover from the kind of torture and trauma Taylor is accused of visiting upon people. So, we talked to Dr. Karen Hanscom, a psychologist in Baltimore whose practice consists of helping torture victims. I thought this might be a depressing conversation, but it most definitely was not. (See if you agree with me). Joyful is slightly too strong a word, but only just. It was interesting to me to know that humans can recover from a very great deal
...So I wonder if there is something you were able to overcome that you thought you'd never be able to live with, or master, or put behind you?
And finally...the commute from hell.
...How long is your commute? Tell the truth...