Crossing Continents – Child Marriage in Bangladesh

It sounds innocent enough, but the girls explained why they didn’t like being ‘Eve Teased’

“Men say bad things..we are threatened with kidnap, acid violence and even with being killed”
There’s a pause
“They threaten to throw acid in your face?”
“Yes”, the girls explain, “they say you’re so proud of your beauty that if I can’t have you then no one can”

Eve Teasing plays it’s part in the fact that 20% of girls in Bangladesh are forced to marry before the age of 15.
Something that Angus Crawford investigated last month in Crossing Continents on Radio 4.

This particular program had been emotional up to that point, but I felt a wave of despair when I heard that.  I wish I could have said disbelief, but it seemed all too believable to me.

There are other reasons, such as poverty and dowry, that parents feel force them into marrying their daughters off, but there are not just social consequences.

Many girls are pregnant within a year, and a girl under 15 is 5 times more likely to die in childbirth than a woman over 20.  Not only that, but their bodies can be damaged and they can end up with fistula, which makes them incontinent for life.  If this happens the husband normally abandons the girl and she is forced to return to her parents.  A Professor in the program advised that in some cases the girl is forced to live with the cattle due to her condition.

Olly Achmed (my spelling) had a best friend.

“She was taken to her village to get married, but she didn’t come back.  I don’t know what happened to her, I never found anyone like her again”

Olly approached Plan International saying he wanted to set up a group led by children to stop his friends getting married off so young.

He explained why the kids will do better:
“The adults think they are so young and they know so much and we have so much to learn from them”

Olly is just 12 years old.  Just from this program he is a inspiration to me.  And he seems to be having an impact.  Some estimates say that child marriage has dropped 50% in that area.

“I wanted to bring a smile back to the parents faces”

There is a long way to go, but hopefully Olly and his group will be an inspiration to others to let girls in Bangladesh to live out their childhood.

You can listen to the full program and download other episodes here

Plan International’s website, with a feature on child marriage in Bangladesh is here


Crossing Continents to the Arab Spring

So one thing I do a lot of is listen to podcasts.  I subscribe to them left right and centre and they range from poetry readings, the brilliant history of Rome, to Above and Beyond’s Trance around the World (they have got me back into Trance, marginally, and it’s great to run to in the gym) and some Radio 4 programmes, including Excess Baggage, Friday Night Comedy and Crossing Continents.
Crossing Continents I started listening to because it touched on my love of travel.  It is a bit hit and miss, but every now and again there are some wonderful, powerful stories that remain with me long after they are told.  The first one to impact me was an investigation of the human trafficking of women from Uganda who ended up working as virtual slaves in Iraq, and how some of them were rescued.  I was walking up round the London Olympic site at the time, it was in the evening and I remember the sun was setting as I realised I had a lump in my throat.
Another one told of the people brokers of North Korea, who smuggle people desperate to escape to the South, The risks that people take to make the journey, and the cost.  It will be interesting to see whether this will be made easier now the Great Successor is in charge, but I can’t see myself putting money on that.
This morning on my tube ride to work I listened to the first in a series of three about the Arab Spring, presented by Jeremy Bowen, the BBC’s foreign editor.  He was in Egypt during the revolution and the vivid energy flowing through the country throbbed through my earphones.  On my way home I listened to the second one, focusing on Libya, including an interview with Gaddafi himself, in which he denied that there were any protests at all.  Jeremy Bowen’s conclusion was that he was not mad, but was surrounded by ‘yes men’ who kept him in a state of illusion, or perhaps that should be delusion.

I’ve still got the third one to go but I have already found the first two immensely fascinating. I followed the Arab Spring as much as I could on the news, indeed still follow where I can the situation in Syria, because it seems so alien to me.
I have no concept of living under such a regime, to know that the people who govern and protect you can make you ‘disappear’ should their paranoia become enough to think you are a threat, to smell the reek of corruption that floats at the top of the hierarchy where little benefit flows down to the common citizen.  I also can not fully appreciate the strength and courage that it must take to reach a point where you are willing to lay down your life in order to overthrow something that has been a constant all the way through it.  In a separate edition of World Football on the World Service they did a story on how the Libyan football team had qualified for the African Cup of Nations, and how players took part in the revolution.  One player who was on the front line was given softer missions, or had people go in front of him to protect him if he was shot at  so that he could continue playing football for the national team.

One thought that occured to me during the spring was that now they have the belief that they can change things, I could see it happening more often, I fear for the rebuilding of these shattered countries.  If something is not to the public’s liking or perhaps isn’t happening fast enough (something highlighted by the retaking of Tahir Square to protest at the military’s hand over of power in Egypt) then they will protest again, and again.  I guess this is the growing pains of any nation, or perhaps democracy, but I hope that something healthier blossoms from the Arab Spring.

The podcasts available from radio 4, including crossing continents can be found here

Eclectic and Eccentric

It started with Christopher Laird’s theme’s stupidly catchy, I sing it on my way to work, even when I’m listening to something else.  Plus he plays quality tunes, certainly, most of the time anyway.  But then they had Allez Pop! I didn’t even know I liked french 60’s pop…and I did like it, even before I saw the presenter looked quite hot in the photo, it was too late, I was thoroughly enjoying Claude Francois and Jacqueline Taieb, even now I have absolutely no idea who they are, what they look like or what in the world they were singing about, but it was groovy..

Then came along Loves action Friday fix, in all honesty I’m not sure I know what the name means, I do know that I can’t get through each show (first Friday of every month) without smiling, even my girlfriend likes this one, and her entire musical collection consists of the Glee Soundtrack.

The best show though, the one that I find myself looking forward to each month, is Filmic.  I don’t understand it, how can a show that plays scores and songs from films, the one thing that I never understood the point in buying, be worth listening to. (even though I have a few, surely it’s a companion to the film no?).  Well to start with the presenter is so passionate and knowledgeable about film soundtracks that if they bring back Magnus and that big black chair there will be an episode with the name Ley Bricknell on it.  But it’s the music, a 60’s score followed by Daft Punk and their Tron soundtrack followed by the resident John Barry score, and despite the disparity of the music, it works, it sounds great and I love it like a fat kid love cake.  Strangely, I hardly ever watch films now either, so I’ve almost gone completely the other way into listening to the soundtrack rather than watching the film…

the radio nowhere website where you can find out about it and subscribe to the podcast feed is here

there is a link on there to the blog, which contains the playlist for each show.

Wax da playlist

So I listened to the latest Wax Da Box podcast the other day from Wax on records, loved it, some fantastic tunes in there.  In particular, I loved what I thought was the 3rd tune in, so I went straight to their website to find out what it was and then buy it (yeah I buy my music, along with books, music is a passion of mine and I hardly begrudge the artists 79p for 5 minutes or so of pleasure.  Not sure where else I could get that kind of pleasure per pence ratio).
On the website I went through the playlist, the third tune in was Erykah Badu’s Honey (Greenwood Rhythm Coalition re-lick), I like this as well, but already have a better mix by the Moody Boyz.  The song I wanted was the one before, ok easy, let me see…

Love&Lite – 110328

What? What the hell is this? that’s not a tune, thats some sort of colour description and sample code number.  OK I work in IT (my roll consists of me mainly blagging my way through any kind of situation and then asking people whose technical  knowledge dwarfs mine, which is pretty much anyone who may be passing the office) and so the & is probably just the & character, does that mean 110328 is the band? is the song called Love, or Love &, or Love & Lite?

I listen to the tune again, note some of the lyrics, whack them into google, no joy, put every permutation of the above into google, I get an advert for a 7 day camera battery and a blog post about a chinese restaurant, Fail.

So I’ve left a comment on the site, hopefully they will put me out of my misery  soon…

Link to podcast and butt licking / pleading comment here