asakiyume: (Em)
The same day my friend showed me the photo from the previous entry, I had a great encounter in a pharmacy. There were two pharmacy technicians, young women, chatting. One came over to give me the prescription I was picking up, and I saw on her name tag that she had the same surname as Em in Pen Pal, and a really pretty, unusual first name (so unusual that when I typed the whole name just now into Google, a picture of her popped up on the first page of results).

I don't know if you've seen that meme on Twitter that goes

don't say it
don't say it
don't say it
don't say it

And ends with you blurting out the thing, but that was what happened with me. Don't say she has a pretty first name; that's intrusive, I told myself. And DEFINITELY don't mention that her surname is the surname of a character in a story you wrote.

But I did, and she smiled and said, "Oh really? My name? Where does the story take place?" So I told her, describing Mermaid's Hands, and said that it was kind of a fantasy, and she said, "I love fantasy! You know, that was one of the things I wanted to do before I turned twenty-one--write a book. I started, too, and got 2,000 words ... but then I stopped."

"Oh no! Why?"

"Oh, I let a friend read it, and she had so much to say. She was really sarcastic."

"That stinks! What a terrible friend!"**

"I know, right? The story was about the four elements, and now I see so many stories like that! If I had only finished it. . ."

"So maybe if you write your next idea? It sounds like you're tapped into what people want to read."

... I love encounters like that.

**I really believe this. When a beginning writer gives you something to read, it's terrible to close them down like that. I'm not talking about a situation where you're in a writer's group together and sharing critiques, or if an experienced writer asks you to beta read something--that's different. (Though even then there are ways and ways of giving criticism.) But if a friend shares something they've created with you, you don't shit all over it, any more than you would if they showed you their first photos or their first pottery or knitted item or sketch. If the thing genuinely appalls you, there are still ways of begging off without giving the creator a world of grief.
asakiyume: (Em)
A friend (no longer on DW, apparently!) found this beautiful photo, part of Gordon Parks's "Segregated Story, 1956," and shared it with me. She said it reminded her of Pen Pal, and it did me, too.



(I’ve been setting out Sabelle Morning’s cup every night so it can catch the dawn light,)

The girl on the right could be Em; the girl on the left could be her sister Tammy; the house, if only it were floating, could be their house.
asakiyume: (Kaya)
In this entry, [personal profile] osprey_archer talks about short films she's watched recently, and one of them, "Lost World," by Cambodian American director Kalyanee Mam, captivated me.

It's narrated by a young woman, Vy Phalla [surname comes first here], who lives on the island of Koh Sralau. The way of life there is threatened by sand dredging: sand is dredged in Cambodia and taken to add landmass in Singapore.

Scooping up Cambodia ...



... To create more Singapore




The film's write-up at shortoftheweek.com says, "Kalyanee Mam’s film encompasses vast juxtapositions in a slow-motion lament against environmental degradation, loss, and rapacious capitalism." Yes. It is that, powerfully.

But I was also there for foraging clams at low tide, in among the mangrove spiracles:





And for hopping from prop root to prop root, looking for snails (though the kids did complain about the mosquitos).



Beautiful place to live...



... very different from futuristic Singapore**



At one point Phalla sings a beautiful song about the mangroves. "The beauty of the mangrove forest / rivals the palace gardens" So right.

mangrove seedling



And Phalla goes to see the palace gardens, so to speak: in Singapore she visits an artificially created cloud forest. "Lost World," the exhibit is called. Please do not touch, the signs admonish. "Camelia," Phalla says. "I've only heard the name. Now I see its face."



Back in Cambodia, watching the dredgers, she says, "The law has given us all kinds of freedoms. Here we only have the right to sit, shed tears, and witness the destruction." ... I would like to say something in answer to that, but I think maybe the appropriate thing is to sit, witness, and maybe shed tears.

Thanks for sharing this with me, [personal profile] osprey_archer!


Lost World from Go Project Films on Vimeo.



**Don't take this entry to be anti-Singapore. You can point out a wrong practice without condemning a country (or person or organization or....) wholesale.

Tanna

Jan. 21st, 2018 11:51 pm
asakiyume: actually nyiragongo (ruby lake)
Tanna is a love story based on a real-life incident that happened in the 1980s among the Yakel, a people of Vanuatu. I saw the gorgeous trailer for it some time back, and then [personal profile] ladyherenya's posting about it the other day made me realize that I could now see it on DVD.

The film is acted by the Yakel themselves, playing themselves: Chief Charlie plays Chief Charlie, the shaman plays the shaman, and so on. The director (an Australian) and the actors would go over what was going to happen in each scene, and then the actors would essentially improvise. The whole thing is in the Yakel language, with subtitles.

It's beautiful, and tremendously moving. Of course the young lovers are beautiful people who win your heart, but everybody is wonderful. I fell in love with Selin, the little sister of Wawa (the young woman), and with Chief Charlie. It wasn't just--or even mainly--the lovers' devotion to each other that was so moving (although it, too, was moving): it was the care and concern everyone in the village had for Wawa and Dain (her lover), trying to get them to go along with tradition--which would mean giving each other up. Wawa's grandfather has an old magazine with Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip in it. He says, See, she had to marry him,** but they grew to love each each other, and she's a queen. And her grandmother says, I had to move here as a bride, but I've never regretted it. And the chief talks to Dain and explains how important it is for peace for Wawa to marry into the enemy Imedin community. And even after Wawa and Dain defy their community, everyone is still trying to find ways to make things work out.

And there's a volcano, Yahul. It sounds like the ocean, or like the whoosh of a fetal heartbeat on ultrasound. At one point the lovers embrace, silhouetted against its fire. "My favorite part was when the lovers met at the volcano. That was beautiful," said the grandmother, speaking in a clip on the actors' reaction to the film. (Marceline, the little girl who plays Selin, said "I couldn't stop smiling, seeing me on the screen," and her father said, "I was so proud of her acting, and I was emotional watching her. I was so overjoyed I cried.")



The song that inspired the movie (spoilers) )


**In point of fact, their marriage was a love marriage, or at least so my British husband tells me--but when you're trying to persuade your granddaughter to do the right thing, you might not be beyond misrepresenting things--or maybe that's what he actually believed... and maybe he's right
asakiyume: (Em)
Who found this image and story of a tiny floating shelter that, as she says, looks like it could be from Mermaid's Hands! The houses in Mermaid's Hands are made of salvaged wood and roofed with thatch, but with corrugated metal over the kitchen portion, but people living in Mermaid's Hands are adaptable and would love the painting on the side.


Source

It was found floating 180 miles south of Grand Isle, Louisiana. Pen Pal starts with Em wondering what would happen if she could detach her house and have it go floating free--I guess this little house was finding out! (It turned out to have been a floating dock in Key West, Florida--so that's quite a journey it went on.)

Gotta love the art ♥
asakiyume: (Em reading)







Since he was five years old, Toby, who is in England, has been sending letters to strangers in countries around the world. He and his mother read up about each country, and based partly on that reading and partly on Toby's own interests, he comes up with questions he wants to ask. He handwrites the letters and sends them off. (The names and address of people to write to seem to come from well-wishers on the Internet and probably friends of friends of his parents.) So far he's sent out 906 letters and received back 386 postcards and letters. The website his parents have set up, writingtotheworld.com, includes pages with all the letters he's written, plus the replies he's received. Some of his letters have been collected into a book, but the project is still ongoing.

Toby's letter to Francis in Liberia

(reply here)

And here is Toby's letter to Nathaniel in Kyrgystan. This pattern--where the recipient is not actually from the country but is living there--seems more common than the case with Francis, above, who is actually Liberian.

(Reply here.)

Here is Toby in a Youtube video:


Fun project!
asakiyume: (Kaya)






If you know your mother tongue and then you widen out to learn all the languages of the world, that's empowerment. If you know all the languages of the world and not your mother tongue, that is not empowerment: that is enslavement.
--Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o


I've heard the phrase "decolonizing the mind" tossed about a lot, but didn't know until last night that the book Decolonising the Mind was written by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o, a seminal Kenyan writer who's very active in supporting mother tongues and encouraging translation and understanding across less-dominant languages. He's giving a lecture at the nearby university today, but yesterday there was a much more intimate event: a screening of a film about him by the Kenyan director Ndirangu Wachanga, followed by a conversation with the two of them.

Ndirangu Wachanga (photo source)

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o (photo source)



Read more... )


Is English an African language?

In interviewing African intellectuals, Wachanga likes to ask that question. No? Yes? Partially? The responses and reasoning people gave were absorbing. Ngũgĩ had lots to say about it--and so did one of the audience members, during the question-and-answer session. She came to America as a young child, with her mother. She said, "When I'm with my Chinese friends, we all talk in English--but when they go home, they talk in Chinese. When I'm with my Brazilian friends, we all talk in English--but when they go home, they talk in Portuguese. But when I go home, I talk in English." There wasn't a chance for her to finish her thought and say how she felt about that, or what her own feelings were on the question of English as an African language, but even just as much as she said was thought provoking.

All in all, it was such an energizing experience. I came away with so many things I want to read and think about, and so many people--featured in Wachanga's film--whom I want to find out more about. Three commentators in particular: Wangui Wa Goro (a translator), Grant Farred (quoted above; he's a professor of English and African studies), and Dagmawi Woubshet, an Ethiopian (but teaching in the United States) scholar of African and African American literature. Those three were especially passionate.





asakiyume: (Em reading)
A friend on Tumblr introduced me to this short-film series by Cecile Emeke, "Strolling," which Emeke describes as "connecting the scattered stories of the black diaspora."

These videos let you fall into conversation with complete strangers. It's not really conversation, of course; it's monologue (even in the first one embedded below, each of the people takes turns talking to you-the-viewer rather than talking to each other), but the intensity with which they address you, and the inherent interest of the things they're talking about, make you feel like it's important you're there.

All of the conversations are with people of color, and so all of them talk about the experience of *being* a person of color--but not (mainly) in the United States: elsewhere. As [livejournal.com profile] aliettedb and others have pointed out, racism in the United States is not the only style and pattern of racism, and it's really enlightening to hear people talk about what it's like elsewhere.

But that's not the only thing that the people talk about by any means. The young woman in France talks about how what makes fast-food jobs so exhausting is the emotional effort of being sociable and smiling all the time, and about what makes something true, and the two in Jamaica talk about Patois and the language of education there, for example. I've only watched the two below, but I love them and intend to watch the rest, a bit at a time.








asakiyume: (bluebird)
My friend [livejournal.com profile] dudeshoes told me about a nonprofit that employed refugees to make granola. My first thought was, Yay! welcoming refugees! Followed by ... Making granola? It seemed sort of out of left field.

But then I asked myself, what kind of project would I imagine that would be better? I had some inarticulate sense that the project should highlight refugees' own cultures--but that's a tall order if you're bringing together people from many different countries. You want common ground. Granola is part of America's culinary heritage, so people can be learning something about their new home while simultaneously learning stuff relating to entrepreneurship in a friendly, fun way.

And granola is a good choice for marketing purposes: it's a food that sits in the overlap space of breakfast cereal and snack, ordinary daily item and small luxury. Unlike bread or cookies, it's got a long shelf life, so it makes a good item to ship. Oats, the base ingredient, aren't too expensive--unlike, say, chocolate.

I liked the name of the nonprofit, too: Beautiful Day. I went to the Granola Project page and ordered some bags. They were delicious! Full of enthusiasm, I ordered Christmas gifts for family members.

They sent me an end-of-year letter that came in this beautiful card:



All the people in the picture have stories. Devote, on the far right, is from the Democratic Republic of Congo and was on the run from militias for 17 years. Siyad, standing next to her, fled Somalia and spent 19 years in a refugee camp in Kenya. Vivian and Evon, the other two women, are Assyrian Christians from Iraq. And Kenneth Cooper, the executive director, was born in Vietnam during the war and lived in a different country each year of his childhood. He writes,

Customers and supporters [have taken] a personal stake in extending hospitality (sometimes even jobs) to refugees. And, in an interesting sort of reversal, making and selling granola became a way for our refugee employees to extend hospitality to you, their new community.

I really love this project now.


asakiyume: (feathers on the line)






The other day I found out that the Daasanach people of Ethiopia make gorgeous headdresses using bottle caps. I've always liked bottle caps: they're pretty colors, nice shapes, and they make a great noise. I like pretty much any art that uses them, and self adornment? Brilliant.

They give a sense of abundance and joy. Here are a couple of examples:


Source

This I like because the beads remind me of acorns--a headdress combining acorns and bottle caps is fabulous.


Photo by the talented Eric Lafforgue, a portrait artist I love. Source

I wonder if I could decorate a hairband with bottle caps and acorns.


asakiyume: (far horizon)






This morning I caught Living on Earth, a radio show about the environment. They were talking about the Paris Climate Conference, and their last segment was a poem, "Tell Them," by Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner, from the Marshall Islands. I was lying in bed--the radio was on in the kitchen, but my attention was pulled: soon I was listening intently. It's a long poem, and I don't think I should put the whole thing here without asking permission (you can read it here), but here are some parts that I especially liked:


tell them our islands were dropped
from a basket
carried by a giant
tell them we are the hollow hulls
of canoes as fast as the wind
slicing through the Pacific sea ...

tell them we are styrofoam cups of Kool-Aid red
waiting patiently for the ilomij
we are papaya-golden sunsets bleeding
into a glittering, open sea
we are skies uncluttered
majestic and sweeping in their landscape
tell them we are dusty rubber slippers
swiped
from concrete doorsteps ...

we are children flinging
like rubber bands
across a road clogged with chugging cars
tell them
we only have one road ...

tell them some of us
are old fishermen who believe that God
made us a promise
tell them some of us
are a little more skeptical
but most importantly you tell them
that we don't want to leave
that we've never wanted to leave
and that we
are nothing without our islands.


Jaier Juano and family; photo by 黒忍者 on Flickr (click through)
Jaier Juano and family

ETA: Regarding the Climate Change Agreement reached today, Al Jazeera reports,

In a victory for small island nations threatened by rising seas, the agreement includes a section recognizing "loss and damage" associated with climate-related disasters.
asakiyume: (feathers on the line)
Do you know about plarn, yarn made from plastic bags? You can knit or crochet it and make beautiful, durable items--like this bag that [livejournal.com profile] darkpaisley made for me, years ago, from Stop & Shop bags.



Discarded plastic bags are more than just an ugly nuisance in the West African nation of the Gambia. There, plastic shopping bags kill livestock that eat them and provide a breeding ground for malaria-carrying mosquitos. A woman named Isatou Ceesay found an ingenious solution. She learned how to make plarn, and, with her friends, started crocheting small change purses from the discarded plastic bags, which she and her friends sold. The trash problem--and attendant health risks--disappeared, and Isatou and her friends had a new source of income. The project was so successful that Isatou started teaching women in other villages, and in 2012 she won the International Alliance for Women's World of Difference award.

Isatou Ceesay Photos by Smelter Mountain on Flickr (used with permission)




Miranda Paul, a writer who has lived and taught in the Gambia, wrote about Isatou in One Plastic Bag: Isatou Ceesay and the Recycling Women of the Gambia (illustrated by the fabulous Elizabeth Zunon).

An LJ friend put me in touch with Miranda, and I asked her some questions about One Plastic Bag, writing, and her time in the Gambia. Her answers are thought-provoking and inspiring.

You lived and taught in the Gambia a few times over the course of several years. How has your time there changed the way you live in the United States?

All of our experiences shape the way we live in some way, especially significant ones such as my time(s) in the Gambia. Of course, I'm even more conscious about using resources and generating trash now, but that's not the only way my travels have changed me. I've learned the importance of having many relationships and connections, which is hard to admit for those of us who are introverted or like being alone. In Gambia, your network of people is often your greatest asset, your biggest resource. I make it a point not to "hole up" here in the U.S. and to try to keep in touch with people (offline).

As a follow-up, how has writing One Plastic Bag changed your outlook (on recycling, women’s empowerment, entrepreneurship—anything!)

Watching the success of Isatou's project in Njau has led me to firmly believe that the most productive development, empowerment, etc. happens because the leaders are insiders. I've seen many foreigners try to come in and start charities or projects, and they tend to fail or fizzle in time. But Peggy Sedlak, the Peace Corps Volunteer in the book, who helped Isatou and the women get their co-op running, deserves kudos for setting it up in a way in which the women took ownership and leadership of the project. Listening and being flexible was important to all of them, and the Women Initiative Gambia program has become one of the most successful (and longest-lasting) Peace Corps inspired projects in the Gambia.

Read more: interacting with schoolchildren, being involved with We Need Diverse Books )

Thank you, Miranda, for spending some time here with me! And thanks for all that you do with children and building community--it's wonderful.



asakiyume: (Kaya)






A couple of days ago, NPR had a story about a remarkable short film, "Present Tense," made by teens in the fishing village of Matemwe, in Zanzibar.



It was about the horrible educational bind they're in: having been educated in Swahili in primary school, they're expected to continue their education in English in secondary school. The courses are taught in English--but the students don't know English. Furthermore, neither do their teachers, as fluency in English isn't required of graduates from teachers college.

We cannot understand our exam papers


The teacher speaks English, but I don't understand what he speaks about.
This is our problem in the class: he must speak English, but the students don't understand.



The well water has a lot of bad things and salt. If I have a lot of education, I will change this situation ...
If I'm an engineer, I will build new and good wells.



The teens made the film with the help of a retired pilot, who submitted it to EYE Want Change, a British film festival with a social consciousness bent. Their film won first place--but even better, the government of Zanzibar announced a change in its education policy: although English will still be taught as a foreign language, the language of instruction in secondary school will be Swahili.


asakiyume: (Kaya)
On June 4, Irom Sharmila will be in court in Delhi, which is to say, she'll be in a court that can capture the national eye (not so true of her appearances in court in Imphal, in the northeastern state of Manipur). The charge against her (attempted suicide, because of her hunger strike) is spurious, and worse, has the pernicious effect of distracting attention from her intention, which is to protest an unjust law--the Armed Forces Special Protection Act. People can be tempted to focus on getting her released, and yet, if she were just straight-up released, she'd very quickly die. The only way to truly save her is to work for the repeal of the AFSPA.


(image source)


Unfortunately, even in Manipur itself, there are those who benefit from the status quo. One journalist who has reported extensively on Manipur and AFSPA writes, "The political leadership, bureaucracy, Army and the insurgent groups all benefit from its biggest industry, AFSPA, and thus perpetuate its continuance" (Source).

How can things change? I don't know. But if it's so hard for the government in Delhi, the government in Manipur, and the army to disintangle from this law, then . . . maybe could the law be hollowed out from within? Could members of the armed forces be asked to make pledges to never violate civilian rights, and could there be rewards for honoring those pledges? Could development funds be tied to policies of inclusivity that assured that economic benefits extended to all ethnic groups and even to former insurgents? How do ordinary citizens in Manipur want things to go? What problems of daily life are most important to them? I cast about for ideas, but I'm not well informed about all the nuances of the situation on the ground, and it's not for me to suggest or conclude anything. I can only watch from the sidelines, biting my nails, and hoping.


asakiyume: (Timor-Leste nia bandiera)







This description came from someone's article in Australian Road Rider about a motorbike trip around East Timor:

I’ve never seen a road being handmade before. There were young men and boys placing river pebbles and stones in a neat arrangement, others tended fires on which 44-gallon drums of tar rested. A few men had ladles on long poles which they dipped into the drums of molten tar then carried to the stone sections and poured.

Source: "East Timor: Land of Children"

Here's a photo of roadbuilding in Timor-Leste from 2010, courtesy of Wikipedia:



asakiyume: (birds to watch over you)






Today a dramatic and tragic message-in-a-bottle story came my way. Janis Blower, writing in the Shields Gazette, tells the story of a bottle that washed up in 1861 in South Shields, downstream from Newcastle upon Tyne in Great Britain. The whole story is here, but below are some excerpts:

The letter, which was dated February of the previous year, began: “Dear Friends, when you find this, the crew of the ill-fated ship Horatio, Captain Jackson, of Norwich, is no more.” It went on to say how the vessel had left Archangel, in north-west Russia, on January 8, 1860.

All was well at first, but then the ship found herself scudding before a gale for 10 days non-stop.

After a failed rescue attempt, the crew was reduced to eight, plus the master and mate, second mate, and two boys:

“We are not able to keep her up,” Capt Jackson wrote, describing 8ft of water in the hold and the vessel’s hatches all stove in. “We are worn out.”

He went on: “I write these few lines and commit them to the foaming deep in hopes that they will reach some kind-hearted friend who will be so good as to find out the friends of these poor suffering mortals.

“Death is welcome.”

He concluded the letter by listing the names of all those aboard.

Blower hasn't been able to find a ship called Horatio that was lost at that time. “Did she go down, was she saved? We'll probably never know,” she writes.

ETA: [livejournal.com profile] oiktirmos has a link to the complete text of the message in the first comment, below.

ETA 2: But quite likely this is just a dramatic hoax; see this comment, below.

Blower says that this image, which accompanies the story, is from the area where the bottle was found, but probably dates to the interwar years in the twentieth century.



asakiyume: (Kaya)
I read a really good blog post about the "Do-Gooder Industrial Complex," which offered alternative outlooks on aid, poverty, volunteerism, etc. (specifically in an international context) to the ones fostered by the Do-Gooder Industrial Complex. I was nodding vigorously as I read. But the article ended with a link to the "Two-Dollar Challenge." Almost half the world's population lives on less than two dollars a day, the site says. It exhorts readers to try living on two dollars a day for a couple of days in order to "push ... outside your comfort zone to critically engage with, and empathetically reevaluate global poverty and your role in its end."

This challenge strikes me as wrong in so many ways.

problems with the two-dollar challenge )

What would be a better way to push people outside their comfort zones and get them to "empathetically reevaluate global poverty"? I'd recommend one of the following challenges:

Try living on the number of calories much of the world have to live on. This is a much more honest assessment of how their resources match their needs. US average caloric intake is 3770.[ETA: dubious. The source is the UK Daily Mail. The US Centers for Disease Control estimates a still quite hearty high 2000s (Source)] In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the average caloric intake is 1590 (Source) Muslim refugees in the Central African Republic only were getting 850 calories a day (source).

This challenge already exists: 850 Calories

Or, try drinking, cooking, and bathing with only three to five gallons of water a day. That's how much water people in sub-Saharan Africa live on, on average, per day. Americans, by comparison, use 100–150 gallons of water a day. (Source) You probably wouldn't have time in your day to also carry this water the hour or two hours it takes many young people in different parts of the world to fetch water home, but you could add that in as a bonus.

Well! That was quite a rant. Glad to get that off my chest.


asakiyume: (cloud snow)






Ed Ou: The North

I've been wanting to share the amazing photo essays of Ed Ou--in particular, one of life in Nunavut. Never have I felt I got to know life in a distant place so well merely from pictures as I did from looking through this collection. Warning: There are scenes of hunting and its aftermath in this--which is part of life in Nunavut--so don't go to the link if that will upset you.

Ed Ou: The North


Ed Ou: The North


The choices Ed made in who to photograph, and where, really give such a whole, compassionate, intimate picture of life in the Arctic. I loved them. And we're having our own Nunavut-like temperatures here this weekend, so--well, it's a tenuous sort of connection, but a connection.

Here's my own photo of our bright star, caught in the trees and not conveying much warmth this morning



Rhysling nomination

I was so moved and touched to receive a Rhysling nomination for my poem "The Peal Divers." It's been so long since I wrote poetry--that was one poem that came to me in the midst of my poetry desert. With just one poem to my name in 2014, it never occurred to me to even consider awards. And yet someone, some member of the SFPA, remembered it and nominated it. I'm humbled and grateful.

Pop Sonnets

popsonnets.tumblr.com recasts pop lyrics as sonnets. Very fun. Here's "Baby Got Back."


asakiyume: (Em)
I believe I've mentioned Nicola White and mudlarking before: mudlarking is scavenging for found items on the banks of the Thames. Nicola White, an artist, keeps a blog of her finds--a marvelous blog (link here; the top entry is on vulcanite screw bottle stoppers: fascinating).

One thing she looks for in particular is messages in bottles. The BBC did a five-minute report on her search for the messages of the Thames. She reckons that about one in every 200 bottles that she finds has a message in it. She has words of advice for message writers, too: write in pencil, as the sun tends to bleach the ink in pen messages.



Today on Twitter she posted this magnificent mermaid that she came across. It's made of some sort of cast metal, and she thinks it may have religious significance:



Here's a post she did on votive images and other religious items she's found by the water's edge.


asakiyume: (miroku)
Earlier this year I talked about how IRIN, an award-winning, Nairobi-based news network that operated under the auspices of the United Nations, was going to be shut down. (Entry here.) I started a "Save IRIN" petition, and the petition and people's outcry did get a bit of coverage, but it was clear that willy-nilly, the UN was going to "spin off" the network, which would only survive if it got funding from somewhere.

Well, a funder has been found: IRIN made the announcement of its relaunch yesterday, saying

A new beginning starting January 1, 2015 will be made possible with an initial commitment of US $25 million, to be disbursed over several years, from the Hong Kong-based Jynwel Charitable Foundation. The new IRIN will be based in Switzerland, with support from the UK- based Overseas Development Institute’s (ODI) Humanitarian Policy Group. (Source)

Their relaunch video has the tagline, local voices, expert analysis:

IRIN Teaser from New IRIN on Vimeo.

I'm glad IRIN will continue to exist; their reporting really is excellent. I wish they could have maintained more of their reporters on salary; going forward, it seems that most (all?) will now have "contributor" status ("A network of 150 contributors will be edited by a small team of specialists, analysts and reporters" --"What We Do"), which I imagine as being essentially freelance status. But that's journalism today, I guess, and I shouldn't let that fact dim the overall good news about IRIN's reprieve.


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