Democracy Now! December 16, 2002

Program Title:
Democracy Now! December 16, 2002
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The second-highest ranking Senate Republican calls for a meeting to consider Trent Lott s ouster: we go to Jackson, Mississippi, where African-Americans are holding a protest against the segregationist Republican; India lurches further to the fundamentalist religious right as the Hindu Nationalist party wins in a landslide in Gujarat: a citizens tribunal recently concluded the leader of the party perpetuated the riots that left 2,000 dead, most of them Muslim.; George W. Bush could succeed where Osama Bin Laden failed in provoking a clash of civilizations between Islam and the West : interview with author Dilip Hiro

9:00-9:01 Billboard 9:01-9:06 Headlines 9:06-9:07 One Minute Music Break 9:07-9:20: Sen. Don Nickles of Oklahoma has become the first Republican Senator to ask his colleagues to consider replacing Trent Lott as the party s leader. Nickles is the second-ranking Republican in the Senate, behind Trent Lott, and according to the New York Times, has long had designs on Lott s job. Lott sparked an outcry last week after he said the US would be in a better place if Strom Thurmond had been elected president in 1948 when he ran behind the slogan "Segregation Forever." Under Senate Republican rules, Nickles would need the support of four other senators to convene a meeting to consider Lott's fate. Over the weekend, Republican supporters of Lott tried to assure Lott s survival as Senate Republican Leader. They dispatched allies to TV and radio talk shows and planned appearances for Lott before African-American groups. But the conservative New York Post called for Lott to step down, and the Sunday New York Times ran an in-depth story on Lott s segregationist career. Lott was head of his fraternity at the University of Mississippi. He made the cheerleading squad and became known for carrying the school banner, the Confederate battle flag, onto the field at football games. Lott fiercely opposed integration at his university, known as Ole Miss. Lott s mother wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper who was denouncing racial violence and anti-integration efforts. She wrote: you are truly an integrationist and I hope you not only get a hole through your office door but through your stupid head. Trent Lott also helped lead the Southern opposition to the integration of his fraternity, Sigma Nu. After graduation, Lott worked for Mississippi Congressman William Colmer, one of Washington's staunchest supporters of segregation and opponents of civil rights. Lott s duties included responded to mail. In July 1969, Justeen Strange wrote, "Mississippi is no more, thanks to our politicians, we are slaves to the gorilla race, our proud white race is now in servitude to the NAACP jews and negroes." Lott politely replied he was "not insulted" by the letter, but added, "I was just disappointed that you were not more appreciative of my efforts in behalf of sound government and against the things you complained of." Guest: Stephanie Parker Weaver, executive secretary of the Mississippi Southern Christian Leadership Conference 9:20-9:21 One-Minute Music Break 9:21-9:40: The ruling Hindu nationalist party in India won a landslide victory in the western state of Gujarat, after what the London Guardian calls the most contentious election campaign in modern Indian history. The ruling Bharatiya Janata party, or BJP, now has a two-thirds majority in the new state assembly. The sweep is a huge victory for Gujarat's controversial leader, BJP member Narendra Modi. Earlier this year, Modi presided over the worst riots in India for a decade. Nearly sixty Hindus were killed on a train in Gujarat last February. Reprisal killings of Muslims convulsed the state for weeks. In the bloody month of March, armed Hindu mobs targeted Muslim- owned homes and businesses across Gujarat, raped and killed hundreds of women, and burned Muslim men alive. Police and state officials stood by and watched. By the time the state finally took control of the mobs, over 150,000 people had lost their homes, and at least 2,000 people were dead. Dozens of human rights reports have indicted Gujarat Chief Minister Modi and his government for complicity in the reprisal killings of Muslims. Last month a citizens tribunal led by former Indian high court judges concluded that last spring's attacks were "an organized crime perpetuated by the state's chief minister and his government". Leading up to this weekend s elections, Modi campaigned repeatedly invoked the deaths of Hindus in the riots. Campaign posters plastered across the state depict Modi beside a burning railway car. At one campaign stop, he roared: Merchants of death, you are killing people, you are attacking our country, we will not leave you, we will not give you any space in Gujarat. The firebrand international general secretary of the World Hindu Council Pravin Togadia declared Sunday: "Gujarat is the graveyard of secular politics. He said in two years India will be a pure Hindu nation. Guest: Miranda Kennedy, reporter with Free Speech Radio News and former Democracy Now! producer, who is on the ground in Gujarat. Contact:,, Guest: Amit Sengupta, senior editor at the Hindustan Times and social activist based in Delhi. Guest: Sheba George, director, Sahrwaru, a women s action organization based in Ahmedebad, the largest city in Gujarat Tape: Ela Gandhi, granddaughter of Mahatma Gandhi, who is from Gujarat. Ela Gandhi is a Member of Parliament in South Africa with the African National Congress party. She lives in Durban. Last week she came to back to Gujarat, the state where her grandfather was born, to raise her voice against the religious violence that swept the state 9 months ago. She is interviewed by Miranda Kennedy 9:40-9:41 One Minute Music Break 9:41-9:58: George W. Bush could succeed where Osama bin Laden failed in provoking a clash of civilizations between Islam and the West by launching a pre-emptive attack on Iraq. These are some of the concluding words of Dilip Hiro in his latest book Iraq: In the Eye of the Storm. Author of more than a dozen books on the Middle East, Dilip Hiro writes regularly for the Observer, Guardian, Washington Post and the Nation, and is a frequent commentator on CNN, BBC, and various other American and British radio and television channels. He joins us today in our firehouse studios. Guest: Dilip Hiro, author, Iraq: In the Eye of the Storm and War Without End: the Rise of Islamist Terrorism and Global Response 9:58-9:59 Outro and Credits Democracy Now! is produced by Kris Abrams, Mike Burke, Angie Karran, Ana Nogiera and Alex Wolfe. Mike Di Filippo is our music maestro and engineer.

Date Recorded on: 
December 16, 2002
Date Broadcast on: 
December 16, 2002
Item duration: 
59 min.
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WBAI; Amy Goodman, host., December 16, 2002
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