Democracy Now! March 21, 2003

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Democracy Now! March 21, 2003
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Bridge to Baghdad : on this second day of war, students in Baghdad talk with students in New York students; 1,500 arrested in San Francisco as millions more take to the streets around the globe: We hear the voices of dissent from around the country; The new Afghanistan? U.S. launches a major attack in Afghanistan and is outfitting militias: we speak with an Afghan-American woman in Kandahar who is investigating why 19 members of her family were killed in US bombing; Inside Baghdad: Democracy Now! correspondent Jeremy Scahill reports on what Iraqis fear

9:00-9:01 Billboard: 9:01-9:06 Headlines 9:06-9:07 One Minute Music Break 9:07-9:20: Today, part two of our discussion on Bridge to Baghdad. Yesterday we talked about how 12-time Emmy award-winning TV journalist Jon Alpert wanted to create dialogue and bring the voices of ordinary Iraqis to ordinary Americans. He traveled to Baghdad last month to set up a video conference with Iraqi students in Baghdad and American students in New York. The American Museum of Radio and Television was sponsoring the event. But as Jon Alpert drove from Amman, Jordan on the road to Baghdad, they called him, and backed out. Jon produced the video dialogue anyway. When he returned to the US, not one network would air his piece. Well today, students in Iraq will talk live telephone with students here in our firehouse studio in New York. Bridge to Baghdad, an excerpt Guest: Jon Alpert, veteran TV reporter and journalist, 12-time Emmy award winner, and founder of Downtown Community Television in New York City Contact: Guest: Walid Gafa, student in Baghdad Guest: Hibba Al-Soudani, student in Baghdad Guest: Katrina Baker, student in New York Guest: Alcy Montas, student in New York 9:20-9:21 One-minute music break 9:21-9:35: And millions of people across the globe took to the streets yesterday to protest the U.S. led war in Iraq. Police in riot gear arrested more than 1,500 anti-war demonstrators in San Francisco: the most arrests in a single day protest in that city in 22 years. Momentum built throughout the day as spontaneous protests erupted in different parts of the city. Many of the arrested were held in open-air pens erected in the streets. A man jumped to his death from the Golden Gate Bridge after handing police a note that reportedly contained a declaration opposing the war. 107 people were arrested for blocking the federal courthouse in Philadelphia. Thousands of demonstrators snarled traffic along Chicago s main arteries, breaking through lines of police on horseback. Student protestors at UC Berkley occupied the main administration building for more than two hours. 120 students were arrested. During rush hour in New York City, demonstrators pushed past police barricades in Times Square halting traffic on Broadway for two hours. Also in New York, September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows marched against a war they felt was unjustified and illegal. 100 demonstrators shut down a major bridge connecting Virginia to Washington D.C. s Georgetown neighborhood. Protests were also reported in dozens of cities throughout the nation including Seattle, Portland, Houston and Pittsburgh among others. U.S. based anti-war groups like United for Peace and Justice, International ANSWER and Stop the War Coalition in Britain are planning large demonstrations in New York and London on Saturday. The U.S. has closed several of its consulates in Australia, including the one in Sydney, as a second day of anti-war protests gets underway there. 25,000 people have taken to the streets in Melbourne. Outside the Victorian state Trades Hall thousands wait in drenching rain to hear anti-war messages from union leaders, a Gulf War veteran and local celebrities. In Melbourne, activists chanted U.S. Please explain, why did you install Hussein while in Sydney there are reports of rowdy demonstrations and clashes with police. Australia has contributed more than 2,000 troops to the U.S. led coalition. Protests in Athens and Cairo attracted between 150,000 and 200,000 people. There are reports of violent crackdowns against protestors gathered outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. More than 250,000 people in Germany marched against the war. In Berlin alone, more than 50,000 students walked out of their classrooms during a peaceful march to the U.S. embassy there. Thousands of French students also left their classrooms to march through Paris- where 60,000 protestors gathered in the Place de la Concorde for a peace rally. Tens of thousands of protestors in Rome participated in a torchlight march to the Coliseum. Similar protests were reported in Milan, Turin and Palermo. Students and schoolchildren gathered outside the House of Commons in London. The demonstrations there went into the night. In Spain, anti-war protestors handed parliament a petition signed by 1.2 million people denouncing the U.S. led attack. Thirteen U.S. Embassies and Consulates were shut down due to security concerns and others throughout the world were on heightened alert. Clashes were reported between police and demonstrators in Ankara, Turkey and Damascus, Syria, where several hundred protestors tried to storm the U.S. embassy. Belgian police used water cannon to repel hundreds of angry stone throwing protestors outside of the U.S. Embassy in Brussels. At least a thousand student protestors in Amman defied government edicts prohibiting anti-western protests in Jordan. Riot police charged a crowd of several hundred protestors in Warsaw, arresting 30 people. Demonstrations were also held in Vienna, Delhi and the Morrocan capital of Rabat. We go first to hear voices of protesters recorded yesterday. Then we talk to independent journalist Pratap Chatterjee for a report from San Francisco. Tape: Voices of protest recorded March 20, 2003 Guest: Pratap Chatterjee, independent journalist reporting from San Francisco 9:40 9:50: Even if you have been watching the news 24 hours a day you may have missed this story. Within an hour of the start of the U.S. invaded Iraq, U.S. forces also launched its largest attack on Afghanistan in over a year. The Pentagon says U.S. forces have launched a new assault on caves and potential hide-outs in the mountains of southern Afghanistan. This came after Washington received reports suggested high-ranking members of al Qaeda and the Taliban could be in the area. The attack was focused in the Maruf district of Kandahar province. Well about an hour ago I had a chance to speak with an Afghan-American woman who is visiting in the area, Masuda Sultan. Democracy Now! listeners may remember the story of Masuda. She was living in New York at the time of Sept. 11 and traveled back to Afghanistan a few months later only to learn a U.S. attack had killed 19 members of her families. She has returned to Afghanistan to learn what happened. Tape: Masuda Sultan, Afghan-American speaking from Kandahar. 9:50-9:58: We are joined by Democracy Now! correspondent Jeremy Scahill who has just returned from Baghdad. He has a written a cover story titled Inside Baghdad for the new issue of The Nation. It begins: There's an old Arab saying that Iraqis like to quote when talking about another US war against their country: "The wet man is not afraid of the rain." With talk of war dominating every conversation in the days just prior to the US decision to move ahead with invasion plans despite a lack of sanction, men told stories of their time in the Iraqi Army during the first Gulf War, against Iran. "I went there almost unable to grow a beard and I came back with a head of gray hair," said Ahmed, who spent seven years on the frontlines of the bloody eight-year war between Baghdad and Teheran. (As with all the ordinary Iraqis quoted in this piece, his name has been changed.) Almost every Iraqi household lost someone in the war. They had only two years to struggle for a return to any semblance of a normal life when Iraq invaded Kuwait, sparking the second Gulf War, which took the lives of more than 200,000 Iraqis. The rest, as one Iraqi put it, was "our well-known destiny." "I know war too much. With wars I am like Sylvester Stallone, like Rocky. We had too many sequels. We don't need another," said Mohammed, whose days are now consumed by sleep and his nights by listening to shortwave radio. Guest: Jeremy Scahill, Democracy Now! correspondent Link: 9:58-9:59 Outro and Credits Democracy Now! is produced by Kris Abrams, Mike Burke, Angie Karran, Ana Nogueira and Elizabeth Press. Mike Di Filippo is our music maestro and engineer.

Date Recorded on: 
March 21, 2003
Date Broadcast on: 
March 21, 2003
Item duration: 
59 min.
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WBAI; Amy Goodman, host., March 21, 2003
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