Nelson Mandela’s Favorite Shakespeare Passage

Located off the coast of Capetown, South Africa, Robben Island has been used to hold anti-apartheid insurgents and outcasts since the end of the 1800s. Revolutionaries, lepers, and political prisoners have all called Robben Island home. Most notably, Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison as an inmate at Robben Island. While … Continue reading

Relating to a Plea from China

Last month a Falun Gong practitioner and former prisoner in China admitted to writing a letter found by an Oregonian woman in her K-mart Halloween decorations. The letter alleges the product was made in a Chinese labor camp by prisoners who work 15 hours a day and face torture and abuse. It requests, “Sir: If … Continue reading

Samizdat: Underground Resistance Made Public

Samizdat means “self-published.” A Russian term, it refers to any underground publication banned during Communist rule in the USSR and Soviet bloc. It includes essays, books, art, poems – whether original or copied, it was all illegal. Yesterday I attended the opening of Samizdat: The Czech Art of Resistance 1968-1989 at the Embassy of the … Continue reading

Tweets Re: North Korean Gulags

Thank you to everyone who followed along yesterday with my live tweets from the Hidden Gulag conference here in DC. It was a really fascinating event, and as you could probably tell I tried to capture as much as possible on Twitter. Before I post any further thoughts and resources, I wanted to give you … Continue reading

Mob Guilt and Mob Mercy

Last night I saw Parade at Ford’s Theatre. Lucky SOBs: they scheduled a musical about the wrongful imprisonment and execution of a man in Georgia at conveniently the exact same time the Troy Davis case entered national consciousness. Add to that the looming seat stage left, draped in flags for an assassinated President Lincoln, then … Continue reading

Good News Friday

Better late than never! Here’s some good news to take into your weekend: Rise of Activism Against Child Slavery in the Uzbek Cotton Industry: After a somewhat successful petition on Change.org meant to raise awareness for and protest the use of forced child labor in the cotton industry, activists are riding the momentum to demand … Continue reading

FELA! Opens in DC

As the audience gathered into Shakespeare Theatre Company’s Sydney Harman Hall for the opening night of FELA! in DC, I hoped all the congressional staffers making their way inside enjoyed a good happy hour beforehand. FELA! is, after all, an Afrobeat musical. Some fans came prepared, dancing in the aisles. Others came straight from work … Continue reading

Doubt, Execution, and Collective Bloodlust

This week my Twitter account went all a-flutter over a man named Troy Davis. Troy Davis has served on Georgia’s death row for 20 years now, found guilty based on the testimonies of key witnesses. In the two decades since his conviction of murdering a police officer, 7 of the 9 witnesses have recanted or … Continue reading

Wikileaks Prompts New School of the Americas Debate

A student from the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (WHINSEC, formerly SOA) moves to secure a target during a joint field training exercise. Photo courtesy U.S. Navy — A few years ago I wrote and produced an audio piece on the School of the Americas, a rather controversial military training camp located at Ft. … Continue reading

Let Africa’s Children Be Your Valentine

Valentine’s Day is coming up, and to celebrate it slave-free, you might want to plan ahead. Here are a few ways to support the abolitionist movement this February: Get Hershey to do the right thing. This year a lot of anti-trafficking organizations are fighting the chocolate industry by focusing their attention on Hershey. Hershey continues … Continue reading

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