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To the Best of Our Knowledge: Living Democracy Radio/TV Program

To the Best of Our Knowledge: Living Democracy

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Publisher's Summary

In this hour, Salman Ahmad grew up in both Pakistan and the United States. Trained as an M.D., Ahmad has traded in his stethoscope for a guitar and performs with his group, Junoon. They’ve sold 25 million albums and are wildly popular in Asia. Ahmad is a devout Muslim and tells Anne Strainchamps that he sees nothing in his religion that forbids music, and explains why he thinks some clerics are so strict. And we hear some of his music.

Then, before there was Wikileaks, before there was Wikipedia… Before there was Facebook and Twitter and blogs… there was a computer programmer named Ward Cunningham. He’s the guy who, back in 1995, invented the wiki. He also did something even more radical. He didn’t patent it. He passed up billions of dollars in potential revenue, because he believed the internet needed to be more democratic. And why did he invent the wiki in the first place?

Next, you wouldn’t think the novel Lolita would go over big in an underground women’s book club in Tehran. But literature, like the people who read it, has a way of surprising you. Azar Nafizi is the author of the celebrated memoir Reading Lolita in Tehran. She was an English professor at the University of Tehran – until she was expelled for refusing to wear a veil. That’s when she began meeting with a few of her former students at her home every week, to talk about the forbidden classics of Western literature. She tells Steve Paulson about the first time they met.

Many things can evoke a memory. Like a smell. Or a touch. When Mamek Khadem wanted to evoke the memory of her native Iran during the Islamic revolution in 1979, she did it with music. Her project began when a friend in Tehran needed a soundtrack for an art installation commemorating the anniversary of the revolution. The exhibition included a photo of a baby in a bassinet with the hand of a mother rocking it. Khadem immediately thought of lullabies. And then of songs of the revolution. Songs from the Left and the Right that were sung in the streets during the revolution. So she combined them with traditional lullaby tunes. Here’s Mamek Khadem talking with Anne Strainchamps about Goodnight Songs of the Revolution.

And finally, the Democratic Convention in 1968 was eclipsed by the violence in Chicago between the police and the anti-war protesters. This hour, we look back at the legacy of the sixties: Tom Hayden, one of the founders of Students for a Democratic Society and later a State Assemblyman and Senator in California, talks with Steve Paulson. [Broadcast Date: August 31, 2012]

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