Kojo speaks with "Speak No Evil" novelist and D.C. native Uzodinma Iweala about his second novel and how his local upbringing affects his storytelling.
A verdict is reached in the Lululemon murder case. Presidential candidate Herman Cain goes on the offensive. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange loses his extradition appeal. And Greece’s bailout is in jeopardy. It’s “Your Turn” to talk about those headlines or anything else on your mind.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIIt's now Your Turn to call us on any topic you'd like to discuss. 800-433-8850 is the number to call. You can send email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Send us a tweet @kojoshow, or you can go to our website kojoshow.org. It's Your Turn. Just a few suggestions, the federal government is going to issue a new snow policy. Employees will be asked to leave early or to stay put in their offices overnight to avoid the kind of nightmare commute many had last January when a rush hour snow storm stranded some drivers for some 13 hours.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIThe government is likely to be more cautious in the first place about closing government offices ahead of storms whether they turn out to be big or small. Do you think this is a good thing or a bad thing? 800-433-8850. A lot of other organizations, local schools, non-profits, and others, follow the government lead for closings. And then there's this if you want to call us about the jury in the Lululemon murder case returned a guilty verdict for first-degree murder is less than an hour.
MR. KOJO NNAMDIFirst-degree murder is usually a very high standard to meet. The jury thought it was met because of the brutality of the crime and the time it apparently took. What do you think? 800-433-8850. This is a case that has gotten an enormous amount of press coverage. Do you think it's possible to get a truly fair trial in a case like this? 800-433-8850. Let's see what we have here. Let's go to Bart in Northern Va. Bart, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
BARTYeah. Talking about the people -- the kids of the more moderate Pakistani parents that went totally -- not radical, but extremely conservative Islam.
BARTWe had the same thing in the late '60s, early '70s here. People who went from a counter culture, and we used to call them Jesus freaks. And you could argue that they were the beginning of fundamentalist Christianity here in the U.S. They went from sex, drugs, and rock and roll to Christ.
NNAMDIExcept that we have always had a very strong evangelical movement throughout the course of our history here. So I am not sure the comparison of the people who you call the Jesus freaks can be compared to the way in which the piety...
BARTOh, no. I grew up with these people. I know the people that I'm talking about, okay?
BARTThey went from being drug dealers and drug addicts and free sex people, to being -- they actually had what I would call a religious addiction.
BARTAnd they transferred one for the other.
NNAMDIOkay. But I think what we are talking about here is another generation coming along, and in rebelling against the previous generation being involved in sex, drugs, and rock and roll, decides to become extremely religious and pious in response as a kind of a way of rebellion of protesting.
BARTBut the whole counter-culture was in rebellion against our parents in the '50s.
NNAMDIThat's the point I was making, exactly right.
BARTAnd so the counter-culture, but it swings back is the whole thing. The hippies became the Jesus freaks, or some of them did...
BART...and then ended up being yuppies.
BARTSo it's a cycle. It's a process. It's a social evolution, and...
BART...and to look at -- take a snapshot and make a judgment, I think, is a bit difficult, especially when you add our U.S. prejudice for what I -- what do you want to call them, serious Islamic believers.
NNAMDIIt's difficult, and it's quite complicated, but I think what our author was trying to do in the book "Noon," is to capture that degree of complexity in the form of a novel so that it would become even clearer to us than the complex reality that we have trouble discerning. But Bart, thank you very much for your call. I want to move on to John in Hyattsville, Md. John, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
JOHNThank you for taking my call, Kojo. I wanted to comment on the -- I thought it was a very unusual and interesting term that your previous speaker used, violent utopia, connected with the idea of Pakistan as it started out and evolved, and he mentioned a number of other places such as Syria and Iran where there were similar things, especially the rebellion of the youth in a more conservative direction. But to me, the term also applies to Israel, and the whole Zionist idea which essentially allowed and really required the ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians, and yet we don't think of -- we always think of Israel as democratic, and we go along to the point that we are, you know, we just said we're not going to give our contribution to UNESCO.
JOHNI imagine if the -- well, I don't know if it would happen, but I wonder if UNICEF allowed the Palestinians in as a full state, whether the United States government would ban children from collecting money for Unicef next Halloween. Anyway, that was my comment, and I think we totally...
NNAMDII think when our author, Aatish Taseer used the term violent utopia to describe what is going on in Pakistan, he was talking about how ideas about Utopia, and there are some, of course, who would argue that the creation of the state of Israel was such an ideal also that these ideas end up being a lot more complicated in the reality of their execution than they are in conception, and we are still working out the complexities both in the Middle East and in the thorny relationship between India and Pakistan, and the relationship between the United States and Pakistan that result from these ideas. But John, thank you very much for your call. On to Carol Ann in Bethesda, Md. Carol Ann, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
CAROL ANNHi, yeah. This is Carol Ann. I just was reading some poetry on the train last night going down to the Washington Ballet. It's by Calvin Trillin, "Deadline Poet" is the name of his book.
ANNAnd -- yeah.
NNAMDIWe've had him on about that book, but go ahead.
ANNOh, well, he's so great. He was Charlie Rose the other night with his new book. Well, okay. This is so amazingly we've, you know, kind of returned to the future. He writes the '80s re-examined. It all will trickle down the boomster said. The '80s were when no one but a kook would mention that the poor got poorer while the rich lived more and more like King Farouk. Statistics now show where the boom dough went, the middle class has hardly gained a nickel. Two-thirds went to the richest one percent. A breakthrough we produced an upward trickle. That's it.
NNAMDICarol Ann, I'm assuming that you don't consider yourself a part of the one percent?
ANNI certainly do. I certainly do. And I'm gonna go the, you know, where (unintelligible) believe it or not, is having a boycott -- Wall Street demonstration on Saturday.
NNAMDINo. I'm saying -- No. I said you don't consider yourself a part of the one percent. You consider yourself...
ANNOh, no. I don't consider myself, right.
NNAMDIThank you very much for sharing the Calvin Trillin poem with us. We move on to Barry in Redding, Pa. Barry, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
BARRYHello, Kojo. Thank you for taking the call.
BARRYI'm calling in regards to your governmental snow policies for sending everybody home early.
NNAMDIThat's right. Either leave early or stay in shelter.
BARRYI would like to put a plug in so that when there's a really bad prediction of weather for a given day or given couple of days, I think they should send everybody home for a couple of days. I honestly believe since the entire U.S. population has been taken a haircut for the last couple years, it would not be a bad idea to shut the government down for two days a month for the next couple years until we do catch up. The government people are not taking any kind of a haircut in anything, but yet their wages and salaries have gone up continually.
BARRYI'm also in favor of cutting the Post Office back to five days, and that would help them stay out of the snow as well, and make things a little bit safer...
NNAMDILet me see if I get this straight. You're making a relationship between the government's snow policy and your argument that federal employees are making too much money and that's one of the reasons that our economy is in the shape that it's in?
BARRYI'm not saying that the government employees make too much money.
BARRYI am saying that over the years, the government employees' incomes have grown on a continual basis to where it's outpaced the private market now. it used to be that you would take a government job at a lower wage, but your benefit packages would outweigh the lower wage, so over the long haul it would all balance out. Today, in today's environment, the government workers are making more than the private sector workers, plus their benefit packages are much more improved over the public sector.
NNAMDIYou know, Barry, I have had heard that assertion made before on this broadcast, and invariably when it is made, a spokesperson either for government employees' unions, or from some other government employee related organization comes back and says that is incorrect, and produces a statistic that says that that is not in fact true. What do you say/
BARRYWell, you look at -- when's the last time a government employee took a layoff? I come out of the automotive industry, and over the last 15 to 20 years, the automotive industry has taken a pretty big beating. I cannot count the number of plants that have been shut down on temporary layoffs because of the demand. Well, we've got to get to a point where the demand in the governmental services need to take a little bit of a bow as well. And the way to do that is to trim a couple of days off every month for awhile That's not a tremendous amount of money. It's not gonna hurt a given income of any family to lose a couple days a month.
NNAMDIHow about the services that those government employees provide?
BARRYWe don't have those services on Saturdays and Sundays. So what's the difference between having a holiday -- a two-day holiday every month? We don't have those services on the holidays, and I'm willing, I mean, it depends on how much you depend on the government. If we're depending on the government to make our livelihoods exist every day, then we're looking at the wrong priorities. The government's there to service us on a minor scale, not a day-to-day every day you gotta live with the government scale.
NNAMDIBarry, it is your turn, so I'm not going to make the argument that there a whole lot of government services that we get on Saturday and Sunday. I'll let somebody else make that argument for you, but thank you very much. It is indeed your turn, so we go now to Lias in Northern Va. Lias, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
LIASHey, Kojo. How you doing?
LIASI guess I just wanted to comment on like sort of the phrasing that I suppose goes on in debates. We try to frame Islam in, like, a manner of, like, religiously moderate versus religiously conservative. I guess what I want to say is that if somebody grew up in an Islamic household and now considers themselves non-religious and who are atheists, I can say pretty overtly that going -- for instance, being in my college environment, I've figured out that a lot of the people who are the most religious, in fact, and most pious, have interactive lifestyles that many of us in America consider to be secular.
LIASSo I'm worried about like the narritivation (sic) of being pious, you know. Some people I know who are pretty devout Christians are also pacifists, anarchists, people who espouse some form of free sexuality. I mean, I don't like the framing of things as someone is this way and conservative and that is religious. The Islam that I was born into as a child and learned about has never been framed in that manner, and I guess I just wanted to say that.
NNAMDIHow do you think it should be framed?
LIASI think it should be framed in a way that dignifies I think parties more so than like labeling them, you know, this person isn't religious and this person is, and we should look into like the nuance and hybridity of that. Because I think that what's interesting about religion is that in many ways sometimes we see the cultural associations that go on with religion sort of crowd out what a religious text is or says, and, you know, there are ways of being that I think aren't explored a lot in the roles that we assign to religious people...
LIAS...which is unfortunate.
NNAMDIOkay, Lias. Thank you very much for your call. We move on to Ari in Bethesda, Md. Ari, you're on the air. Go ahead, please.
ARIHi, Kojo. What's going on? I wanted to just kind of comment on the Lululemon case. I think the fact that they came back with a verdict in a hour has a lot to do with the fact that she originally feigned the victim. Like she was, you know, a part of, you know, the crime as far as she was victimized, and when that verdict first came out -- I'm a business owner in Bethesda, it really shook the whole community thinking that there's these people out there that are still going to be doing, you know, criminal acts, and it's going to be a continuation, and there was a lot of fear, and there was a lot of uncertainty that was created by her story.
ARIAnd, you know, as far as what she did, her act was of course obviously very brutal and no one was there to really know exactly what happened, but what she created afterwards was really kind of, you know, fear in the community. So that was kind of a secondary aspect of what she did beside the actual crime, but the whole cover up that she took part in.
NNAMDIOkay. Thank you very much for your call, Ari. We have time for me to read this email that we got about the Harry Belafonte interview that we did yesterday. Somebody said, "Would it be possible to do a part two sometime in the near future? There seems to be so much more that could be discussed when you consider the depth and breadth of Mr. Belafonte's life experiences. Wonderful job though. More Harry, more Harry, more Harry."
NNAMDIWe did not get the opportunity to discuss Harry Belafonte's personal life, his wives, his children, some of the other issues he has been involved in, but having been living for 84 years and being involved in so much, it was virtually to capture during the course of one hour all of his activities, and I suspect that's why he wrote his memoir. We'd like to thank all of those of you who called in on our Your Turn segment, and thank you all for listening. I'm Kojo Nnamdi.
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