democracy government green party law Middle East peace politics

Civility to fight injustice

Golriz Ghahraman is an international human rights lawyer who is also a former refugee from Iran.   She has worked to restore communities after war and human rights atrocities, particularly in empowering women engaged in peace and justice initiatives.   She is standing for NZ parliament on the Green Party list.

Update:  this was recorded on 28th July 2017, broadcast 3rd August 2017.


“I prosecuted for the UN, but I also defended”.

Defence comments at 10mins, 20mins & 25:05

Talking points

Standing up to might – don’t take no for an answer.

Bringing down the bad guys.

Each (horrific) situation begins with dehumanising a group

Changing back to language of inclusion.

Sustainable: Environmental and social justice measures are intrinsically linked so we need to sustain humans at the same time that we sustain the environment.

Superpower: Making an argument and being persuasive.

Activist: Yes, activism is the rent that we pay for being on this planet.

Motivation: Justice, I’m the type of person who gets deeply annoyed by injustice, getting involved and fighting for the justice system.

Challenges: Getting into parliament is a pretty massive challenge for me.

Miracle: On a global scale for me it would be about democracy, about giving that dignity to all global citizens. The only way we can be sustainable is through self determination.

Advice: Please vote, not everyone can.

Middle East Syria

Prof Bill Harris


Syria is in the news. But not enough says Professor Bill Harris.

After his introduction to the Middle East, Bill comes back to provide us with Syria 101.

  • What is going on? (long story but Bill walks us through it, short story: at least 100,000 dead)
  • Can we just wait for this to play out? (no)
  • What will it take for the West to notice and what could they do about it? (don’t know for the first, provide air-cover in the North)
  • Who are the main players? (long list with complicated relationships)
  • What is the role of external parties? (Iran, Hezbollah, Russia, US, France, Saudi Arabia all implicated)
  • What will happen next? (don’t know how strong the regime forces are nor how deluded the regime is)
  • Is there any possibility for an elegant peaceful solution? (Sadly, but emphatically, no).

(Note: this podcast is an extended version of the show that went to air).

Shane’s number of the week:  980 heat related death in 2009 in Melbourne (Australian Climate Commission).

Sam’s joined-up-thinking: Sam is thinking about participatory cultures. Upcoming guests on that front include Dr Andy Williamson and Beth Karlin.

Middle East

Prof Bill Harris

Bill Harris

To most of us, the Middle East is a puzzling, complex, and often contradictory part of the world. We ask Professor Bill Harris to help make it more understandable to those of us who don’t know anything like as much about it as he does. Bill unravels sectarian tensions, global recession, oil, wheat prices, oppressive regimes, historic politics, and drought as we explore the story behind the Arab Spring uprisings.

(Having set the scene, Bill is coming back on the 4th April to focus on Syria).

Shane’s number of the week: 2,000,000,000. Two billion dollars is the estimated cost of the worst drought to hit New Zealand for 70 years. Droughts such as this are expected to become more frequent under a changing climate.

Sam’s joined-up-thinking: Sam is working Otago Polytechnic’s head of Photography Mark Bolland to explore the changing relationship with photography and nature as photography becomes consumerised.