A ‘Me Too’ Moment for Israel’s Ultra-Orthodox Jews?
Israel’s ultra-Orthodox Jewish community is struggling to come to terms with high-profile sex abuse scandals. In the past year, two of its leading lights were accused of taking advantage of their status to sexually assault vulnerable women, men, and children. What has added to the shock is how, after one of the alleged attackers committed suicide, religious leaders in this insular, devout community defended him and even blamed his victims for causing his death by speaking out. The response sparked anger and triggered an unprecedented wave of activism to raise awareness of hidden sex abuse within the ultra-Orthodox world. Some are describing it as a “me-too” moment. The BBC’s Middle East Correspondent, Yolande Knell hears from survivors of sexual assault and the campaigners within the ultra-Orthodox community working towards lasting change.
Presenter: Yolande Knell
Producers: Gabrielle Weiniger and Phoebe Keane
Editor: Penny Murphy
Photo: A child sex abuse survivor prays at the grave of his alleged abuser.
The Texas Tank: A Prison Radio Station Changing Lives
The Allan B. Polunsky Unit in Livingston, Texas, used to be known as the Terror Dome for its high rates of inmate violence, murder and suicide. Polunsky houses all the men condemned to death in Texas (currently 185) and nearly 3,000 maximum security prisoners. But since the pandemic, a prison radio station almost entirely run by the men themselves has helped to create community--even for those on death row, who spend 23 hours a day locked alone in their cells.
The Tank beams all kinds of programmes across the prison complex: conversations both gruff and tender; music from R&B to metal; the soundtracks of old movies; inspirational messages from all faiths and none. The station’s steady signal has saved some men from suicide and many from loneliness; it lets family members and inmates dedicate songs to each other and make special shows for those on their way to execution. Maria Margaronis tunes in to The Tank and meets some of the men who say it's changed their lives—even when those lives have just weeks left to run.
Produced by David Goren.
Photo credit (Michael Starghill)
Nigeria’s oil thieves
Illegal oil is big business in the Niger Delta. Oil thieves cut the pipelines, siphoning off oil, which they refine in the bush and sell on the black market. This vast underground industry is a huge employer in the region but it’s a dangerous business. Earlier this year, over 100 people were killed in an explosion at an illegal refinery.
The local government has been cracking down on the illegal oil trade. They say the business is responsible for the worryingly high levels of pollution in the Niger Delta, where a thick black smog hangs over the city of Port Harcourt and oil runs through the waterways, destroying mangroves.
BBC West Africa correspondent Mayeni Jones meets an oil thief king pin, an exuberant local politician, taking on this illegal business and treks deep into the forests of the Niger Delta to visit an underground refinery.
Presenter: Mayeni Jones
Producer: Josephine Casserly
Editor: Penny Murphy
Production Coordinator: Gemma Ashman
Lacrosse: Reclaiming the Creator’s game
Why are Native Americans striving to ‘reclaim’ the game of lacrosse?
Lacrosse may have the reputation as a white elitist sport, played in private schools. In fact, it was originally a Native American game, practiced across North America before European colonisers arrived.
As white settlers pushed westwards, taking land and resources, they also took lacrosse as their own. They stopped Native Americans from playing it, alongside prohibiting other spiritual and cultural practices.
But now a Native American grassroots movement is aiming to 'reclaim' what they call "the Creator's game". In doing so they want to promote recognition for their peoples and nations.
Rhodri Davies travels to Minnesota, in the American Midwest, to talk to Native Americans about how lacrosse is integral to their identity.
Producer: John Murphy
Editor: Penny Murphy
Studio Manager: Rod Farquhar
Production Coordinators: Iona Hammond and Gemma Ashman
Moldova - East or West?
Sandwiched between Romania and Ukraine, the former Soviet Republic of Moldova has recently been awarded EU candidate status.
In an echo of what happened in Ukraine, Moldova lost a chunk of its eastern territory to separatists in a short war 30 years ago. The separatists were backed by elements of the Russian army. Since then Transnistria has remained a post-Soviet “frozen conflict.”
In recent months almost 500,000 Ukrainian refugees have crossed into Moldova – the highest per capita influx to a neighbouring country. Up to 90,000 have remained in Moldova, one of Europe’s poorest countries. The republic’s president has warned that President Putin has his sights set on her country. Tessa Dunlop travels to Moldova to hear what Moldovans think about the war in Ukraine and their country’s future.
Produced by John Murphy
(Image: A Russian armoured vehicle at the border crossing with the breakaway enclave of Transnistria in the village of Firladeni, Republic of Moldova. Credit: BBC/John Murphy)