Author Interview: Human Rights Violations in North Korea, Part 2

Dr. Sandra Fahy holds a PhD in anthropology from the University of London and is now teaching at Sophia University in Tokyo. In our first interview she discussed the North Korean famine of the 1990s, the subject of her first book. (Link) Recently we talked about various human rights abuses treated in her second, forthcoming book, Dying for Rights: Putting North Korea’s Human Rights Abuses on the Record (Link) Here she provides a historical context for the development of the DPRK police state.  

We spoke over Skype while Sandra was in Japan and I was in Read More

A Filipino Jazz Musician and Jazz Journalist

One night in Tago Jazz Café I met Richie Quirino, who’d written three books on Filipino jazz and used the subject matter for the documentary he did with Collis Davis. The following week I interviewed him at the Shangri-la Hotel in Makati, where he had a gig playing Latin jazz in the Sage Bar. With his permission I added snapshots from the documentary, Pinoy Jazz. (Click on pictures to enlarge.)

Richie’s story

My father, Carlos Quirino, studied journalism at the University of Wisconsin and graduated in 1931. While he was there he heard of a Filipino community in Louisiana near … Read More

Portrait of a Filipina Feminist, Part 1

Sylvia Estrada Claudio is Director of the Center for Women’s Studies at the University of the Philippines and co-founder of Likhaan, a non-governmental organization which provides direct services to women in marginalized communities. This interview provides a glimpse into the history of the Philippines and the reproductive health movement. It is also a story of how one woman is making her contribution as a feminist and a proponent of the Reproductive Health Bill.

I began the interview by mentioning that I’d noticed a big gap between most of the Filipinos I knew and the literati and intelligentsia at the literary Read More

Looking Back, Part 2

Michael is an Irish Catholic priest with many years serving in South Korea. This is from an interview in 2007.

Michael’s story

The night Park Chung-hee was shot [October 27, 1979], I was at a party at Konguk University, where an ex-Peace Corps guy was celebrating his birthday. I took some English students to meet the foreigners and speak a bit of English. A friend was visiting from England, looking into setting up a program for justice awareness, and after the party we stayed up talking about injustice in Korea and the Philippines. In the morning I was taking a … Read More

Looking Back, Part 1

For many years the military dictator Park Chung-hee, self-proclaimed “president for life” feared assassination, particularly by communists or North Korean agents. His wife was killed in 1974 by an assassin gunning for her husband. Ironically, the deed was finally done by Park’s own head of the Korean Central Intelligence Agency, Kim Kae-won, who was angry at his declining influence over Park and fearful of losing his job. He invited Park to dinner at KCIA headquarters, killed Park and Cha Ji Chui and had his five KCIA henchmen finish off the remaining bodyguards. Almost immediately, all of the culprits were arrested Read More