Things That Go Boom

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Stories about the ins, outs, and whathaveyous of what keeps us safe. So, grab a beer and buckle up. It gets bumpy! Hosted by Laicie Heeley. // Things That Go Boom is conducting an audience survey. Find that here, and a huge thanks in advance! survey.PRX.org/boom

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Episodes

Is Anybody Listening?
May 27 2024
Is Anybody Listening?
As civilian casualties mount in Gaza and many more conflicts around the world kill and displace vulnerable people, we ask, "What can feminist foreign policy do about war crimes?"The international community doesn’t have a great track record of timely intervention to stop atrocities. But one-sided military intervention can also be a recipe for disaster. In this episode, we hear from activists in Rwanda and Afghanistan about how their work protects the vulnerable and what they wish international feminists would do differently. And we hear from an expert on international hierarchies about how feminist foreign policy fits into the long history of attempts to end genocide — and who intervention has historically served.GUESTS: Mary Balikungeri, Director and Founder of Rwanda Women’s Network; Dr. Toni Haastrup, Chair in Global Politics at the University of Manchester; Salma, activist with the Revolutionary Association of the Women of AfghanistanADDITIONAL RESOURCES:The Rwanda Women’s NetworkThe Revolutionary Association of the Women of Afghanistan (RAWA)Statement of Intent on Feminist Informed Policies Abroad and at Home, The African Feminist Collective on Feminist Informed PoliciesThe Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, UNBackground on the Responsibility to Protect, UNWomen Peace and Security Agenda (UN Resolution 1325), UNOn May 19, 2024 there was an attempted coup in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the government there alleges that American citizens were involved in the plot. (DRC army says it stopped attempted coup involving US citizens, Reuters) The incident appears to be largely separate from the conflict on DRC’s eastern border that we discuss in this episode and the US has denied any involvement in the attempted coup.
Inside Poland’s Abortion Crossroads
Apr 29 2024
Inside Poland’s Abortion Crossroads
When does something as deeply personal as abortion become a matter of foreign policy? Maybe when it becomes a stand-in for national values and belief systems. Or maybe when it becomes a clever wedge to divide societies. Today, Polish abortion activists are on the cusp of a huge change. After 30 years of some of the strictest abortion laws in the country, it looks like some liberalization could be on the way. But it wasn’t easy to get here. And a new trove of documents suggests that Kremlin meddling may have been part of the reason why. GUESTS: Rebecca Gomperts, abortion activist/medical doctor; Hanna Muehlenhoff, University of Amsterdam; Wiktoria Szymczak, abortion doula; Klementyna Suchanow, organizer, Polish Women’s Strike; Anna Gielewska, Editor in Chief of V Square BACKGROUND: Lucy Hall, University of Amsterdam; Tom Meinderts, University of Amsterdam; Bethany Van Kampen Saravia, Ipas Partners for Reproductive Justice A spokesperson for Poland’s Law and Justice party, which formerly led the country’s government, replied to our questions with a statement excerpted below: “The Constitution of Poland defends the right to life and Poland's position concerning abortion is based on the Polish Constitution which was adopted in 1997. Polish law allows for abortion in cases where the pregnancy is a result of a criminal act or when the woman's life or health is in danger. The Law and Justice government followed established procedures when employing staff and will not comment on individual appointments.” ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: Anti-Abortion International Under the Tutelage of the Kremlin: We Are Disclosing the Emails of the Group in Which Ordo Iuris Operates, Klementyna Suchanow for Onet (Machine translation from Polish by Google at the link; we are not responsible for errors) A Dying Baby, a Trump Tweet: Inside Network Setting Global Right-Wing Agenda, Sian Norris for Open Democracy Conservatives AKA Russia: How a Polish Left Wing Activist Spins Conspiracy Theories, Zuzanna Dąbrowska for Do Rzeczy (republished by Ordo Iuris) Tip of the Iceberg: Religious Extremist Funders against Human Rights for Sexuality & Reproductive Health in Europe, European Parliamentary Forum for Sexual and Reproductive Rights
Least Cost Paths
Oct 16 2023
Least Cost Paths
On Sunday, the people of Poland cast their votes in an election that some have called a battle for the country’s soul. When we released this episode, we were still watching for the various parties to confirm the parliamentary coalitions that would lead to the final result. But experts tell us no matter who wins, one thing is likely to stay the same: Poland's hardline approach to refugees from its eastern border with Belarus. So today, we head to that border, where scientists are studying the impact of rising militarization and anti-refugee activity on the region. It's not always easy — because the Polish border guard isn't always keen to hand out the answers these scientists would love to add to their analysis. But Eliot Higgins, the founder of investigative website Bellingcat, says civilians have an edge these days when states won’t answer our questions. We have an unprecedented amount of information at our fingertips — and we're using it to challenge our governments around the world in all kinds of ways. A NOTE: We’re heartbroken by the sudden Hamas attack on Israelis and by the Israeli airstrikes and devastation in Gaza. Donate to Doctors Without Borders as it continues to offer impartial medical care to those most impacted by war. GUESTS: Katarzyna Nowak, University of Warsaw; Michał Żmihorski, Mammal Research Institute; Maciej Kisilowski, Central European University; Eliot Higgins, Bellingcat ADDITIONAL RESOURCES: Threats to Conservation From National Security Interests, Katarzyna Nowak, Dinah Bear, Anwesha Dutta, Myles Traphagen, Michał Żmihorski, and Bogdan Jaroszewicz, Conservation Biology Recognizing Opposition Movements is Riskier Than It Seems, John Reid Wilcox, Inkstick Media Monitoring the Environmental Consequences of the War in Ukraine, Jon Letman, Inkstick Media Can National Reconciliation Defeat Populism? Maciej Kisilowski, Anna Wojciuk. Project Syndicate. Thanks to Sławomir Makaruk for additional field production.