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Violence In South Sudan, Music For MLK Day, And What Is It Like To Be Blind?

Steve Scher
01/13/2012 at 9:00 a.m.

Ethnic Violence In South Sudan: The United Nations says ethnic militias in South Sudan have killed as many as 1,000 people in recent weeks of raids on villages. One militia leader is a Sudanese refugee based in Seattle. Gai Bol Thong says his organization has financed violence against members of the Murle ethnic group, although he denies targeting civilians. We'll talk with him about his efforts, and with former British Ambassador to Sudan Alan Goulty about the context for the recent ethnic violence.

What Is It Like To Be Blind? There are 1.3 million blind people living in the United States. If you count significant sight loss, that number grows to over 20 million. What is it like to be blind? What are the challenges? Are there any advantages? How do those of us who are sighted interact with the blind, from their perspective? Cyrus Habib gives us a first–hand account.

Marking Martin Luther King Jr. Day With Music: James Whetzel is the man behind the music at the International Fountain at Seattle Center. He's also a classically–trained sarod and tabla player. To mark the upcoming MLK holiday, James joins us with an original remake of the "I Have A Dream" speech.

Plus, Nick Bond joins us with a weekend weather forecast.


Gai Bol Thong is the leader of Nuer Youth in North America. His organization is financing the White Army militia operations against the Murle people in South Sudan.

Alan Goulty is a senior scholar examining "Peacemaking in Sudan" at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C. He retired in 2008 after 40 years service in the British Diplomatic Service, including a posting as ambassador to Sudan (1995–9). He was the UK Special Representative for Sudan and Darfur, and led the UK team in the Naivasha and Abuja peace talks.

Cyrus Habib is an attorney for Perkins Coe in Seattle. He joins us with a first–hand account of what it is like to be blind.

James Whetzel is a classically–trained sarod and tabla player who sings, plays palm–wine guitar and DJs. He is also the music architect for public spaces at Seattle Center, like the International Fountain. He is a coordinator for the Seattle Parks busker program, he handles Seattle Center's Twitter account and initiated the on–hold music program of the city of Seattle.

Nick Bond is the Washington state Climatologist and works at the Joint Institute for the Study of Atmosphere and Ocean.

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