Shows: March 25, 2013

Photo for 'Afghan Youth Orchestra: Music from Conflict'
Shah Marai/AFP/Getty Images

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Anti-Muslim Violence in Burma

After generations of military dictatorship, Burma has taken significant steps toward democratization in recent months, but the promise of reform has been undercut by explosions of sectarian and ethnic conflict. Last week, the central city of Meikhtila was engulfed in ethnic riots in which local Buddhists apparently systematically attacked Muslims and left scores dead. While Western governments have praised the reforms undertaken by President Thein Sein and the recent political ascent of pro-Democracy leader Aung Sang Suu Kyi, many say that for the country’s Muslim minority as well as other long embattled ethnic communities, mob violence and oppression are getting worse. We speak with Maung Zarni, a Burmese activist and academic with the London School of Economics, about the origins and the impact of the conflict.

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Afghan Youth Orchestra: Music from Conflict

In one of the world’s most devastated war zones, the Afghanistan National Institute of Music is quietly beginning its new semester. The school launched in 2010 as the first of its kind offering comprehensive music education to Afghan youth, including poor children across the country and girls who'd otherwise by shut out of opportunities for schooling. The institution’s Afghan Youth Orchestra is just coming off a whirlwind tour of the US, aiming to present a different side of Afghan society and culture to a part of the world that generally knows the country only through the lens of war and occupation. We’ll hear tracks of the orchestra performing at the Kennedy Center last month, as well as an interview with Hojat Hameed, the youth orchestra's concertmaster and a member of one of Kabul's only rock bands; and Dr. Ahmad Naser Sarmast, who founded the school to help restore an Afghan musical tradition that had been ravaged by years of conflict and oppression.

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This program is brought to you by Michelle Chen and Leyla Mei of the APF collective.

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