810: Collective Edge Shows


Full Show:






Avner Gvaryahu: “We can’t continue to control people by force, and hope their ambitions for dignity and freedom just disappear.”

People with a political or financial stake in wars are the people we see on the news promoting or defending wars. No one is more aware of a violent conflict’s realities and after-effects than its participants, but they’re usually the last people we hear from. Maybe because they don’t have a political or financial stake?

The Israeli group Breaking the Silence uses testimonies to give a voice to Israeli soldiers who have witnessed and participated in military actions in West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem. Last week, BtS spokesman Avner Gvaryahu published the op-ed As an ex-soldier in the Israeli Defense Forces, I’ve seen how shockingly we treat Palestinians at The Independent. Live from Tel Aviv, Avner talks with us about the piece, his experiences as a soldier, the price that comes with security at any cost, the rights of self defense versus the maintenance of moral boundaries, and the ways occupation influences the hearts and minds of the occupier.

Avner Gvaryahu is the Director of Public Outreach at Breaking the Silence and a former IDF Sergeant.



Mona El-Farra: “Schools have been targeted, hospitals have been targeted, institutions for people with special needs – no place is safer than another.”

We experience our share of dropped calls in the middle of interviews, and it is embarrassing but hasn’t ever been terrifying until we called someone live in a war zone.

Live from Gaza, Mona El-Farra speaks with This is Hell! about the deaths and devastation she’s seen all around her, the physical and psychological toll the violence has (and will have) on Palestinian children, and why your solidarity, support and voice can help the people of the Israeli-Occupied territories see a future with more children and less missiles. Mona’s phone drops several times throughout this interview, and it made us really nervous about her safety. Stay safe, Mona!

Dr. Mona El-Farra is Gaza Project Director of Middle East Children’s Alliance.



Joel Migdal: “The old monarchies – which were considered archaic and on the verge of disappearing back in the 1950s – have survived, and the regimes that everyone saw as the wave of the future have all been replaced – in Egypt, in Iraq and in Syria.”

What is going on in Iraq is not as simple as Sunni vs Shia. Hell, Sunni vs Shia is not even as simple as Sunni vs Shia. To understand conflicts in Iraq, and across the Middle East, you have to understand a long, complicated history of uprisings, revolutions, colonial echoes, Cold War bargains and political surges. Sometimes it seems like the Middle East has a history you have to understand in order to understand its present state.

Historian Joel Migdal understands that history pretty well, he lays out the last 70 years of Middle Eastern politics and American foreign policy in his book Shifting Sands: The United States in the Middle East. In this wide-ranging conversation that starts in the Cold War and winds past the Arab Spring, Chuck talks with Joel about the Sunni-Shia-irreconcilability myth, how the creation of Israel and the growth of Arab nationalism shaped the post-WW2 landscape, how monarchies, republics and non-state actors are shifting the regional power dynamics and why new maps won’t save the Middle East, but neither will American presidents. This is the kind of in-depth history lesson you need to understand current events with any depth at all.

Joel S. Migdal is the Robert F. Philip Professor of International Studies at the Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies, University of Washington.

Joel on Twitter


Oliver Burkeman: “When you open yourself to the truth that bad things happen as well as good things, that we all die in the end, that you can’t always achieve every dream just because you dream it, you’re actually more in tune with reality, and ultimately I think people are probably happier that way.”

A less positive person might think that the positive thinking industry, with its expensive seminars, rich showbiz gurus and investment schemes, is smiling all the way to the bank. We’ll side with the less positive person since we can’t afford seminars, gurus or investments.

Writer Oliver Burkeman covers the giddy, delusional world of happiness-seekers in his new book The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking. He calls into the least happy radio show in America to discuss how irrational confidence and capitalism walk hand-in-hand off cliff-after-cliff, why George W. Bush is the perfect pitchman for the power, and results, of positive thinking, and how actually being happy means actually thinking about what actually being happy actually means.

Oliver Burkeman is a Guardian writer based in New York.

Oliver’s website / Oliver on Twitter



Dan Litchfield: “It’s not like they officially said ‘get out of Ohio’ but eliminating the energy standard that brought all these companies to the state, and making it defacto-impossible to build – it’s a war on renewables in Ohio.”

Someone just let the wind out of Ohio’s clean energy future. The state became the first in the nation to move backwards on renewable energy standards, and Dan Litchfield is pissed – at a Republican governor with presidential aspirations, a state legislature pulling moves in secret, dirty energy companies with deep pockets, lobby groups with hands deep in said pockets, and the NIMBY types that what it all happen from their already shitty backyards. If only somehow we could figure out how to harness this anti-renewable energy…

Dan Litchfield is a senior project developer for a major international renewable energy company, and the views represented on the show are Dan’s alone obviously.



Jeff Dorchen: “I really wish Hamas and Israeli Defense Force would work together to help me realize my dream of a nice meal in Beirut. And I don’t see how launching rockets into Israel or bombing the bejeezus out of people trapped in a starving ghetto gets us there.”

Jeff Dorchen really really wants people to stop killing each other so he can eat kibbeh in peace. What’s stopping him is cross-border antagonism and the Israeli leadership (who is looking for a partner in peace,) and Hamas (who is looking for a partner in peace,) just happening to wander past each other, again and again, facing only to exchange missiles, while the people who actually want peace are left hungry.

According to his contacts on LinkedIn, Jeff Dorchen can do just about anything. He’s a visual artist, songwriter/musician, actor, essayist, poet, playwright and screenwriter. His many unfinished novels are still unfinished.