Tonight on the Thursday Night Special, we have both news and entertainment! Up at 7:00, we present a special on Iraqi workers in the Middle East, courtesy of the syndicated program Building Bridges:
Building Bridges brings you an exclusive interview with Hassan Juma’a Awad who was an opponent of the Saddam Hussein regime, a human rights activist, and unionist who was imprisoned by the Ba’athist regime 3 times for “subversive” activity. Now, under the current Malaki government, Hassan and many others continue to face threats of jail and heavy fines for “threatening the economic interests and stability of the state” for challenging the ill-treatment of oil workers and the give-away of Iraqi oil to private companies.
Unions played a vital role in the Arab Spring rebellions in Tunisia and Egypt as do the Iraqi workers who are also challenging their government. Hassan
Juma’a Awad is a leading force in the movement of Iraqi workers and he is part of a broad mobilization of civil society organizations struggling to establish a democratic, non-sectarian society in Iraq after the war, with internationally accepted labor rights. The Iraqi Federation of Oil Unions faces many of the same issues we face in the U.S.: struggles against privatization; for the right to organize unions without retribution and with legal protection; and for the active role of unions in securing the interests of working people. Hear Hassan’s report on the lives of Iraqi workers today, their fight for labor rights, and the place of Iraq in the broader turmoil of the Middle East.
Then, at 7:30, we have another thought-provoking yet comedic offering from our resident KKFI audio theatre troupe Shots in the Night.