Human Rights Radio

Episode 22: Migratory Imaginaries + Utopias


[soundcloud url=”″ params=”color=#ff5500&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&show_teaser=true&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”300″ iframe=”true” /]


In this episode, Bard College students present original radio pieces inspired from class readings and discussions, centered around the topic of migration and utopias. The first part of the show is devoted to students from Professor Dina Ramadan’s class, Labor and Migration in Arabic Literature. The second part of the show features work from students in Professor Olga Touloumi’s course, Utopias.

Part 1: Migratory Imaginaries

Jeremy Coppola begins our episode with a piece about the story of his great uncle’s role in shaping 20th Century Middle Eastern migration and population, primarily through the use of radio.

In the next radio piece, Sarah Cohen sits down with Olivia Terzian to discuss her grandmother’s experience as a Palestinian immigrant in Mexico. Her grandmother, Linda Badra de Manzur, was born in 1944 in Beit Sahour, a predominantly Catholic town in Palestine. At the age of eighteen, she married Abraham Manzur, the son of Palestinian immigrants born and raised in Mexico. After a honeymoon in Beirut, the newlyweds flew across the Atlantic to begin their life together. Linda would quickly become fond of the mountainous city of Monterrey, where Abraham owned a children’s clothing factory. Though she landed in Mexico speaking not a word of Spanish, she quickly picked up the language by chatting with the other ladies at the sewing machines in the factory. Soon, she would give birth to her first child, Cohen’s mother, Ivonne. Cohen had never really spoken much with her grandmother about her early life. She decided to rectify that in a recent phone conversation, in which Cohen asked her grandmother about homecomings, the 1948 war, religious identity, and many other topics surrounding her experience as a Palestinian immigrant to Mexico.

Marlaina Yost and Anabel Briu turn our attention in the next radio piece to a study published in 2014, attributing some of the social unrest leading up to the start of the Syrian Civil War to droughts in rural Syria, which triggered migration to urban areas. The piece questions both American reluctance to allow refugees into the country, as well as hesitation to take significant action for environmental protection.

References and Bibliography: 

“Calif. Governor on Wildfires: ‘It’s Not Over.'” Youtube, uploaded by Associated Press, 11 Oct. 2017, Accessed 17 Jan. 2018.

“Climate Change Explained.” Youtube, uploaded by The Daily Conversation, 2 Dec. 2015, Accessed 17 Jan. 2018.

“Democratic Debate: What Is Our Greatest National Security Threat?” Youtube, uploaded by America Now, 13 Oct. 2015, Accessed 17 Jan. 2018.

“Syrian Farmers Battle Drought – 09 Dec 09.” Youtube, uploaded by Al Jazeera English, 9 Dec. 2009, Accessed 17 Jan. 2018.

Gleick, Peter H. “Water, Drought, Climate Change, and Conflict in Syria.” Weather, Climate, and Society, 1 July 2014, pp. 331–340. American Meteorological Society.

Part 2: Utopias

In the second half of the show, we will hear a piece created by students in Prof. Olga Touloumi’s Utopias course. Maggie Barnett, Sam Harmann, Caila Drew-Moring and Austin Lehn talk about the role of population migration, environment and urban planning in cities. More specifically, they discuss how city governments can better utilize these roles so as to optimize utopian ideals.


Original music for this episode was composed by Kenny Siegal, a student in Prof. Dina Ramadan’s course who is majoring in music composition.

Comments Closed

Comments are closed. You will not be able to post a comment in this post.