I spent a May afternoon rushing through the wide halls of the U.S. Senate office buildings. It wasn’t the first time I was on Capitol Hill this past spring, but this time I chanced being late for an important flight because the clock was ticking on this issue that kept me coming back to the Hill. The next morning, I learned that day’s meetings had seemingly been for naught.
Hours after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began on February 24, Douglas Webber, emeritus professor of political science and a Europe specialist at the prestigious business school INSEAD, framed the conflict starkly.
“It’s really a decisive turning point we’re looking at here, and for me certainly I think that it’s the most dangerous moment in international politics if not since the end of World War II, at least since the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962,” said Webber to an online meeting of the Anglo-American Press Association of Paris.
On the occasion of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a U.S. federal holiday, we recorded a short conversation between Armon Means and Kami Rice, Anthrow Circus’s Manager of Operations & Social Media and its Editor-in-Chief, respectively. We take you behind the scenes as our team wrestles with how Anthrow Circus should acknowledge this day and its ethos, ultimately deciding that letting you into this conversation was the best way we could honor what the day embodies.
If you follow us on social media (if not, find us on Facebook and Instagram!), you should already know we’ve spent the past week celebrating our one-year anniversary of publishing as Anthrow Circus!
We’re awfully proud of all we’ve accomplished during this hard year. While travel has been curtailed around the world, our amazing writers and photographers have brought so many corners of our grand globe to a screen near us: from Togo to Georgia (the country), from Nigeria to Mexico, from Australia to Jordan, from the United States to France, to name just a few.
We’re building something solid under our big tent!
Take up residence in France and you’ll find that everyday life is infused with history. If you’re a curious person, you can’t help but absorb facts it would take years of history classes and careful concentration to learn back in the United States. Here you see and touch history, observing how its effects are felt even long after its scenes’ original actors have departed.
INTERVIEW BY KAMI L. RICE AUDIO AND VIDEO PRODUCTION BY MAHBOOB FAIZI
Our source, we’ll call her Sandra, is a friendly, hospitable, thoughtful Myanmarese professional living abroad. Sandra enjoys staying well-informed regarding world news and events and stays closely connected with her home country of Myanmar. Rather than recreate major media outlets’ coverage of the coup by Myanmar’s military, we are giving this story the Anthrow Circus treatment: sharing the voice of a regular citizen who can give us context for the large-scale geopolitical reports.
PHOTOS AND TEXT BY/PHOTOGRAPHIES ET TEXTE PAR A.J. JOHNSON
FRENCH PROOFREADING BY/RELECTURE FRANÇAISE PAR CAROLINE BERNARD-GILBERT
ENGLISH TRANSLATION BY/TRADUCTION ANGLAISE PAR KAMI L. RICE
While the horns of two taxis blare, further noise rattles the Lomé intersection of Sagbado. “Olé yia, Olé yia?” (“Do you need a ride?”) cry out the drivers of motorcycle-taxis as they rush toward the car taxis that have just stopped in front of the Sanol gas station. The motorcycle drivers hope to attract the attention of passengers exiting the larger taxis and gain another fare by taking them to the passengers’ final destination. The scene is nothing new. It takes place over and over again all day long, from the rising to the setting of the sun. However, for the past few months, since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis and especially since the government decreed a curfew and state of emergency, a new group of venders has joined the motorcycle-taxis at this intersection.
AUDIO AND VIDEO PRODUCTION BY MAHBOOB FAIZI INTERVIEW BY KAMI L. RICE
Mahboob Faizi, a member of the Anthrow Circus family, reached out to me in April looking to fashion a story about his concern over how people back home in Afghanistan would be able to weather the health and economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic. From his current home in Greece, he was feeling rather powerless to know how to help them. Over the months that followed, I interviewed him and helped shape the account we present here. Mahboob, who works in media production for a nonprofit organization, recorded our audio, supplied images, and did the production work.