Radio highlights

Wednesday, August 14, 1996

Radio highlights

The Port Chicago 50: An Oral History — On July 17, 1944, two merchant marine ships in Port Chicago Munitions Base near San Francisco exploded, killing 320 people. The majority of the casualties were African-Americans who loaded ammunition onto ships. The survivors were ordered back to work. Shaken by the loss of their fellow workers, 50 black sailors refused. In the largest court martial in US Navy history, they were all convicted of mutiny and sentenced to up to 15 years' jail. After the war they were amnestied but most have not spoken about their ordeal until now. ABC Radio National, Saturday, August 17, 3.30pm.

Graeme Bell and the Bell Band at home and abroad — Jazz musicians Graeme Bell and his band were part of the Melbourne "modernist" scene of the 1940s. They identified with the left and in 1947 attended the Prague World Festival of Youth at a time when jazz was emerging as a site of political and cultural resistance. Later the Bell Band was the toast of the new wave of jazz in Britain. Graeme and Roger Bell talk about their experiences and music. ABC Radio National, Sunday, August 18, 2.05pm.

Lotus War — A radio play by Julie Janson. Set in a museum in Hanoi, it tells the story of Hien, a museum guide and former liberation army soldier. An Australian Vietnam veteran and former POW visits, and together they revisit their experiences. ABC Radio National, Sunday, August 18, 3.05pm.

International Voices: Nazim Hikmet — Nazim Hikmet is recognised as Turkey's greatest modern poet. Born in 1902 in Salonika, he grew up in Istanbul and began publishing poetry at 17. In 1926 he was arrested for working for a leftist magazine, but escaped to Moscow, where he met Mayakovsky and worked in the theatre with Meyerhold. Returning to Turkey, he spent more of his life in jail than out, due to his communist sympathies. He refused to give up his principles, writing poetry from his cell that revolutionised Turkish literature. He died in exile in Moscow in 1963. ABC Radio National, Thursday, August 22, 9.30pm.

Talanoa Taka — Stories from the people of the South Pacific. During the late 1950s and '60s Pacific Islanders began migrating to New Zealand in search of jobs and education. In Fiji, the capitalism of the missionaries and British colonisers finally began to overwhelm the traditional subsistence economy, and Fijians increasingly began to participate. Fijians of Indian origin, brought in to work the sugar plantations, also took their place. Talanoa Taka means storytelling. Joape Tuwali grew up in Fiji and moved to New Zealand during these times. His stories are a snapshot of the experiences and history of the indigenous people of the Pacific. ABC Radio National, Sunday, August 25, 8.30pm.