Tag Archives: interview

What It’s Like to Live With Drones | Policy Mic

Full article HERE. Nov 01.2013:

These stories show immense human suffering that we, as Americans, need to acknowledge and be sensitive to if we hope to effectively combat terrorism. By ignoring the deaths of these civilians, we tacitly imply that their lives are worth nothing, that they are less human than American citizens.

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Life in the Dronescape | VICE Motherboard

Full interview HERE. Oct 29.2013:

Your film begins with President Obama’s description—that he’s “haunted” by the loss of civilian lives. What moved you to make that that description a guiding motif in the film?

A couple of things. I’ve been trying to think about the ways we can talk about drones beyond the legal reports. So what are the ways that we can think about what it means to experience life under drones. Another aspect is that yes, Obama said he is haunted by loss of civilian life, but that nevertheless we need to continue with our war. I thought that was interesting because there’s a whole literature within academia and in fiction about ghosts and haunting and what that means. If you think about Toni Morrison’s Beloved. The sociologist Avery Gordon has an excellent book on this called Ghostly Matters. Being haunted is about not being able to go on as if you were not being haunted. Even horror films are about this.

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Life Under Drones | Counterpunch

Full Interview here. Oct 04.2013:

PG: Is there a political solution possible in Waziristan?

MT: The U.S. has to leave, but they also have to stop funding the Pakistani establishment, and they have to start taking the Pakistan civilian government seriously. The tribal areas also need to be incorporated into Pakistan. How this is done is up to them, but the services of the state need to be extended to that area. There is a whole range of socio-political issues, which need to be resolved. They will require money and also will among political leaders, but this is impossible as long as the United States continues its meddling, occupation, and funding of the Pakistani political establishment.

PG: What do Americans most need to understand about the drones in Pakistan?

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Interview with a Vampire

These passages about the question of oral evidence, interview and narrative from historian Luise White’s Speaking with Vampires are, I think, pertinent also to journalists who deal with the interview as the primary form of evidence from which we build our stories. White’s book is an analysis of rumor and history in colonial Africa in which she smartly engages nearly 130 interviews to depict the structures of everyday experience for the colonized. White’s endeavor is remarkable in that she takes circulating rumor and stories about vampires and bloodsuckers at face value. She doesn’t try to explain them as true or false or even as misunderstanding by Africans of the foreign technologies and medicine that the colonizers brought with them. Instead, White takes these stories as part of a genre of narrative that domesticated the extraordinary–technology, medicine– into understandable, ordinary, familiar.

This is White on how people tell stories:

People do not speak with truth, with a concept of the accurate description of what they saw, to say what they mean, but they construct and repeat stories that carry the values and meanings that most forcibly get their points across (30).

She goes on to discuss the mediation of different accounts from the same informant:

I am not the first to notice that people often revise the answers they have given in a first interview when they are interviewed for a second time. Nor am I the first to find this unremarkable. Historians routinely mediate between different accounts of the same even; why should this mediation be methodlogically any different when the different accounrts are provided by one person? It is only when a voice is methodologically conceived of as a single, spoken, rendition of experience that condtradictions become extraordinary rather than ordinary. To argue that an informant is mistaken because he or she says different things at different times, or even to argue that one account is wrong, makes linear demands on speech and self: lives and experiences are not such simple, straightforward things that they lend themselves to easy representation; people do not give testimony that fits neatly into chronological or cosmological accounts. Instead, they talk about different things in personal terms; they talk about what happened to them and about what they did about it, but they also use themselves as a context in which to talk about other things as well.

The idea that a voice, however produced, would not change its mind or words serves historians [or journalists], not the speaker’s own complicated interests… (38-39).

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