Burma and Libya

Owen Bennett Jones introduces insight, wit and analysis from correspondents around the world. In this edition, Andrew Harding celebrates his family's longstanding friendship with a Burmese comedian turned political prisoner, who's just been released from jail; Saleyha Ahsan describes the bravery and the suffering of the war wounded who she's been treating in Libya.

Keep smiling through

The Burmese comedian Zargana might reasonably be described as one of the world's most daring satirists. His stage name - it means 'tweezers' - refers not only to his past as a dentist, but also to the way he's tweaked the sensitivities of Burma's ruling military junta. In response, he's been repeatedly jailed for speaking out and criticising his country's government.

Yet this is a man who seems to have truly taken to heart the advice of the British comedy team Monty Python, "always look on the bright side of life". Andrew Harding's been in contact with Zarganar for years, and notes that even when faced with repression and imprisonment, his friend tends to respond by telling a joke.

War wounds that won't heal quickly

Saleyha Ahsan is a British Muslim and at home she works as a doctor in a London accident and emergency department. She also used to be an army medic, and recently, while working in Libya as a volunteer, she has been seeing up close what all the bombs and guns employed in the country's battlefields are doing to people.

She recorded her impressions for us while an ambulance was standing by, ready to take her back to a field hospital near the frontline.

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10 minutes

Last on

Tue 18 Oct 2011 03:50 GMT

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FOOC at 60: Memorable Reports

FOOC at 60: Memorable Reports

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