Commentary Strange Fruit

The news has been full of stories in the past few weeks relevant to what we cover here on Strange Fruit. So rather than put them into a Juicy Fruit segment, we decided to do a whole news round-up show, to provide some analysis of the systemic and historic context behind the current headlines.

We start with doctor David Dao’s rough treatment by United Airlines, and White House press secretary Sean Spicer’s remarks about Hitler. Both include examples of soft language, where “re-accommodation” means a concussion, a broken nose, and two missing teeth, and “holocaust centers,” are better known as concentration camps.

The phrase concentration camp conjures up images that are unspeakably awful but seem safely behind us, but reports out of Chechnya this month call that safety into question. Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta reports that gay men in Chechnya are being subjected to torture, forced into camps, and in some cases, killed.

The Chechan government says those reports can’t be true, because there are no gay people in Chechnya.

“You cannot detain and persecute people who simply do not exist in the republic,” government spokesperson Alvi Karimov told Interfax news agency. “If there were such people in Chechnya, the law-enforcement organs wouldn’t need to have anything to do with them because their relatives would send them somewhere from which there is no returning.”

Listen to this week’s episode in the player above and subscribe to Strange Fruit wherever you get your podcasts.

Laura produces Curious Louisville, Strange Fruit, and other audio news stories for WFPL.