It’s ten years since Libya’s dictator Col Muammar Gaddafi was overthrown. But the country’s still not a a democracy – or even a unified functioning state. The militias that brought down the dictatorship in 2011 never disbanded. They turned the country into a battleground, abducting and murdering countless citizens. Since last year, there’s been a ceasefire in the long civil war. Elections are planned. But how powerful are the militias – even now? And how hopeful are Libyans about their future? Reporter Tim Whewell, who covered the uprising in 2011, returns to find out what happened to Libya’s revolution. At spectacular horse-races in the city of Misrata, he meets Libyans who say they have more opportunities now than under Gaddafi. But many writers and activists have fled the country or gone silent, fearing they might disappear if they say anything that displeases armed groups. Some militias have officially been turned into security arms of the state. But that’s given them access to valuable state resources - and militia commanders are accused of becoming mafia bosses. Tim meets possible future leader Fathi Bashagha, who vows to tame the armed groups. But would he prosecute their commanders for past crimes? And can the eastern and western sides of Libya, effectively still under separate authorities despite a unity government, be brought together? Many think war may break out again, and some young Libyans, despairing for their country’s future, are even risking the dangerous passage across the Mediterranean, to emigrate.
Producer: Bob Howard
The Mystery of Havana Syndrome
Gordon Corera investigates the mysterious illness that has struck American diplomats and spies. It began after some reported hearing strange sounds in Havana 2016, but reports have since spread around the world. Doctors, scientists, intelligence agents and government officials have all been trying to find out what exactly causes these sounds and the lingering health effects. Some call it an act of war, others wonder if it is some new and secret form of surveillance while others believe it could even be in the mind. So who or what is responsible?
Producer, Emma Wells.
Editor, Bridget Harney.
Moria - After the Fire
The fire that destroyed the sprawling Moria asylum seekers’ camp on the Greek island of Lesvos last September made headlines around the world. For the asylum seekers who lost their makeshift home and most of their possessions, it was a devastating setback. For Greece, still hosting thousands of migrants Europe won’t take in, the fire intensified a determination to move them on elsewhere What’s happened to some of Moria’s former residents since then? Working with Athens-based journalists Katy Fallon and Stavros Malichudis,, Maria Margaronis follows a few of them—all Afghans--as they negotiate the search for safety and stability some migrants call “the game.” After the fall of Kabul to the Taliban, tens of thousands of Afghans are trying to leave their country. These are the stories of some who had already made the journey.
Presented and produced by Maria Margaronis.
Special thanks to Lighthouse Reports for their support in gathering this material.
Catalonia: Squatters, Eviction and Extortion
Spain has a history of squatting. After the property crash of 2008 many families were forced to occupy homes that did not belong to them because they could not pay their mortgages. Now a darker side to ‘okupacion’ has emerged. Organised crime has seen an opportunity. Some flats in Barcelona have become ‘narcopisos’ - properties used to process or sell drugs. Other empty properties have been ‘sub-let’ by gangs to families who cannot afford a commercial rent. And the pandemic has spawned a new commercial model – extortion. These are cases where squatters occupy a property and demand a ‘ransom’ from the owner of several thousand Euros before they will leave. Enter the controversial ‘desokupa’ companies – firms run by boxers and bouncers who will evict unwanted 'tenants'.
Producer / Presenter: Linda Pressly
Producer / Presenter in Spain: Esperanza Escribano
Editor: Bridget Harney
(Image: Jorge Fe, director of FueraOkupas – a company dedicated to evicting squatters and unwanted tenants. Credit: BBC/Esperanza Escribano)
India’s Living Dead
What would it be like if everyone believed you were dead? Lal Bihari knows exactly what that feels like. When he was 22-years-old, the Indian farmer was told by his local government office that he was dead and no protestations that he was standing before them would persuade the bureaucrats otherwise – after all, his death certificate was there as proof. Whether the victim of a scam or a clerical error, the end result for Bihari was to lose his business and all the land he was hoping to inherit. It took him more than two decades to reinstate himself among the living during which time he tried everything from going on hunger strike to kidnapping someone in the hopes that the police would be forced to concede that a dead man could not be arrested. Today, more than a quarter of a century later, Bihari runs the Association for the Living Dead of India through which he says he has helped thousands of people who have fallen victim to the same thing. He tells his extraordinary story to Chloe Hadjimatheou for Crossing Continents.
Production Team in India: Ajit Sarathi; Kinjal Pandya; Piyush Nagpal and Praveen Mudholkar
Editor: Bridget Harney