Teresa Basilio on Puerto Rico Communication Failure, Amrah Salomon on Indigenous Peoples Day

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Hurricane Maria damage (photo: Commonwealth of Dominica)

(photo: Commonwealth of Dominica)

This week on CounterSpin: Adding to the ravages brought to Puerto Rico by hurricanes Irma and Maria was the failure of the island’s communications systems; with virtually all cell sites down, many people were unable to call for help or to check on others. A year later, the system is not fully restored. What’s more, the US government shows little interest in finding out what went wrong, or how to prevent it happening again. (Reporter Kieran McCarthy at The Register notes that the FCC only seems to show interest in Puerto Rico when agency chair Ajit “Pai’s team feel the chairman himself will be personally impacted by criticism”—as when they hurriedly announced a public comment period days after learning that the GAO was releasing a critical report.) For media activists, the storm and the official response only underscored the need for the creation of communications systems grounded in community. We’ll talk to someone working on just that, Teresa Basilio, director of Resilient Just Technologies.

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Indigenous Peoples: Exist Resist Rise (cc photo: Mobilius in Mobili)

(cc photo: Mobilius in Mobili)

Also on the show: We’ve just seen how a number of states and cities have changed the name of Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day, a long-overdue exercise in shifting attention from a mass murderer to the people whose lives, cultures and land were devastated. But given that indigenous peoples in the US today face wildly disproportionate rates of police violence, incarceration, sexual violence and homelessness, it should be clear that a conversation that begins—and ends—with history is not enough. We’ll talk about going beyond symbols with writer and educator Amrah Salomon, director of the Community and Labor Project at University of California, San Diego, where she’s a doctoral candidate in ethnic studies.

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This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission from FAIR.