June 2009

Iason Athanasiadis, an extraordinary young freelance writer, radio producer and photographer, was detained by Iranian authorities on June 19 while trying to board a plane to leave the country. Iason had been covering the contested elections there. Homelands Productions joins many other media organizations in calling for his release. We know Iason as an intelligent, fair-minded, compassionate reporter with deep knowledge of the Middle East and Central Asia. A 2008 Nieman Fellow at Harvard University, Iason was raised in Greece and educated in England and Iran. He holds a degree in Arabic and Modern Middle Eastern Studies at Oxford and a masters degree in Persian and Contemporary Iranian Studies from the Tehran School of International Relations. You can read and see some of Iason’s work at http://www.iason.ws.

P.S. You can read an op-ed about Iason and his detention by Homelands Productions co-founder Sandy Tolan on Salon.com.


Ismael “Babu” Hussein works as an assistant in one of Bangladesh’s giant shipbreaking yards, where armies of laborers dismantle huge old vessels with little more than hammers and blowtorches. The work is perilous, the bosses abusive, the hours exhausting. Babu’s reward? Just over two dollars a day, and nightmares about being crushed by giant sheets of steel. Pretty heavy stuff for a 13-year-old kid.

You can hear Sandy Tolan‘s profile of Babu on Marketplace on Thursday, June 18th. There are great photos and an excellent introduction to the issues of shipbreaking and child labor at the WORKING websites – http://marketplace.org/segments/working and http://working.homelands.org.

Please let us know what you think!