Bangkok-based photographer Nic Dunlop, in conversation with BBC foreign correspondent Fergal Keane, previewed his new book Brave New Burma at the Frontline Club on Wednesday 15th May. Twenty years in the making, Brave New Burma explores the country from the ongoing civil war to its deceptively tranquil cities, using both photographs and words by Dunlop.
Fergal Keane (L) and Nic Dunlop. Photo credit: Sally Ashley-Cound
Cold war politics have never seemed more relevant in the 21st century. Relations between the US and Russia are reaching new lows over geopolitical hot spots while the White House dodges questions about the detainment in Moscow of an alleged CIA recruiting agent.
These might seem like old stories, but a decidedly hi-tech twist is emerging as Russia’s surveillance state comes into the spotlight. On 14 May, panelists at the Frontline Club discussed the advancement of internet censorship, monitoring technologies and potential impacts on individual freedoms in Russia.
L-R: Misha Glenny, Andrei Soldatov, Irina Borogan and Edward Lucas. Photo credit: Millicent Teasdale
In 2010 U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning committed the largest security breach in US history, handing the classified Afghan War Diary, Iraq War Logs, and 250,000 State Department cables to Wikileaks. Imagery like that of an American helicopter team gunning down citizens and journalists on a Baghdad street in 2007 has been lodged in the global consciousness.
With Manning standing trial before a military court in June, the Frontline Club engaged an expert panel on Monday 15 May to ask what lies ahead for the whistleblower, along with what his experience might mean to governments and the media.
(L-R): Naomi Colvin, Chase Madar, Richard Gizbert and David Leigh. Photo credit: Jim Treadway
On Monday 29 April, the Frontline Club hosted a screening of The Village at the End of the World, followed by a Q&A with director Sarah Gavron (Brick Lane, 2007). “They say in Greenland that they’re holding their breath about their future,” she explained as she introduced the film, which explores the challenges faced by the small community of Niaqornat.
Situated in Northern Greenland, in one of the remotest spots on earth and with less than 60 residents, the village of Niaqornat is literally teetering on the brink of extinction. Read more →
Analysts and experts treated the audience to rare accounts and informed insight into the North Korean regime’s mindset on Tuesday 15th April at the Frontline Club.
BBC East Asia Editor Charles Scanlon hosted the discussion on the hot topic of North Korea’s threat – is it imminent, or is it overstated? – with former British Ambassador to North Korea John Everard, Cambridge lecturer Dr.John Swenson-Wright and Andrea Berger, a Research Fellow in Nuclear Analysisat the Royal United Services Institute.
(L-R) John Swenson-Wright, Charles Scanlon, Andrea Berger and John Everard. Photo: Alex Glynn
No Fire Zone uses forensically verified footage from civilian mobile phones and government forces cameras to chronicle the last 138 days of the 26 year long Sri Lankan civil war between the Sinhalese led government and the Tamil Tigers (LTTE).
On Thursday 18th April at the Frontline Club, authors Irina Prokhorova and Oliver Bullough talked about their experiences of Russia which have informed the research and writing of their two very different books.
“The close study of this period showed that all genesis of new life, just grew out of 1990. With its best achievements and worst [ . . . ] my idea was to show [ . . . ] this point of growth, the potential of the society of which probably we still don’t know enough.”
Speaking to columnist and broadcaster, Jenni Russell, the former Economist writer and Al Jazeera correspondent talked about her book, for which she travelled around the Arab world to try to understand the region’s relationship with one of their most taboo subjects – sex.
On Monday 15th April, the Dutch Embassy and Time magazine partnered to co-organise a screening at the Frontline Club of Peace vs Justice: a documentary about the violence of Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), particularly against children, in northern Uganda. An expert panel discussion followed.
On Friday 12th April the Frontline Club hosted the first UK screening of Dirty Wars; author and investigative reporter Jeremy Scahill‘s chilling account of his journey from a remote corner of Afghanistan to Yemen, the American Congress and Somalia as he investigated the rise of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC).
Producer Anthony Arnove introduced the film and thanked the director, Richard Rowley, Scahill‘s co-writer David Riker and fellow producer Brenda Coughlin. After the screening he was joined by Scahill via Skype.
“This film started of as a very different story,” Scahill said. “It started off as a more linear documentary and was going to be focussed on Afghanistan and the war within the war – the special operations war. As we started to research who was conducting these raids we realised it was part of a much bigger story…I didn’t realise just exactly how much of a part these forces lay in these expanding US wars.”
The screening of “Amazing Azerbaijan!” on Thursday, 11th April was followed by a Q&A with the film’s director Liz Mermin. The film contrasts the two-faced Azerbaijan: on one hand there was the glamour before and during Eurovision, carefully constructed by the government; the other side is that investigative journalists like Khadija Ismayilova regularly get persecuted for speaking up for democracy.
The documentary journalist and film director Liz Mermin gives the public an insight into how she gathered the footage.
Before opening up the debate, Mermin summarised the discrepancy between official Western thinking and the struggles of ordinary people: “Eurovision was being used by the government to say ‘look, we are European. We are Western and just between evil Russia and Eastern Iran.’”
Frontline Club founder Vaughan Smith referred to PTSD as the “unreported or underreported suffering of war.”
Frontline Club founder Vaughan Smith (left), Jake Wood (centre), Charles Glass (right)
During the discussion, led by Smith, Wood shared emotionally charged excerpts from his book Among You, which describes his experiences as a soldier in Afghanistan and Iraq, and his battle with chronic PTSD. Read more →
The preview screening of The World Before Her held the audience captive at the Frontline Club on Tuesday 2 April. It was not just the trials and tribulations of two opposites – a beauty contest and a fundamentalist Hindu training camp – but a means by which to focus on the contesting roles of women in India.
The Frontline Club is the London hub for a diverse group of people united by their passion for the best quality journalism. With its elegant restaurant serving the best of British cuisine and its atmospheric members' bar, the Frontline Club is a unique place to discuss, debate and be inspired. Our events, screenings, workshops and restaurant are open to the public.