The Ask – Year 1 in Review

As we approach the end of 2020 I want to a moment and look back on the first months of The Ask Podcast.

This podcast launched in Episode 1 with a roundtable discussion with Professor Thongchai Winichakul, Professor Clare Veal, and journalist Teirra Kamolvattanavith to look at the history and consequences of the Thammasat University massacre through the lens of a Pulitzer prize-winning photograph.

I next interviewed author (and neighbor!) Michael Sullivan in Episode 2 to discuss his work on Not Our Day to Die: Testimony from the Guatemalan Jungle, a book containing interviews with the survivors of the Ixcán Grande Cooperative and that captures the early hopes for the cooperative and the ravages of the civil war that followed.

In Episode 3 I had the opportunity to interview decorated US Marine Corps veteran and award-winning author Elliot Ackerman about his work on Green on Blue, a stirring debut novel that unpacks the terrible complexities of the war in Afghanistan through the story of a young Afghan orphan who ends up being swept up in the conflict war.

I then connected in Episode 4 with Oscar-nominated filmmaker Nick Quested to discuss Blood on the Wall, a feature documentary for National Geographic that explores the depths of corruption plaguing Mexico and Central America and consecutive US government policies that have contributed to the pain and suffering that has driven countless people from Latin America across the US border to seek a better life for themselves.

My next interview in Episode 5 was with award-winning filmmaker Saeed Taji Farouky to discuss his work running the South London Gallery Film School and his latest film, Strange Cities Are Familiar – a dreamlike film about a political refugee living in London trying to get back to his home in Palestine to see his dying son.

Finally, in Episode 6 I ended the year interviewing Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney and talented filmmakers Ophelia Harutyunyan, and Suzanne Hillinger to discuss their work on Totally Under Control. A feature documentary film that looks at the Trump administration’s incompetence, corruption, and denial in the face of this global pandemic – and the enormous cost that incompetence has had in the way of American lives lost to the pandemic.

Reflecting on the first several months of my podcast, I am deeply grateful to every guest that showed up to take my questions on The Ask.

I am also grateful to anyone that tuned into the episodes I have published so far, without you listeners this podcast could not exist. Thank you for your time and interest in The Ask.

Looking ahead to the New Year, I am excited to continue to seek out extraordinary people and ask them the kind of questions that can provide you the listener, captivating answers.

See you soon in the next episode of The Ask. ^_^


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