July 25, 2014

Got Your Back

There is a special comfort that comes from knowing someone's got your back. You can do things that just weren't possible before. You take huge risks, including some that aren't necessarily advisable. This week: stories where one person's powerlessness is transformed when they discover they have backup. And we see what happens when that backup goes away.

The internet version of this episode contains un-beeped curse words. BEEPED VERSION.


Ira talks to Grantland writer David Hill about the board game Diplomacy. He had a couple experiences that made him believe that maybe he didn't understand how to play properly. So he enlisted a ringer, an actual diplomat, to go with him to the national tournament in North Carolina. (8 minutes)
Act One

Absolutely Stabulous

David Hill's story about what happened when he took U.S. Ambassador Dennis Ross as his coach to the World Championships for the board game Diplomacy. David writes about sports for Grantland.com, and wrote a story about the championship. (14 minutes)

Act Three

One Woman Show

There's this woman Hamida Gulistani who advocates for women's rights in Afghanistan. For a few years when the US presence in the country was at its greatest, she felt like someone had her back … she felt safer … she saw some progress. But now with the US pulling out, her situation's changing. It's gotten way more dangerous already, and she's shifted from someone having her back, to having to watch her back.

For 2 1/2 years, Kevin Sieff has been the bureau chief for the Washington Post in Afghanistan. He tells this story about the change that Hamida is facing. Trigger warning: this story includes descriptions of violence against women. (24 minutes)