Monday January 15, 2018

January 12, 2018 episode transcript

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The AIH Transcript for January 12, 2018

Hosts: Carol Off and Jeff Douglas

STORIES FROM THIS EPISODE

Prologue

CAROL OFF: Hello, I'm Carol Off.

JEFF DOUGLAS: Good evening. I'm Jeff Douglass. This is As It Happens.

[Music: Theme]

JD: Tonight:

CO: Oath of office. Donald Trump swears he didn't swear when referring to Haiti and African countries, but our guest believes the president's foul language is reflective of his foul ideas about immigrants.

JD: Dishonourable discharge. A patient from a Baltimore hospital is found outside in the cold, wearing just a gown and socks — and the man whose video exposed her exposure still can't believe what he saw.

CO: Free man in Paris. He spent three years behind bars, waiting to be tried on terrorism charges, but today, French judges ruled there's not enough evidence against Ottawa professor Hassan Diab, and they’ve let him go.

JD: A disaster hits home. Berkeley Johnson lost his house to the mudslides in California this week, but what's really affecting him is how he managed to find, and save, a baby.

CO: Sugaring the pillager. In a discovery that makes a barbaric and putrid plunderer seem sweeter, researchers find evidence that the 18th-century pirate Blackbeard may have enjoyed a good book.

JD: Hmmm. And...things were bleak, until he took a turn for the wurst. When a British butcher gets trapped in a freezer, he fears he'll shiver off this mortal coil, but manages to free himself with the help of an unlikely hero: a frozen blood sausage.

JD: As It Happens, the Friday edition. Radio that goes out with a banger.

[Music: Theme]

Back To Top »

Part one: Trump vulgar comments, Hassan Diab, pirate Blackbeard books

Trump vulgar comments

Guest: Karl Racine

JD: The scene at the White House was even more surreal than usual today. After U.S. President Donald Trump signed a proclamation to honour Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a reporter could be heard yelling the question: "Mr. President, are you a racist?" It was not a random question. Last night, it was reported that the President had used a shockingly vulgar and disturbing term to refer to Haiti and countries in Africa. This morning, on Twitter, he denied it. Then, Democratic Senator Dick Durbin — who was in the room when the comments were reportedly made — said this. And I'll warn you that Senator Durbin repeats the obscenity he claims the President used:

SOUNDCLIP

DICK DURBIN: To no surprise, the president started tweeting this morning, denying that he used those words. It is not true; he said these hate-filled things. And he said them repeatedly. When the question was raised about Haitians for example, we have a group that have temporary protected status in the United States because they were the victims of crises and disasters and political upheaval. The largest groups El Salvador, the second is Honduran, and the third is Haitian. And when I mentioned that fact to him he said Haitians? Do we need more Haitians? And then he went on and we started to describe the immigration from Africa that was being protected and this bipartisan measure. That's when he used his vile and vulgar comments, calling the nations they come from shitholes.

JD: That was Senator Dick Durbin, speaking earlier today. Karl Racine is the Democratic Attorney-General of Washington, D.C. He himself is Haitian-American, we reached him in the U.S. Capitol. And again, a heads-up, this interview contains the pertinent profanity.

CO: Attorney General, we just heard Senator Durbin summarize President Donald Trump's comments. What was your response to Donald Trump?

KARL RACINE: Well, you know initially, I was hoping that the comments were not true. But, of course, Donald Trump's comments are not in a vacuum. In fact, we have a history of decades of actions and comments on his part that demonstrate a racial and ethnic animus. And so it was entirely believable to me. And, of course, with Senator Durbin confirming that those statements were made, I have no doubt that they were made. I also have no doubt that those statements were racist and they betray a fundamental animus towards minorities.

CO: On a personal level, what's it like when you hear the president ask the question that we just heard from Senator Durbin? He posed the question do we need more Haitians?

KR: Well, it strikes me to the heart and to my core. I am a Haitian-American. My mother and father immigrated to the United States in the ‘60s. And they brought my sister and I here to have a better life. Once we came to the United States, we were welcomed. We benefited from the public school system. And we were always taught to love the country. And indeed, both my sister and I are now naturalized citizens. We love this country. We also love our homeland at Haiti, and we know very well that Haiti is a wondrous country. Yes, it has economic issues and poverty, but the people are extraordinary. And they're courageous.

CO: They tweet from President Trump this morning was he said, “I never said anything derogatory about Haitians, other than Haiti is, obviously, a very poor and troubled country.” He said, “I never said take them out. That's made up by Dems. I have a wonderful relationship with Haitians.” Do you believe that?

KR: I absolutely do not believe it. And I think that any person who claims to have an absolute, wonderful relationship with Haitians would know better than to suggest any kind of comment that would result in Haitians leaving this country.

CO: We have heard President Trump say outrageous things — racial things — before in tweets and speeches. And intended we’re told to stir his base — and intended to provoke. What does it say when you hear that he made these remarks in what was a semi-private context?

KR: Well, you know I don't know about President Trump's base. But I do know when people are talking in a semi-private context; they're oftentimes revealing the truth of what's in their heart. What's most disturbing to me, in addition to the racist comments, is that the president is following through on those words with actual policy. In fact, his immigration policy, the travel ban, travel ban 1, 2, and 3, the rescission of DACA, and the whole contours of the immigration discussion you know really revolve around issues of ethnic racism and good old-fashioned xenophobia. That's why the Democratic Attorney General — and I'm proud to be the co-chair of the Democratic Attorney General Association — have repeatedly sued the president of the United States regarding his illegal and racist immigration policies.

CO: And on that subject, we know that lawyers are looking for evidence of racist bias in White House immigration policies and other initiatives. Will these remarks made in this semi-private context will this affect those travel bans and other policies that are before the courts?

KR: I think it will have a tremendous impact on future litigation and pending litigation related to immigration. The federal courts have already determined that President Trump’s tweets — his comments — are relevant as to what the real motivation or intent or underpinning of a law is. And so the more the president reveals himself, however horrific it is to our ears, the more that federal courts are armed with the kind of evidence necessary to strike down his laws.

CO: We have heard from conservatives who defend Mr. Trump and defend this remark — pushback principally from Fox News, and saying that well these countries are shitholes, and that's why people are trying to get out of them. What do you say to that?

KR: Well, I think on the eve of Martin Luther King's birthday — the federal holiday is on Monday — that those conservative attempts to defend the president are shameful. They should, in fact, seek to counsel the president about what has made America extraordinarily great: our immigration, our open borders. Whether folks are coming from Australia or England or Haiti or Senegal when they come to the United States, they adopt American values, and they make our country stronger. And I'm afraid that a Trump America is going to lead America to be weaker and less respected.

CO: So you're hearing these conservatives who are defending these remarks. Have you heard Republicans — conservatives — who condemn these remarks?

KR: You know not enough. I saw that. Congresswoman Mia Love, herself a Haitian-American, came out strongly last night and criticized the president's comments. There are some murmurs from other Republicans, but frankly, not enough Republicans are standing up for America's values.

CO: And so just finally, what effect do you think that this latest episode might have on the international reputation of the United States?

KR: Well, from reading the newspapers and discussions online, and also watching some news this morning, it appears as though the State Department is in full scramble mode, really trying to explain away the president's hurtful assertions. And it's a terrible thing that the State Department has to devote time, energy, and resource to telling people that America values liberty, freedom, and is fair to everyone regardless of race ethnicity. That should be a given. Unfortunately, with this president that is not a given.

CO: We'll leave it there. Attorney General Racine, thank you for coming on the program.

KR: Thank you so very much, Carol.

JD: Karl Racine is the Democratic Attorney-General for Washington, D.C. And that's where we reached him. To read more reaction to the U.S. President's latest vulgar comments, go to our website: www.cbc.ca/aih.

[Music: Folk music]

Hassan Diab

Guest: Rania Tfaily

JD: It's the call that Rania Tfaily has been hoping to get for more than 3 years. Ms. Tfaily is married to University of Ottawa professor Hassan Diab. In 2014, Mr. Diab was extradited to France to be tried for a murderous bombing at a synagogue in Paris. But that trial never came. Regardless, despite a series of orders for his interim release, Mr. Diab has remained behind bars. And then, this morning, Hassan Diab called his wife. Two French judges had found the evidence against him so flawed that they ordered his unconditional release. We reached Rania Tfaily shortly afterwards in Ottawa.

CO: Ms Tfaily, what did your husband have to say to you when you talked to him this morning?

RANIA TFAILY: You know, honestly, I don't remember exactly what he said. I was very happy to hear the news. So I think the whole day is probably going to be a bit of a blur, so I don't really recall it. But you know he was he was happy; he wanted to speak with the kids, and to see how they are doing, but nothing really of absolute significance.

CO: Just happiness. And where is he now? He's out of prison, but where is he?

RT: I spoke with him about half an hour ago, and he was with the lawyers at their office.

CO: Now last time we spoke, you felt you were living in an alternate universe you said. That one moment of victory or thinking that your husband would be released would then be canceled out by some other strange twist in this. Are you feeling confident that maybe this is the beginning of the end of your nightmare?

RT: I wouldn't say I am confident because I think there are still lots of politics in this case, and there are political pressures. There could be an appeal of his release. But I think for today you know I'm going to enjoy it, I'm going to think only positive, and I'm going to hope for the best.

CO: The two French judges who've ordered the dismissal of this terrorism case against your husband. What did they have to say? Why did they dismiss it?

RT: I didn't read the decision. So my understanding is based on the lawyer's readings that they said that the intelligence is contradictory and unreliable. They also pointed out that the handwriting evidence that was used in that case actually included many samples that were not Hassan’s handwriting, and that these should not be given any weight. And they pointed out that there is consistent evidence, including different pieces of evidence that he was not in France at that time. In addition, they mentioned that his fingerprints are not on the hotel card or on the car rental or on a statement that was signed by the suspect. So all of these pieces of evidence, the fact that you know he wasn't in France, there’s exonerating evidence, it made them issue the decision to dismiss the charges against him and to order his release right away.

CO: As you know very well this “contradictory, unreliable evidence” as the lawyers called it is what they've had from the beginning, and a Canadian judge said the law required him to allow your husband's extradition. But even he pointed out problems with the evidence in his decision. So why has this gone on for so long?

RT: I think it is part the environment. I mean there is a terrorist attacks happening that have been killing innocent people, and this I think led in my opinion too many innocent people being unfairly put in jail based on un-credible evidence. Because whenever there is this sweep then many innocent people and their families end up being victimized. And another fact is that you know Canada has really unfair extradition law. I mean there are many extradition experts who have pointed this out that any Canadian citizen can be extradited nowadays on almost any evidence, no matter how unreliable or awful the evidence is. I mean in Hassan’s case, the extradition charge said that the evidence is suspect, and he still ordered his extradition. But the other part is that there is this view that we should air on the side of caution, which means that whenever there is any person who could be suspected of anything, we should imprison them and then see what happens. I mean Hassan has been imprisoned or under strict bail conditions for almost ten years of his life. I mean you mentioned all of these pieces of the evidence were already known by 2009, and it took all of these years for him to be finally released, although, there could still be an appeal of his release. I think if we were living in a different environment, the courts, whether here or in France, would not have allowed this to happen.

CO: Will your husband now be free to return home to you and your kids?

RT: My understanding is that there are no conditions to his release. I mean I do hope that he will be able to return; our family has not been united in a long time. I was seven months pregnant when he was extradited. So he has seen his son few times over the past three years. But there is two children who have been growing up for more than three years, and they miss him. They talk about him all the time. Like today, I shared the news with them, and I mean you couldn't believe how happy they were. And like their question was when are we going to see dad? When is de going to come? Are we going to travel?

CO: Your husband has spent 23 hours a day in a solitary cell. What effect do you think all this has had on him?

RT: I don't know. Like I feel that this is like for me is uncharted territory. I speak with him frequently, but we often talk about either the case or the kids. I haven't really had a conversation with him about you know the weather or books for a very long time, so I don't know what impact that it has. I mean I could imagine that you know being confined in a cell, told what you can eat, what you can read, all of you know the exercise of power in every daily activity, and the fact that you know he has been deprived of much of the human contact or social contact with you know his family, with his friends. I'm sure there is a deep wound in his in his heart that you know for ten years he had been deprived of freedom.

CO: Ms. Tfaily, we will keep in touch. We'll follow this story. And I hope we get to see your husband soon. Thank you.

RT: Well, thank you very much for covering the case.

CO: Bye bye.

RT: Bye

JD: Rania Tfaily is the wife of Hassan Diab. The former University of Ottawa professor was released from a French prison this morning. We reached Ms. Tfaily in Ottawa. And you'll find more on that story on our website: www.cbc.ca/aih.

[Music: Ambient]

Pirate Blackbeard

Guest: Erik Farrell

JD: Blackbeard was a merciless, murderous, monstrous 18th-century pirate who claimed he was Lucifer incarnate, and lit his hair on fire before a battle. After which he would curl up in a comfy chair with a mug of the finest grog and devour a good book. In the literary sense, not the literal sense… probably. In the wreckage of Blackbeard's flagship, researchers were surprised to find fragments of pages from a book. The pirate ran the Queen Anne's Revenge aground off the coast of North Carolina in 1718. It was discovered in 1996, and conservators have been investigating it ever since. We reached one of them — Conservator Erik Farrell — in Greenville, North Carolina.

CO: Mr. Farrel, when did you realize there might be bits of a book among the artifacts on the Queen Anne's Revenge?

ERIK FARRELL: Well, after unloading the breech chamber, we found these. And there was kind of a mass of textile fabric in the interior. And that was coated in a black kind of carbon residue — iron residue — from the inside, and when we started soaking that out, basically a little piece floated out of that with the word “the”, and then a capital letter “L” pretty clearly visible on it.

CO: And so maybe a few more details of what this floated out of? What were you soaking? What artifact were you trying to get at the interior of?

EF: This was removed from a breech chamber. So it's basically what holds the gunpowder for an early breech-loading cannon. This chamber — the thing that the paper came out of — would have been wedged into the back end and then lit to fire the gun.

CO: You gone further than just finding a few words in it. You think you know what book it was?

EF: Yes. So when we recovered that first fragment, that turned out to be a number of kind of stacked sequential pages. Now, none of them are anything close to complete. The biggest one is about the size of a quarter. Several of them have recognizable words. One fragment, in particular, had the word “Hilo”, and that had a space either side, so we knew it was a complete word. It was capitalized, italicized, so we knew it was most likely a place name. And there is a port Ilo in Peru; It's now just spelled Ilo. At the time there were multiple spellings. But from that single word on that single fragment, we were able to track down a number of voyages to the area that were published in the late 17th and early 18th centuries. There was one in 16 A.D. under Captain Bartholomew Sharpe where the Port of Ilo was sacked, was taken by English Buccaneers, and several officers on that voyage published full accounts. Now none of those accounts matched, but they were very widely-read, very widely-cited. So a later voyage under Captain Woods Rogers — the second captain of one of the ships — Edward Cooke published the first account of that in 1712, and we were able to match that Hilo fragment with a passage in Edward Cooke's 1712 account.

CO: What's your theory as to how this pirate Blackbeard had this book on the Queen Anne's Revenge as he was going about his business on the high seas?

EF: We can't be 100 per cent certain exactly when it came aboard — exactly who it belonged with. Pirates are not necessarily known for their record keeping, but there are several points where we know books either did come aboard or were associated with the fleet. In December of 1770, Blackbeard and his ships captured a smaller sloop called Margaret, and it was recorded that the captain of the Margaret his books were taken by the pirates.

CO: Looking for bedtime books for pirates?

EF: Potentially. It is torn apart and jammed into a cannon, so it may or may not have been read before that. Obviously, they were using it for a different purpose at the time it sank. Woods Rogers — he later became governor of the Bahamas appointed to basically stamp out piracy in the region — there have been people who have speculated that part of why Blackbeard went north was because of Rodgers's appointments. So it may be that there is some unhappiness of someone amongst the crew with Rodgers's associate, and they decide to throw it in the gun.

CO: Jamming this book into a gun using it as part of a weapon might be kind of a private joke among the pirates?

EF: It might be a private joke, and personally, I would like to imagine that's the case. Equally though, it may be that someone was sitting there loading breech chambers, and there was a book in arm's reach, and it may just be expedience — someone was being lazy.

CO: Are you expecting to find any other reading materials among the wreckage of the Queen Anne’s Revenge?

EF: I wouldn't say we're expecting to. I would love to. It's something exceptionally rare. It's very interesting to get a look into this sort of thing of what books were on board. But the fact that we have any of this at all is bordering on miraculous. And I would be shocked if lightning struck twice.

CO: Well, long live books, one way or another.

EF: Yes.

CO: Mr. Farrel, it’s good to talk to you. Thank you.

EF: Thank you.

CO: Bye bye.

EF: Bye.

JD: Erik Farrel is a conservator with the Queen Anne's Revenge project. We reached him in Greenville, North Carolina.

[Music: Electronica]

Trapped butcher

JD: Here is Chris McCabe's favourite recipe: Stir some pork fat, chopped onion, milk, and spices into four cups of fresh pig's blood. Add some cooked oatmeal — stuff into sausage casings. Freeze solid enough that it can later rescue you from certain death; serves one, in this case: Chris McCabe himself. That's a recipe for blood sausage, also known as "black pudding". Some people like it. Mr. McCabe loves it. He told the Mirror newspaper, quote, "Black pudding saved my life, without a doubt." Unquote. Mr. McCabe is a 70-year-old butcher in the town of Totnes, England. Recently, he went to grab something out of the shop's walk-in freezer. While he was inside, the door shut. Of course, everyone who's been in a walk-in knows there's a huge release button, except it was frozen. He was trapped. No one could hear him knocking. It was minus-20 Celsius inside. The butcher knew it took just half an hour for any meat to freeze in there, which was troubling, since Mr. McCabe himself is largely made of meat. He needed a battering ram, but none of the products in the freezer was big enough and heavy enough and swingable enough. And then he saw the blood sausage. He told the Mirror, quote, "It was solid, pointed, and I could get plenty of weight behind it. I'm lucky really — we sell about two or three each week, and that was the last one." He pounded the release button with the sausage. After a few swings, the door opened. Now, Chris McCabe owes his life to a frozen cylinder of pig's blood and oatmeal, instead of putting himself to death, he puddinged himself back to life.

Back To Top »

Part two: Abandoned patient, California mudslides: Latest

Abandoned patient

Guest: Jamie Raskin

JD: On Tuesday evening, Imamu Baraka was heading to his local pharmacy for a quick stop. He works across the street as a psychotherapist. When he was about to head back to his office, he saw something he could hardly believe. Mr. Baraka took out his phone and started recording. Here's a clip.

SOUNDCLIP

IMAMU BARAKA: Wait, so ya’lll just going to leave this lady out here with no clothes on? That is not okay.

MALE VOICE: Due to the circumstances of what it was…

IB: Then ya’ll need to call the police. Ma'am, are you OK? Are you unable to speak? Are you OK, ma’am? Do you need me to call the police?

JD: The woman was wearing only a hospital gown and socks. Since Mr. Baraka's video went viral, state officials have launched an investigation into the University of Maryland Medical Center hospital. We reached Imamu Baraka in Baltimore.

CO: Mr. Baraka, what was the first thing you noticed that disturbed you on Tuesday evening?

IB: Well, what caused me to pause was a group of individuals in black because I did not know at that time that they were security guards with a patient exiting the hospital. And then there was a gust of wind that blew the gown that the young lady was wearing just above her waist. And at that moment I thought this isn't right. And then I saw her foot fall from the foot resting place on the wheelchair, and someone had to put her foot back on that resting place. And at that moment you know, to be honest with you, I actually thought she was dead.

CO: And they were taking her where? She was in the wheelchair; they were wheeling her out, where were they taking her?

IB: They were actually taking her to the bus stop that's right outside of the ambulance entrance door to sit her in that bus sort of covering on a bench with her belongings — with nothing more than a hospital gown and socks.

CO: And what went through your mind when you saw that?

IB: Well, I was en route to get some cough medicine. And I realized when I saw all of that that I did not have my cell phone on me. So I ran back into my office, and the video picks up with me crossing the street and hitting the record button. Because I just knew that something bad was happening there, and I could not believe my eyes.

CO: When you start recording, the recording begins with you following these four men back toward the hospital. Is that the point when you realize that this was security, and they had just dumped this semi-naked woman out at the bus station?

IB: Well, when I was walking toward them, what really caused me concern was that they were coming in my direction with an empty wheelchair. And then when I saw that, I began to ask them questions like are you just going to leave this lady here? Really! And you know when we got to the door of the hospital, I asked for a supervisor. And the gentleman made it very clear to me by saying well, I am the supervisor. And that's when I became enraged.

CO: The video shows you went back to help the woman. And by this time she was up from the bus station, she was walking the street, and you're trying to at least get her seat so you can do something. And you obviously have some experience with those who have mental illness. How did you find her? What was your sense of her condition?

IB: Well, when I approached her, I made sure that there was some space between us so that I would not violate her personal space. And then on top of that, you had a woman who had no clothing on under that gown. And when I began to sort of engage her as the therapist in my head kicked in. And when she was unable to speak, and her movements, the body language was also speaking to me as well, so when she began to stumble you know I really wanted to get her stabilized in that moment — or in a place where she was stable so she would not fall. because in the video, it shows that she did have a bruise on her head already. I was able to coax her in my direction to have her have a seat. And at that time, I knew that there was something really wrong.

CO: Why was it important for you to continue to film this incident?

IB: Well, my thinking was for her protection and mine. And I just wanted to document this because, to be honest, I just could not believe that this was happening to a human being, in the heart of Baltimore city, in the dead of night, and in the cold — because it was extremely cold.

CO: And it's very disturbing to watch because she is so distraught, she’s cold, she's in pain, she's almost naked, and at some point, you know you have to get someone to take her back to the hospital. How did you do that? How did you finally get her back to care?

IB: I called 911 and told them what was going on, where I was. And you know between the time that I made that call up until they arrived, you know my intent was to be there in that space with her fully. I asked her to smile, and she began to smile and laugh a little bit. You know I know it was hard. I knew it was cold, but I wanted to just get her out of the headspace that she was in at that moment if I could, until help came.

CO: And help did come.

IB: Well, I will say an ambulance came. What I mean by that is when the EMTs — the technicians within the ambulance came — and you know they put her into the ambulance, and then took her 20 feet back to the hospital that irresponsibly discharged her on the streets of Baltimore. So I don't know if I would call that help? I also found out, and this is why I do not call that help, because I asked them to take her to another hospital. Come to find out she was taken to another part of the hospital — because I waited outside for a couple of hours in the cold just to make sure that they did not bring her back out of that door. What I did not do was to you know consider the idea that they would take her out of another door, put her in a taxicab in that same condition, and send her to a homeless shelter.

CO: And is that what happened?

IB: That's exactly what happened. And that's how the mother and I found her.

CO: And so you found her mother. And between the two of you, you found out where they had taken her?

IB: Yes. Well, the mother engaged in what we call “Mama Bear behavior”, and she was able to make some calls, have some conversations with folks, and yeah, we made it happen.

CO: The president of that hospital — the University of Maryland Medical Center — has apologized that it was a failure on the part of the hospital. Why did they do it? Why did they put her out in the street?

IB: You know I have no idea. And you know I think I don't want to know. I don't want to introduce myself to that kind of thinking. Although I work with the mind, I don't want to go to that dark space that would allow another human to put a human out on the curb like garbage, in the dead of night, in the heart of Baltimore City, naked, alone, and unable to fend for herself. I don't want to go to that place.

CO: We will direct people how they can see this very disturbing video that you posted. And Mr. Baraka, I'm glad you were there. And I appreciate you speaking with us. Thank you.

IB: Absolutely.

JD: That was Imamu Baraka. We reached him in Baltimore. You can see the video Mr. Baraka posted on our website: www.cbc.ca/aih.

[Music: Electronica]

Toronto student attack

JD: Once would have been terrifying enough. But this morning, an 11-year-old girl in Toronto says she was attacked twice by the same man, on her way to school. The girl, who wears a hijab, was walking to her elementary school in Scarborough with her younger brother in tow. She says a man tried to cut her hijab with a pair of scissors. Here is 11-year-old Khawlah Noman speaking to the CBC, followed by her mother, Saima Samad.

SOUNDCLIP

KHAWLAH NOMAN: This morning, me and my brother were walking together to school. And sadly, someone insulted me by cutting my hijab two times. And I felt really scared, and confused because I didn't feel comfortable that people are doing this. First, I felt I the man and I turned around, and I saw him with his scissors. I told my brother because me and my brother noticed. And then we both walked to school together. We followed this crowd of people to be safe. He continued cutting my hijab again. It was cutten like I believe 12 inches.

SAIMA SAMAD: Yeah, 12 inches.

KN: 12 Inches, and my friend, she kindly gave me this hijab. I'm actually really scared, but I have family to support me and everything. I feel confused, scared, terrified.

SS: I got a call from the school, and I was just very sad, and I came to the school right away. I’m just so happy she’s safe. This community is so supportive. The principal of the school and everyone's been so supportive. I don't know why he did that, but it's just not Canada. Like I'm so proud to be a Canadian, and I feel safe in this community. And it's not right. And he should get help. Like you know? He should be catched — like this is not who we are. I'm very frustrated and I'm angry, but you know what? We believe in peace, and Canada. Like I'm so proud to be a Canadian, and I want to give them the same message: why are you thinking like this? You know we're all together in this, and should live in harmony together — like it's a multicultural country.

JD: That was Saima Samad, and before that her 11-year-old daughter Khawlah Noman. Khawlah says she was attacked this morning by a man in Toronto who allegedly cut off her hijab. In response to the incident, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, quote, "My heart goes out to the young girl who was attacked, seemingly, for her religion. I can't imagine how afraid she must have been. I want her and her family to know that that is not who Canadians are." Unquote.

[Music: Sad piano]

California mudslide: Latest

Guest: Berkeley Johnson

JD: In Montecito, California, hundreds of rescuers are still digging through the mud. And as the days pass, the chances that anyone else will be found alive are becoming slimmer. Massive mudslides buried the area early Tuesday morning. There are conflicting reports on how many are still missing, but officials say it may number in the dozens. So far, at least 17 people have been killed. Berkeley Johnson escaped the mudslide with his wife and daughter. We reached him in Santa Barbara.

CO: Berkeley, how are you doing?

BERKELEY JOHNSON: I'm doing OK. You know everyone survived of our family, and you know we lost everything else. But you know that that's OK; we're alive.

CO: Can you take us back to early Tuesday morning? What was the first sign that something horrible was happening?

BJ: Well, the first was for some reason I woke up, my room is on the ground floor of our house, and I don't know why I woke up I just woke up at 2:30 in the morning. It was raining. I was concerned that maybe one of our drains outside would be clogged. So I went out into the backyard to kick it open and mad that my shoe was getting wet. All of a sudden, the lights went out all around and power went down. I thought that was unusual because it was you know just a light rain. And then I looked up, and there was a very bright orange glow, and I couldn't figure out what it was. It was just this orange glow up on the mountain. It turned out later I found out it was a propane line that burst and was blowing. And then I happened to look up, and up on the mountain, I just saw trees collapsing in this long front. And I could not understand why the trees were collapsing. They were just going down one after another —whole lines of trees dropping. Maybe 100 yards away, I could see that it was just a massive wall of mud and rock and cars and anything. It was just huge; as far as the eye could see was just this thing rolling down. And so I ran into the house. That's when I grabbed the dog. I thought I could get out to the other side of the house where my car was, but never made it. From there it was crawling up on the roof and I saw you know floating boulders just floating down, and they hit something and would just disappear or explode.

CO: And it went into your house on the first floor, did it?

BJ: Yeah, yeah, and then around. And you know it was not just my house, but it was maybe a hundred yard front of just total take everything out.

CO: How did you and your family get out?

BJ: Well, we sat up on that roof for about 15 minutes. You know I didn't know if the house was going to collapse. But finally found a little low-pressure zone on the front of the house, and I dropped down into the water and mud. It was kind of swirling. I worked my way up past all those drifts to the neighbours, saw they were OK, and they were in a better spot. I could see up on the main road — the bay feeder road — a fire truck. The river was coming down, we got up through there, and got the firemen. Told them we had survivors and they suited-up and came down and got everybody out of the various houses. In one house there was a single mom with her two kids, and I saw holes in their house. I didn't see them on the roof, and I was hoping that they were you know evacuated. And that's what we're praying for. Bur I said we ought to check it out because we've got two kids and a single mom.

CO: So you wanted to check out your neighbour's place, and you had the fire men with you. So what did you do? You went in the house and did you find people?

BJ: We started calling their names, and we didn't get any response. And we advanced a line towards the house. There was big debris fields all over. You know cars on top of the roof. It was just crazy. And it was pitch black. And there was a lot of noise. A propane line right near our house had broken, so the area was filled with propane, and it was making that jet engine noise. And it was just you know just black and mud and water and propane. But out of all that muck, we just heard this little, teeny cry, and it was just this tangle of metal and wood and concrete and mud and just this little arm and little part of a baby. And it had been down there at least an hour because that's how long it took me to go all the way up and all the way back. Finally, I was able to reach this little body and pulled it out. It was covered in mud.

CO: What was the condition of the baby?

BJ: The baby was… just imagine dipping a marshmallow in chocolate. It was fully encased in mud. It was like a shell of mud. And it had mud in its mouth and mud in its nose and mud covering its face. Trying to clear the mud from its mouth because it stopped breathing several times, but then it would move, and we’d get mud out of its mouth. And it would make a little noise, and it was just awful, awful, awful, awful. So the two of us got out of the road. The firemen didn't want to wait for an ambulance. And he jumped in one of the big trucks, and they took it to the hospital. and I heard from a friend of mine that it was fine. I mean that it survived.

CO: And so the baby is fine. But do you know if it's been reunited with his or her parents?

BJ: Yes. So I think that family was carved out of their house. It was a big, extended family, and I think there's ongoing search and rescue operations that you know powers greater than I would know more about. And I know that a lot of people are still lost. But I believe his father was found farther downstream and is in the hospital. I don't know anything about the rest of his extended family.

CO: Do know have you lost friends? Have you lost neighbours as far as you know?

BJ: Yeah, yeah, very close friends. I'm helping with funeral arrangements right now. So, yes.

CO: Berkeley, I’m sorry.

BJ: You know it's so surreal. You know people are walking their dogs and having coffee 50 feet away. It just took a vertical strip of the community from the mountains to the Pacific and just took it out. And except for that strip, you know the rest of the world moves on. It's a very weird thing to be in that one little narrow strip that was determined to go, you know?

CO: I'm sorry for your loss. I'm glad you were there for those you helped. And I'm glad your family is OK.

BJ: Yeah. Thank you so much.

CO: Bye bye.

BJ: Bye.

JD: We reached Berkeley Johnson in Santa Barbara, California. You can read more about this story on our website.

[Music: Ambient]

From Our Archives: Shiv Chopra obit

JD: Shiv Chopra was never a guy to simply go with the flow. The former Government of Canada scientist died Sunday. He was 84-years-old. Mr. Chopra won landmark rulings against discrimination in the public service. But he's likely best known for his fight against the bovine growth hormone, BGH. That began in 1998, when Mr. Chopra took the decidedly un-bureaucratic step of testifying before a Senate committee. He told the senators that, as a scientist, he had concerns about BGH. But that he was under pressure to approve it, to boost production in the Canadian dairy industry. Mr Chopra won that fight. BGH wasn't approved. He and his colleagues would go on to win a court case recognizing the right of government whistleblowers to speak out in the public interest. But he didn't always win. He held widely-discounted views about the safety of some vaccines. And In 2004, he was fired for what Health Canada called, "insubordination". In 2015, As It Happens spoke to Shiv Chopra, after he warned that the Trans Pacific trade Partnership might force Canadian farmers to compete with dairy product using BGH. Here is some of what he had to say.

SOUNDCLIP

SHIV CHOPRA: When my colleagues and I were abroad before the Senate committee, we testified under oath and explained what that means — what it will do. The person, the milk, and the animals will be sick. And we’ll be drinking or using milk from sick cows. As a result, it was not approved in Canada. And the Health Canada just said well there's no harm to humans. This went contrary to our reports. I was from the human safety division. The European Union actually banned the BGH. That means if our dairy products now get mixed up with TPP cannot go to the European Union. And other products are already banned there. That's going to harm our trade and our jobs and our agriculture. All that is going to affect us.

JD: From our archives, that was former government scientist Shiv Chopra, on this program in 2015. Mr. Chopra died Sunday. He was 84-years-old.

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Part three: Apple spyware, Feature: Ice Bridge documentary

Apple spyware

Guest: Patrick Wardle

JD: If you use a computer with a built-in webcam, you may want to consider covering the lens when you're not using it. The FBI has accused a 28-year-old Ohio man, Phillip Durachinksy, of spying on thousands of people over the past 13 years using home-made software. The charges against him have not been proven in court. Spyware is known as "Fruitfly." Mainly, it targeted Apple computers in the U.S., but there were victims in other countries too, including Canada. And some of the alleged victims were minors. Patrick Wardle helped uncover the malware. He's the chief researcher at Digita Security. We reached him in Maui.

CO: Mr. Wardle, what exactly does Fruitfly do?

PATRICK WARDLE: So Fruitfly is a piece of malware designed to predominantly target Mac computers. And, unfortunately, its goal is to spy on its victim with the webcam and the mic.

CO: And why does the FBI say it was created? Can you tell us about who created it, and why it's believed he created Fruitfly?

PW: Yes, again, reading the indictment and the publicly-available discussions from law enforcement, they were able to track down and arrest the person who is accused of creating the malware. Not sure of the exact details how they figured out who this individual was. But again, reading the indictment, it says you know they were able to find a lot of information on his computer. For example, the logs kept of people he would spy on. And also a lot of detail it sounded like of creating the malware, so pretty confident that they definitely have the right guy.

CO: And this is Phillip Durachinksy?

PW: Correct, that is the individual that they have arrested and now is accused of both creating and distributing and utilizing the Fruitfly malware.

CO: How did he use it for his own purposes?

PW: So my understanding is it was created for his purposes and for his purposes only. There's no indication that he was, for example, selling it on the black market to other cyber-criminals. So my understanding is he would create this malware to spy on his victims. So he would infect their computers, and then, for example, turn on the webcam to watch the victim you know in the privacy of their home. So you know this is the case where a very sick or perverse individual who is abusing technology to further their very messed up goals I would say.

CO: We don't know for sure, but we know that among the charges are those for child pornography and the production of child pornography. So that's the conjecture is that he was using the webcam in spying on people and spying on children, in order to create his pornography.

PW: Yeah, exactly. And so that's you know something about this case that’s you know very sickening or disheartening. Normally, when people are infected with malware, it trying to steal their credit card or perhaps ransome their files for money. You know these are annoying things to happen, but this case in a way really unique because the goals of the malware and what it allowed the attacker to do are just far more sickening. I can't really think of a better word to describe that.

CO: The FBI determines that he began this 13 years ago. So how is it able to go on so long undetected?

PW: Yeah, that's a great question. It looks like he's been using this malware for over a decade to spy on his victims. And the reason it was not detected was a few reasons. First, he was very targeted in the number of victims he would go after. I mean it was a few thousand, which is a decent number. But unlike other malware campaigns that might have millions of victims, this small number allowed him to kind of stay under the radar. He also created the malware himself, supposedly, meaning it was a new, custom piece of malware that had never been seen before. And such malware is often able to slip under the detection mechanisms of, for example, anti-virus products.

CO: And again, the 13 years ago. Now, the age of this man is 28. So he was a kid himself when he was doing it. He was a teenager. So how difficult would it be to create something like this?

PW: You know it’s actually surprisingly easy. I like to say that malware is just software that has malicious purposes. So you know, unfortunately, it's rather easy to create this kind of malware if you have you know even elementary programming and computer knowledge.

CO: What's happened now with Fruitfly? Can it still be used? Can someone else pick it up? Or has it been killed?

PW: It's essentially been killed. So the servers that it communicated with have been taken over. My understanding is likely seized by law enforcement. It's possible that someone could perhaps take the existing code and use that for a new attack. But the good news is there are now signatures or detection mechanism built into both some of Apple’s tools and at anti-virus products.

CO: You used the words “creepy” and “sick”, but it goes beyond that, doesn't it? I mean this is a parent's worst nightmare: that somebody if they have a webcam on their computer or the iPad, that their children are being watched and it's being turned into pornography. What can people do to protect themselves?

PW: Yeah, that's a great point. I really struggle to find the words to describe how important this is. But in terms of protection, I think there's some actions people can take to prevent this kind of attack in the future. So the first is that it’s a good idea to cover your webcam when you're not using it. It's also good just to be careful opening you know e-mails from untrusted sources, perhaps only download legitimate software from the Internet, and also there's a lot of good third-party tools that can protect against this. attacks. For example, I've created a tool that will tell you when something is using your webcam. So even if you are not sitting at your computer, if someone has hijacked and turn on your webcam, it will alert you. So the tool’s called “Oversight”, it’s a free utility for Mac computers. And again, using a tool like that you would at least have some indication if there was the malware on your system that was attempting to spy on you either via the webcam or the microphone.

CO: All right. It's so disturbing, but good advice. Mr. Wardle, I appreciate speaking with you. Thank you.

PW: Thank you. It was a pleasure.

JD: Patrick Wardle is the chief researcher at Digita Security. We reached him in Maui.

[Music: Jazz]

Feature: Ice Bridge documentary

Guest: Robin Bicknell

JD: A new documentary called "Ice Bridge" is being promoted as a potentially, quote, "radical revision of history". Because it hypothesizes that the first humans in North America might have come from Europe. "Ice Bridge" will air on "The Nature of Things" on CBC TV this weekend. But it's already being criticized by academics and Indigenous people. Here's a clip from the beginning of the documentary, which is narrated by David Suzuki.

SOUNDCLIP

DAVID SUZUKI: Who were the first North Americans? Many believe they came from the West. But could the first people have traveled an ice bridge across the Atlantic Ocean?

MALE VOICE: This is a very different concept to where people may have come.

SECOND MALE VOICEE: These people were here, and they were here in great numbers.

DS: It's a controversial idea that many do not accept.

THIRD MALE VOICE: 99.5 Per cent of all archaeologists do not accept that people cross the North Atlantic.

JD: Robin Bicknell is the director of the “Ice Bridge” documentary. She joined us in the As It Happens studio.

CO: Robin Bicknell, welcome to As It Happens.

ROBIN BICKNELL: Thanks for having me.

CO: This contrary theory that we just heard in that clip. Just in a nutshell, what is it?

RB: So the notion is that it's not an either-or-story. It's not basically saying that people didn't come through the Siberian route or the Bering Strait. It's an idea that there may have been an earlier migration — a smaller, earlier migration from the East, across the North Atlantic over pack ice during the Ice Age around 20,000 years ago. It's called the Solutrean Hypothesis.

CO: Why is it called that?

RB: the Solutreans were a culture of people that lived between about 17,000 and 22,000 years ago. You may be familiar with their cave art. And the Solutrean Hypothesis is that these people somehow managed to cross what would have been not so much a literal bridge, but during the Ice Age, the North Atlantic would have had pack ice. Sort of like what's in the Arctic today. And that they somehow, following the migration of food, ended up in North America around 20,000 years ago.

CO: And this route that they took this, this is not a bridge like the Bering Strait Bridge where it was actually walkable. They would have had to go through open areas of sea, is that right?

RB: That is part of the hypothesis, yes.

CO: What is the hypothesis as to how they did that then?

RB: So the hypothesis is that they would have somehow managed to figure out how to build the boats, and gone out hunting for seals — maybe great auk, which are now extinct. Perhaps it was accidental journey. Perhaps it was just a hunting trip that continued west. More likely actually; I don't think they headed out on a big transatlantic trip or even knew that's what was happening. And they would use the boat as shelter on these ice islands during bad weather. And then between the ice islands, they would paddle and hunt.

CO: OK, we're talking about a distance of if they're coming from France and Spain, which is where the Solutreans originate. We're talking about 6,000 kilometers. That’s a bit out of the way if you’re a hunting party that just decide to keep on going. That's a long way.

RB: It's a very long way. However, at that time, the continental shelves on both sides were exposed because the sea levels were dramatically lower. They had been sucked up by the giant glaciers that covered most of the Northern Hemisphere. So the distance is actually reduced to about 2,000.

CO: That's 2,000 kilometres?

RB: Yeah, roughly.

CO: And they weren't looking for anything. They didn't think there was a destination. They were just going along from ice flow to ice flow?

RB: That is the hypothesis. Of course, we aren’t time travelers and don't know exactly what happened. And certainly, a hypothesis isn't even a theory — it's a hypothesis. So what that means is that the researchers or scientists who are putting this forward are sort of presenting the possibility of this. So you know when I describe something I don't want you to think this is a factual story because that's not what a hypothesis is.

CO: OK, you must have approached this with a lot of questions because in the clip you played of Mr. Suzuki speaking, there are many, many anthropologists who completely discredit this idea. How did you how did you feel as you approached it? What state of mind were you in about this?

RB: Well, I think I had to have an open mind. And I think that I was quite impressed with the scientists themselves, who seemed very measured, and that you know rigorous work had been done to support this hypothesis.

CO: This is Bruce Bradley and Dennis Stanford?

RB: Yeah, these are two very, very skilled archaeologists at the top of their game. For me, I just heard them out.

CO: We're going to hear a clip now from your documentary — from “Ice Bridge” — and this is Denis Stanford.

SOUNDCLIP

DENNIS STAANFORD: Well, we knew that our colleagues were going to say: you're off your rocker. And they still think so.

CO: All right. That's Dennis Stanford talking about how he thinks his colleagues will react. Obviously, he doesn't think he's off his rocker. What evidence does he present for this case? What does he actually show you as the evidence to support the Solutrean Hypothesis?

RB: So the interesting thing about this film and the exciting thing is that we gained exclusive access to a dig — an archaeological excavation that was happening in the Chesapeake Bay — that was producing artifacts that have an extremely close alignment to Solutrean tools. This in a way was fresh, new evidence for a hypothesis that they've been putting forward for about 20 years. So over the course of 20 years, they gather small little clues. It’s like a detective story. But the biggest thing that made them both sort of scratch their head and think maybe there's something to this are the tools themselves. And it's the way that they're fashioned. It's the way that they're made. It's called flint-knapping; when you knock one rock into a piece of flint and they flake off in various forms. The Solutreans did it a particularly unique way that no one else did, except for some of these artifacts that Bruce and Dennis have found in North America and the East Coast. And that's how they interpret those tools.

CO: But is it not possible that two different peoples at different times discovered that technique and began making it? I mean is it necessarily because it's identical technology that they were borrowing from each other?

RB: That's exactly what the critics would say was could it not be independent invention, right? Look at the pyramids. They were independently invented by two different cultures at the same time, roughly the same shape. And Bruce — Dr. Bradley — would argue absolutely not. It's if you look at the details of those pyramids, there's very distinctly mezzo-Americana or very distinctly Egyptian. There are cultural signatures that don't get replicated. And it's not just one tool it's an assemblage of tools that the odds of that being replicated independently in two parts of the world, in his view, in their view, is almost none.

CO: All the other scientists you have in the documentary they don't just question this a bit. They completely dismiss this. And they say that this is not enough evidence. No human remains have been found. There's no evidence of I mean the boats would have disappeared because of the materials they were made of. But there's just nothing to support this hypothesis. Did you find any scientists because the ones that are very skeptical was that kind of typical of what you heard?

RB: That was typical of what I heard. And there were varying degrees of knowledge about the hypothesis. So some people were critical of it from a very knowledgeable place. But there were many, many who were critical of it from a place of not actually really understanding it or having ever given the time of day. There was also a tendency to write this off because of the genetics. If they couldn't argue about the flint-knapping style, the critics would tend to go well the genetics just is the nail in the coffin anyway.

CO: One of the reasons why many of the scientists say it's not possible is because of the theory of boats — crossing in boats — and I just want to play a clip. Once again, Denis Stanford, what he has to say about why he believes the Solutreans could have crossed by walking and boating across the Atlantic. Here he is.

SOUNDCLIP

DS: I had worked in Alaska with Inuit hunters. I've been out on the ice, and I see these huge ice islands. And I’m thinking you know those Sochi guys. Maybe they had boats. If they had a boat, then they'd be in good shape for getting around the ice. And if you have a boat, you know how to deal with rough water. My theory is that they were out there expanding their territory and hunting seals and stuff. The great auk would be out there. Just all kinds of resources, so I think that's an entirely plausible scenario.

CO: All right. That's how he presents the theory. What did the other anthropologists say about the boat theory?

RB: Generally, critics will say there's no evidence of boats. There's no evidence for the tools that made boats. We don't have any evidence that Solutreans ever made watercraft. But if you look at indirect evidence historically, we can see evidence of watercraft through the migration of humans. And a dr. actually says this in the film, for example, we find people in Australia 60,000 years ago. Unless you want to put them in hot air balloons, they had to have watercraft to do that. We have no evidence of the boats, but they're made of organic materials. Generally, wood and skin and things that dissolve over time. So, of course, we're not finding any boats and paddles.

CO: You're listening to As It Happens. I'm speaking with Robin Bicknell, who's the director of the documentary “Ice Bridge”. You're looking at the science — and you exclusively look at the science in this documentary — the politics of this are thick and considerable, aren't there? I mean this is supported and purported by white supremacists, who argue that they say well this proves that early Europeans were in North America. And that the those who came to discover so-called — “discover North America” — later were simply reclaiming what had already belong to white Europeans. North America belongs to Europe, and that these other people were interlopers. The Indigenous people are just interlopers that they were fighting. So were you're not playing into those hands when you made this documentary?

RB: Absolutely not. I think that in no way was this part of the film. And it's not really part of the hypothesis.

CO: And why not? Why didn't you include that part of the film? That there were these controversial aspects of it and among those who discredit it say that it's a toxic theory, in fact, is the word?

RB: Well, people have all kinds of views in the world that are filled with hate, and there are short-sighted and have no basis in science whatsoever. If white supremacists want to view this theory through their lens, and place you know their version of history on people of the past. Well, then there's nothing I can do about it. But it is a ludicrous notion. It has no basis in healthy, intelligent, scientific debate. Let me paint you a picture of the world 20,000 years ago, OK? So 20,000 years ago, there is likely several hundred thousand people on planet Earth. Those people in no way resemble modern Europeans whatsoever. So if a white supremacist has a vision of Hitler Youth in boats, you know bravely crossing the Atlantic nothing could be farther from the truth. And I just didn't want to give a lick of credence to a ludicrous notion.

CO: Have you opened yourself though to criticism that what you've done is open to this kind of debate? And that even someone's pointed out the promotional material for the documentary calls it an “explosive new theory”. The men themselves — the scientists — say that categorically they state in your documentary these people were here in great numbers. And they said that they're changing history. I mean they are not terribly skeptical of their own science. They’re not questioning this. They're absolutely convinced of it. So you're going to be criticized for this, as you know. This is the headlines in the paper. Are you prepared for the fact that people are going to say that you have played into the hands of people who've been discredited?

RB: A, I don't think that I've played into the hands of anybody. I think it's a very fair documentary that presents something worthy of debate. So no, I'm not worried about that at all. And, quite frankly, I don't care what white supremacists think of me or my film.

CO: And what about Indigenous people who question this theory and feel that it's hurtful?

RB: In conjunction with the Huron-Wendat, we made this film. So there's an Indigenous group that is inclusive in this story because their origin story puts their ancestors having arrived to North America from the East, over a great salted Lake. And so here the Huron-Wendat were willing to do something which is relatively unheard of, which is to willingly provide ancient human remains to look at the genetics of their ancestors, which you can do when you look at the DNA. I don't feel like I've just not listened to Indigenous voices. I have Indigenous ancestry myself. I've talked to people who believe that the Bering Strait is not a viable theory to them. Indigenous people also have an issue with that, given that it's a single entry point at a certain point, and that's the only way people arrived here. They take issue with it. In fact, many groups feel like there were multiple migrations into this continent from many directions. And it was much farther back than 14,000 years ago.

CO: So what do you want people to take away from watching your documentary?

RB: I think that what I want people to take away is that we often underestimate the people of the past, right? And one of the scientists actually referred to it that I was talking to as crono-racism; that they're incapable of doing extraordinary things. And I think that time and time again, we find that that is, in fact, the opposite thing. Human beings are capable of extraordinary things, and we surprise ourselves all the time. Also, you know you should have that debate. You should question theories, even if they have been put forward for hundreds of years.

CO: All right. We'll give people the details of where and when they can watch your documentary Robin Bicknell, thank you very much.

RB: You're quite welcome. Thanks for having me.

JD: Robin Bicknell is the director of the documentary “Ice Bridge”. She joined Carroll here in the As It Happens studio. For more on this story, go to our website: www.cbc.ca/aih. And you can find the documentary online tonight. Or you can watch it on CBC TV's “The Nature of Things” this Sunday at 8:30 in Newfoundland. 8 O'clock everywhere else.

[Music: Electronica]

Four-year-old artist

SOUNDCLIP

FEMALE VOICE: That's fabulous. Wow, the colours! It's amazing that a child this young has such a great eye for colour.

SECOND FEMALE VOICE: I guess he’s ready for life. At four-years-old, he's made it.

THIRD FEMALE VOICE: It's impressive that somebody picked out his talent at this age. I mean I wonder how he actually started.

JD: Those were some visitors to the City of Saint John art gallery, responding to an exhibition of abstract work by Advait Kolarkar. In answer to the last speaker's query: Mr. Kolarkar began a little over three years ago. Originally, he painted solely with edible materials, due to his tendency to put everything in his mouth. Over time though, his work evolved, as his relationship with colour evolved. And since he's matured past eating his materials, that work is now just a visual feast. As you just heard, Advait Kolarkar is something of a child prodigy. And since he's just four-years-old, he makes most other child prodigies look like washed-up old-timers. Starting today, you can see his remarkable paintings on display in Saint John, New Brunswick — in an exhibition called "Colour Blizzard". And that's not even his only big show this year. And so CBC reporters Matthew Bingley and Julia Wright spoke with his parents, Shruti and Amit. The artist sat on their laps, but remained slyly enigmatic.

SOUNDCLIP

SHRUTI KOLARKAR: Oh yes, he love it.

AMIT KOLARKAR: He love it.


SK: He’s very excited about the exhibition. And he’s very happy.

JULIA WRIGHT: Are you excited?

AK: Yes?

MATTHEW BINGLEY: Advait, what do you make of all these people seeing your paintings like this?

AK: Do you feel happy?

MB: A little bit shy. Like a normal artist. So this is one exhibition. There’s another one coming up in New York City. Can you tell us about that?

SK: Yeah, Advait is going to New York in April. He will be their youngest artist. He’s going to Art Expo New York. And he’s the youngest artist in their 40 years of history. And all the top contemporary artists will be coming — around 1,000 artists and 30,000 visitors. And we’re really excited about that and looking forward to it.

JD: That’s Shruti and Amit Kolarkur, speaking about what 2018 holds for their talented son, Advait, who is four-years-old. And if you're imagining glorified finger-painting, I can assure you his art is way beyond that.

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