Free Forum Q&A – (1) BEN SKINNER, A CRIME SO MONSTROUS: Face to Face with Modern Day Slavery & (2) GABOR MATE M.D. IN THE REALM OF HUNGRY GHOSTS: Close Encounters With AddictionWritten on April 23rd, 2015
Ben Skinner(Originally aired April 2009)
Gabor Mate (Originally aired May 2011)
These interviews pursue a world that just might work. That pursuit, however, demands looking honestly at the darker aspects of human behavior, and this week’s interviews deal with slavery and addiction. In both cases, my guests draw on years of personal experience to frame their analyses and their proposed solutions.
To those who say society’s not actually making progress, many point to the fact that at least we’ve eliminated slavery. But sadly that is not the case. 143 years after passage of the 13th Amendment to the Constitution and 60 years after Article 4 of the U.N.’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights banned slavery worldwide, there are more slaves right now than at any time in human history – 27 million. The new slavery, which focuses on big profits and cheap lives, is not about owning people in the traditional sense of the old slavery, but about controlling them completely.
During the four years that BEN SKINNER researched modern-day slavery for his book, A CRIME SO MONSTROUS, he posed as a buyer at illegal brothels on several continents, interviewed convicted human traffickers in a Romanian prison and endured giardia, malaria, dengue and a bad motorcycle accident. But SKINNER says he’s most haunted by his experience in a brothel in Bucharest, Romania, where he was offered a young woman with Down syndrome in exchange for a used car.
Some might call addiction is a form of slavery. I am a long and consistent opponent of the war on drugs and of US policy toward illegal drugs and illegal drug users. I am also someone who advocates for a holistic view of reality, its challenges, and potential solutions. Holistic healing deals with the whole situation – mind, body, emotions, spirit and environment, treats root causes rather than symptoms, and treats as naturally and safely as possible. GABOR MATE, deals with the issues of drugs and addiction holistically. In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts proposes approaching addiction through an understanding of its biological and socio-economic roots.
This radio show aims to offer “pieces of the puzzle of a world that just might work.” I hope that if you listen a few times, you begin to imagine a future of revolutionary and evolutionary success.
My hope is rooted in this vision: Reality is not dead, mechanical, or separate; in fact, it is alive, evolving, and composed of interdependent systems.
I believe this worldview has been shared by indigenous peoples for millennia, revealed by science since early in the 20th century, and obvious every time we walk outside or look into the eyes of another living creature.
This vision inspires the annual Bioneers conference that takes place each fall (this year October 19-21) in San Rafael, just north of San Francisco. I’ll be talking with Bioneers founder and co-director, KEN AUSUBEL, and one of this year’s speakers, ELLEN BROWN, President of the Public Banking Institute and author of WEB OF DEBT.
Human creativity focused on problem solving can explode the narrative of despair. For the most part the solutions to our problems already exist. Bioneers focuses on strategies to help us realize these solutions by restoring community, justice and democracy.
Other speakers this year include BILL McKIBBEN, PAUL HAWKEN, ETHAN NADELMANN, GABOR MATE, and LA’s own JODIE EVANS and ANDY LIPKIS.
GABOR MATE MD, for over ten years the staff physician at the Portland Hotel, North America's only supervised safe-injection site in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside, home to one of the world's densest areas of drug users. He is the author of When the Body Says No: Understanding The Stress-Disease Connection; Scattered: How Attention Deficit Disorder Originates And What You Can Do About It, and his latest, IN THE REALM OF HUNGRY GHOSTS: Close Encounters With Addiction, which proposes new approaches to treating addiction through an understanding of its biological and socio-economic roots.