Here is the audio of my appearance on National Public Radio's Day to Day, in my full, sleep-inducing glory. Hopefully, I'll do better next time. That could've been about a thousand times more lively.The Player
If the above audio doesn't work, be sure to let me know
. You can find the full transcript beyond the fold. For behind-the-scenes commentary, check out last night's article
on the topic.NA: It's Day to Day, from NPR news. I'm Noah Adams.
DA: And I'm Deborah Amos. Every so often, trolling around the Internet, you come across something that catches your eye. So, the next item, is Rage Boy
DA: Rage Boy is the cartoonish caricature of an angry protester that's showing up all over the Internet. It turns out that the protester is a real guy, who does appear in just about every protest that takes place in Kashmir. Brian Ledbetter runs a website called Snapped Shot, that draws attention to Photojournalism. He's put a dozen pictures of Rage Boy on his website.
BL: Yeah, I saw him again and again, and so I pointed him out and just said, you know, it looks like this guy likes the camera, and it looks like the cameras like him.
DA: The image fascinated him, this bearded protester with his mouth wide open, bearing his teeth, his fist punched in the air. So he clicked through some photo archives and he found some 30 pictures of the same guy.
BL: He was protesting Pope Benedict's remarks, as I recall, the first time. And then, the second time around, uh, he came across connected with the Salman Rushdie protests.
DA: A conservative humour site called The Nose On Your Face
made a composite of a number of those shots, and dubbed their new character "Rage Boy." That image now appears on t-shirts, coffee mugs, and mouse pads
for computers. I asked Brian if he knew about that.
BL: I have seen those, yes.
DA: Do you have any?
BL: Uh, no ma'am, I don't.
DA: (Laughs) Would you go that far?
BL: Perhaps, huh, I'll put it on my Christmas list.
DA: Would you?
DA: Of course, this got us to wondering about the real guy. So we called a reporter for Agence France-Presse, Izhar Wani, who tracked down the protester in Kashmir. He told us his real name is Shakeel Abdul Bhat
. He's a full-time organizer who says his job is protesting
the oppression of Muslims around the world.
IW: I liked him personally because I found him very straightforward, and I didn't found him hypocrite. He candidly admitted that at times he single-handedly starts protests and he's the only protester in that show, and then the other people also join in, and it becomes a big procession.
DA: Shakeel Bhat was a militant
at one point, and even served time in jail for violent protest. But now, he believes in peaceful protest only.
DA: All the pictures on the web, of Shakeel, are in that rage. What does he look like when he's not angry? Does he smile?
IW: He looks exactly the opposite side of that.
IW: He smiles a lot, he always combs his beard, he wants to talk. He wants to talk alot, although he cannot talk in English, he talks in Kashmiri, and in broken Urdu.
DA: So, if you saw him on the street, you wouldn't recognize him as Rage Boy.
IW: That's right. I wouldn't. I wouldn't.
DA: Of course, one thing that has made him angry? Being known as "Rage Boy."
IW: He says that if his pictures appear in the newspapers around the world, that's because his emotions are real. He is not a deceptive figure—that's what he feels. But, as far as the title of "Rage Boy," he doesn't like that at all. And he's very much upset ["Sartized"?]
that his pictures have been appearing on t-shirts, on mouse pads, on beer mugs. He says, he can understand that pictures can appear in newspapers, in magazines, or on the Internet sites, but on these mugs and t-shirts, he was very upset. [Ed.:—Someone out there have better ears than I do? Shoot me a note].
DA: Does he know what the Internet is?
IW: He doesn't know what Internet is. In fact, he says he has seen computer once, and that he has never touched the computer. So he is not aware, so I had to make him understand what Internet is, and how his pictures have been appearing. And, so, he was very upset. [Ed:—"Sartized"?]
DA: Is this one of the strangest stories that you have pursued in Srinagar?
IW: I think this is one of the (laughs) one of the strangest stories I have pursued, because I have been working for the AFP for the last 14 or 15 years since this insurgency broke out in Kashmir. This has been a peculiar story, yeah.
DA: That was Izhar Wani, a stringer for the Agence France-Presse news agency, based in Srinagar, Kashmir.
Rage Boy Sightings