The Spirit of Resilience: The Great Bhola Cyclone, a Genocide and How the Liberation War for Bangladesh Saved Humanity
October 6, 12:00 PM
In November 1970, a storm set a collision course with the most densely populated coastline on Earth. Over the course of just a few hours, the Great Bhola Cyclone would kill 500,000 people and begin a chain reaction of turmoil, genocide, and war. The Vortex, a new book by Scott Carney and Jason Miklian, is the dramatic story of how that storm sparked a country to revolution.
Bhola made landfall during a fragile time, when Pakistan was on the brink of a historic election. The fallout ignited a conflagration of political intrigue, corruption, violence, idealism, and bravery that played out in the lives of tens of millions of Bangladeshis. The authors take us deep into the story of the cyclone and its aftermath, told through the eyes of the men and women who lived through it, including the infamous president of Pakistan, General Yahya Khan, and his close friend Richard Nixon; American expats Jon and Candy Rhode; soccer star-turned-soldier Hafiz Uddin Ahmad; and a young Bengali revolutionary, Mohammed Hai.
Thrillingly paced and written with incredible detail, The Vortex is not just a story about the painful birth of a new nation but also a universal tale of resilience and liberation in the face of climate emergency that affects every single person on the planet. Jason Miklian will discuss the book and its relevance for today’s geopolitical climate, including how to build recognition of Bangladesh’s significant positive role in history and unpacking the climate-conflict nexus in South Asia and beyond.
About the Speaker
Jason Miklian, Ph.D., is a Senior Researcher at the Centre for Development and Environment, University of Oslo. Miklian has published over 60 academic and policy works on issues of conflict and crisis, based on extensive fieldwork in Bangladesh, Colombia, India, and the Congo. He serves on the United Nations Expert Panel on Business and Human Rights, has won several awards for his academic publications, and serves as an expert resource for various government knowledge banks in the US, UK, EU and Norway. Miklian has also written for or been cited in an expert capacity by the New York Times, BBC, The Economist, Washington Post, France 24, The Guardian, The Hindu (India) and NPR.
Investigative journalist and anthropologist Scott Carney (scottcarney.com) has worked in some of the most dangerous and unlikely corners of the world. His work blends narrative non-fiction with ethnography. His books include the New York Times best seller What Doesn’t Kill Us, The Vortex, The Wedge, The Red Market and “he Enlightenment Trap.
Carney met Jason Miklian at the University of Wisconsin-Madison while pursuing his Ph.D. in anthropology. Carney was a contributing editor at Wired for five years and his writing also appears in Mother Jones, Men’s Journal, Playboy, Foreign Policy, Discover, Outside and Fast Company. His work has been the subject of a variety of radio and television programs, including on NPR and National Geographic TV. In 2010, he won the Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism for his story “Meet the Parents,” which tracked an international kidnapping-to-adoption ring. Carney has spent extensive time in South Asia and speaks Hindi.