Skip to main content

After Pop Success, Allison Kraus and Her Band Return to Their Bluegrass Roots

Rock critic Ken Tucker reviews "So Long So Wrong," the new album by Allison Krauss and her band Union Station.



Related Topics

Other segments from the episode on April 23, 1997

Fresh Air with Terry Gross, April 23, 1997: Interview with Eyad al-Sarraj; Review of Allison Krauss and Union Station's album "So Long So Wrong."


Date: APRIL 23, 1997
Time: 12:00
Tran: 042301np.217
Head: Dr. Eyad el-Sarraj
Sect: News; International
Time: 12:00

MARTY MOSS-COANE, HOST: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Marty Moss-Coane sitting in for Terry Gross.

Earlier this month, Physicians for Human Rights honored Dr. Eyad el-Sarraj for his work in Gaza in the Middle East. He's a Palestinian psychiatrist, and a human rights activist who has won respect from both Palestinians and Israelis for his even-handed and outspoken stand against violence and human rights violations in the region.

In 1987, when the Intafada broke out, Sarraj was the only psychiatrist in Gaza, and was overwhelmed with the numbers of people needing treatment.

He trained more staff and opened the Gaza Community Mental Health Program in 1990, which now has five centers and employs 60 people. Dr. Sarraj is also Commissioner General of the Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizens Rights and has been arrested three times by the Palestinian Authority for criticizing the government of Yasser Arafat.
Last year he was imprisoned in a Palestinian jail, beaten, and held in solitary confinement.

Dr. Sarraj was trained in traditional psychiatry when he was a medical student, but says he had to adapt his approach to fit the needs of the people he currently serves.

DR. EYAD EL-SARRAJ, PSYCHIATRIST AND DIRECTOR, GAZA COMMUNITY HEALTH PROGRAM: The culture is totally different from the western culture. The resources are not as available as in the west too. And so we had to use the community approach, in which we talked to groups of people. However, in some areas, it was very difficult, you see, because mental illness is very stigmatizing, and when it came to men -- men are very resistant and in a society like ours, which is male-dominated. They also possess women.

And they resist treatment, and in many cases, they actually obstructed our work. But in particular cases, victims of torture -- when we assemble them in groups, and we try to conduct a therapy in group settings, it was very difficult because they were very suspicious of each other.

MOSS-COANE: Of each other?

SARRAJ: Of each other. Because during their torture time in Israeli prisons, many of them have confessed, and so they started to believe that everybody else was confessing and was an informer of kind, so they were very suspicious. And group psychotherapy would then fail.

However, we managed to -- to get into the community through the families -- the unit itself of father, mother, the children -- sometimes the extended -- of course, the grandmother and so on. It is very difficult to work in mental health in Gaza because of the culture and because of the heavy amount of stress and trauma that people were subjected to over the years.

MOSS-COANE: Well, I'm curious -- even if -- let's say you're working with a small group of people or you're working with a family or maybe an extended family. How do you begin the conversation? If this is kind of an alien technique to try to talk out problems or try to relate to each other in a different kind of way, how do you lay the groundwork for trust? How do you get people to begin that conversation?

SARRAJ: Well, I think -- I learned from experience that the western method of -- of, you know, the therapist being so patient and just sit there and wait doesn't very much work. So, some -- you have to be a little more assertive in your therapy because people look up at you. And they respond if you give them the hints -- if you tell them that, yes, I'm here -- I want to listen to you.

And you make it like it is your mission. And so people start to talk, and -- but if you wait, and sit there, and nobody will talk to you, and you'll be even more embarrassed and so on. So, you -- you go directly to the subject, and say "I am here to help you. I heard that you have a problem. What is the problem? If you can tell me more details about it."

And then, within two sessions, you develop a kind of rapport relationship with confidence between the two, and then, of course, all kinds of problems start to appear, especially if you have the family together, and then they start blaming each other or using scapegoats or several -- from all these problems, people are very expressive, by the way, once they are in a setting like this. They feel confident. They start to express themselves.

The difficulties we found usually are with men who are quite resistant. Women are much more -- coming forward when in therapy. But best of all are the children.

MOSS-COANE: Well, I would think in working with families, especially families who've been under the situation in Gaza, is that in many ways that they are traumatized, and when you begin to talk about some of this stuff, and perhaps even open up areas of conversation that have never really been talked about, do you sometimes feel like, gosh, maybe we should just smooth this over and move on? And instead of giving people a chance to express themselves, what may be -- may be, in the end, hurting a family?

SARRAJ: Well, I -- that, of course -- certain things in which you have to stop sometimes and postpone some -- something for a different session, because I remember, for instance, once a woman in the session was talking, and suddenly she stopped, and she start to cry, and then she doesn't want to talk. Her husband was in the room, and their father-in-law was there, too. And their mother-in-law. And she refused to talk. And then, I took her out from the room, and I calmed her down, and I went back to continue the session.

And after -- I gave her appointment to see me on her own. And she confessed in that that she was sexually abused by her father-in-law. And of course, she could not say that in front of everybody. That was too much for her to, to say it in front of everybody.

MOSS-COANE: Do you -- were you able to help her, one-on-one then?

SARRAJ: Oh, yes. It, it was very difficult to do. I mean, these kinds of cases are extremely difficult to deal with, especially because people, in our culture, take this kind of crime very seriously, to the extent that if it is known, both will be victimized, both the rapist and the victim will be victimized, and will be scandalized. Sometimes they will be killed by the family, so it is very harsh treatment for such a thing.

MOSS-COANE: And a very dangerous secret to have.

SARRAJ: Very dangerous, absolutely.

MOSS-COANE: So you were able to help her, at least, cope with her feelings about it and obviously the upset she must have about it.

SARRAJ: Well, of course, she was feeling very guilty. She was very depressed. And she was feeling that she's been intimidated into a process. I managed to stop the process of continuing -- of continuously raping her, and abusing her. I managed to help her in dealing with her feelings of guilt. And she, after a few months, went back into a great deal of normality.

MOSS-COANE: Did you ever talk to him?

SARRAJ: Oh, yes. Of course.

MOSS-COANE: What did he say?

SARRAJ: Well, he -- to begin with, he denied it, but then later he confessed after one hour of -- of really confronting him with the issue. And then he confessed with tears, and we discovered that also he has serious problems. And we try to help him, but at least, for the woman we are talking about, we stopped this process.

MOSS-COANE: My guest is Palestinian psychiatrist and human rights activist Dr. Eyad el-Sarraj. We're talking about his work in Gaza.

More after a short break. This is FRESH AIR.


MOSS-COANE: We're talking with Dr. Eyad el-Sarraj. He was honored earlier this month by Physicians for Human Rights for his work in the Middle East. Dr. Sarraj is director of the Gaza Community Mental Health Program, which provides comprehensive therapeutic, educational, and employment services to Palestinians living in Gaza.

He also serves as Commissioner General of the Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizens Rights.

I asked him if he was worried about the impact of the Intafada on the children growing up in Gaza.

SARRAJ: Well, I'll tell you, I am -- I find it very difficult to imagine the future of these children if their environment doesn't change. Their environment today is not very good. The environment in which the children were brought up in the last seven years of Intafada were extremely difficult. Many of them were traumatized.

And just to give you an example, we found in our studies that 90 percent of the children of Gaza were subjected to tear gas at one time of their life. Nearly 50 percent of them witnessed a beating of somebody in their families like father or elder brother. Forty percent of them were beaten themselves by the Israeli soldiers. And like 19 percent of them had injuries of different kinds, in themselves or within their families.

MOSS-COANE: And you're talking about all children in Gaza?

SARRAJ: We're talking about the children, we did the study on children between eight and 14 years of age, and these are the findings we found on -- 3,000 of them -- and it is a huge sample. So the impact of that on the children, we found that was that we have high incidence of behavioral problems. Children are aggressive, violence, sometimes violent against their own parents, against, against their teachers.

We found that many of them are neurotic. They're bedwetters. Some of them are having stuttering problems. They cannot speak properly. And many of them have difficulty in schooling, in concentration and so on.

Still, these children still living the affects of trauma, even during this time of peace and so on. But I, I believe that many of them will continue to suffer for a long time to come. We could not help many of them, of course. We, we managed to reach only a small part of them.

MOSS-COANE: Well, I wonder if you saw any differences between boys and girls. And from what we've been able to glean from reports from the Intafada, it looks like it was mostly boys who were throwing the rocks. You never, ever saw a girl out there. And I wonder whether that impact was any different?

SARRAJ: Well, girls are -- well, not encouraged at all to express themselves and to mix with people outside, particularly when children took the initiative into their hands and they were challenging the authorities of parents. The authorities of parents was then concentrated on girls, so they kept them at home. They couldn't keep the boys.

So there was -- looked at by the society as something, you know, not very good if they go out in the streets and do something like throwing stones, though some of them participated in the beginning of that -- Intafada particularly. We found that the effects on children are far more significant than on girls, although we also found many of the girls who stayed at home having high incidence of anxiety because of the fear.

You know, sometimes you -- if you are confronted with a situation that is traumatic, or something, and you deal with it, it is something -- some -- but if you are confined at home and you hear about it and you -- you become even more anxious.

MOSS-COANE: Could be because you're -- you're in a sense, passive, I guess.

SARRAJ: That's right.

MOSS-COANE: You're not an active participant in one way or another.

SARRAJ: That's right. We found that activity was very important, even -- for some of the children, their activity in any way was helping them in dealing with the, the effects of trauma.

MOSS-COANE: Even, even the activity of, of taking on the Israeli soldiers -- of throwing rocks -- is -- are you saying that there was something even healthy about challenging the Israelis?

SARRAJ: Oh, yes. We found that children who were participating in -- in a context that is understood by a child. If the mother -- particularly the mother is political and communicative to her child so he understand what he's doing in a political-nationalistic sense, that that kind of child would be protected more than the child who is passive, receiving trauma, or, you know, who stays at home hearing about the trauma and the confrontation demonstrations.

MOSS-COANE: But doesn't that give a child an enormous sense of his own power, and could be dangerous for them, and dangerous, of course, when -- when the fighting dies down and they have to begin to live a normal life?

SARRAJ: Well, I -- yes, absolutely. See, this is what has happened after -- immediately after the Intafada or throughout the years with Intafada. Children became so defiant, even against their parents. You know, it was not only the Israeli authorities in the streets, but also the parents and the teachers in the school. And what -- what somehow managed to put some balance into the picture is that traditionally, we have a quite cohesive family that is very well respected and it is taken for granted and that is the most important and almost the only source of security for the children.

So when the Intafada died down, this family structure, you know, emerged again as structure that could accommodate the children, but still we -- we have many of them who are quite, you know, suffering from behavioral problems, particularly violence.

MOSS-COANE: Well, as you look at -- at how families, then, coped with the violence of the Intafada, were you able to figure out how some parents were able to protect their children from what was going on? And some parents weren't? Are there lessons to be learned from that? Because as you're talking, I'm thinking about the -- the violence that many children in this country have to live with in poor, urban neighborhoods around the country.

SARRAJ: Of course, the lessons we have are so, so many. I wish that our children did not participate in Intafada, because the after affects are not very good. Even the activity and participation has helped some of them, of course, but that doesn't mean that would on the whole we encouraged such a thing.

Of course, I was down there during all Israeli occupation of Gaza to begin with -- that was the start of Intafada. But here you are.

Why is this bad? Because we found that children in their developing age always aspire to symbols of power. And when some of the children were witnessing the helplessness of their fathers, they identified immediately with the power symbols. And this were either Israeli soldiers with their machine guns or the masked Intafada activists.

These two, for the children, were the symbols of power. And these two represented for the children model to follow. And model to follow from the practice was violent. And for a long time, even after Intafada is finished, many of these children in -- even in their games -- were playing the role of Israeli soldiers or the Intafada masked men.

I just give you a story that happened to me once. During the Intafada, I was going home every evening, playing with my nephew who was five years old. And every time we play, usually he would take the position of the Intafada man, and I would be the Israeli soldier, and he would throw stones at me and hide and so on. One day, you know, I was expected to play the same game, and suddenly he said, "listen, today I will be the Israeli soldier." And I said "OK." And after some time, I started to wonder why.

And then his mother told me a story that a few days ago, his father was stopped while driving his car and his son was sitting next to him -- stopped by the Israeli soldiers. The father was taken out of the car and was beaten and so on.

It seems that that moment the child decided that his father is too helpless to be adopted as a symbol of power, and he switched his identification immediately to Israeli soldier.

MOSS-COANE: So even on the face of it, it almost doesn't make sense, but what you're saying is psychologically, the child wants to identify with the powerful person, and it gives them a sense of their own power. And perhaps doing what their own parents -- their own father -- can't do for them.

SARRAJ: Yes, and from that moment, this boy insisted to learn karate. You know? And he is still going to karate.

MOSS-COANE: It -- it makes me want to ask, because on the one hand you have children who are directly or were directly fighting against the Israelis. And the other hand, you have children who are play-acting and acting out scenarios between Palestinians and Israelis. Is that a healthier way to do it -- to do it through play?

SARRAJ: Oh, yes. Absolutely. This is what we encourage them to do sometimes in our play therapy sessions, is to act out their trauma, to take the front roles. Imagine yourself an ambulance man. Imagine yourself an Israeli soldier. Imagine yourself so and so. You know, sometimes we assign roles to them, and they play it, and we -- we find it very helpful.

We also have summer camps for the children in which we also ask them to tell us about their dreams, and we ask other children to give us their explanations of these dreams. And then they participate in discussions. And their world -- the children's world -- is so full of fantasy and experience from life, which is very rich, and I think it is very helpful for many of them to participate in these activities.

MOSS-COANE: Do you have children yourself?

SARRAJ: Yes, I have two boys. One is 16; one 14.

MOSS-COANE: And how have they coped with the situation?

SARRAJ: Well, my children, because I am married to an English woman, when the Intafada started, they went to England for some time -- hoping that the Intafada would finish in a few months. They went to school and then the Intafada went for seven years, and so they stayed there for seven years and now are still in England.

MOSS-COANE: So in a sense, they're perhaps more English than they are Palestinian at this point?

SARRAJ: That's right.

MOSS-COANE: Do you feel sad about that?

SARRAJ: Not really. In a way, yes of course. I would like them to, for instance, to speak Arabic -- my language, because there's nobody speaking to them in that language. They are not really speaking it.

But in the same time, my feeling is that if they are happy, I am happy.

MOSS-COANE: We'll hear more from Palestinian psychiatrist and human rights activist Dr. Eyad el-Sarraj in the second half of the show.

I'm Marty Moss-Coane, and this is FRESH AIR.


MOSS-COANE: This is FRESH AIR. I'm Marty Moss-Coane.

Let's continue our conversation with Dr. Eyad el-Sarraj, director of the Gaza Community Mental Health Program. He also serves as Commissioner General of the Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizens Rights.

We've been talking about his work with women, children and families. He also works with Palestinians who have been imprisoned by the current Palestinian government, and who were imprisoned by the Israelis during the Intafada.

If you're dealing with a Palestinian who's been the victim of -- of Israeli aggression or outside oppression, and they also have engaged or are engaging in violent acts themselves, which do you treat first, the aggressor or the victim?

SARRAJ: Well, both. Both are, I think, are victims. I think that we have to break up the cycle of violence, the cycle of victimization. The way in which you would -- if you deal only with one party, the other will continue to be aggressive and create new victims. So you have to deal with both.

MOSS-COANE: What's the level of abuse and -- and violence that you've found that these prisoners have had to cope with?

SARRAJ: Well, throughout Intafada, the Israelis have put in detention almost 100,000 Palestinians, from a total population of nearly 2.5 million. That's a huge number of people. And we found from our work and research with them that many of them were tortured, psychologically or physi -- or by physical means. And the effects of torture was not only confined to the individual, but also to the community.

On the individual level, we found that nearly 30 percent of them -- of these people who were tortured by different methods -- were suffering from mental problems.

MOSS-COANE: Such as?

SARRAJ: Well, depression, anxiety, and there's a special syndrome called post-traumatic stress disorder.


SARRAJ: Which is -- I know -- a constellation of different symptoms. We found that many of these people couldn't cope with their marital life or their sexual life or their relationships. And they become like aloof -- they want -- they don't want to go out. Sometimes they're suspicious, even paranoid. They feel, you know, easily tired. They don't have the stamina to work, and some of them actually became so dependent on prison life that expressed their will to go back.

MOSS-COANE: How do you help prisoners who've been so traumatized by their own imprisonment? How do you help them deal with the psychological aspects, the physical aspects, if there have been evidences of brutality, and -- and -- and put their life back together, when we know in Gaza there's severe unemployment problem, that there are just day-to-day problems of coping with -- with life?

SARRAJ: I think -- I think in many ways, the unemployment of people, particularly men in our society who usually assume the responsibility for the family, is far more damaging sometimes than torture. So, we have a rehabilitation program for them in which there is psychotherapy, there is family therapy, but also there is occupational therapy and rehabilitation in finding jobs.

Of course, because of the -- as you said, the economic situation is so bad, it is very difficult to -- to employ people and to find them jobs. And that makes the problem even worse.

MOSS-COANE: I'm curious about stories of people who have been mistreated in prison -- and I don't think this is just true in Gaza. I think it's been true around the world -- that they -- not all of them, but some will turn on their own family members and take out their own frustrations on them. And I'm curious whether you've seen an increase in domestic violence among prisoners who've come back to their families?

SARRAJ: Oh, yes. You know, we started in our program in Gaza to deal with children, and we found that many of the children were abused by their parents -- by the fathers. And then we found that the fathers were, themselves, tortured.

Today, there is a number of these Palestinians who were tortured -- are becoming torturers in Palestinian prisons. And some of them are even worse than the Israelis. Throughout the community, there is a kind of violence, domestic violence, today where fathers or men are violent against their wives, their sister, their mothers, and their children. And the vicious circle is going on.

MOSS-COANE: Well, I wonder what these wives are doing in dealing with the domestic violence, because on the one hand, if you could -- you could possibly say to yourself, well, the reason that this is happening is that my husband was abused in prison and he doesn't -- he's not in his -- you know, he's not the man I married. But you also want to defend yourself against someone who's going to hurt you. And I wonder what kind of conflict this sets up for women.

SARRAJ: Well, there is definitely a problem we have today. You know, the Intafada and the occupation in general has really -- and then the peace process and what it's brought -- is destabilizing in many ways the social structure of the community, the family, the ideas, the traditions, and so on.

Family -- the women's role now is changing. Many of them are asking now for their equality, their rights and so on. And many of them are coming out expressing, you know, their -- their -- that they have been victimized and abused, something that is staggering. You know, when we open a center in Gaza for women who are victims of violence, we expected that many of them will be very -- too shy to come forward. And we made a place available for 40; 600 of them applied.


SARRAJ: Some of them are coping well. And some of them are adjusting. I think the majority are trying to adjust -- a kind of traditional family structure in which the mother or wife has a certain and important role, with the father that is violent -- by, you know, asking help of their whole tribe -- then -- the extended family, as such.

And sometimes, you know, the family of the father or husband can exert certain pressure on him. And that can be sometimes used even in therapeutic terms in traditional sense, not in psychotherapy or what we do in psychiatry. But in the family setting itself, there are different ways in which traditional methods are used to appease or to make compromises or to make new contracts between the parties.

But many of the women are still suffering, and cannot deal with it.

MOSS-COANE: We've been talking about how difficult it is for many families in Gaza coping with the situation they find themselves in. How serious a problem is suicide?

SARRAJ: Well, it's not a serious problem. Suicide is looked on by tradition and by religion as something -- it's totally unacceptable. In fact, it is a sin. And if you kill yourself for any mundane reason, then you go to Hell. But killing yourself for the sake of God, for the sake of religion, that is something is glorified. Killing yourself for the sake of nation or for sake of others, that is patriotic and altruistic, of course.

And, in the whole area, I think, this kind of principle is accepted, traditionally and historically.

MOSS-COANE: We'll talk more with Dr. Eyad el-Sarraj after a short break. This is FRESH AIR.


Let's get back to psychiatrist and human rights activist Dr. Eyad el-Sarraj about his work in Gaza.

You've been critical of Yasser Arafat and his government -- actually been arrested and imprisoned three times. The first arrest occurred December of '95. What happened?

SARRAJ: Well, after my election to succeed Hanan Ashwari as the Commissioner-General for the Citizens Rights Commission, I found out that, within nearly 18 months, that attorney general office did not respond to any of our complaints. And so I made a public statement, after, of course, talking to attorney general and sending him letters and also to the president.

When I had no response, I made a public statement, saying that there are many violations of human rights, and the attorney general is not helping us. So the following day, I was arrested. Although, according to the law, I should be immune from being arrested, because I'm doing that in the course of my duty. I am, I think, the first ombudsman in history that is going to jail because of doing his duty. It's like jailing a teacher for teaching students at school.

MOSS-COANE: Well, you were detained for a day, and then last May you gave an interview to "The New York Times'" Anthony Lewis (ph) in which you called Arafat's regime -- and I'm quoting here -- "corrupt, dictatorial, and oppressive." And then you went on to say that during Israeli occupation "I was 100 times freer."

What were you referring to?

SARRAJ: Well, I was referring to a few things. One is that during the Israeli time, I was regularly publishing articles, and -- very freely. Nobody has ever talked to me from the Israeli intelligence or officers that I shouldn't write. They have never arrested me or interrogated me for expressing my views.

And this is why when I was arrested by the regime in Gaza after my public statement, and then later on I found that journalists and newspapers are not allowed to function freely, I found that atmosphere is very oppressive.

MOSS-COANE: You were held in prison and, at times, in solitary confinement. You were also abused by a soldier there. As a psychiatrist and as someone who had worked with prisoners who had been in jail, did you feel that you had the mental -- I don't know -- fortitude to withstand time in prison? Did you think you were more capable, perhaps, than someone else because of your background?

SARRAJ: Well, I -- I must tell you that during the time I was in detention the last time, which I was tortured, I felt at times very weak -- weakened by all this. And I felt at times threatened to the extent that I thought that they're going to kill me this time.

MOSS-COANE: You thought you were going to die?

SARRAJ: Yes. But there were other times in which I somehow had the strength and I managed to analyze things and cope with. But I came out of detention feeling different, different feelings together, you know. I felt so proud of myself and proud of the community of human rights activists who managed to pressure the government to free -- to free me. And also I was angry, depressed and humiliated, feeling the humiliation that was trying to impose on me.

And I was in so much agony over the other Palestinian prisoners who are still in prison, either in Israel or in Palestinian jails, and many of them are being continuously tortured.

MOSS-COANE: When you say that you were tortured, what was done to you?

SARRAJ: Well, I was -- the first few hours, I was beaten severely, and 'til this day, I still have back pain which comes and goes, and so on. Then I was put in solitary confinement, which was a small cell of one meter by two, with no -- no orifice whatsoever, no windows, nothing.

MOSS-COANE: No light?

SARRAJ: No light.

MOSS-COANE: Total darkness. It was a horrifying experience, and so suffocating, you know. You can't imagine. And then during this time, I was intimidated regularly, systematically, and sometimes I felt threatened and I was threatened to be killed.

MOSS-COANE: So having lived through that, you can understand this identification with the aggressor.

SARRAJ: Absolutely.

MOSS-COANE: How attractive that might feel.

SARRAJ: Absolutely. I -- I came out of prison once, and suddenly I was shouting -- perhaps, you know, one of the rare moments in my life -- found myself shouting in terrible anger. And then I had to stop and ask myself, why I'm doing this. And I had to go through a process of psychotherapy myself in order to overcome these feelings of victimization and the need for, you know, expressing anger, I guess, at others.

MOSS-COANE: When you were released from prison -- and I think this goes back to the late June of '96 -- you sounded like you regretted your criticisms of Arafat, and you said you wanted to work to find a common language with Arafat. Have you been able to do that?

SARRAJ: Well, I -- I must tell you that I was -- I was shocked, of course, in the beginning that when you talk you get beaten -- when you speak, you are in prison. So I -- what I wanted to say is that we need to have a common language in which you speak and somebody respond by speaking.

And, in fact, my last detention, which brought an outcry and international pressure on the regime, has turned the question of human rights into the focus, and also it has given our commission and myself a kind of leverage on the authorities to the extent that we managed in the last few months to make our first sign of order -- to stop torturing people. And that was very important.

And to have a quite clear job description of all the security forces, to release many of the prisoners who were there without charges against them, and to allow newspapers to function without hindrance.

Now, that doesn't mean that we have -- this is a rosy picture I'm trying to make, but we managed through the detention and all this to have a kind of moral authority over them. But it is very limited success we have achieved so far, and was far from democracy and respect of human rights, as such.

MOSS-COANE: I'm curious whether you have Israeli counterparts -- other psychiatrists, human rights workers -- who you confer with and perhaps even bring children together -- Palestinian and Israeli children together so that they can experience something together, besides violence and hatred.

SARRAJ: Well, I have dealt with so many Israelis. I have great friends among Israelis. And we have actually a long-term project going with Tel-Aviv University through Imut (ph), which is the Israeli (unintelligible) Workers for Peace.

I have also been a co-founder of Palestinian-Israeli Physicians for Human Rights. And I -- I feel very proud of my relationship with some of the very progressive Israelis, and some of my best bunters (ph) are actually Jews.

MOSS-COANE: When you received the award from Physicians for Human Rights, you spoke out and I'm actually reading something from an Anthony Lewis article that ran in "The New York Times." And you really say that the possibility of peace is fading, and that your concern, I guess, as a psychiatrist and as a human rights activist, that the peace that looked so promising just a year or so ago is -- is perhaps on -- on -- going no where. I'm curious what you think as of today.

SARRAJ: Well, I think that the peace process which has given people some hope -- you see, hope is the most important thing for -- for life. And the peace process, with all its restrictions and so on on the Palestinian side -- with all the dictation by the U.S. government and Israel on the Palestinians -- but there was some hope that we go into this process, it could lead somewhere, the Palestinian entity -- the right for self-determination; the right for statehood and so on.

But all this now is being demolished, one after the other. All these hopes are being demolished, and people are becoming disillusioned, desperate and frustrated, especially with the worsening economic situation and especially the fact that, you know, many of the people who are working today in the authorities are not abiding by their promises. There not delivering any of their, you know, promises they promised, and so on.

This has given me -- well, especially when -- we listen to Netanyahu, and what he's doing in such an arrogant manner, as if he's deliberately trying to humiliate the Palestinians. I have always condemned violence, any kind of violence, but I can understand now why people turn to suicide bombs and kill themselves, because of this humiliation and despair.

MOSS-COANE: So you're hopeless?

SARRAJ: No, I'm not. I -- in fact, I -- I am working against hopelessness by activity; by doing things -- by talking about the need for peace; by talking about human dignity; by meeting people, both Israelis and Palestinians, Jews and Arabs everywhere.

By trying to make a new hope for the people. Never hopeless.

MOSS-COANE: Dr. -- Dr. Eyad el-Sarraj is director of the Gaza Community Mental Health Program. He also serves as Commissioner General of the Palestinian Independent Commission for Citizens Rights. He was just honored by Physicians for Human Rights.

This is FRESH AIR.

Dateline: Marty Moss-Coane; Terry Gross, Philadelphia, PA
Guest: Dr. Eyad el-Sarraj
High: Palestinian psychiatrist and human rights activist Dr. Eyad el-Sarraj is director of the Gaza Community Mental Health Program and is considered an authority on the traumas experienced by children under Israeli occupation. Sarraj has been an outspoken opponent of human rights violations whether committed by Israelis or Palestinians. Recently he was detained and interrogated by Palestinian police because of remarks he made critical of the Palestinian Authority. He was released after nine days following protests by Palestinian and international human rights groups. Sarraj has just been honored with the first Physicians for Human Rights Award.
Spec: Children; Disease; Health and Medicine; International; Muslims; Psychiatry; Violence; War; World Affairs
Copy: Content and programming copyright (c) 1997 National Public Radio, Inc. All rights reserved. Transcribed by Federal Document Clearing House, Inc. under license from National Public Radio, Inc. Formatting copyright (c) 1997 Federal Document Clearing House, Inc. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to National Public Radio, Inc. This transcript may not be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written permission. For further information please contact NPR's Business Affairs at (202) 414-2954
End-Story: Dr. Eyad el-Sarraj

Head: Allison Krauss
Sect: Entertainment
Time: 12:50

MOSS-COANE: Allison Krauss' last album, "Now That I Found You," established her as the most commercially successful bluegrass act around, and was highly praised for its shrewd interpretation of rock and pop songs.

On her new collection, "So Long So Wrong", Krauss and her band, Union Station, revert to a more traditional bluegrass style, But rock critic Ken Tucker says it still sounds fresh and cutting edge.



I know the lesson that brings about a little (inaudible).
I know I'll be sad and I'll be blue.
I've given you the best of me when
I forgot to say to you what you forgot
to say to me -- so long so wrong.

KEN TUCKER, CRITIC-AT-LARGE, "ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY": Like many musicians working in a genre that's marginalized by the pop music industry, bluegrass fiddler and vocalist Allison Krauss is always tempted to engage the mainstream, to find a way to broaden her audience without being accused of selling out.

Krauss and her four-man band, Union Station, did just that two years ago on "Now That I Found You," turning the 1968 title song by the Foundations into a piercing ballad that was the first bluegrass single to hit the pop charts in a dog's age.

Any other performer in her position would have followed up that Grammy-winning album with more of the same, some new assortment of pop oldies. Instead, Krauss has decided to treat "Now That I Found You" as a fluke and has returned to making the same sort of astringent neo-bluegrass she's been recording for over a decade.



Leaving is the longest word I ever heard,
in the time it takes to say it,
the whole world is turned.

If a heartbeat lasts a lifetime
then I've lived it full,
'cause I remember standing at this opened door.

This path is not the one I choose to travel,
even as we watch what tied has unraveled,
and the tears fall like rain,
deeper than crying, loving still remains.

TUCKER: Krauss' work with Union Station is very democratic. The band members write more songs than she does, and the banjo player, Ron Block, (ph) contributed some of the strongest material on "So Long So Wrong."

And, highly unusual for a front woman turned star, Krauss insists that the other members of Union Station share the lead singing.

One good example of this is the flat, blunt expressive vocal turned in by Union Station's mandolin player, Adam Steffie (ph) on "No Place to Hide".



When I was a child
I use to love to watch the rain.
I'd stand under the down spout
let the water cool my brain.
I never thought to worry
if the river rose too high,
that all the seeds we planted
would get watched out with the tide.

But, now I am a man,
and I need a place to hide.

But, there's nowhere to run,
and there's no place to hide.

Where the water runs free.
And the moon starts to smile.

TUCKER: Allison Krauss began her career studying violin and fell in love with bluegrass as a teenager in Champagne, Illinois.

It seems as if she became a singer out of expediency. It was just easier to get the sound she wanted by singing the tunes herself.

The result is that, while her fiddling is marked by the meticulous clarity that has characterized bluegrass since the innovative example of Bill Monroe, Krauss' vocals are wonderfully loose and casual.

You can hear the way Krauss' phrasing has been influenced by woman like Dolly Parton and Emmylou Harris, on a cut such as "I Can Let Go Now".



It was so right, it was so wrong,
almost at the same time.
The pain and ache, a heart can take,
no one really knows.

But, when the memories cling
and take you there,
til you no longer care.
You can let go now.

TUCKER: Right now, Allison Krauss is one of the most important artists in country music. In addition to putting on smart, rowdy, live shows and bringing bluegrass into '90s prominence, she's also a first-rate producer, as she proved last year working with another bluegrass act, the Cox Family, on "Just When We're Thinking it's Over", an album I had on my top-10 year-end list.

Above and beyond however their CDs are classified in your record store, Krauss and Union Station are making some of the most purely pleasurably music around.

MOSS-COANE: Ken Tucker is critic-at-large for "Entertainment Weekly." He reviewed "So Long So Wrong", the new album from Allison Krauss and Union Station.

For Terry Gross, I'm Marty Moss-Coane.

Dateline: Marty Moss-Coane; Philadelphia, PA; Terry Gross, Philadelphia, PA
High: Rock Critic Ken Tucker reviews "So Long So Wrong," the new album by Allison Krauss and her band, the Union Station.
Spec: Entertainment; Krauss; Bluegrass; Music
Copy: Content and programming copyright (c) 1997 National Public Radio, Inc. All rights reserved. Transcribed by Federal Document Clearing House, Inc. under license from National Public Radio, Inc. Formatting copyright (c) 1997 Federal Document Clearing House, Inc. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to National Public Radio, Inc. This transcript may not be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written permission. For further information please contact NPR's Business Affairs at (202) 414-2954
End-Story: Allison Krauss
Transcripts are created on a rush deadline, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of Fresh Air interviews and reviews are the audio recordings of each segment.

You May Also like

Did you know you can create a shareable playlist?


Recently on Fresh Air Available to Play on NPR


Daughter of Warhol star looks back on a bohemian childhood in the Chelsea Hotel

Alexandra Auder's mother, Viva, was one of Andy Warhol's muses. Growing up in Warhol's orbit meant Auder's childhood was an unusual one. For several years, Viva, Auder and Auder's younger half-sister, Gaby Hoffmann, lived in the Chelsea Hotel in Manhattan. It was was famous for having been home to Leonard Cohen, Dylan Thomas, Virgil Thomson, and Bob Dylan, among others.


This fake 'Jury Duty' really put James Marsden's improv chops on trial

In the series Jury Duty, a solar contractor named Ronald Gladden has agreed to participate in what he believes is a documentary about the experience of being a juror--but what Ronald doesn't know is that the whole thing is fake.

There are more than 22,000 Fresh Air segments.

Let us help you find exactly what you want to hear.
Just play me something
Your Queue

Would you like to make a playlist based on your queue?

Generate & Share View/Edit Your Queue