41: Joshua Baker: I'm Not a Monster (BBC/PBS)

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By Mike Newman and On the Edge with Andrew Gold. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.
Joshua Baker is simply one of the most impressive journalists out there working today.
-- Join me on Discord Chat Room, free and you don't need to sign up, just follow this link at 8pm GMT on Thursday 25th Feb 2021: https://discord.gg/RWH7fs6ygb --

You may know him for his current podcast series with the BBC, I’m Not a Monster, or his related documentary Return from ISIS. The two follow his attempts to track down and understand Samantha, the woman who took her family to live with ISIS in Syria. If you’ve not yet listened to I’m Not a Monster, do give it a go, it’s incredible from the start. Listening to the first episode, I was walking in the snow in Berlin and it was -15C, and I stayed out longer in such extreme conditions, so I could reach the end of the first episode, that’s how riveting it is.

Joshua Links

I'm not a Monster Podcast: https://podfollow.com/1540251892

Andrew Links


It begins by explaining minute by minute what it was like for Joshua to be attacked and bombed by ISIS, fracturing his back in an explosion that destroyed that left nothing of an entire street. Then, we hear audio footage of a young American boy being taught to assemble and use a suicide bomb. The kid explains how he would lure American soldiers by asking for help, before pulling the string.

Now, I didn’t want to go into too much detail, because I want you to be able to listen to this full podcast without real spoilers, and to be able to then fully enjoy I’m Not a Monster afterwards. I was fascinated by Joshua from a journalistic point of view, because the one thing I always said was that I’ll do anything, and I’ve done stuff over the years in dangerous places – but I would never go near ISIS or anyone who might behead me. It’s just not worth the gain, so we talk a lot in this one about his experience literally being blown up by ISIS and surviving by the skin of his teeth – and then what it means to be doing this kind of journalism.

That said, we do talk a bit towards end about the characters in the series, so I’ll give you a little run down without any spoilers, all stuff you know from the beginning of episode one. Sam is an American mother who took her kids to Syria, and wants to come back. She claims she was tricked into going there by her husband Moussa, but Joshua doesn’t entirely trust her, as her story doesn’t always check out. Joshua does track down a woman called Tsuad who was bought as a slave by Sam and Moussa during their time in Syria – and Tsuad speaks nicely about Sam, so I ask Joshua about that at the end.

There is about nine minutes of bonus chat in this episode for patrons – get that on patreon.com/andrewgold. I’ll try to get Josh to come to my weekly Discord chat room event, they’ve been great so far – just find the link in the show notes.

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