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The Exploding Head

The Exploding Head

By Justina Poskeviciute
Is there anything that makes your head wanna explode? Any particular issue that bothers you? Any kind of injustice, disappointment, or negligence?

In this podcast, I take up the pretentious task of addressing some of these issues. What’s happening around the world, what’s the human behind the political, and - my lord - where do we begin to fix it?

You might hear more questions than answers here. But, hey, it’s not a bad place to start.

You can read more about my projects here:
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What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Palestine? Part 8: Erasure
Attacks on Palestinians have intensified during the holy month of Ramadan again – they resemble what we saw last year. And the year before. And the year before. Thankfully, as I’m writing this, Gaza is not being bombed by Israel as intensely as last year. There were bombings, yes, but they haven’t turned into another war on Gaza – not that a complete siege is not devastating the people of Gaza every day. I had already released seven episodes on Palestine – and a number of articles, which you can all see here – and, honestly, have been reposting a lot of this recently because the topics of my pieces are sadly still relevant: apartheid, colonialism, ethnic cleansing, media silence, etc. But there is one overarching theme that came to mind recently. An exploding head moment if you will. It’s something that I have partially covered but it’s time to cover it more directly. To have an episode on just that. It’s the topic of erasure. In my episode, I talk about the very beginning of that erasure – the creation of the state of Israel – as well as how erasure presents itself in the media, and how it seems to be at the core of the state-sponsored violence we have seen in Jerusalem: in raids and attacks on the worshipers in Al Aqsa. Find more resources here:
May 05, 2022
When an Empire Offers You a Moral Compass, You Can Pass
I had written and spoken about it a lot but it’s time to phrase it more directly: When an empire – the U.S. to be more specific – takes up a role of a moral compass, the liberator, the “benign superpower”, we know too much at this point to trust and follow it blindly. That mistrust doesn’t come from any tendencies of paranoia, contempt for the West, or uncalled cynicism. It comes from knowing how it has behaved in various regions, what world leaders it has been working with, what paramilitary groups training, what weapons using against what population, what regimes selling weapons so, what refugees rejecting, and so much more. As the war in Ukraine has started, we have seen some absolutely hypocritical statements made by U.S. officials. But they’re only hypocritical if we know a bit of the context here. And when we do, we are much better equipped to construct our own moral compasses, without any help from the U.S. This is what I illustrate and explain much better in my episode. You can find all the resources here:
April 10, 2022
The War in Ukraine and Its Multiple “Yes, And”s (Part 2)
Can we talk about the war in Ukraine and its complexities without being shut down or accused of minimising its horrors? I think that is possible indeed – yet not that easy. In my two-part series, I address six topics, six “Yes, and” talking points that I have personally found difficult (but important) to navigate. In my first episode, I talked about NATO expansion, the extreme right in Ukraine, and what we have to know about how sanctions work. In my second episode (so this one!), I talk about (1) racism in the media, (2) the overtness of racist and xenophobic immigration policies when it comes to accepting refugees, and (3) the difference between what-about-ism and saying, “this, too” when it comes to the war in Ukraine. I also quickly address several types of comments I had received about my previous episode and, hopefully, add more value to this one by doing so. Find more information here:
March 21, 2022
The War in Ukraine and Its Multiple "Yes, And"s (Part 1)
Can we talk about the war in Ukraine and its complexities without being shut down or accused of minimising its horrors? I think that is possible indeed – yet not that easy. In my two-part series, I address six topics, six “Yes, and” talking points that I have personally found difficult (but important) to navigate. In my first episode, I talk about (1) NATO expansion, (2) the extreme right in Ukraine, and (3) what we have to know about how sanctions work. To the best of my abilities, I present the multiple “Yes, and” situations we might find ourselves in, what accusations we might get when we claim A, and how we explain that claiming A doesn’t automatically mean B.
March 13, 2022
What Do We Have To Know About The Frozen Afghan Funds?
What right does one country have to freeze the assets of another one? What about when the country sanctioned is undergoing a major crisis? These are the questions we have to ask about what the U.S. has been doing to Afghanistan which is in its biggest crisis in 20 years. On top of that, the U.S. has been holding $7 billion of its assets in its banks. How is that being done, what are aid agencies saying about it, and what is a strange (somewhere between absurd and criminal) move that Presiden Biden make recently regarding these funds? It's all in my episode.  Please find more resources (articles, a video, and a petition to sign!) here: 
February 15, 2022
What Good Happened in 2021?
Almost exactly a year ago, I launched my podcast by asking what good happened in 2020. A year later, I ask the same about 2021. Needless to say, it was a turbulent year with a lot of suffering inflicted in countries like Afghanistan, Lebanon, Palestine, and others, just to name a few. The uncertainty and deaths of COVID continued and we saw that, hey, a pandemic CAN last more than a year! Yet if I was able to see the good in 2020, I thought surely there were things worth celebrating in 2021, too. In my episode, I chose to talk about three things: Barbados becoming an independent republic (I dive a little bit into political science and explain that a Head of State and a Head of Government is) multiple elections in Latin America - and no military coups! Elliot Page coming out as a trans man (you can listen to my episode on Why We Need Pride here). Join me in this celebratory episode --- and we could use some positivity right now.
February 03, 2022
Privilege: What Makes Us Change? Part 3
If we allow ourselves to integrate the experiences we're having, how can that change where we think we are in the world? And how is this political? In the fourth part of my series on privilege, I take the liberty - and take my time, oh my - to tell you about my own privilege journey. How the concept of privilege has changed throughout my life, what directions it took, what different regions have to do with it, and how it explains so much of what you're hearing in all of my podcast episodes. It explains so much that this episode could have been an introductory episode exactly a year ago when I started this podcast. Either way, I hope you find it valuable, I hope it changes something in you, and I hope you stick around for more episodes, now that you know where they're coming from.
January 15, 2022
Privilege: What Makes Us Change? Part 2
Can we inspect the very lens through which we see the world? How can reflecting on the concept of privilege help us here? In the third part of my series on privilege, three more people share their privilege stories. Japan, Thailand, Scotland, Brazil, Lithuania, and Palestine are mentioned. But it's not really about the places: it's about what the newly gained experience does to us. I hope you enjoy and stick around for the last episode of this series where I myself share my own privilege story.
December 20, 2021
Privilege: What Makes Us Change? Part 1
What makes us change? What changes the way we perceive the world and our place in it? I find these questions fascinating. And although privilege is not the only lens through which we see the world, I think it contains an important part of the answer to these questions. That's why I'm very excited to present to you a mini-series on privilege where I ask people how the concept of privilege has changed throughout their lives. In my introductory episode, I talked about the definition of privilege, what we should be conscious about so it doesn't freeze us in our political actions, and how we can discuss privilege without falling into the traps of what is called comparative suffering. In this very episode, three people (full disclosure: three friends of mine, yes!) summarise their own privilege stories for you. I hope you enjoy and stick around for upcoming episodes!
November 28, 2021
Privilege: Introduction
The Exploding Head is properly back, with an episode that is not a summary of my previous season! I start Season Two by introducing a topic on which I did a tiny personal project. You will hear what that is exactly in my upcoming episodes to which I have invited some guests! The topic of this project is a potentially controversial one: privilege. In this episode, I present to you one of the definitions of privilege that I really like - and, yes, give some examples that are of different levels of weirdness. I also identify what we should be conscious about so our sense of privilege doesn't prevent us from speaking out or taking a different action. Lastly, I allow myself to go down the path of psychology (which sounds a bit like a crossover with my other podcast, Investigative Selfism, which is on personal development and mental health) and talk about what Brené Brown calls 'comparative suffering'. In short, it's terrible for us. Let's not do that. I hope you enjoy this episode and the potential reflections it brings about!
October 20, 2021
Welcome to Season Two of the Exploding Head!
Although my articles didn't stop, my podcast did take a needed break⁣⁣. In its first season (22 episodes!), I've talked about:⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ - Palestine⁣⁣ - Brazil⁣⁣ - Chile⁣⁣ - Argentina⁣⁣ - Bolivia⁣⁣ - Belarus⁣⁣ - Lithuania⁣⁣ - Australia⁣⁣ - New Zealand⁣⁣ - Jordan⁣⁣ - Thailand⁣⁣ and the US, of course.⁣⁣ I've talked about different aspects (and assets) of democratic regimes and how countries move between that and authoritarianism, the importance of political representation for minorities and other vulnerable populations, some messed up history of Latin America, social issues in Lithuania and other places, and, needless to say, various ways to deconstruct what's happening in Palestine.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ State-sanctioned violence ⁣⁣and other forms of oppression, exclusion, silencing, misrepresentation, fear-mongering, dehumanisation...⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ There's so much to cover.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ There's so much to speak out against.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣ There's so much to change for the better. ⁣⁣ Now, I'll see you in the second season of The Exploding Head podcast!⁣⁣ In it, you'll see more collaborations, more regions covered, and...well, some topics that you've heard about already, simply because there are issues about which we have to talk continuously. ⁣⁣ Thank you for sticking around and for caring, and for amplifying the ideas that need that amplification so much!
October 06, 2021
The Dangers of Dehumanisation
Dehumanisation is a prerequisite for some of the darkest things we've witnessed in our history. Slavery, genocides, torture, mass killings - just to name a few, and it's one heavy list already. Because of that, ANY time is a good time to talk about it. Although this episode was sparked by what's happening in my own country, Lithuania, in regards to asylum seekers (I’ve written about it in my most recent article:, it's about more than that. In my episode, I also talk about South America, about our innate humanity, and the need to allow ourselves to draw parallels between the darkest events in our history and the beginnings of something that might seem small at first. It's not a "light" topic for this Northern Hemisphere summer season, but it's an important one --- so thank you all for listening!
July 17, 2021
Why We Need Pride
I am not here to convince you that all people deserve equality. I'd like to think you already believe that - on Pride Day or any other day. In my episode, I quickly summarise several important arguments why we still need Pride and where, among other areas, there's still a lot of work ahead. Where might that work be needed in your country? We have to look at its legal base. For example, the rights and anti-discriminatory laws that exist to protect the LGBTQ community. Media laws regarding LGBTQ representation. Marriage laws. We can also look at statistics surrounding hate crimes and violence towards our LGBTQ friends. We can look at heart-breaking statistics at LGBTQ youth suicide rates and different indices on mental health. In short, even if it's incomplete, there is a LOT of data showing that in many countries, to use very simple language, the situation is just not great. That's why, as I've been saying in my previous episodes: Political representation matters. Visibility matters. Raising your voice matters. It's a short episode. I hope you find it valuable and even share it with the ones who might appreciate it, too. Lastly, please please watch two beautiful and impactful videos that I've shared in the article surrounding this episode:
June 28, 2021
What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Palestine? Part 7: Impunity
I've covered this topic before but it's time to put it at the very centre of my episode. Gaza might not be bombed anymore yet so much remains. The blockade, the occupation with all of its mechanism, apartheid, and so many questions. One of these questions sounds simple but it so important to ask: Who can hold Israel accountable? And if the answer is 'no-one', we have to talk about impunity. In this episode, I summarise several thematic areas of where we find that impunity in Israel and Palestine (the recent bombing of Gaza being just one of them), I point to the lack of accountability in the past, I ask which organisations would have any power here, and remind us why this topic is such a big one. Find all the references and two vidoes I mention here: 
June 03, 2021
What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Palestine? Part 6: Gaza and The Fake Security vs. Equality Dichotomy
As I'm recording this, Gaza is being bombed by the Israeli forces. In short, a lot has happened since last week. A lot needs to be unpacked. In this episode, trying to further answer the question I have asked myself in this series - what do we really talk about when we talk about Palestine? - I talk about the abstract but often used concepts of security and self-defence. What I do exactly is the following: use the concepts from my previous episodes as prisms to analyse this situation, talk more about the mainstream media narrative and, more importantly, where it starts, explore the concept of security and self-defence by mentioning what the International Humanitarian Law has to say about it, point to potential hypocrisy that might surround any talks about Gaza. Give it a listen. Join the debate. Check my references and more here: 
May 17, 2021
What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Palestine? Part 5: Colonialism
What is happening in East Jerusalem? Or, rather, what has been happening in East Jerusalem? Depending on your location, political interests, and what media you consume, you might have heard the name of Sheikh Jarrah. If anything, you might have seen some hashtags at least, like #SaveSheikhJarrah. Sheikh Jarrah is a neighbourhood of East Jerusalem and what is happening there gives me an (unfortunate) opportunity to further explore my own question: What do we really talk about when we talk about Palestine? In light of current events, today's topic simply has to be colonialism. It's...strange to be using this word to describe something that we're witnessing in the 21st century, I know. Yet, just like with other concepts that have actual definitions, we shouldn't be afraid to use them where these definitions fit. It's a dense episode. I hope you enjoy it and check my references here:
May 09, 2021
What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Palestine? Part 4: International Organisations
It's a system of apartheid. This is how Human Rights Watch has summarised its extensive report documenting how the Israeli government treats Palestinians living both inside of Israel and the Occupied Territories. In my episode, I talk about this report and what broader questions we should ask when it comes to how international organisations assess any Israeli policies. You can find an article surrounding this episode (with photos and references!) here:
May 02, 2021
Black Lives Still Matter, And (Y)our Discomfort Still Doesn't
It's a rather reflective episode with a simple message: Black Lives still matter, and (y)our discomfort still doesn't. I launched my personal page with my article on shame and my own journey from ignorance to...less ignorance. It was June 2020, and Black Lives Matter had just exploded. (the movement, not the issues, obviously) In this episode, recorded just two days after David Chauvin was found guilty of the murder of George Floyd, I aim to engage you in a personal reflection of how this year of protests has been for you. I quote Glennon Doyle, I talk about bravery, and I remind myself and, hopefully, you, what is and what isn't at the centre of this issue.
April 22, 2021
How Free Is Media in Your Country, Really?
I start my episode by revealing to you how irresponsibly I would go on motorbike rides when I was living in Thailand. Why do I do that? To juxtapose it with a certain strict law Thailand has regarding its media. Media freedom is the topic of this week's episode. But in addition to lèse-majesté (laws prohibiting criticism of the Royal family, and something I cannot pronounce correctly) and other types of censorship structures, we have to talk about something else. Something that is easier to miss. That is media plurality. What's the difference between internal plurality and external plurality? A quick answer: that difference is huge, and it has to deal with media ownership consolidation levels. Listen to this episode to learn more about it. Find all the references and recommendations here: 
April 15, 2021
Political Turbulence in Jordan: What Framework Can Political Science Provide?
On the day I moved to Jordan, a big thing happened. The country's monarchy was apparently threatened. Although not much is known about exactly what happened, it presents to us a good opportunity to talk about different types of political change - something I've been doing in multiple episodes of this podcast. I also talk about the refugee crisis, mention my episode on a parliamentary coup (!) in Brazil (, promote my series on Palestine, and reveal to you that I have, in fact, another podcast (! Check it out. For an episode recorded on a hilly street of Amman, it's surprisingly quiet!  You can find the article on this episode with all the links and a table I mention here:
April 08, 2021
The New Zealand's Miscarriage Leave Law and Beyond
You might have heard about the new law that was passed in New Zealand. That is definitely great and it should be celebrated. But we should also ask further questions. Why are we only seeing this law now and how come is it only India that has had a similar law since decades ago? What would be needed to see a change like this around the world? We can't talk about it without talking about - drumroll please! - political representation. One of my favourite topics, it seems. You can find references to some of the things that I mention in my episode here: 
April 01, 2021
Can We Celebrate Our Independence Days Without Being Jerks? Part 2
Can we turn something as exclusive as an independence day into something else? And why should we want that anyway? In this episode, I talk about a very personal experience of being from "a small country no-one knows about" and what dilemmas it has resulted in. Those dilemmas - how not to be a jerk when I talk about our independence days - can be solved, it turns out, moving from that personal experience to something way more beautiful. And needed! Check it out. For more content, see Or this same podcast!
March 25, 2021
Brazil: How to Weaken Democracy from Within
The dance between democracy and authoritarianism can take different forms. And Brazil presents to us yet another one.  What the hell has been happening in Brazil for the past five years and what recent event sparked this episode? In short, it’s an alarming situation that involves large-scale corruption. For a longer story, listen to this episode! It’s a dense one. You can find the article on Dilma’s impeachment that I mention together with all of the episodes I refer to here:  In this quick article, I also share with you an independent media outlet recommendation where you can find all the quality news about Brazil.
March 17, 2021
Are You Allowed to Represent Yourself?
Let me say: how weird is this question? Interestingly, it's a question we find behind some pretty strange yet uncommon statements people make about politics. Although this episode - and an almost identical one in Lithuanian! - was sparked by something that has just happened in Lithuania, I talk about something universally important: political representation. What is the current paradigm when it comes to who is allowed to represent whom? What is the role that the concept of a myth plays here? And why do we have to talk about political representation in the first place? You know what, this is the perfect episode for International Women's Day. Why? Because we can't talk about women's progress in any society without talking about political representation. Check it out.  You can find the book recommendations I mention in my episode here: 
March 10, 2021
[Emergency Episode, in Lithuanian!] Ar Tau Leidžiama Atstovauti Sau?
Įrašiau epizodą lietuviškai apie peticiją prieš Tomo Raskevičiaus poziciją kaip Žmogaus Teisių Komiteto pirmininką. Neišvengiamai, čia gvildenu daug temų: apie LGBT situaciją Lietuvoje, apie tai, kas yra - ir kaip kuriamas ir vartojamas - mitas, ir ko turime nepamiršti kalbėdami apie politinę reprezentaciją.  Nors to neplanavau, iš dalies tai - ir epizodas Kovo 8-ajai. Kodėl? Nes negalime kalbėti apie moterų padėtį visuomenėje nekalbėdami apie politinę reprezentaciją. Pasiklausykit, ir, jei kas surezonuos - pasidalinkit plačiau! Visgi svarbios temos reikalauja garsių pokalbių.  PS. An episode in English is coming, don't worry! I by no means want to be exclusive with my topics.  Meanwhile, you can find even more topics at
March 07, 2021
What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Palestine? Part 3: Media Silence
What is the role of the media in portraying this conflict? Can its role be "neutral"? Definitely not. I invite you to notice three categories of this role: silence, information that is incomplete, and - the worst one - indirectly blaming the Palestinians for their own occupation. Give it a listen. You can find the article that I mention in my episode here: 
March 03, 2021
What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Palestine? Part 2: Hypocrisy
What might we find at the very core of debates surrounding this conflict? Certainly not always, but sometimes, there is a layer of hypocrisy we need to cut through. When we do that - including inspecting our own hypocrisy sometimes, ouch - is a very simple answer to the real question here. In the end, we might have different values. And there’s a benefit in clarifying where we disagree exactly. You can find references to the resources I mention in my episode here:  
February 24, 2021
What Do We Talk About When We Talk About Palestine? Part 1: Controversy
Controversy: this is one of the first words that might come to your mind when you think about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It’s so confusing. Too complex to analyse. And indeed, each conflict is complex, and there is no solution that wouldn’t require political will. But whose political will is needed to end a military occupation? And why is this a controversial question? In this episode, I aim to deconstruct some of the aspects that create that seeming controversy. I talk about the need to reject the weaponisation of antisemitism, about who has power over whom, and what the negotiation table really looks like. PS. You can find some useful links here: 
February 17, 2021
Can We Celebrate Our Independence Days Without Being Jerks? Part 1
What does Australia Day have in common with the carnival in São Paulo? A quick answer: a parallel that is probably insulting to the very point I’m trying to make in my episode. And who is the person who has the same initials - JP - as mine but whose work I would recommend over mine in a heartbeat? (seriously, don’t listen to my podcast, watch his documentaries instead) In this episode, I talk about the known controversy - also known as...simply history! - that surrounds certain national holidays in countries that have a colonial past. Have a listen and please let me know what your take on this subject is in this poll ( - I’d really appreciate it! You can find the documentary I mention (and praise) in my episode, by John Pilger, here:
February 10, 2021
Belarus, Chile, and the Never Agains
This is an episode on what is the ultimate Exploding Head concept for me: conflicts. I did fight my desire to insert ALL my comments on ALL the conflicts - I’ve cut and edited this heavily, but the narrative still goes from something a bit loose, from stories and observations to political science tools. And how we need so much more than political science! There’s even a quote by Kurt Vonnegut hidden for you. It’s a rather serious episode but I also think it’s an important one.
February 03, 2021
It’s Time For Your Political Attitude Checkup!
This is my attempt to do a deep dive into concepts like political ideology, economic systems, and, ah, the focus of my rather dense episode, political attitudes. What does it mean to be liberal or conservative according to the framework of political attitudes? Is it always straightforward? (You’ve guessed correctly: no). In this episode, I also point to two interesting things about U.S. politics, I reveal where I’m from and why my head has been slowly exploding for months now. “Can’t wait to hear all about it!” I hear you say. Let’s do it - check your political attitude before you wreck yourself! PS. To actually see the graph I'm describing in this episode, please go here:  As they say: "a picture is worth five minutes of a podcast."
January 27, 2021
In Insurrection We Trust?
Just when we thought 2021 might be the new beginning we were all waiting for, the insurrection happened in the U.S. To see an attempted coup in established democracies is, thankfully, rather rare, which makes it very much podcast-worthy. I talk about the concept of political trust and how it serves as an interesting framework to use when analysing this situation. In what might seem like various detours, I build my narrative where I also share with you what created an exploding head moment for me many years ago. Also, I hope you appreciate the ominous look that I got by editing my own photo of the U.S. Capitol to match my show logo. 
January 20, 2021
2020 in Review: Argentina, Bolivia, Belarus
In this very first episode, I pick up my magnifying glass and look for the positives in 2020. And I do find them! I talk about political changes that took place in Argentina, Bolivia, and Belarus. Why the women in Argentina can breathe more easily, why the indigenous population of Bolivia is hopefully feeling safer, and why what the people in Belarus are engaging should inspire us all. Check it out if you’re into protests, human rights, and democracy. Or if you’re flirting with these concepts; in times of COVID, take any flirt! PS. You can find my article on Bolivia (the one that I keep on mentioning) here:
January 14, 2021
In this short episode, I introduce myself, how this podcast came about, and what it will be exploring. Even if you don’t get anything from this introduction, at least you’ll get to listen to the upbeat music I have so carefully chosen for it.
January 13, 2021