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November 25, 2014
by mara.ahmed
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last films in the witness palestine film series 2014

nov 24, 2014: attorney brad parker (defence for children international – palestine) at a teach-in at the u of r, talking about the rights of palestinian children under occupation.

brad parker

brad parker

nadia ben-youssef via skype and brad parker in person at the little theatre, nov 24, 2014, discussing “from al-araqib to susiya” and “stone cold justice.”

nadia ben-youssef and brad parker

nadia ben-youssef and brad parker

November 25, 2014
by mara.ahmed
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MLK on riots

…it is as necessary for me to be as vigorous in condemning the conditions which cause persons to feel that they must engage in riotous activities as it is for me to condemn riots. I think America must see that riots do not develop out of thin air. Certain conditions continue to exist in our society which must be condemned as vigorously as we condemn riots.

But in the final analysis, a riot is the language of the unheard.

November 23, 2014
by mara.ahmed
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Citizenship, Identity, and Conflict in South Asia’s Borderlands

SUCHITRA VIJAYAN: [The Partition of India] is one of the biggest population transfers that happened. Sometimes people say close to 10 million people actually moved across. They say over 1 million people died in the process. So what you really see is that the birth of a nation is also a deeply traumatic and bloody history. But one should also keep in mind that the birth of India is not ahistorical. One has to place this in a much larger context of the colony and the empire and colonial cartographies that continue to wreak havoc in our lives today, whether it’s Iraq, whether it’s South Sudan, Israel and Palestine. All of this dates back to a much larger sense of what empire did to this world and what carries on from there.

[…] a lot of these populations that now live in these places lived through a cartography that was left behind by the departing colonial forces. Modern international law, as we know today, was in some ways created to protect the colonial enterprise. That is still being employed today to deal with these negotiated settlements that were created. We have never given these groups of people their own opportunity to come up with their own imagined community, their own imagined political community. Those are all important things that we have to deal with. I think those are all questions that relate, whether it’s India, whether it’s Iraq, whether it’s South Sudan. I think this idea of giving people the right to imagine their own political community is important.

[…] What has always appalled me is that this language continues to play out today. We still have the same dialogue of “how do we deal with it,” without giving the population, whether it’s the Kurds, whether it’s the Sunnis or the Shia or other minorities of Iraq, the right to imagine their own political community. It’s always taking the people who matter the most from the equation. I think those are things that we really need to understand, and we need to go back to the very beginning to understand where these conversations begin and how we can actually engage with them in a much broader sense. More here.

November 23, 2014
by mara.ahmed
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Colonialism is a form of vampirism

Monica Sjoo and Barbara Mor: Colonialism is a form of vampirism that empowers and bloats the self image of the colonizing empire by draining the life energies of the colonized people; just enough blood is left to allow the colonial subject to perform a day’s work for the objective empire. And these drained energies are not only of the present and future, but of the past, of memory itself: the continuity of identity of a people, and of each individual who is colonized. No one should recognize this process better than women; for the female sex has functioned as a colony of organized patriarchal power for several thousand years now. Our brains have been emptied out of all memory of our own cultural history, and the colonizing power systematically denies such a history ever existed. The colonizing power mocks our attempts to rediscover and celebrate our ancient matriarchies as realities. In the past women have had to accept this enforced female amnesia as “normal”; and many contemporary women continue to believe the female sex has existed always and ab aeterno as an auxiliary to the male-dominated world order. But we continue to dig in the ruins, seeking the energy of memory; believing that the reconstruction of women’s ancient history has a revolutionary potential equal to that of any political movement today.

November 19, 2014
by mara.ahmed
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Band Aid Is Offensive

John Wight: The underlying problem afflicting Africa, and making it easier for horrible diseases such as ebola to spread and gain traction, is a simple and enduring one. It is capitalism. The non negotiable condition of the development of the northern hemisphere is the under development of the southern hemisphere, and until this changes Africa will continue to labour under the weight of economic exploitation and oppression. Band Aid reinforces negative stereotypes of Africa and Africans. It reflects a colonial mindset that is so deeply entrenched in Western culture that we aren’t even aware it exists. The sight of a bunch of rich pop stars parading themselves as paragons of virtue and heroes is crass and eminently offensive. While it may allow them to wallow in self congratulation and positive PR, it is paternalism of the most grievous kind. Solidarity demands a response that is rooted in challenging the political and economic status quo responsible for Africa’s under development and with it the ability of diseases like ebola to gain traction and spread. It does not equate to acquiescing in it with a charity song that jars with lyrics which objectifies and essentialises Africans as a homogenous mass of helpless and hapless children waiting to be saved by ‘whitey’. It denies Africans their own voice and in so doing undermines their dignity. More here.

November 19, 2014
by mara.ahmed
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witness palestine related events

after a wonderful screening of “when i saw u” (we skyped with director annemarie jacir) and a screening of “on the side of the road” (followed with a skyped conversation with director lia tarachansky) we have 4 more events coming up this weekend.

these are: conversation and dinner with filmmaker alice rothchild on nov 22 (organized by jewish voice for peace – rochester, ny chapter), screening of alice’s film along with Q&A on nov 23 at the little (part of witness palestine film series), teach-in with attorney brad parker who specializes in the rights of palestinian children on nov 24 at 4pm (organized by university of rochester students for a democratic society) and then screening with Q&A of two short films at the little theatre on nov 24 at 6.45pm. get all the details here and pls join us!

also, check us out on facebook: witness palestine rochester.