jan 30, 2011

crazy day today: spoke about islamophobia in the morning, gave an interview about the egypt protest scheduled for tomorrow, discussed expanding a website to include my new film with a web-designer, attended my daughter’s piano recital (she was fabulous) and now on to my next modern art reading for tuesday! phew!

more info on my interview here.

my talk, “islamophobia – the new normalcy” at presbyterian church on jan 30, 2011

i will be speaking about “islamophobia – the new normalcy” at third presbyterian church (4 meigs street, rochester, ny) at 9.30 am tomorrow, sunday jan 30th. do join us if u can.

articles that i used for my talk on islamophobia:

1) the propagation of neo-orientalism by soumaya ghannoushi
2) the rise of anti-muslim hate by deepa kumar
3) islamophobia inc. by nicole colson
4) the great islamophobic crusade by max blumenthal

my second doc “pakistan one on one”

so my second film, “pakistan one on one” is officially in post production today – YAY!!! follow on facebook by joining the group, “pakistan one-on-one”.

btw i’m speaking about filmmaking and screening clips from my second film at nazareth college today, 5.00 pm, room 170, art department.

later that day: with lynn duggan and cathy kirby, both art professors at nazareth college. spoke about filmmaking as a tool for activism, screened the first 15 minutes of my new doc “pakistan one on one” and enjoyed a terrific discussion with art students and film studies students afterwards. what a delightful (and appropriate) way to celebrate the beginning of post production!

my second doc “pakistan one on one”

class on modern art in spring 2011

all registered and good to go to attend a course on “modern art” at the university of rochester in spring 2011 – yay!

i will be studying at morey hall, one of the buildings in the quad. it will just be covered with 3 feet of snow, or more.

morey hall, university of rochester, ny

reports from ohio

oct 27, 2010

in dayton, ohio. had some squash and pumpkin lasagna for dinner at winds cafe in yellow springs – a v hippie town about 30 minutes away. talked to two lovely ladies, who’ve organized the screening of my film. now off to bed. the screening’s tomorrow and they tell me there might be some resistance in the audience cuz this is still the bible belt. oh well, keeps things interesting.

oct 28, 2010

report on ohio screening: about 200 people. v diverse audience. extremely heated discussion. most people were open-minded but there was a sizable chunk of the aggressively defensive. one man complained that saying “violence begets violence” is anti-american (that’s pretty deep actually). a lebanese christian woman claimed that muslims want to spread islam by the sword (how original). but the moment i totally lost her was when she iterated that iraqis r converting to christianity en masse because of the love and good deeds of christian american soldiers. (one word: wikileaks). another woman became impassioned about how americans were fighting in iraq to give the iraqi people the freedom to practice their religion (say what?). a woman who had “many muslim friends” was more than happy to treat muslims decently but hey, they all wanna kill her and she’s just trying to survive. “i just want to live” said she. aie aie aie. my mantra for the evening: watch democracy now!

oh yes, my biggest supporter throughout the Q&A: a beautiful young woman sitting in the front row. she came to hug me later and was v upset at how ignorant many in the audience were. she was the wife of a young soldier who has just returned from iraq. she began to cry as she explained he had told her about the reality of the war in iraq. it was v moving for me to meet her.

also, thank u to sinclair community college for this cutting edge work on diversity, for reaching out to the community and trying to educate, and for their incredible incredible warmth and hospitality.

Workshop explores Muslims in America

screening “the muslims i know” in ohio on oct 28th 2010 at 7pm! here’s coverage of the screening/workshop in a local newspaper. do come by if u’re in ohio.

Workshop explores Muslims in America
By Eric Schwartzberg, Staff Writer
Tuesday, October 19, 2010

MASON — A workshop next week aims to explore the many facets of America’s third largest practiced religion.
Sponsored by Sinclair Community College’s Courseview Campus and Mason High School, “The Muslims I Know: Myths, Movements, and the Media” is scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 28. at Mason Middle School auditorium, 6370 Mason-Montgomery Road.
The workshop will be presented by Mara Ahmed, who filmed “The Muslims I Know” in 2008. The 55-minute documentary attempts to answer the question “Where are the moderate Muslims?” and focuses on Ahmed’s small American Muslim community of Rochester, N.Y.

The two-hour interactive workshop will feature a screening of the movie, followed by a discussion of Islam and Muslims among students, faculty, staff and area residents.

Ahmed, a Pakistani-American mother of two, earned her masters of business administration and a master’s degree in economics, but quit her job as a financial analyst to go back to school and study art, including filmmaking classes.

Along the way, she noticed the mainstream media giving short shrift to the Muslim community in the wake of Sept. 11, 2001.
“They didn’t really ever showcase people like myself and all the people I know, the vast majority of whom are Muslims,” Ahmed said. “There was this constant discussion about Islam and Muslims, but Muslims were not allowed to be a part of it.”

When letters to the editor aimed at providing more balance to what was being said about Muslims and their views went unpublished, she used her personal savings to finance the creation of a documentary.

“I thought this will be the only way I will be able to get my voice out and the voices of other people who are like me and feel the same frustration,” Ahmed said. “That was the whole idea of the film, is just to give the vast majority of Muslims a platform so that they could finally be heard.”

Link to article here.

Panelists Discuss Antiwar Movement Then and Now

October 20, 2010 Writers and Books held a panel discussion Antiwar Activism Then and Now. The event was in conjunction with author Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carry. The panelists were Jack Bradigan-Spula, a 1969 graduate of Eastman Music School who served in the US Marine Corps after losing his student deferment. Since then he has been an activist and journalist in the peace, human rights and environmental movements. Spula currently is a professor at RIT. Steve Huff, the second panelist is also a professor at RIT as well as a poet and educational director at Writers and Books. Mara Ahmed, the third panelist is a documentary film maker originally from Lahore, Pakistan. Her film The Muslims I Know aired on public TV last year. Ahmed is now a US citizen and lives in Pittsford. The fourth panelist, Brian Lenzo, is one of the founding members of Rochester Against War. Lenzo also accompanied the July, 2009 Viva Palestina tour as a journalist. His writing can be found at the blog The Sitch (www.thesitch.com) and also in the International Socialist Organization’s publication, Socialist Worker. More here.

Panelists Discuss Antiwar Movement Then and Now