A documentary film by James Longley
By Kurt Perry
This documentary film by award winning US director, James Longley,
awakens the conscience of anybody who is unaware of the harsh realities
of life in the Palestinian Occupied Territories. For those who have
a deeper understanding of the conflict, this film offers an emotional
edge seldom captured by TV news bulletins.
Longley traveled to Gaza in January 2001 and shot over 70 hours of material
during a four month visit. The film follows the events of Palestinians
in their struggle to survive in the face of Israeli occupation of their
The rhythm of the film, which covers the early period of Ariel Sharons
premiership, reveals a host of facts often obscured by mainstream medias
interpretation of the conflict. For those seeking a grounding in the
conflict, this film offers an educational insight not to be missed.
If you view the directors commentary (one of the many special
features of this DVD) you learn, for example, that the Gaza Strip is
essentially an open-air prison for Palestinian refugees, guarded on
all sides by the Israeli military forces. Just 28 miles long and four
miles wide, it is home for over 1,200,000 Palestinians, making the Gaza
Strip one of the most densely populated areas on the planet.
The principal character is Mohammed Hajezi, a 13-year-old Palestinian
boy. Mohammeds story is one of sadness and strength; his best
friend was shot and killed by Israeli troops; his father is unable to
work, following his arrest and imprisonment by Israeli authorities (for
throwing stones at Israeli tanks when he was a child), which has forced
the boy to work, delivering newspapers, in order to earn his family
much needed income. To the horror of his, Mohammed is one of a new generation
of Palestinian boys who risk their lives hurling stones at Israeli tanks,
in a symbolic gesture of resistance to occupation.
This film charts the views of ordinary Palestinian people who frequently
vent anger at the military occupation. Elderly men and women tell stories
of how their family homes and olive groves have been leveled by Israeli
bulldozers. In one scene, shot at beach Camp ( a refugee camp on a beach
near Gaza City), hordes of Palestinians are forced to travel the length
of the beach, with their horses and cars, to avoid road blocks imposed
by Israeli military.
Longleys film also makes clear that many Palestinians, despite
determined resistance to the occupation, crave peace and stability
a paradox that is proving difficult to solve.
Source: Z magazine
Artists critique Americana at
The Wedge Gallery
By Ursula Gullow
Commercialism, mind control, violence, and surveillance culture are
just a few of the topics tackled by 12 local visual artists in a new
exhibition entitled, Homeland Barbeque(HBBQ) opening next
Friday, Nov.14 at The Wedge Gallery. Lauren Gibbes, curator of HBBQ,
says the show gathers together some of Ashevilles most cutting-edge
and daring artists. She has selected a particularly poignant subject
for them to dissect: American culture. The topic is relevant, she points
out, because we have all internalized mass culture through television
and advertising, and it is important to connect through our shared experiences.
HBBQ requires that its artists directly describeand in some way
make a statementabout the cultural climate of the US today. Most
of the work in the show is humorous in spite of the seriousness of the
issues involved. As ceramic artist Jason Weatherspoon comments, Humor
is a way to deal with these ideas because we are living in a nation
where we are losing our freedom, and that makes a person very angry.
Escapism and materialism are recurring themes of HBBQ, echoed by the
disturbingly beautiful paintings of Lauren Gibbes depicting game show
contestants caught in haunting poses of euphoria and disappointment.
In the US we have so much money we can play games with it,
she says, Other people around the world are just trying to feed
themselves. Jason Weatherspoons sculpture of a screaming,
pink, portly infant entitled, Chubby Wins Again serves
as a mascot for America, according to Weatherspoon, because, were
the youngest, the most gluttonous, and we always have to win.
The American hero as icon and nostalgic remnant is explored in the work
of Jeremy Russell who uses retro fabric that mimics wallpaper of the
civil war era to frame his renderings of Paul Newman as Cool Hand Luke,
a character Russell considers Jesus-like in his behavior
In a similar vein, artist Ryan Ford has painted Billy the Kid onto floor
tiles torn out of a 1950s home. Some of the pieces in HBBQ invite
the viewer to interact in their development, like the flag of Otis Wolfspider,
which is slowly being constructed out of the chewed gum of passersby,
and the bubblegum dispenser filled with Pabst Blue Ribbon beer cans
created by Sean Pace. Pace has also constructed a kinetic sculpture
involving 28 red boxing gloves and five mechanical legs. When turned
on, the piece vibrates and swings the gloves theatrically so they all
smash into each other in a show of brute strength and force.
Historically artists have always played an active role in expressing
the moral, and political consciousness of a society. Under the grip
of a free market economy, however, too often artists are forced to produce
work that is sellablechoosing to ignore or undermine topics that
might not be marketable. It is exciting, therefore, to see a show like
HBBQ, which nurtures the idea of the artist as commentator rather than
decorator. Appropriately, the show will take place in the gallery of
The Compounda space known to take conceptual risks
and promote emerging artists since it does not have to rely on gallery
sales to pay the rent. As the buildings owner, John Payne, a sculptor
who is including a piece in HBBQ about prefabricated suburbia, makes
clear, We are into art, not commerce.
Hopefully HBBQ will start a trend that supports the blossoming of emerging
artists, and encourages further displays of experimental and conceptual
visual art in Asheville.
Opening night will be Friday, Nov. 14 at 6:00pm. The gallery is located
at 129 Roberts Street. Call 828-216-7897 to make an appointment to view
the exhibit before it closes on Dec. 1.
Street medics prepare for
The cops were clad in their riot gear. Tear gas canisters were launched
into the crowd of protesters, all of which were shouting no more
police brutality. Then, the batons began to fly. One teenage protester
was knocked to the ground, nearly unconscious. Another, a pregnant pre-op
transgendered persyn, suffered a fractured arm and began choking on
a broken tooth. A member of the black bloc, rendered immobile by a broken
leg, was attempting to maintain anonymity while a pesky member of the
media hovered above him.
This was the scene that participants in this past weekends Street
Medic training came upon in their final scenario. This may have been
just another role play in a weekend of crazy protest scenes, but certainly
not an uncommon sight to the eyes of street medics. The A-Team Medics,
a local group of medically-trained activists, hosted the three day training
here in Asheville to prepare activists for the upcoming demonstrations
in Miami and Fort Benning, Georgia.
Participants in the training were mostly locals, but activists from
Florida, Massachusetts, and Montana also came to learn new skills or
spread their own vast knowledge. The first day of training gave a brief
outline of what action medics face in the streets and how the new medics
would prepare for such actions. Participants also spent time engaging
in incredibly challenging conversations on anti-oppression.
The next two days were spent cramming the heads of the participants
with information on how to control bleeding, spine immobilization, caring
for shock, splinting a broken bone, and, perhaps most important, how
to be a good patient advocate. It wasnt all blood and broken bones,
however. Medics also learned that the majority of their care is helping
folks with Critical Incident Stress, dehydration, pepper spray, and
reminding people not to panic.
Medics also spent a good amount of time practicing their newly-acquired
knowledge by participating in intense role-plays, much like the one
described above,. The role-lays handled everything from small cuts to
massive hemorrhaging. In order to help put the anti-oppression theory
into practice, organizers of the training included a female Muslim patient,
who was unable to accept alcohol-based remedies or the care of a male
medic, a differently-abled patient who was in a wheel chair, a perceived-male,
pre-operation, pregnant transgendered persyn, and more. The purpose
of this was to remind the training medics that we need to be aware of
cultural and ability differences, as well as issues of consent, respect,
anonymity, and consciousness.
Street medics have been an integral part in movements for social justice.
They have made their presence known at every large demonstration and
several smaller ones. Coming from an assorted mix of medical backgrounds,
these medics come together as doctors, nurses, EMTs, paramedics, herbalists,
Wilderness First Responders, and everyday folks. With no centralized
organization or training module, street medics organize themselves into
local collectives under the banner, fight the power, do no harm!
While some medics run around (or, rather, walk with intent) in brightly
colored hats and well-marked vests, many more choose to run unmarked,
carrying any necessary gear and helping folks where they can. Despite
their differing levels of training and experience, however, street medics
have been making a concerted effort to stay true to their belief in
a non-hierarchical, anti-authoritarian, anti-oppressive world. Their
work is the culmination of months of dialogue and training for each
Its hard to argue against the need for street medics. Every large
demonstration has seen its share of police brutality, weather-related
illnesses, and other injuries. EMS protocol doesnt allow its EMTs
and paramedics into a scene that is classified as unsafe by the police.
The mere presence of police at demonstrations classifies them as unsafe
for EMS. Street medics undermine this hierarchy of power by diving right
into the middle of the action.
At the FTAA protests in Quebec in 2001, police tear-gassed the entire
downtown and proceeded to fire weapons at protesters and beat them with
clubs. One demonstrator had a finger amputated by a cops baton.
Rather than sending for an ambulance, the police continued pushing back
the crowd. Luckily, street medics were on the scene, found the severed
finger, and rushed the patient and their finger off to the hospital.
This is only one of the thousands of examples of street medics helping
to keep the movement for social justice alive - literally and figuratively.
With the new array of weapons being used by police forces against demonstrators,
street medics are becoming more and more necessary. This past weekend
at a Halloween march in the streets, the Asheville Police Department
tested out its new tasers on people who were non-violently reclaiming
the streets. Police have also begun to use wooden bullets fired directly
at protesters, pepper-mace spray, stingray grenades, and other such
weapons. Although classified as less than lethal by the
police departments using them, they have proven to be the cause of life-threatening
Discussion of these new weapons and police tactics has driven street
medics into a dialogue long enough to fill a series of books. They have
been discussing what kind of treatment to give and how to prevent major
injury. Regardless of the outcome of these discussions, the work that
is being produced is helping to keep people in the streets for another
Although the new medics at the A-Team training last weekend may have
been nervous about what to do with a choking pregnant persyn with a
broken arm while the police were still standing around beating people,
the skills that they learned will certainly be useful in keeping alive
the hope for a better world.
Making a place out of our space
By Heather Steel and John Lapp
We are inviting your participation in an community building event. City
Repair Project of Portland, Oregon is presenting their first East Coast
Tour this Fall. City Repair Project is a nationally recognized neighborhood-based
community initiative, facilitating the reclamation and revitalization
of public spaces, creating social epicenters. They will be visiting about
20 cities on their 3-week tour, meeting with city planners and developers,
neighborhood organizations, citizen-interest groups, architects, etc.
The event occurs in the dirt and Sky People Gallery on 51 N. Lexington
at 7pm, Wednesday, November 12. Jenny Leis and Mark Lakeman, Co-directors
of the project will be presenting a slide show about the success of City
Repair Project in Portland.
City Repair Project has been collecting steam in the Portland area since
the early 1990s. The projects co-director, and co-founder Mark Lakeman
was a renown corporate architect. He finally decided to call the life
of greed quits and founded the City Repair Project in order to revitalize
and unify communities all over Portland.
Weve witnessed the death of culture in this country, and what
CRP is doing is to help facilitate the reestablishment of that culture,
says Janell Kapoor, who is an Asheville local that has been personally
involved in some of the CRP projects in Portland.
Unlike many other non-profits, CRP seeks to empower individual communities
to be able to work autonomously within their own neighborhood comunities.
CRP likes to refer to each community as a village. The project
has taken many endeavors including something they refer to as Intersection
Repair, which is a term that CRP uses to refer to the building of these
villages. Intersection Repair can often include such things as natural
buildings made from scraps on the sidewalk or the community painting the
intersection with colorful designs, making them unique to each individual
village. American communities have not had this sort of consensus-based
decision making methods since the colonial town meetings of yester year.
I think what particularly stands out about what theyve done,
is that theyre creating bridges and relationships where I havent
seen them before. Theyre bringing everyone in a neighborhood together
around the process of localizing and naturalizing their place, says
The CRP has been officially endorsed by the city of Portland, so that
it is now able to spread its principles to every sector of the city, from
the wealthy Southeast to the poorer North. The city did not originally
support the project, though. When we first approached the city [Portland]
about projects in the street they told us thats public space - you
cant use it! Streets are supposed to be only for cars in America
recollects Lakeman. Thankfully when the city saw the positive work that
was being done they, obliged to endorse the project.
Another world is possible, and its being built right here
in Portland, claims Starhawk (anti-globalization author) referring
to the City Repair Project.
For more info about City Repair Project please visit their website www.cityrepair.org