Flying Focus Video Collective
August 2007 Newsletter
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Fall 2006 Iran Presentations Raise Questions Out of MainstreamThe American Iranian Friendship Council (AIFC) sponsored a day-long forum at Portland State University on October 29, 2006. Two Flying Focus programs capture most of the day's events.
The keynote talk by William Beeman, author of "The 'Great Satan' vs. the 'Mad Mullahs'," is featured in "Iran: William Beeman Examines US Policy" (VB #62.4&5). Beeman covered extensively the facts behind Iran's nuclear program--which is about atomic energy, not atomic bombs. He notes that the US supported the program before the Shah was ousted in 1979. Beeman also covers questions such as: Why doesn't the US pursue Pakistan, India or North Korea as aggressively, when all three nations have set off nuclear weapons and are not signatories to the Non-Proliferation Treaty (which Iran is)?
Keynote speaker William BeemanHe also points out that despite our government's efforts to portray Iran as a dictatorship, their governmental structure is far too complicated to allow President Ahmadinejad to launch a war on his own.
The subsequent panel discussion featured Rostam Pourzal of the Campaign Against Sanctions and Military Intervention in Iran, human rights advocate Soheila Vahdati and local commentator and activist Ronault Latang Sayang Catalani (Polo). This second show took its name from the event's: "Iran Forum: A Path Out of Crisis?" (VB #62.8&9).
Pourzal speaks of the unintended consequences of linking political issues to human rights issues, such as the U.S. using devastating unilateral military action in the name of saving lives. Vahdati talks about the progress made by women in Iran, despite the imposition of the veil, including a campaign against the stoning of women. Polo relates his experiences in Iran as the 1979 revolution came about.
Flying Focus continues to get information out as the U.S. builds up military might and continues to make provocative statements and actions against Iran. For more information visit http://www.aifcpdx.org.
Women Protest Nuclear Missiles at Scottish BaseFaslane 365 is a one year continuous peaceful resistance of the British Naval Trident Missile Base at Faslane on the river Clyde, Scotland. In one Video Bus episode, FFVC associate Yvonne Simmons reports back from the first three days of the blockade in October, 2006 ("Faslane 365: Protesting Trident Missiles in Scotland," VB #63.3), organized by Greenham Common women and Women in Black. Interviews reveal the women's thoughts on militarism, sexism, and global politics. Women were arrested and their tents taken down by police within the initial days of the protest; their release from jail is featured on the show. Faslane 365 calls for a wide range of local, national and international groups to come to Faslane committed to make their visions for a just and peaceful future visible for at least two days.
As of April 2007, 706 protesters had been arrested. Look at the imaginative protests at http://www.faslane365.org.
Speeches, Choreographed Message Mark Iraq Invasion Four Years LaterA demonstration held in Terry Schrunk Plaza on the fourth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, included noontime speakers and, in the evening, about 50 people sending a "Message to the Iraqi People" by flashing giant letters. The Flying Focus program based on the event, "No More Invasions, No More Wars: March 19, 2007" (VB #63.5&6), contains footage from three videographers.
Featured speakers include Dr. LeRoy Haynes (Allen Temple), Genny Nelson (Sisters of the Road), Margaret Butler (Jobs with Justice), Theresa Mitchell (KBOO's Presswatch) and Goudarz Eghtedari (American Iranian Friendship Council), who tie the Iraq debacle to U.S. foreign and domestic policy. Specific topics are civil liberties, Iran, energy independence, labor justice, education, housing, Afghanistan, Syria, North Korea, and Somalia. The event was sponsored by the Peace and Justice Works Iraq Affinity Group ( http://www.pjw.info ) and about 20 other organizations.
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Israel/Palestine Focus of Global Peace Group Meeting
Members of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) gathered in London, England in September, 2006. FFVC associate Yvonne Simmons, also a national member of WILPF's Middle East program, attended and videotaped interviews, presentations, discussions, and a few songs, editing them into a two-part show ("Middle East WILPF Women-London 9/06," VB #62.12&13). The occasion was WILPF's International Executive Committee (IEC) meeting at which members from many countries met to work and vote on resolutions for peace and justice worldwide.
Yvonne spoke with women from Lebanon, Israel and Palestine WILPF sections about the Middle East situation and what we, in the US, can do. More information on WILPF is available at http://www.wilpf.org.
August 26 - A Day to Celebrate? (87 Years Later)
Clothesline Project creator Rachel Carey-HarperHow many Americans know the significance of August 26? All women should commemorate this day, when women finally won the right to vote in 1920. As shown in "Women's Equality Day" (VB #63.13) women in Portland, Oregon, met at Terry Schrunk Plaza to acknowledge the day in 2006. The creator of the Clothesline Project, Rachel Carey-Harper from Cape Cod, spoke about how the project promotes healing from violence against women and children. Yvonne Simmons, of Women in Black, read the Mayor's proclamation memorializing the day to give every woman her voice for independence and freedom from violence. Patricia Barrera, advocate for former sex workers, spoke about how prostitution affects our whole community.
Georgia Pinkel, Co-Chair of WILPF-Portland, spoke of the need to change the dominant paradigm, emphasizing the importance of cooperation if the earth is to survive. In summary, we've come a long way, baby, but there's still a lot of work to be done.
Las Lomas Project Returns to Peru: Kids and Water, Peace and AnimalsIn early 2007, Flying Focus producer Yvonne Simmons traveled again to Peru as part of the Las Lomas Project. She returned to Las Lomas de Carabayllo, where nearly 35,000 people live in poverty. She produced two episodes bundled as "Peru 2007" --"Las Lomas Children Take Action for Running Water" and "Peace, Justice and Animal Rights in Peru" (VB #63.9&10).
In the first show, children perform street theatre for their mayor. The theme: Clean, safe water is a human right. Yvonne also visited Lomita Alegre, a place for children to have fun, Lomita Verte, a vegetable garden to help families, and a community organizing meeting.
In part 2, Yvonne takes us to the WILPF office in Lima. Excerpts from Peruvian TV show the plight of child workers rummaging through garbage in Las Lomas, where 600 tons of Lima's waste arrives daily. In another Las Lomas Project effort, volunteers organize families to help lessen the suffering of dogs.
Civilian Police Oversight Hearing ExaminedA man says police brought him to Detox unreasonably, hid his gun without telling him where it was, and stopped for coffee while he waited in the patrol car. The officer says the man challenged his authority, he promised to tell where the gun was if the man cooperated, and he stopped for coffee during a legitimate bathroom break. How did the Citizen Review Committee (CRC), Portland's civilian police review board, rule on this case? See for yourself in "Portland's Police Review Board: 2007 Check-In" (VB #64.2&3), which features over 40 minutes from the hearing and commentary from Portland Copwatch member/Flying Focus producer Dan Handelman. The goal of the show is to expose how the review board functions under its mandate, which allows police to investigate other police and restricts the board's decision to whether a "reasonable person" could come to the same finding as the Bureau. This is our first show about the CRC since five members quit in 2003.
Digital Archiving Project to Preserve 16 Years of Flying Focus
Many of you already know that we are actively fund-raising to copy our 16 years (over 600 hours) of programs from a nearly obsolete format (3/4") to a stable, digital format (DVCAM). We have raised over $1600 toward our goal of $7850 and hope you will donate to the project so that future generations will be able to access the visionary speakers, informative forums, and powerful demonstrations we have captured over the years.
Mainstream TV Challenge Fund-raiser
We have been increasingly disturbed by the irresponsible way mainstream TV, particularly our local stations, squander their use of the public airwaves to report their idea of "news." We openly challenge them: Any time they open a newscast with 10 minutes of information you can't do anything about (the weather), that doesn't impact people's lives in a significant way (sports) or is relatively trivial (live broadcasts from festivals), we ask them to donate $10 to Flying Focus. For good measure, we'll also ask for an additional $1 every time they put entertainment news (Paris Hilton, Lindsey Lohan, etc) in the first 10 minutes.
You can help us by calling the news channels when you see this happening--or, if you're so moved, think about making a donation when you see it happen.