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Flying Focus Video Collective

August 2010 Newsletter

PMB 248     •     3439 NE Sandy Bv     •     Portland, OR 97232

(503) 239-7456     •     (503) 321-5051    •    ffvc@flyingfocus.org

Bloody Electronics and the Congo

[Masikini Maguy Kavila] The violence in the Congo is the largest conflict since WWII, with estimates of over four million dead. Yet many people in the U.S. are unaware of the extent of the carnage, as it receives little coverage from mainstream media. In "Congo: Dying for Our Convenience" (VB #75.12 & 13), Portland residents, many from the Congo, relate the atrocities that have been and still are being committed there and discuss how our increasingly electronic culture and negligence contribute to the conflict. At stake is the blood prize: mining minerals, including coltan (short for columbite-tantalite) which is used to make capacitors in cell phones, computers and video cameras. These and other items are produced at the expense of many lives. Featured are an Amnesty International panel and an interview with a Congolese American activist detailing the harm to the people trapped in the war-torn area. A panel of media activists at the 2009 EcoNvergence discusses the environmental devastation caused by the mining and the conflict, among other issues. The show was taped by PC Peri with help from Yvonne Simmons and edited by Barb Greene.

Masikini Maguy Kavila, founder of Amani,
talks about atrocities in the Congo in VB #75.12

How N/NE Portland Became Gentrified

A new program features Carl Talton, who spoke to the Restorative Listening Project on Gentrification (RLP) on June 15, 2009 at Concordia University. Talton, currently the CEO of Portland Family of Funds, is a community-focused businessman. He grew up in Portland and worked for both Pacific Power and PGE, as well as the Portland Development Commission. Tarlton has seen North and Northeast Portland change from an area that was "redlined"--where people of color and others were unable to get loans to buy or improve houses-- to one of economic prosperity. Unfortunately, the consequences have been that most of the African Americans who once made up the cohesive neighborhoods there have been forced to move further from urban support structures. Although economic incentives for the geographic area were promoted by people with great intentions, the people who should have been able to maintain their homes and neighborhoods were forced out or swindled. The show, titled "Development of Gentrification in N/NE Portland" (VB #75.4 & 5), was taped by Flying Focus member PC Peri and edited by FFVC's Barb Greene. It is our fourth program on the RLP. The first three shows can be found in the lending libraries at Laughing Horse Books and BlackRose Collective Bookstore.

Rights Activists from Rachel Corrie Foundation Describe Gaza Delegation

Rachel Corrie was crushed to death March 16, 2003 by an Israeli bulldozer purchased with US dollars. She was trying to stop the demolition of the home of a Palestinian doctor on the Gaza Strip. Corrie inspired thousands, including her own parents, to get active in efforts to end the Israeli occupation and siege. In recognition of the 7th anniversary of her death, Flying Focus presented "Gaza: The Impact of Occupation" (VB #74.9 & 10), featuring panelists from the Rachel Corrie Foundation describing a delegation to the Palestinian territories. The show was taped in October, 2009, at the "EcoNvergence" conference in Portland.

Panelists include Rachel's mother Cindy Corrie, as well as Serena Becker, a student, and Larry Mosqueda, a professor, both from Evergreen State College in Olympia. They describe their visit to Gaza in September 2009, eight months after the Israeli bombardment of the territory, and how very little had changed since an earlier delegation in January shortly after the attacks. Cindy Corrie describes the conditions at the border crossing from Egypt into Gaza as "inhumane," the trauma being suffered by the people there, lack of supplies and services, and the impact on children. Becker reflects on the personal interactions and daily life for Palestinians. Mosqueda talks about possible solutions and makes connections to the United States' treatment of Native Americans.

"If you're supposedly neutral, not taking a stand and so on,
what you're really doing is you're collaborating with the world the way it is."

--Howard Zinn: Use and Abuse of History (VB #29.4 & 5, 1998).
RIP January 28, 2010

[Paul Shapiro]

Good News for Animals and Activists

After many years of reporting on the gruesome methods practiced by the meat and dairy industries, it gives us great pleasure to offer some encouraging news. In "Wins for Farm Animals" (VB #74.7), Paul Shapiro, Senior Director of the factory farming campaign at the Humane Society of the United States (and founder of the animal advocacy group, Compassion Over Killing) lists the many legislative and other improvements in the lives of animals that have taken place recently in the US and abroad. For example, bans on veal crates and gestation crates have taken effect in the European Union and parts of the US...the Oregon Legislature banned gestation crates in 2007. Shapiro spoke in Portland on May 10, 2008 at VegFest. This program is a testament to years of hard work by animal rights activists and a great antidote for activist discouragement!

Paul Shapiro speaking at VegFest 2008


No More Fat Vegans!

You may think that fat and vegans don't go together, but in real life this concurrence is all too common. Vegans have said "no" to eating all animal-derived foods at extraordinary personal cost. Many labor tirelessly to protect the welfare of animals. Fat vegans, however, have failed one important animal: themselves. Technically, fake "meat," potato chips and cola qualify as vegan foods, but they are not nourishing. In "Fat Vegan No More" (VB #74.13 & 75.1), John McDougall, MD, draws on his years of experience observing the importance of food in creating and maintaining good health and shares how a low fat, starch based diet promotes a broad range of dramatic and lasting health benefits, including weight loss and reversing heart disease without drugs.

Information and Entertainment Toward a "Nuclear Free Future"

Documenting the annual remembrance in Portland, "A Nuclear Free Future: Hiroshima Day 2009" (VB #75.8 & 9) brings the informative and artistic sides of the event held at the Japanese- American Historical Plaza to your television. The program includes not only speakers covering the topics of Iran, the United Nations, the story of the Thousand Cranes, and how you can help make the future nuclear free, but music, dance and poetry as well.

The presenters include a professional storyteller, a Portland State University student involved in the model UN, Portland Mayor Sam Adams, a spokesperson from the American Iranian Friendship Council, and members of Oregon Physicians for Social Responsibility, which coordinated the event. In remembering the horrors of the only nuclear bombs dropped in wartime, Portlanders renewed the call: "Never Again!"

[Paul Cienfuegos]

Corporate Personhood Challenged

Paul Cienfuegos at EcoNvergence 2009

Activist/author Paul Cienfuegos encourages activists to act as "We The People," with constitutional authority over our government and corporate entities, as he describes the history of corporate personhood. At a talk in Portland at the October 2009 "EcoNvergence," Cienfuegos argues that ordinary people have the legal capacity to define what corporations are, rather than just focusing on regulating what they do ("Dismantling Corporate Rule"; VB #76.3). Cienfuegos is the Founding Director of Democracy Unlimited of Humboldt County (http://www.duhc.org). Briefly appearing in the program is Mari Margil, Associate Director of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund http://www.celdf.org,). The information predates the January 2010 Supreme Court decision in the "Citizens United" case, but remains relevant in its outline of past Court decisions and grassroots efforts to turn back the tide to affirm that people are people, and corporations are conceptual entities.

Can You Help Us Keep Up with Technology?

Flying Focus continues to work on a shoestring budget and to make do with the equipment available to us over the years. Your generosity as our supporters helped us transition from distributing VHS videotapes of our shows to buy a standalone DVD burner (in 2005), and to work on our Digital Archiving Project (2008-2012, currently archived: 415 of about 700 shows!). Now, our vintage 2003 Macintosh G4 is going to become obsolete-- when the next version of Adobe Flash is introduced, we will no longer be able to use our computer to put videos on the Internet to keep the community informed. (What, you haven't visited our webpage at http://www.flyingfocus.org and seen the video clips page?? Check it out!) So in addition to a modest donation to allow us to keep doing our all-volunteer work educating the public on important issues rarely seen on corporate media, please consider sending a sizeable donation toward our buying an upgraded computer. This should increase our capacity to edit outside of the Cable Access facilities, create DVDs, and make those clips available online.

Thank you!

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