My Films

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Waterfire and the Providence SDS

Last Saturday on the way home from watching Iron Man at the $2 theater, we drove through Providence's acclaimed summer weekend activity: Waterfire.
Waterfire, created by Barnaby Evans, lines Providence's rivers with bonfire sculptures that are lit as a symbol of its renaissance. Held every other weekend, the event brings out tourists and locals alike to enjoy a summer evening downtown.
While we were walking through the city streets looking for somewhere to eat, we met with 20 or so people dancing in the middle of Kennedy Plaza. From a distance, it looked as if a impromptu rave was taking place, but on second glance they were dancing to a homemade speaker sitting in a shopping cart while holding up protest signs. A dancer approached me and handed me a flyer: "Tonight's Waterfire is brought to you by Textron:Your neighborhood Cluster Bomb Manufacturer." It turns out, Textron's headquarters are located a block away from Kennedy Plaza.
The dancers were from the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) which has been active in the Providence area since the summer of 2007. Sadly, my phone ran out batteries so I wasn't able to get a picture of them but it surely warmed my heart to see a youth peace movement in action. Having just come from seeing Iron Man, where a pre-transformed Tony Stark naively believes his multi-billion dollar weapons manufacturing company only equips the "good guys," the "Funk the War" dance protest very clearly brought home that weapons manufacturing is not just an issue for the big screen but an every-day reality for even the people of Providence.

photo credit: hlkljgk

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I'm boycotting Victory Day

Today is Victory Day in the state of Rhode Island. It is a state holiday and many Rhode Islanders have the day off. Why you may ask? to celebrate their victory over Japan 63 years ago. I just learned about this holiday a week ago and I'm none too please to hear that RI is the only state left in the US that celebrates this day. The last state to remove this holiday was Arkansas back in 1975. For as liberal a state as RI supposedly is, any attempts to remove this holiday has been met with strong reactions from WWII veterans. Even attempts to change the name to World Peace Day (which I would still have a huge problem with), Remembrance Day( much better) or RI Veterans Day have been met with opposition.
While I know that August 15th is a controversial date for many around the world, choosing to celebrate it as a victory over another country is what I have a problem with. Korea commemorates this day as their liberation day- this is understandable to me. People have a right to celebrate their liberation, their freedom from oppression. However, to glorify the defeat of another country, especially to glorify a day that came just a few days after one of the greatest crime against humanity- the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki-- must be questioned.
Of course, the average Rhode Islander most likely is just enjoying the day off from work and doesn't think twice about the meaning behind the day. Well, at least its cold and gloomy today, so people can't enjoy it that much. Hrmph!

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Peace happs in Providence

(photo: jk5854)

What can I say? I'm a event junkie. A peace event junkie that's for sure. I've in Providence for all of a week and half and I have already found events to attend and communities to participate in.

First off tomorrow, Wednesday August 6th, is a forum on Iran put on by the Rhode Island Mobilization Committee to Stop War and Occupation (no website available). The event will feature Dr. Jo-Anne Hart, Dr. Kaveh Afrasibi and Abas Maliki to discuss not only the history and politics of the region but the possible consequences of any attack on Iran. To find out more about this event click here.

The Global Media Project at Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies- this initiative was started to explore the significance of media on international issues. They offer a class called "Global Media in War and Peace: History, Theory and Production". And it's not all academic, they also produce "documentary media for human rights, cultural understanding, sustainable development, and global security."No mention yet on their website as to when the class is in the Fall. Wonder if I can snag a guest lecture spot like I did at Temple University last month...

Okay that's all for now. xoxo