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Stateside With Rosalea: Untethered

Stateside With Rosalea Barker

Untethered

At the risk of having you wander out into cyberspace never to return to our beloved mothership, Scoop, I'm going to pepper this post with hyperlinks to interesting video on the Net. If you want to cut to the chase, go to the last one.

::If voting changed anything, they'd make it illegal::

That's just one of the thought-provoking quotes used in a public art installation that has been touring the US recently and will start up on tour again in May on the East Coast. For a couple of Quicktime shorts about the Dialogue Project when it was in San Francisco's Union Square last year, go to: http://www.dialogueproject.net/index.shtml

A note of explanation about the Holiday video. You'll notice not only a Christmas tree but a huge menorah, a 9-branched candlestick that is part of the Jewish Chanukah celebration that occurs around the same time of year. It was built and donated ti the City in 1975 by the music promoter, Bill Graham, who made San Francisco's music scene famous in the '60s.

::Bullying Defined::

What with Richard "B for Bullseye" Cheney playing the Iran card for his own pathetic political ends at a fundraising dinner over the weekend, I was reminded yet again of how the US is simply a playground bully that needs to be stood up to by its friends right now.

Not that it can't be argued that the US is being provoked or that the film has anything to do with politics, but according to the curriculum guide that goes with a movie for schools called Let's Get Real:

"Most experts define bullying as unprovoked, repeated and aggressive actions or threats of action by one or more persons who have (or are perceived to have) more power or status than their victim in order to cause fear, distress or harm."

Visiting http://www.womedia.org/lgr_teachingguide.htm#whatisbullying will get you in the vicinity of some video clips from the film and a transcript.

::Occupation: Dreamland::

In between the capture of Saddam Hussein and the siege of Falluja, two US documentary filmmakers flew to Jordan, got a ride to Baghdad and asked around to see if they could be embedded with the US Army, just like reporters from the big news organisations were.

They ended up in Falluja during the winter of 2004, and their film "documents the city's waning stability before a final series of military assaults began in the spring of 2004 that effectively destroyed it. Filmmakers Garrett Scott and Ian Olds were given access to all operations of the Army's 82nd Airborne. They lived with the unit 24/7, giving voice to soldiers held under a strict code of authority as they cope with an ambiguous, often lethal environment."

In a Q&A session after the screening I went to this week, Olds filled in a little of the backstory, information that doesn't appear on the DVD because they didn't want to burden the documentary with any viewpoint other than that of the soldiers themselves and the people of the city they were occupying.

Part of that backstory is that Scott and Olds were not allowed to go out on patrol when Special Ops were around, and one night when that happened an Iraqi woman was taken hostage by the US Army to be held until her husband turned himself in for questioning because Special Forces thought he was connected with resistance against the US occupation.
The next day on the streets, the talk is all about how offensive and downright pathetic that action was. "Why do US soldiers take women--are they afraid to take men?", one street sage asks in the documentary.

In reply to my question about whether the captain who ordered the hostage-taking was new to the situation and perhaps part of the Special Ops team, Olds replied that no, the captain had been there all along and was part of the 82nd Airborne, not Special Ops. Shortly afterwards, the 82nd Airborne was replaced by the Marines and the destruction of Falluja commenced.

Some British and NZ mercenaries (ex-SAS) who worked as armed escorts for NBC television crews gave the two freelance filmmakers a ride back to Jordan from Baghdad before that transition took place.

One of the film's directors, Garrett Scott, died last week from a heart attack. He was 37 years old. Working Films has set up a new restricted fund "that will support a documentary prize to honor the spirit of Garrett's remarkable work." According to Olds, the aim of their collaboration had been to document--without imposing their own viewpoint--ordinary people caught up in historical events.

Trailers from the DVD are at http://www.occupationdreamland.com/trailer.html

*************

rosalea.barker@gmail.com

--PEACE--

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