IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN AND PALESTINE: UNDER SIEGE
THE LEGACY OF OCCUPATION AND THE CHALLENGES FOR INDEPENDENT MEDIA IN THE MIDDLE EAST
Monday, June 21
Beit Zatoun House, 612 Markham St
While the 3-year-old siege of Gaza has been brought into dramatic focus of late, the 12-year embargo of Iraq that crippled the economy and wrought havoc on civil society continues in another form, post-invasion. At the same time, the ongoing war in Afghanistan has taken a terrible toll on its beleaguered population. The massive $1 billion security and military presence in Toronto this month will protect the very world leaders who are overseeing wars and occupations that have cost trillions of dollars, and countless innocent lives. Independent media has a crucial role to play in exposing the reality of war and daily life in Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan...
The outside world remains largely indifferent to the plight of civilians struggling for survival and basic human rights in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. And severe restrictions on visas and mobility for foreign and domestic journalists, as well as threats from government and paramilitary forces, hamper efforts to report reality on the ground.
Join rabble.ca blogger Derrick O'Keefe, The New Internationalist co-editor and author of Dancing in the No Fly Zone, Hadani Ditmars, and Carmelle Wolfson and Jesse Rosenfeld of The Daily Nuisance for a presentation on opportunities for breaking the siege of indifference and reporting from occupied lands.
$5 donation requested at the door. No one turned away.
Co-sponsored by the Canadian Peace Alliance
Iraq: Almost a fifth of the population are refugees or internally displaced, and almost half live in abject poverty - despite $53 billion in ‘aid' spent since the 2003 invasion (funds that lined the pockets of foreign military contractors and corrupt officials, but left 70% of Iraqis without potable water). A once secular, highly educated society has devolved into a sectarian battleground, as extremist militias profited from the post-invasion power vacuum.
Few can afford to flee their country, wracked by ongoing insecurity and ruled by a puppet regime from behind the walls of the green zone. Yet the stories of the people of Iraq are virtually absent in mainstream media reports. The ongoing humanitarian disaster is ignored while invasion apologists promote a corrupt pseudo-democracy as a perverse example of 'mission accomplished.'
Author, journalist, and photographer Hadani Ditmars has reported from Lebanon, Israel/Palestine, and Iraq, often examining the human costs of sectarian strife as well as cultural resistance to war, occupation and embargo. She is currently a co-editor at New Internationalist but her work has also been published in the Guardian, the Independent and the New York Times, and broadcast on BBC and CBC radio and television. She recently returned to Baghdad for the first time since 2003, when she went to research her book Dancing in the No Fly Zone, which chronicles her reporting in Iraq from 1997. She wrote and photographed the May issue of New Internationalist - Iraq, 7 years later, the legacy of invasion.
Palestine: As settlements expand across Jerusalem and Israel's military occupation in the West Bank and Gaza intensifies, Palestinians are on the edge of a new popular revolt. Israel continues its crippling siege of Gaza, paving way for the brutal attack on a humanitarian aid mission into the Strip that took place this month.
Palestinian citizens of Israel are also feeling the pressure as urban renewal and gentrification is used as a pretext to force them out of their historic cities, while the government passes laws to criminalize public discussion of their identity and history. Meanwhile repression against Palestinians and Israeli solidarity activists continues, as does the Palestinian Authority collaboration with Israel.
Behind the regular headlines of tense relations between Israel and the US over settlements The Daily Nuisance is exposing the on the ground reality and impact on those living in Israel/Palestine through photography, video, print, news, analysis and opinion.
While international mainstream news filters out and misinterprets local voices, TDN uses English to present local perspectives to an International audience. The editorial collective is comprised of Palestinian, leftwing Israeli and international journalists and media makers.
Carmelle Wolfson is a Canadian-Israeli print, radio and documentary journalist and an editorial collective member at The Daily Nuisance. She has worked as an editor for major mainstream Middle East news media such as The Jerusalem Post and The Media Line. She is also on the masthead of the Canadian independent social issues magazine Briarpatch. Her work can be found in The Globe and Mail, NOW Magazine, Electronic Intifada, The Real News, Znet and rabble.ca.
Jesse Rosenfeld is a Canadian print and video journalist based out of Ramallah and Tel Aviv-Jaffa since 2007. He is the print editor of The Daily Nuisance and has written from the Middle East for The Guardian, The Nation, The National (Abu Dhabi English language newspaper), Haaretz English, The Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, NOW Magazine, Z Net and Electronic Intifada. He has also blogged for Allvoices.com, Mondoweiss and produced video content for The Daily Beast and The Real News.
Afghanistan: As the G8/G20 prepares to meet in Toronto, many of these same countries are up to their necks in NATO's occupation of Afghanistan. This summer a massive new offensive is taking place in Kandahar, and greater numbers of soldiers and civilian deaths are expected. After almost nine years of war, Afghanistan remains a country dominated by discredited warlords and drug traffickers. Contrary to some media portrayals, life is still hell for Afghan women - with impunity for rapists, an epidemic of women's suicide, the highest maternal mortality rate in the world, and a life expectancy of barely 43 years.
Derrick O'Keefe is a Vancouver-based writer and social justice activist. Derrick is the co-chair of the Canadian Peace Alliance, the country's largest network of anti-war groups, and a coordinating member of the Vancouver StopWar.ca Coalition. He is the co-writer of Afghan MP Malalai Joya's political memoir, A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice, and the author of the forthcoming book Michael Ignatieff: The Lesser Evil? (Verso, 2010). Derrick served as rabble.ca's editor from 2007 to 2009, and currently blogs on peace issues for rabble.ca.
A Canadian-based on-line publication, rabble.ca places priority on covering the under-reported stories of the West Bank and Gaza, and Afghanistan. Publisher Kim Elliott will be present at this event to answer questions about the challenge of making these editorial choices.
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