Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

Celebrities for Palestine; Cultural Activism with Ben Rivers

by Marivel Guzman

A talk by Ben Rivers on Playback Theatre and Popular Struggle in Occupied Palestine. Photo: Bhagya Prakash. K

A talk by Ben Rivers on Playback Theatre and Popular Struggle in Occupied Palestine. Photo: Bhagya Prakash. K

Since December 2011, The Freedom Theatre’s Freedom Bus has engaged thousands of Palestinians and people from abroad in cultural actions that address Israel’s practice of settler colonialism, military occupation and structural apartheid. The Freedom Bus partners with village cooperatives, popular struggle committees and grassroots organizations to hold multi-day “solidarity stays” and “freedom rides” in villages, towns, refugee camps and Bedouin communities throughout the occupied West Bank. These events involve community visits, interactive seminars, guided walks, Hakawati (traditional storytelling), building construction, and protective presence activity.

A central feature of Freedom Bus events is the use of Playback Theatre. Through this method, a troupe of Palestinian actors and musicians invite stories from the audience and subsequently transform each account into a piece of improvised theatre. By sharing stories about the realities of life under colonization and apartheid, community members aim to mobilize audience members in the broader struggle for freedom and equality in historic Palestine.

Irene Fernández Ramos writes for her Storytelling, Agency and Community-building through Playback Theatre in Palestine What is Playback Theatre?
Playback Theatre is a form of non-scripted, interactive community-based theatre created in the 1970s in the United States by Jonathan Fox. A Playback Theatre event usually lasts around seventy-five minutes and it is constructed from the stories of members of the audience who are invited by a conductor to share short or long stories, or ideas, with the rest of the audience. The new storyteller steps forward and sits on the edge of the stage, where he or she is seen by the performers and by the audience. With the help of the conductor’s questions, this new ‘storyteller’ narrates his or her experience allowing the performers to understand the personal feelings lying behind the story and to translate them into improvised theatrical language. Read more on her essay here 

Endorsers of the Freedom Bus include personalities such Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Alice Walker, Angela Davis, Judith Butler, Maya Angelou, Noam Chomsky, Omar Barghouti and Peter Brook. (Click for the full list of endorsers).
The Freedom Bus is also endorsed by the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC), Jewish Voice for Peace, Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI), Code Pink in between other organizations.

Freedom Bus The heart and art of playbackUsing stories, photographs and video, Ben Rivers speaks about the Freedom Bus initiative and its role within the popular struggle movement.

Palestinian Solidarity Committee in India and 1 Shanthiroad last February organised a talk (Video) by Ben Rivers, a British-Australian drama therapist and co-founder of The Freedom Bus Initiative with The Freedom Theatre in Palestine, on playback theatre and popular struggle in Occupied Palestine. In the talk Ben focused on the cultural activities of the Freedom Bus Initiative, including ‘solidarity stays’ in which the team resides in a village for some days, acting as a protective cover or re-building homes . “We also work very closely with grassroots, popular struggle groups and organisations. We organize political actions together.” Excerpt from the

In his talk, Ben narrated some of his experiences working with the communities in occupied Palestine.

“In the South of the West Bank, in a region known as South Hebron Hills, we were on the outskirts of a village called Atwani, where a very small community lives. A lot of their land was stolen by people of a settlement nearby who were hostile. Palestinians who are grazing their sheep on the hills are regularly attacked by them. Palestinian children used to be stoned by the settlers as they walked to to school.”

Bil’in protesters oppose a ‘horrible, horrible wrong’ — Michael Moore

January 12, 2013 2 comments

Posted on January 12, 2012 by Akashma Online News

by UPDATED By Marivel Guzman

5 Broken Cameras Documentary Film

I have been activist for few years now.  I consider myself part of the Palestinian Solidarity Movement and like Bil’in resistance fighters, I m an advocate for non-violence movement. It is difficult to witness the struggle of Palestinians fighting their battle with a Palestinian Flag  and a camera.
Bil’in residents decided to wage a Non violent resistance war against the stronger army of the Middle East.

They started this war 7 years ago, protesting the Land grab for Settlements and the construction of the Apartheid Wall. They are not deterred by the gas, arrests, the bullets, the bullying and the death. Every Friday after prayer they gather by the Wall pacifically protesting the stealing of the Land.
I have been sharing photos and videos taken from the villages in West Bank, Gaza and West Jerusalem, images that could be rated R by the MPAA(Motion Picture Association of America) by its violent content. The violence is recorded in every one of the videos shoot by the residents and by the International Community of activists volunteering to be live witness of the Israel Occupation, internationals that take their own doses of beating, gas, bullets, arrests, and sometimes death.  5 Broken Cameras Exposes Israel True Colors

Bassem Abu Rahmah

Phil was known as The Elephant, his Name was Bassem Abu Rahman RIP
Killed April 07, 2009


Michael Moore tweeted his followers to watch the film about Palestine that launched earlier in the departed year called 5 Broken Cameras. Twice. The chieftain of cinematic guerrilla activism sings it up as “one of the best films of the year” and “that rare documentary that has the power to move many. Pls watch!”

“Watch one of the best films of the year, “5 Broken Cameras,” the story of a Palestinian farmer who picks up a camera” MMFlint

Moore reveals a deeper connection to the film than suggested by those lonesome tweets. It took home the best picture award at the Traverse City Film Festival founded by Moore in his native Michigan. And he’s spoken at a number of screenings in the US. A video of one such pre-screening talk shows the extent of his directorial admiration for Emad Burnat’s film and the significant Israeli obstacles he has had to climb to showcase the debut Palestinian talent.

I was able to get Emad to Traverse City, Michigan. He’d gone to the airport in Tel Aviv and they wouldn’t let him leave. And so we had to get him to Amman to get on a plane there. But because I run a large international network of terrorists we were able to make this happen (laughs). I have been a huge advocate for this film for the better part of the last year. I was just telling Tom (the event’s co-organizer) downstairs that if I were the third Koch brother and had their resources … I would send a copy of this film to every home in America. And I believe that within 24 hours, if people would watch it, public opinion on this issue would change dramatically. This film is so powerful in its humanity, in its heart, its belief in non-violence as the way to succeed.

When Emad and his family were in Traverse City, Terry George, who made Hotel Rwanda, and I were introducing the film and then we did a Q&A afterwards and Terry said something I thought was really very true: every now and again a documentary comes along that after you see it you won’t discuss it as a documentary, you will discuss it as a work of art, a work of cinema, a movie. And we feel very strongly that this is one of those movies. This is one of the best movies I’ve seen this year, of all movies, not just documentaries. And their struggle goes on as you will see. This man is not a documentary film maker – he’s a farmer. And the film that you are about to watch is a film made by a farmer. With no training whatsoever. And I don’t even think that they have a theater in their town so I don’t even know what he’s seen.

So that makes it even more amazing as you watch this film, and you’re realizing that sometimes if you have that, whatever that is in you, whatever you have to say, you want your voice heard, and he found the medium to do that, quite accidentally: because his son, Jibreel, was born in 2005 and he picked up a used home video camera; and started you know wanting to film his son growing up but things started happening, they (Israel) started building the wall to bleed their town, so he started filming that, and the title of the film, as is probably self-evident, in terms of what happens to his cameras. One thing we did in Traverse City town is that when he left we sent him a brand new camera (laughs) so he can keep filming. A small price to pay for trying to right a horrible, horrible wrong.

So I’m really happy that he came here tonight to watch this; and I encourage you in terms of not only your appreciation of the art of this film, but also when you leave here, when you think about this tomorrow, to do what you can to help other people who don’t have five broken cameras, don’t have a voice. We (Americans) are the funders of what you are about to see.

“As Israeli settlers begin building homes and erecting a barrier wall in the West Bank village of Bil’in, a Palestinian farm worker documents the town’s resistance to the new settlement.  Over the course of several years, the townspeople clash with the Israeli Defense Force, and tensions mount as the wall remains and the building continues.” 5 Broken Cameras

Discover Bil’in

Bil’in is a Palestinian village that is struggling to exist. It is fighting to safeguard its land, its olive trees, its resources… its liberty.

By annexing close to 60% of Bil’in land for Israeli settlements and the construction of Israel’s separation wall, the state of Israel is strangling the village. Every day it destroys a bit more, creating an open air prison for Bil’in’s inhabitants.

Supported by Israeli and international activists, Bil’in residents peacefully demonstrate every Friday in front of the “work-site of shame”. And every Friday the Israeli army responds with violence, both physically and psychologically.

Bil’in residents have continued to withstand these injustices despite the frequent night raids of Israeli soldiers in the town followed by an increasing number of arrests of inhabitants and of activists. But now, the army has toughened the oppression by systematically arresting members of the Bil’in committee in charge of organizing the non-violent resistance actions. The aim of the arrests is to discourage Bil’in residents and reduce their resistance to the occupation.

By supporting Bil’in, you will help its inhabitants to continue their struggle and maintain hope in their fight for liberty. This site is dedicated to all people of good will – Palestinian, Israeli and the internationals who fight side by side against the injustices endured by the people of Bil’in.

Since I watched the trailer of 5 Broken Cameras I got inspired to shared as a great film without knowing, that this reality film was being nominated for the best documentary in our Oscar 2013.  5 Broken Cameras it is simple, real, painful as Palestinian reality is. If you have the chance “watch it”, go to Alive Mind Cinema and download it, Group Screen it, show it in your College Campus. Reality sting, but this is the only way to educate the public regarding Occupied Palestine.
Alive Mind Cinema shares a large chunk of the proceeds with the filmmakers, who are often the best spokespeople for their cause, as in the case of 5 Broken Cameras. We also support many organizations through partnerships, free screenings, education, etc.” Elizabeth Sheldon from Alive Mind Cinema.
Emat Burnat Palestinian Filmaker take you on a road of desperation, occupation, outrage and tears. In 5 years IDF (Israel Soldiers) destroyed 5 cameras, but he continue filming Palestinian Struggles.
Now for first time in history, Palestine Occupation has come out to the light of an audience silenced by Israel Propaganda Machine. 5 Broken Cameras in the hands of a Palestinian farmer bring you the painful Palestinian truth.

An extraordinary work of both cinematic and political activism, 5 BROKEN CAMERAS is a deeply personal, first-hand account of non-violent resistance in Bil’in, a West Bank village threatened by encroaching Israeli settlements. Shot almost entirely by Palestinian farmer Emad Burnat, who bought his first camera in 2005 to record the birth of his youngest son, the footage was later given to Israeli co-director Guy Davidi to edit. Structured around the violent destruction of each one of Burnat’s cameras, the filmmakers’ collaboration follows one family’s evolution over five years of village turmoil. Burnat watches from behind the lens as olive trees are bulldozed, protests intensify, and lives are lost. “I feel like the camera protects me,” he says, “but it’s an illusion.”

Democracy Now interview  with Palestinian Filmmaker/Farmer/Activist Emat Burnat and Israel Filmmakers/Activist David Davidi, they walk us to the making of 5 broken cameras, which it is an everyday reality in Bil’in Palestine.

Repression and Arrest on Videos Everyday Bil’in Struggles

Germans Forced to Keep Silent, for a Guilty Past? Günter Grass Speaks The Truth

Posted on April 19, 2012 by Marivel Guzman

By Henryk M. Broder, Original Article published on April 04, 2012 by Welt Online

Günter Grass has always had a problem with Jews, but as clearly as in a new “poem” entitled “What must be said” about Israel and Iran, he has never said it.

Günter Grass has written a poem. That apparently It will appear next Wednesday in two major daily newspapers at the same time. The “La Repubblica” and the “Sueddeutsche Zeitung”.

The poem reads: “What must be said,” and begins with these words:

“Why I am silent, conceal too long …”

The impartial reader might get the idea that Grass would finally explain why he has concealed his stint with the Waffen-SS as long. But this is not the case. Over this period of his life, the poetic moralist is also long. This time, he is concerned more about the very survival:

“Why I am silent, silent about too long, what is obvious and practiced in simulation games, was at the end as survivors, we are footnotes at best.”

The “alleged in the first strike”

Günter Grass

Günter Grass, the life and work

Günter Grass

© dpa Picture-central nuclear potential vs. nuclear facilities: Guenter Grass

The Poem that Movilized Israel Press Propaganda Machine
“What must be said  German Version by Günter Grass
What must be said  English Version Patrick Willis

Grass will no longer remain silent. What is the cause of the explosion logorrhoeischen? The “alleged in the first strike,” an unnamed country that is threatening Iran, which in turn is governed by a “bullies”.

“But why do I say to myself to call that other country by name, in the years since – though secret – a growing nuclear capabilities available but is out of control and access to any scrutiny”

Grass has prescribed silence, because he does not want to risk being called “anti-Semite” branded.

“This general concealment of facts, which my silence subordinate, I find incriminating lie, as well as coercion, punishment is promised if he is flouted, the verdict, anti-Semitism is” familiar. “

Verbal foreplay to a taboo

So it is the usual prelude to a verbal taboo, which is justified by the responsibility of the poet, to prevent a catastrophe. For Grass, sounds like this:

“But now, because in my country of innate crimes that are without comparison, time caught up to time and will be asked to explain, again and purely commercial basis, if declared with nimble lip as reparation, another U-boat to Israel to be delivered, whose specialty is to destructive warheads can control everything there, where the existence of a single atomic bomb is unproven, but wants to be a legend of evidence, I say what needs to be said. “

Grass has always been prone to delusions of grandeur, but now he is nuts completely. Quite activities composing verses fragile busy, he has not noticed many of the speeches of the Iranian president in which he speaks of the need for the “cancer” that has occupied Palestine, to remove from the region. Because that is just “Maulheldentum” which one is “unproven” must not be taken seriously, as the existence of a single bomb until it is used. In the case of Grass would mourn for the victims and donate to the survivors consolation, because he feels the land of Israel “connected”.

Has always been a problem with Jews

“But why I kept quiet until now? As I said, my background, which is never subject to stigma tilgendem forbid, that fact will marked as truth the land of Israel, whom I am connected and remain unreasonable.”

Grass breaks his silence, because he would not again be guilty because he was “tired of the hypocrisy of the West” and hopes that one should free themselves from the enforced silence, the cause of danger to renounce violence, encourage and insist that a unhindered and permanent control of the Israeli nuclear potential and the Iranian nuclear facilities by an international authority of the governments of both countries will be allowed.

While Israel a “nuclear potential” function, the Iranians have only “nuclear facilities” which are probably the generation of electricity. The cause of the “obvious danger” is Israel that is outside the control, while Iran is doing nothing better, than to open its “nuclear facilities” international supervision.

Grass has always had a problem with Jews, but as clear as in this “poem” he has never articulated it. In an interview with “Spiegel Online” in October 2001, he said, as he imagines the solution of the Palestine question. “Israel must acknowledge not only occupied areas also the seizure of Palestinian land and its Israeli occupation is a crime, the need. not only stop, but be undone. versa Otherwise there is no one peace. “

Tel Aviv and Haifa are giving up

This was neither more nor less than an invitation to Israel, not only Nablus and Hebron, Tel Aviv and Haifa as well give up. Just as Hamas and Hezbollah makes no distinction between the Grass in 1948 and the 1967 “occupied territories”, for it is “the occupation of Palestinian land and its Israeli settlement of a criminal act.” This is also the Iranian president.

Ten years later, in summer 2011, received the Grass Israeli journalist Tom Segev for an interview. Segev is fluent in German, so we chatted light-hearted and without a translator and a half hours about everything, even the reactions to his novel “Peeling the Onion”. The debate was for him “very painful” was that they had placed under his command, he had volunteered for the Waffen-SS. “The truth is that I was drafted, as thousands of young people my age.”

Wanted as a knowledge-Segev, why the Holocaust is found in the “onion” only in passing, said Grass: “The madness and crime expressed not only in the Holocaust and did not stop with the end of the war of eight million German soldiers of the Russians have been arrested, have survived two million. The remainder was liquidated. “

Haunted by guilt and shame

You had no qualified mathematician to count on Grass’ numbers game to end: Six million German soldiers were liquidated by the Russians. That actually came about three million German soldiers in Soviet captivity, many of whom about 1.1 million survived, does not matter. Because grass is not about numbers, but a number six million. That’s the number to which it always. The Lucky Number German. Six million dead Jews on the one hand, six million dead German prisoners on the other hand, the bottom line is a clean zero.

Grass is the prototype of the resulting anti-Semite who is kind to the Jews. Of guilt and shame and pursued simultaneously driven by the desire to charge history, he now takes to disarm the “cause of the apparent risk.”

The Germans will never forgive the Jews, what they have done to them. Thus in the Middle East peace comes at last, and even Grass is his peace of mind, Israel is “history”. So says the Iranian president, and which the poet dreams of onion skinning.

Welt’s Editor’s note: An earlier version of the article it had said that the “New York Times” would print the poem. This was not the case.

Akashma News Editor: The article expresses the solely opinion of the Author. This article was first published in Welt Online in German Language. Was translated using google translate.

Henryk M. Broder is the classic Israeli propagandist and protector of Israel crimes. Gunter Grass a writer that have exposed without reserve Israel impunity have risked his career. Anybody that dare to write against Israel it is branded as Anti Semitic, the term used trying to silence anybody that speaks against Israel Crimes.
In Europe it is illegal to speaks against the Holocaust, so for a writer to come into the open with a poem of this nature it is willing to risk his liberty or his life.
There is nothing more honorable than speak the Truth. For long the Editorials of the Main Media Outlets have been complicit with Israel, not because there was no Truth to tell, but because the money paid to the Big Newspapers have been always more important than the Truth, but lately many writers have come clean in their opinions on Israel daring to tell the truth, risking their jobs and their reputation. The money it has been always an obstacle for the truth.

If you can contribute to a better translation please email

Original German Article Found here  Günter Grass – Nicht ganz dicht, aber ein Dichter

More on Gunter Grass……….Gunter Grass is my hero……….by John Irving…………….More

Tottenham Palestine Literature Festival 2011

Posted on September 06, 2011 by Marivel Guzman

Join celebrated writers, film makers, rappers, photographers, story tellers and locals to listen, talk, learn, rap, discuss, watch, question and share ideas on Palestine at the inaugural Tottenham Palestine Literature Festival, Thursday September 29th to Sunday October 2nd.

The festival has been organised by Haringey Justice for Palestinians. We would like to thank everyone who has helped it to grow and flourish over the last few months.

This will be a great four day event celebrating Palestine though films, discussions, art wiork, story telling, stalls, music and poetry.


Thursday 29th September
Festival Launch & Haringey Independent Cinema screening of ‘The Promise’

Professor Haim Bresheeth

Friday 30th September
Launch of Hanna Braun’s memoir
Weeds Don’t Perish- Memoirs of a defiant old women: local author
Ghada Karmi, Hanna Braun

Can writers bring about political change?
China Miéville, Ewa Jasiewicz, Ghada Karmi, James Miller, Naomi Foyle

Saturday 1st October

10:00am till 13.00pm
Children’s activities The Wildcat Arts Collectives in collaboration with Haringey Justice for Palestinians presents

Storytelling – Roisin Murray

Kite making – Sameh

Graffiti wal – DJ Steaz

aimed at children and young people, 5 – 12 years.

Screening of ‘The Promise’
Peter Kosminsky

Selma Dabbagh reads from her new book, ‘Out of it’

Young peoples’ workshop with author Anna Perera

Performance of Harold Pinter’s ‘One for the Road’

Rap workshop with Haroon Anwar

Ghada Karmi and Karl Sabbagh discuss reading and writing about Palestine

Storytelling with Roísín Murray

Phil Marfleet talks about his book Egypt: The Moment of Change

Tim Llewellyn talks about media coverage of Palestine

Journey Through Thorns performed by the Palestine Trauma Centre (Gaza)

David Harrold, Mohamed Altawil

Anna Perera, Selma Dabbagh & Ghada Kanafani talk about identity, dispossession and belonging

Ghada Kanafani & Haroon Anwar: Poetry and Politic

Hip hop film and Performances

Hip Hop is Bigger that the Occupation

Acts on the night
Mohammed Yahya
Poetic Pilgrimage
Crazy Haze
Ed Greens
Melissa Melodee
Potent Whisper
Skillz Rapartist
First and Last
Lyrictist Jinn
Haroon Anwar
Mohamed-Zain Dada
Emily Churchill
With DJ Steaz

Writer Brian Keenan in convesation

Q & A with Peter Kosminsky, Director & writer of ‘The Promise’
and Professor Haim Bresheeth

20:00pm – 21.45pm
Festival concert


Reem Kelani
Leon Rosselson

Haroon Anwar
Ghada Kanafani

Michael Rosen

The only marxist magician:
Ian Saville


Mideastern food will be on sale from 17.00pm till 19.00pm

There will also be book, clothes, plant and handicraft stalls

Willam Parry photo journalist
Children’s art from Gaza
Photographs from the West Bank by Louis and others

Sunday 2nd October 10:00am – 13.00pm
The Garden House (Kitapevi)
410 High Road, Tottenham (just north of Tottenham police station)

Brunch & open mic
A morning of poetry & prose recital over a delicious brunch for this festival finale with Anwar Hamed, Ghada Kanafani, Emily Churchill & you!

£5, under 12s free.

A Film By Existence is Resistance and Nana Dankwa about a musical tour to Palestine teaching resistance through the arts. Featuring M1 of Dead Prez, Lowkey, Shadia Mansour, Marcel Cartier, Mazzi of S.O.U.L. Purpose, DJ Vega Benetton, SWYC, University of Hip Hop, Jody McIntyre and many more…. for more information on upcoming tours and about the organization please email questions @

Teaser Trailer for new controversial 4-part drama on Channel 4 called ‘The Promise’. Written and directed by Bafta-winning Peter Kosminksy, and starring Christian Cooke and Claire Foy. It deals wtih the role the British Mandate played in formation of the state of Israel. Directed by Brian Harrington

Boycott Israeli Goods Campaign

Haringey Justice for Palestinians

Palestine Festival of Literature

Palestine Film Foundation

Palestine Solidarity Campaign

Palestine Trauma Centre (UK)

The Britain – Palestine Twinning Network

For more information:

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