28 June, 2007

Technical Issues

My reporting from the USSF may be delayed by the fact that my hard drive may be failing. I have to back everything up and have it inspected, but it's been doing frightening things. In the mean time I'll be working on things - editing video (a first for me), working on some longer pieces, and simply collecting information. If you don't hear from me in the next day then you'll know the iBook died. Why this week, I cannot say. Hopefully, this will simply encourage me to unplug in the larger sense and get back to simple pencil and paper writing.

More soon, insha'allah.

27 June, 2007

Photos from USSF 2007 Opening March

The man in the blue shirt, behind the word Theft, is Faleh Abood Umara, General Secretary of the Iraqi Federation of Oil Workers’ Unions, who will be taking part in the Thursday night plenary session on War, Militarism and the Prison Industrial Complex.

...this includes me.

The crowd was estimated at 6,000 people by one of the Atlanta Police officers along the route.


U.S. Social Forum - Day 1

It's summer in Atlanta, which means it's often cooler outside than on the MARTA trains. This morning my co-commuters and I, packed into our tin can in hamam-like conditions, rode quietly into our respective days. Wearing my Hijabman Where's the Love shirt I garnered a few wary looks. Maybe it was my messenger bag; large enough that I am more-or-less living out of it during the Forum.

"So, 'Where's the love', what does that mean?" an older man asked pointing at the English translation and then at the Arabic script. "Is that sarcasm?"

Walking from the Civic Center station I saw tiny flocks of co-conspirators on street corners waiting for pedestrian lights to change, USSF badges flapping at their chests.

Set-up is ongoing, especially here in the Ida B. Wells Media Justice Center. If you're attending USSF, or you're registered media, or simply signing up as a MJC volunteer - we truly, greatly need volunteers! - be sure to check out the MJC schedule of events. We'll be hosting some specific trainings to increase your media savvy. Should be WELL worth your time. Also, for those of you with skills, interests, specific media equipment, and/or a project in mind the MJC has a collaboration board to enable you to connect with the people and tools you need to make your vision reality.

11:30AM- Still setting up the MJC and working out kinks. The Poor Magazine group just arrived and I helped orient them. I'm sitting in one of the training/work station rooms listening to the thoughtful, raspy voice of one young woman from Poor dictating the story of their journey to the USSF.

This being a volunteer-run event, things are extremely fluid. There are complaints about many things and those of us who have jumped in are trying our best to sort things out. Some of the complaints are routine - the location of the MJC, coffee stirrers need to be bought, a certain sign needs to be created - and some are not - I hear someone in the hall saying the structure of the MJC smacks of classism and imperialism. Uh, I'll try to work on that when I finish the collaboration board......

I'll be updating as I go today. Just giving you a feel. The workshops begin tomorrow and I hope to share the information, experiences, and connections from the sessions I attend. I am also hope to craft a few specific stories relating to my own interests, which I would post after next week.

Hopefully by tonight I will be able to let you know how to access the video podcasts of the workshops and plenaries via the USSF web site. For now I am off to find passage to the parade.


26 June, 2007

Art and Consciousness

This is video, courtesy of The Nation, of a street theater performance staged by members of the group Iraq Veterans Against the War in an attempt to awaken those in the U.S. to some of the realities of the war in Iraq.


25 June, 2007

Who remembers these women?

More, this time from The Independent, on one of the lesser reported tragedies of the war/occupation in Iraq - the booming trade in Iraqi girls and women who have fled to Syria.


24 June, 2007

Sunday truths

For those of you here in the U.S. who still believe Shrub, Cheney, and the rest when they spout "they hate us for our freedoms" and other dangerous, fear-mongering lies....Robert Fisk breaks it things down nicely for you in this piece from the Independent.