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Author Topic: Martyred photojournalist Kazemi's work pulled from Montréal area library
lagatta
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posted 07 June 2005 02:26 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Zahra Kazemi's work "too controversial" for Côte-St-Luc Library

Grrrr!
MONTREAL - An exhibition featuring the work of Zahra Kazemi has been taken down, following complaints it was too sympathetic to the Palestinian uprising.Her son says dismantling the exhibition shows a lack of respect for her life's work.
Kazemi died on July 11, 2003, while in police custody after she was arrested taking photographs of a demonstration outside a prison in Iran.
Because the borough council wanted to draw attention to the ongoing fight to find out what happened to Zahra Kazemi, it commissioned an exhibition of a series of her photographs.
(...) The large, black-and-white images showed Middle Easterners going about their lives.
But a few of them also show scenes of the Intifada the Palestinian uprising in Israel.
The library where they are being displayed is in Cote-St-Luc, which has a large Jewish population.

Borough Mayor Robert Libman says the gallery at the library isn't there to provoke controversy.

"It's a very complicated conflict, and to create an impression where the Palestinian cause is being martyred by oppression by the Israeli government, we don't consider that to be a fair portrait," Libman said Tuesday. (....)

I'm so pissed off! Zahra was tortured to death to stand up for human rights - in a Muslim Middle-Eastern country, and Libman can shamelessly pull her work? He can't claim she had a double standard and was harsher on Israel than on other Middle Eastern countries, can he?

I do hope babblers will write in to CBC Montreal - many people have phoned so far, utterly aghast.

My point here is not even Robert Libman's viewpoint on Israel/Palestine but his willingness to quash the voice of a journalist who died horribly for her belief in free expression and telling people's stories.

Grrrr!!!


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 07 June 2005 02:36 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Borough Mayor Robert Libman says the gallery at the library isn't there to provoke controversy.

And that kind of bone-headed comment is why artists are so often driven to become political, even if they have tried to hold themselves apart from politics.

"Controversy" is Mayor Libman's mealy-mouthed way of describing freedom of inquiry and expression. It is a way of making those freedoms sound like bad things.

And he is doing that to the memory of a woman who died for those freedoms.

Shame.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
kingblake
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posted 07 June 2005 02:36 PM      Profile for kingblake     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Contact CBC
From: In Regina, the land of Exotica | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 07 June 2005 02:45 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Don't forget to also contact the Côte-Saint-Luc public library and borough office.

I'm very disappointed in Robert Libman. He was rather a little pain-in-the-arse when he was very young, in the short-lived "Equality Party" for "English Rights", but had been developing into a much more socially-conscious politician with a lot to say about such matters as environmentally-friendly transport, fighting sprawl and intelligent densification.

Zahra was concerned with human rights all over the Middle East. She was an Alternatives partner. She was certainly not an anti-semite.


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
kingblake
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posted 07 June 2005 03:05 PM      Profile for kingblake     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Cote-Saint-Luc Public Library: [email protected]

Libman: [email protected]

Cote-st-Luc/Hampstead/Montreal-Ouest borough: [email protected]

Borough Contact Form


From: In Regina, the land of Exotica | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged
Coyote
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posted 07 June 2005 05:08 PM      Profile for Coyote   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
This is disgusting. How in the world can such a display be described as anything other than legitimate criticism?

I am truly outraged.

I sure hope our resident partisans of Israel, who maintain that legitimate criticism and expression is indeed allowable, will make their voices heard on the side of decency and demand that this display be re-instated.


From: O’ for a good life, we just might have to weaken. | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
ceti
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posted 07 June 2005 06:17 PM      Profile for ceti     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
This is when things get really out of control when such censorship functions under such odious circumstances.

Libman is probably assuming that the yahoos in the community who can't take even the slightest criticism of Israel without going into apoplectic shock will come raving after him if he didn't just squash the whole thing with a blanket censorship policy.

Dire times indeed.


From: various musings before the revolution | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
No Yards
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posted 07 June 2005 07:37 PM      Profile for No Yards   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
No need to organize a few hundred protestors to risk their lives, freedom, safety and potential bad press in the corporate media, when you can gain the same affect of supressing free speech using your offical authority.

You just know that some people will look at the action of Canadian pro Palestinian protestors, attempting to exercise their right of free speech to drown out such hateful war criminals e as Sharon Nethenyaho(sp?) and the likes, and compare those actions unfavourably to the "brave" administrator who with a single fiat, shut down the speech of a real hero in the name of not offending sensibilities.

IMO, in a democracy, abuse of power to supress free speech is 1000 times worst than publically protesting the speech of others.


From: Defending traditional marriage since June 28, 2005 | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
Coyote
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posted 08 June 2005 12:01 PM      Profile for Coyote   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I'm not letting this one fade away.
From: O’ for a good life, we just might have to weaken. | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 08 June 2005 12:20 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Zahra Kazemi:



From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 08 June 2005 01:32 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
For Montreal babblers, a protest is being organised at the Côte-St-Luc library tomorrow. I'll write back when I have more info about the time and and more specifics (a symbolic book-burning or other action).

The people phoning and writing in to Radio-Canada and CBC are utterly aghast about this, and my e-mails have long legs. (I sent an identical message in French with the Radio-Canada news item).


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
swallow
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posted 08 June 2005 03:03 PM      Profile for swallow     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Wow. Shame on Libman.

And by the way: how do photographs of Palestinaian protests amount to advocacy? Are photos of soldiers the same as advocating for war?


From: fast-tracked for excommunication | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
Librarian
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posted 08 June 2005 09:44 PM      Profile for Librarian     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I work at the library in question and saw the exhibit before it was taken down. One of my thoughts on it was it gave zero context to what was going in the photographs. To give one example, there was a girl holding a handful of grenades, at least one of which had Hebrew letters on it. What is the situation behind this photograph? Are these live grenades, dud grenades, spent tear gas grenades? Why is she holding them? Is it the Israelis' fault? The standard line would be to say yes, but what if they were grenades stolen from the Israeli Army by militants and given to girl as a photo-op? I don't know and there was nothing in exhibit to tell me. This wasn't the only ambiguous photo.
In addition, Kazemi's son used the term "Palestine" to describe the group of photographs in question. In Middle East terms, that is a loaded word, one distinctly pro-Arab. A more neutral term would have been far more diplomatic.
The thing is the population of Côte-Saint-Luc is 90% Jewish. The use of such a loaded word, is pretty much guarranteed to cause a fuss. I am suspicious that the head of the Library didn't take enough time to think about the potential problems before green-lighting the exhibit.
Once the complaint arose, the reaction was predictable. The Libary and City Hall seem to live in fear of causing a fuss. One complaint from the public about almost anything, no matter how petty or limited, can be enough to cause them to cave in. The administration has a tendency to give in rather than deal with issues. Unfortunately, they have been catering to their public too much and too often so that the public knows the timidity of the municipality and takes it for service.
I would strongly recommend against a symbolic book buring protest. Some of our older patrons have numbers tatooed on their forearms. For protesters to use such tactics would only harden the prejudices of the community. Reach out rather than condemn.

[ 09 June 2005: Message edited by: Librarian ]


From: Montreal | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
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posted 08 June 2005 10:50 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It would seem that some of these people whom would no dount like to brag that Israel is the "only democracy in the Middle East" would like to keep it that way by erasing the memory of one of the people who wanted to expand the horizon of Democracy to include Iran.

quote:
Originally posted by swallow:
Wow. Shame on Libman.

And by the way: how do photographs of Palestinaian protests amount to advocacy? Are photos of soldiers the same as advocating for war?


What are you talking about. There are no Palestinians, remember: "A people without a land, a land without a people."

quote:
In addition, Kazemi's son used the term "Palestine" to describe the group of photographs in question. In Middle East terms, that is a loaded word, one distinctly pro-Arab. A more neutral term would have been far more diplomatic.

That's right. The non-people of the non-country. Thing is my mother used to play ping-pong with the Palestinian National Champion. Diplomatic? It is not a pro-Arab word, it is the desingation of a place. That is the place where Zionist Jews from Europe went before they invented Israel.

Jewish references to Palestine, from the Jewish Virtual Librrary:
See Palestine.

Trying to make the word Palestine a dirty word is just Newspeak.

[ 08 June 2005: Message edited by: Cueball ]


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brebis noire
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posted 08 June 2005 10:50 PM      Profile for brebis noire     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Librarian, I've rarely seen a photo exhibition where the photos weren't "ambiguous". That is the nature of photos: they are not essays, and they are not worth a thousand words (IMHO).

Secondly, I would venture that many Côte-St-Luc residents with tattoos on their arms would be able to enter the mindspace of a woman who was raped, tortured and murdered by an religiously fascist regime, and not be offended by what she photographed.


From: Quebec | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
swallow
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posted 09 June 2005 12:36 AM      Profile for swallow     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Too controversial?
From: fast-tracked for excommunication | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
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posted 09 June 2005 12:41 AM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It is controversial to show Arabs and Palestinians doing anything other than shooting rifles, throwing rocks and blowing things up, or anything else that might point to a human existance.

[ 09 June 2005: Message edited by: Cueball ]


From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
swallow
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posted 09 June 2005 12:43 AM      Profile for swallow     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
So it's peaceful images that would offend the good burghers of Côte St. Luc? Goodness.
From: fast-tracked for excommunication | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
IhaveNOdoubt
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posted 09 June 2005 04:45 PM      Profile for IhaveNOdoubt   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 

[ 10 June 2005: Message edited by: IhaveNOdoubt ]


From: NDG/Quebec | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
Rufus Polson
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posted 09 June 2005 05:09 PM      Profile for Rufus Polson     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Oh. My. God.
That has to be the most vicious, despicable action I have ever seen taken by a private individual on an electronic forum. IHaveNoDoubt, you would clearly have fit in as an informer in either fascistic or Stalinist regimes. Someone dares to suggest (and in a fairly lukewarm fashion, at that) that a cowardly repression of free expression is, in fact, cowardly and you are turning them in to the authorities in an attempt to get them fired for supporting free expression. I can see why they keep their criticism anonymous. I can see why you're keeping yourself anonymous as well, although given your claimed contempt for *their* anonymity I don't see how you can possibly justify your own.
You are a vicious, stomach-turning coward. If you have a shred of success in your little McCarthyist witch hunt, I hope the victim sues you for every cent you're worth.

Presumably, this person is going to be banned?


From: Caithnard College | Registered: Nov 2002  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 09 June 2005 05:30 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by Rufus Polson:
Oh. My. God.
That has to be the most vicious, despicable action I have ever seen taken by a private individual on an electronic forum. IHaveNoDoubt, you would clearly have fit in as an informer in either fascistic or Stalinist regimes. Someone dares to suggest (and in a fairly lukewarm fashion, at that) that a cowardly repression of free expression is, in fact, cowardly and you are turning them in to the authorities in an attempt to get them fired for supporting free expression. I can see why they keep their criticism anonymous. I can see why you're keeping yourself anonymous as well, although given your claimed contempt for *their* anonymity I don't see how you can possibly justify your own.
You are a vicious, stomach-turning coward. If you have a shred of success in your little McCarthyist witch hunt, I hope the victim sues you for every cent you're worth.

Presumably, this person is going to be banned?


Presumably, this person is going to be banned?

babble is not here for thugs who wish to intimidate responsible citizens.

And I echo Rufus's warning: if the threat that this worm is making against Librarian goes an inch past this thread, the whole of rabble.ca will rise up with all the legal and journalistic support we can muster, which is not inconsiderable.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 09 June 2005 05:31 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Write to the moderator. Please, everyone: write to the moderator.
From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 09 June 2005 05:56 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Librarian, welcome to babble and I'm very sorry for the way you were attacked. (Non-Montrealers won't know that CSL has the longest opening hours of any branch of the Montreal city libraries; when Côte St-Luc was an independent town, municipal and citizen support for the library was exemplary.

Librarian, I'd be the last person to want to offend the sensibilities of elderly folks with numbers tattooed on their arm. My (alas long-distance) sweetie is the son of two such people and I know or knew several other people who wore the yellow star or who suffered in Nazi camps as politicals, Jews or both. Actually I doubt the people organising the protest would opt for a book-burning for the reasons you mentioned (at least one of them is also a son of Holocaust survivors), but there must be strong reminders of how fascist and fascistic theocratic regimes burn books before they burn their authors.

As for Palestine, before the founding of Israel as a state, thousands of Jewish refugees emigrated to Palestine. And you will find plenty of references to Palestine and Palestinians in the Israeli press.

I'm also writing the moderator to speak out against the thug who bullied you. His post is counter to the most elementary expresson of workers' basic rights as human beings, not slaves.


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
swallow
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posted 09 June 2005 06:07 PM      Profile for swallow     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Do i remember right that messages to the moderator now need some special phrase in the title?
From: fast-tracked for excommunication | Registered: May 2002  |  IP: Logged
Hephaestion
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posted 09 June 2005 06:25 PM      Profile for Hephaestion   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Wow. What a repugnant little thug.
From: goodbye... :-( | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Librarian
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posted 09 June 2005 06:28 PM      Profile for Librarian     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
IhaveNOdoubt. Please, get real. The Library cannot use confidentiality agreements to curtail my freedom of speech in such a manner. Besides, I don't recall having signed any such agreement. As far as libel is concerned, I could cite numerous examples of the Library caving in to public pressure on petty matters. When questioned, the powers that be usually invoke the mantra "The public expects...". Even in matters where the reality a tiny, vocal minority has complained about something which amounts to normal library practice. I don't call that courage. I would therefore doubt that my statement qualifies as libel, given that it could be considered true.
Furthermore, if you read my post carefully, you see that my intent was show that the municipal side of the Kazemi incident has more to do with "avoiding upsetting the public" than with prejudice.
I was also attempting to point out that some aspects of the proposed demonstration would be counter-productive.
As far as breaking faith with the Library, it broke faith with me long ago.
I would like to the other members of this forum for their support.

From: Montreal | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
pogge
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posted 09 June 2005 06:29 PM      Profile for pogge   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by swallow:
Do i remember right that messages to the moderator now need some special phrase in the title?

We were advised to put YO! BABBLER! in the subject line so Audra would know it isn't spam.


From: Why is this a required field? | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
No Yards
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posted 09 June 2005 06:53 PM      Profile for No Yards   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
If Librarian wishes to take further action against the threat, then it might be worth to inquire which former employee of Côte-St-Luc Library, is now (or was also) employed at Eleanor London Public Library as per IhaveNOdoubt's profile.

I would think any real library would not look favourably upon an employee who threatened someone for standing up for the right of free speech.


From: Defending traditional marriage since June 28, 2005 | Registered: Jun 2003  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 09 June 2005 07:40 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Eleanor London Library is the official name of the Côte-St-Luc Public Library. Same place.
From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
IhaveNOdoubt
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posted 09 June 2005 10:42 PM      Profile for IhaveNOdoubt   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 

[ 10 June 2005: Message edited by: IhaveNOdoubt ]


From: NDG/Quebec | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
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posted 09 June 2005 10:51 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
You want me to start legal action against a moral coward whom wont even let us know who they are and who uses a private internet chat board as means of propogating a malicious politically motivated smear campaign against another anonymous staff member from that same institution?

Attempts to enforce codes of silence in government institutions? Clandestine and anonymous smears? Is this Nuremberg 1938? Leningrad 1932?

[ 09 June 2005: Message edited by: Cueball ]


From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
pogge
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posted 09 June 2005 10:54 PM      Profile for pogge   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by IhaveNOdoubt:
I was only expressing my opiion of a PUBLIC forum, where it seems everyone else was doing the same thing.

You did a bit more than that. This is what got people going.

quote:
In my opinion, you should be fired on the spot, and in order to speed things along, I have forwarded a copy of your 'opinion' along to Mr. Johnstone, Mr. Libman and also the library director with my opinion. I will also be forwarding a copy of my reply, just to be fair.

You appointed yourself judge, jury and executioner without knowing all the facts. And you can't know all the facts as Librarian knows them since you've admitted you're no longer employed there.

From: Why is this a required field? | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
pogge
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posted 10 June 2005 09:38 AM      Profile for pogge   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
PEN Canada weighs in.

quote:
PEN Canada calls on the council of Montreal suburb Côte-St-Luc to reverse its short-sighted attempt to restrict freedom of expression and allow the complete exhibit of photos by Canadian Zahra Kazemi to be displayed in the community’s library.
...
PEN Canada notes that, by their very nature, libraries must be centres for openness, discussion, debate and controversy. They are the very last places anyone should find censorship and restrictions on freedom of expression.

PEN Canada is also concerned that the decision in Côte-St-Luc has international implications. Censoring Kazemi’s work in Canada and implying it is unsuitable for Canadian audiences lends support to those in Iran who killed her in the first place while in police custody after being arrested while taking pictures of a demonstration outside an Iranian prison.


Via Antonia Zerbisias, who's certainly pulling her weight in the blogosphere.

[ 10 June 2005: Message edited by: pogge ]


From: Why is this a required field? | Registered: Mar 2002  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 10 June 2005 09:46 AM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
There will be a symbolic protest outside the Côte-St-Luc public library (hell to get to, by the way) at 11 am today, honouring Zahra Kazemi and other journalists, writers and artists murdered for speaking out and/or for their ethnicity. Walter Benjamin, Lorca, and....?

I suppose one could even mention Anne Frank, though she was not a known writer when she was murdered at Bergen-Belsen. (I do consider the deaths of Benjamin and Frank Nazi murders, though Benjamin was driven to suicide and Frank finished off by disease).

Any experts on Iranian journalists, writers or artists murdered either under the Shah or the Ayatollahs?


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
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posted 10 June 2005 10:06 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
A fine statement from PEN Canada. This point is especially powerful:

quote:
Censoring Kazemi’s work in Canada and implying it is unsuitable for Canadian audiences lends support to those in Iran who killed her in the first place while in police custody after being arrested while taking pictures of a demonstration outside an Iranian prison.

From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
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posted 10 June 2005 10:13 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
IhaveNOdoubt has erased his original post from the thread. So, just so people can understand what the fuss was about, here is the post in its entirety:

quote:
"To Librarian; Like you, I was anemployee of the library, and assuming that you've been employed there for more than two years, then you and I know each other and have worked together. We may have even called each other 'friend', at one time or another.

"However, that is where the similarity stops. In my opinion, you should be fired on the spot, and in order to speed things along, I have forwarded a copy of your 'opinion' along to Mr. Johnstone, Mr. Libman and also the library director with my opinion. I will also be forwarding a copy of my reply, just to be fair.

"You have broken the faith. As an employee of the City of Montreal, you have not only broken the confidentiality agreement between yourself and the City, but have also stooped so low as to call them cowards, while you maintain a level of anonymity on this forum.

"While I understand your concerns regarding this particular topic, my comments here are totally unrelated to this controversial subject, except where your character is concerned.

"Every day that you show up for work, you tacitly agree to abide by the terms and conditions of your employment, at the very moment that you walk in that door. As such, you aren't entitled to an opinion on any public forum, where you criticize your employer.

"In posting some of your comments here, you have broken the faith and trust which your employer has seen fit to entrust you with, while simultaneously reverting to name-calling and insulting the people who saw fit to employ you.

"Shame on You!

"While I agree that it is every Canadian's right to voice their opinion, I would be willing to bet that you would not be willing to repeat those libelous statements in front of your employer.

"I do not live in Cote St-Luc, nor do I support or decry the actions of the borough. Instead, I understand both sides of this complex matter. However, if I did have an opinion to offer, I would at least have the guts to say it to their respective faces.

"Many people on this forum live in other cities and areas, so I can understand the difficulty in coming to Cote St.-Luc and stating their opinions.

You, however have NO excuse, except of course, for cowardice!

"I sincerely hope that your identity is discovered and that you are held back or let go, as Cote St-Luc has no need of hypocrits such as yourself!

"Oh, one other thing. Most cities, boroughs, and municipalities are criticized at one time or another for not listening to their citizens. Now, you choose to criticze them when they DO listen?

"Your character and tactics are pathetic and weak. I suggest that you spend some serious time regaining your dignity and self-respect before you start criticizing those who trust you to maintain the faith, because these are things which you seriously lack in yourself.

"That is painfully obvious from the fact that you can't be trusted in such a simple matter."


[ 10 June 2005: Message edited by: Michelle ]


From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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Babbler # 2534

posted 10 June 2005 10:31 AM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
He should be banned immediately. Threats and blackmail against another babbler, such as possible loss of employment, are utterly unacceptable, whatever his political opinions.

Librarian, I do hope he hasn't intimidating you from posting here. I hope you will also be interested in discussing ... books!


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Zatoichi
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posted 10 June 2005 11:11 AM      Profile for Zatoichi     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
"IhaveNOdoubt" - Every day that you show up for work, you tacitly agree to abide by the terms and conditions of your employment, at the very moment that you walk in that door. As such, you aren't entitled to an opinion on any public forum, where you criticize your employer.

So, presumably, teachers shouldn't be allowed to criticize their employer for increasingly crowded classrooms and so on. Bosses love this sort of talk. What contemptible obsequiousness.

This is a similar sort of muzzling that Health Canada tried to apply to Shiv Chopra, Margaret Haydon and Gerald Lambert. The Federal Court noted in this regard that "the scientists were justified in going to the media" and ruled that "where a matter is of legitimate public concern requiring a public debate, the duty of loyalty cannot be absolute to the extent of preventing public disclosure by a government official."

People like "IhaveNOdoubt" are the reason that many of us use pseudonyms. Hooray for babble.


From: Tokugawa Japan | Registered: Feb 2005  |  IP: Logged
audra trower williams
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posted 10 June 2005 11:59 AM      Profile for audra trower williams   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
IHaveNoDoubt that I banned a certain babbler.
From: And I'm a look you in the eye for every bar of the chorus | Registered: Apr 2001  |  IP: Logged
Hinterland
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posted 10 June 2005 12:04 PM      Profile for Hinterland        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Deliciously clever. I love it when you do that.
From: Québec/Ontario | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
brebis noire
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posted 10 June 2005 01:44 PM      Profile for brebis noire     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I e-mailed Robert Libman's office and though I'd feel uncomfortable posting the entire reply I received (in light of certain posts on this thread), the response went along the lines of the library initially wanting to support Zahra Kazemi's son's 'quest for justice', but that they were 'hoodwinked' into an exhibition that was clearly intended to 'demonize' Israel - equating it with the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and the mullahs in Iran ('an unbalanced and offensive portrait of Israel').

Anyways, I found it interesting to be told that I was "unaware of the circumstances" surrounding what happened. Such as response is disheartening, at best, because there is an iron-clad refusal to see things in any other way than what one wishes were true.


From: Quebec | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
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posted 10 June 2005 01:48 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by skdadl:
A fine statement from PEN Canada. This point is especially powerful:



It would be even more powerful from the PEN of Salman Rushdie, president of the PEN America Center.


From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
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posted 10 June 2005 01:52 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by brebis noire:
I e-mailed Robert Libman's office and though I'd feel uncomfortable posting the entire reply I received (in light of certain posts on this thread), the response went along the lines of the library initially wanting to support Zahra Kazemi's son's 'quest for justice', but that they were 'hoodwinked' into an exhibition that was clearly intended to 'demonize' Israel - equating it with the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and the mullahs in Iran ('an unbalanced and offensive portrait of Israel').

Anyways, I found it interesting to be told that I was "unaware of the circumstances" surrounding what happened. Such as response is disheartening, at best, because there is an iron-clad refusal to see things in any other way than what one wishes were true.


The response I got was a pile of lies.

In the first paragraph he claimed that "the accompanying text, sought to portray the State of Israel as an opressive regime." But in the second paragraph he stated that "even though the removal of a few of the photos would not undermine the essence of the exhibition." If he was really concerned the accompanying text, why would he ask for the removal of the photos and not simply the text?


From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
brebis noire
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posted 10 June 2005 02:02 PM      Profile for brebis noire     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Cueball, as I suspected, we received the same letter, complete with the spelling mistake on oppressive.
I know spelling flames are lame games, but the thought skittered through my mind that if ya can't spel it, maybe ya just don't get it.

From: Quebec | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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Babbler # 2534

posted 10 June 2005 02:40 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I am SO sick of the "demonising Israel" spiel - as Libman used it. (Talking about the "vast Jewish conspiracy" centred in Israel or wherever would be demonising Israel)... Usually the Zionists complain that Israel is "singled out" while human rights abuses elsewhere in the Middle East are overlooked. In this case, it is a cruel absurdity, as Ms Kazemi chronicled human rights abuses in Afghanistan, Iraq and her native country, Iran, and died horribly for the latter.

Would Libman advocate removing books by the scores of Jewish authors who were murdered in the Holocaust who did NOT favour Zionism as the solution to fascism and anti-semitism? Zionism was a minority view then, after all.

There was a demo today by the "Jewish Alliance Against the Occupation" and supporters. They did a skit - dressed in orange "anticontamination suits", they symbolically disposed of books they had borrowed from the Library in question: books on issues pertaining to Human Rights around the world. (Don't worry, Librarian, no bookburning for the exact reason you mention).

I had a translation to finish so I couldn't go - though in retrospect I'm glad I didn't if I would have been forced to wear a bulky ORANGE garment!

The protest skit made CBC news in French and in English.


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
Hinterland
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posted 10 June 2005 03:05 PM      Profile for Hinterland        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
What is the text? What are the photos? In any case, libraries aren't there to foster "balanced" opinions on anything. Their only responsibility is to the provision of information which doesn't contravene the laws of Canada (and there's a hell of a lot of debate on that as well.)

Clearly Libman dropped the ball on this one, although I still don't know what to think of the Côte-St-Luc Library. Is there no board? When I've dealt with situations like this in my career, the complaints go through management and then the Library board before any action is taken, and hardly ever involves the city council or the mayor.

Brebis (or Cueball): you should post Libman's response. If he has any sense at all, he most assuredly realised it would become public domain when he first drafted it.

[ 10 June 2005: Message edited by: Hinterland ]


From: Québec/Ontario | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Librarian
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posted 10 June 2005 06:08 PM      Profile for Librarian     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Interesting protest. I can't help but wonder if the protesters were swealtering in those orange plastic jumpsuits(?)
I hope the powers that be will gain wisdom from the experience.

From: Montreal | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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Babbler # 478

posted 10 June 2005 06:16 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I also have one of those form letters from Mayor Libman. I'm balancing whether to post the whole thing here. Should we?

What really offends me is his charge that Kazemi's son "hoodwinked" the library and the community. What an extremely nasty term, close to charging someone with a crime.

Beyond that, he is claiming that the exhibit seeks to portray Israel as an oppressive regime. But if reports here are true about the photos in the exhibit that have given offence, it does not seek to "portray" Israel at all -- it seeks to "portray" Palestine.

This continual displacement of the debate is both frustrating and disturbing.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Hinterland
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posted 10 June 2005 06:24 PM      Profile for Hinterland        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
If Libman's response isn't posted, I'll e-mail him myself and post it. I frankly don't understand the reticence.

[ 10 June 2005: Message edited by: Hinterland ]


From: Québec/Ontario | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
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posted 10 June 2005 06:27 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, ok. Not as though we haven't all heard this stuff before on babble.

quote:

Dear [skdadl]:


Unfortunately, you are unaware of some of the circumstances surrounding what happened. We solicited the exhibition in order to support Madame Kazemi's son's quest for justice. We were unaware however that the exhibition, once organized with the accompanying text, sought to portray the State of Israel as an opressive regime. Israel is a modern, democratic country and the exhibition clearly equates and compares Israel to the Taliban regime in Afghanistan and the Mullahs in Iran. That is an unbalanced and offensive portrait of Israel and extremely sensitive in this community.

We were hoodwinked by her son whom we wanted to support. His refusal to give details about the content of the exhibition in advance exposes that he wanted to promote a secondary agenda, the demonization of Israel. We received complaints from numerous residents and tried to reason with her son to understand some of the sensitivity of a few of the photos. He was unwilling to discuss striking a compromise, even though the removal of a few of the photos would not undermine the essence of the exhibition.

Hopefully you could understand this very difficult and unfortunate decision.

Robert Libman



From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Hinterland
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Babbler # 4014

posted 10 June 2005 06:29 PM      Profile for Hinterland        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well, Mr. Libman certainly has a lot to explain there.

[ 10 June 2005: Message edited by: Hinterland ]


From: Québec/Ontario | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged
Coyote
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posted 10 June 2005 06:30 PM      Profile for Coyote   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Translation: We thought she was only against oppression in muslim countries; had we known she was against oppression everywhere we never would have allowed the display.

Cowards.


From: O’ for a good life, we just might have to weaken. | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged
Contrarian
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Babbler # 6477

posted 10 June 2005 10:12 PM      Profile for Contrarian     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Here is the CBC report about the Alliance demonstration:
quote:
...On Friday, members of the Canada Jewish Alliance Against the Occupation held a mock book-banishing ceremony in front of the Côte-St-Luc library where Kazemi's photos had been on display.

A member of the group, Lillian Robinson, used metal tongs to drop a book into a bright orange biohazard bag. It was one of several books about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict that she and the Jewish Alliance borrowed from the library to make a point about freedom of expression.

"A library, of all places, is a place where all opinions, different opinions, are aired," Robinson said...



From: pretty far west | Registered: Jul 2004  |  IP: Logged
Cueball
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posted 10 June 2005 10:20 PM      Profile for Cueball   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
It is a pile of lies as I said before:

quote:
In the first paragraph he claimed that "the accompanying text, sought to portray the State of Israel as an opressive regime." But in the second paragraph he stated that "even though the removal of a few of the photos would not undermine the essence of the exhibition." If he was really concerned the accompanying text, why would he ask for the removal of the photos and not simply the text?



From: Out from under the bridge and out for a stroll | Registered: Dec 2003  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 15 June 2005 09:14 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The Grope and Flail is running a fine commentary piece by Naomi Klein and [?] Mate on today's op-ed page, along with the five [?] disputed photographs that were, first, censored (along with their explanatory text), whose suppression then caused Kazemi's son to withdraw the entire exhibit.

The Klein/Mate article is, unfortunately, behind the Grope's subscription wall.

The paper also, however, prints a news update on the legal impasse between Stephan Kazemi and the borough of Cote-St-Luc.

Mr Libman, mayor of the borough, seems to be upping the stakes with a particularly inflammatory comment in which he dismisses Kazemi's importance as a symbol of the struggle for freedom of expression by comparing her to ... Ernst Zundel.

quote:
The decision to take down the offending photos has drawn criticism from groups including PEN Canada, and was denounced as small-minded censorship. Many have noted that Ms. Kazemi's life and death have become synonymous with the struggle for human rights.

But Mr. Libman, a former member of the Quebec National Assembly, said Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms allows "reasonable limits" on freedom of speech.

"Ernst Zundel is considered to be a champion of free speech by a certain number of people, too."


Pretty stupid, Mayor Libman.

[ 15 June 2005: Message edited by: skdadl ]


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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Babbler # 2534

posted 15 June 2005 12:43 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I have (Jewish) friends in Paris who saw the exhibit when it was at the Hôtel-de-Ville. Of course their politics, while varied, are not those of Libman or Ariel Sharon - but not only were they not offended by the exhibit, they never heard of anyone who was.

"Modern democracies" can and do commit gross human rights violations. By the standards of its age, Britain was a "modern" parliamentary democracy (sorry farmhands and women...) at the time of the Potato Famine, and committed horrible acts in the colonies even after women's and universal manhood suffrage. We know what was done to Aboriginal people here, in the US, in Australia and other democracies, and the huge wave of lynchings in the US South...

By Libman's standards, Amnesty International and other human rights associations have no business attacking the human rights record of any country with a functioning parliament and relatively free press...

Perhaps ironically, the current exhibit at the Paris City Hall is about Le Marais, the old Jewish neighbourhood just north of the City Hall, from a refuge to a trap. This from the site of the new museum-Memorial on the Shoah, also located in that neighbourhood: Paris City Hall exhibit on Le Marais.

Maybe Bobby Libman should get "out and about™" ...


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
brebis noire
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posted 15 June 2005 12:54 PM      Profile for brebis noire     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Ya, and when you define 'oppression' as the situation of Quebec anglophones, you're bound to have problems with reality.
From: Quebec | Registered: Oct 2004  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
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posted 15 June 2005 12:55 PM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I found Klein and Maté's article online!
on Klein's "No Logo" site! murdered photojournalist censored

From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
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posted 15 June 2005 01:07 PM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Well done, lagatta!

Y'know what I want to know? Look back at the G&M article I linked to, and look at the paragraph that reads thus:

quote:
The text said the photos depicted women "whose lives are taken hostage by despicable, unscrupulous men who claim the right, in the name of the State or God, to destroy them because they do not share their ideology of domination."

Then look at the context above. Can you tell who wrote those lines? Is that one of the captions from the exhibition, or is that Mayor Libman paraphrasing?

That quotation really threw me, because only one of the five censored photos I saw had any women in it that I could see, and that from a distance. The photos show children holding hand grenades; they show devastated landscapes and checkpoints and lazing IOF soldiers, but not much of women at all.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
GingerGoodwin
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posted 15 June 2005 06:38 PM      Profile for GingerGoodwin        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Common Dreams has posted a slightly longer version of the Naomi Klein/Aaron Mate piece. It appears the Globe and Mail cut out some criticism of CanWest. Interesting. Wimps!

[ 15 June 2005: Message edited by: GingerGoodwin ]


From: London | Registered: Sep 2004  |  IP: Logged
Librarian
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posted 15 June 2005 09:12 PM      Profile for Librarian     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I am not sure, but I think that not all the photos seen on the site linked to Naomi Klein's on-line article where the ones in the exhibition. I can't quite put my finger on it, but I feel I saw images which are not there. Of course it might be that the on-line images are too small.

I would be curious to see the accompanying text by Kazemi's son which was said to particularly offensive. Does anyone know where it might be found?


From: Montreal | Registered: Jun 2005  |  IP: Logged
April
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posted 16 June 2005 04:18 AM      Profile for April     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Censoring the Dead:

quote:
by Naomi Klein and Aaron Maté > June 15 2005

Even after her death, it seems the attacks on Zahra Kazemi will not end. It was only two months ago that Canadians were stunned by new evidence that the Montreal photojournalist was tortured to death while in Iranian custody. Kazemi was arrested in June 2003 while taking photographs outside of a prison in Iran, the country of her birth. To punish her for this transgression, Kazemi’s captors raped and beat her, according to a doctor who fled Iran to tell the story.

Close to two years later, there are new attempts to cover Kazemi’s lens, to prevent her photographs from reaching public eyes – only now the censorship is happening inside her adopted country of Canada. Last week Montreal’s Cote St. Luc Library removed five of Kazemi’s photographs from display after Jewish patrons complained of alleged “pro-Palestinian bias”; they left up the rest of the exhibition, which had already been displayed in Paris. Kazemi’s son, Stephan Hachemi, called the removal of the Palestinian photographs “a violation of my mother’s spirit” and rightly demanded that the library show the entire exhibit or nothing at all. So the library took down the entire show.

This made-in-Canada censorship comes as the Iranian government continues to stonewall any attempts to bring Kazemi’s murderers to justice. After refusing to return her body to her son, Iran has acquitted three intelligence officials accused in her death, and most recently, mocked Canada’s calls for an international inquiry. For its part, the Canadian government has been accused by Kazemi’s family of “begging, not insisting” that the Iranian government be held to account for her death.



From: Montreal | Registered: Jan 2005  |  IP: Logged
Macabee
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posted 16 June 2005 08:12 AM      Profile for Macabee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by skdadl:
The Grope and Flail is running a fine commentary piece by Naomi Klein and [?] Mate on today's op-ed page, along with the five [?] disputed photographs that were, first, censored (along with their explanatory text), whose suppression then caused Kazemi's son to withdraw the entire exhibit.

The Klein/Mate article is, unfortunately, behind the Grope's subscription wall.

The paper also, however, prints a news update on the legal impasse between Stephan Kazemi and the borough of Cote-St-Luc.

Mr Libman, mayor of the borough, seems to be upping the stakes with a particularly inflammatory comment in which he dismisses Kazemi's importance as a symbol of the struggle for freedom of expression by comparing her to ... Ernst Zundel.

Pretty stupid, Mayor Libman.

[ 15 June 2005: Message edited by: skdadl ]



Yes it was a stupid and unacceptable comment. In priciple the exhibit should not have been taken down. I would like to have seen it in order to comment further but the comparision to Zundel is IMHO similar to and as offensive as those here (ie farrell) who use the Nazi analogy on Israel.

From: Vaughan | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
skdadl
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 478

posted 16 June 2005 08:48 AM      Profile for skdadl     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Librarian, the photos we can link to from the bottom of the No Logo version are the same five that ran in the Globe and Mail. I assume those captions are from the Paris show; the Globe captions weren't straight translations of those, but they were also minimally informational.

I also am more and more curious to read Stephan Kazemi's captions, which are claimed to have caused the most offence. A letter-writer to the G&M this morning quotes over again that sentence I singled out above, obviously assuming that it was from Kazemi, but I am still not sure. The way the original Grope story was written, I couldn't tell whether those were Kazemi's words or Mayor Libman's paraphrase.

It's not unimaginable to me that Kazemi would write or say something like that -- he is, after all, the son of a woman horribly murdered by just the kind of patriarchal bastards described in that sentence, so one can imagine him feeling and expressing such sentiments. But then, given what we have seen of Mayor Libman's rhetorical penchants, one can imagine that as his paraphrase too.

The G&M letters column this a.m. also includes a formal invitation from the Winchevsky Centre, "a progressive, secular Jewish community centre" in Toronto, offering to mount an exhibit of all of Zahra Kazemi's photos.


From: gone | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
Macabee
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Babbler # 5227

posted 19 June 2005 01:01 AM      Profile for Macabee     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
quote:
Originally posted by skdadl:
The G&M letters column this a.m. also includes a formal invitation from the Winchevsky Centre, "a progressive, secular Jewish community centre" in Toronto, offering to mount an exhibit of all of Zahra Kazemi's photos.

Im heartened to see that a Zionist centre like Winchevsky is still seen as progressive. Maybe there is hope after all.

From: Vaughan | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged
Michelle
Moderator
Babbler # 560

posted 19 June 2005 01:03 AM      Profile for Michelle   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Check this out, Macabee.
From: I've got a fever, and the only prescription is more cowbell. | Registered: May 2001  |  IP: Logged
lagatta
rabble-rouser
Babbler # 2534

posted 19 June 2005 08:27 AM      Profile for lagatta     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
rabble has run several features on the Winchevsky Centre and I believe Judy has spoken there.

I wanted to google some stirring poem by Morris Winchevsky, on fighting torture and repression, but unlike other sweatshop poets such as Rosenfeld, have unearthed little. This is the best I was able to do (maybe writer could find a fuller example?):

"Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow" began:

"Our yesterday was very bitter
Our today is not sweet either.
Tomorrow only brings more rods for our backs
And chains for our feet and hands."


From: Se non ora, quando? | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged

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