23 May 2007

STEADFAST



In 2003 I painted this series of 4 paintings called "Steadfast." It was a time of growing political and military intimidation. Among the people of the world, fear and terror was taking over. It still prevails today, all over the world.



We are living in deeply terrible times. People killing strangers. People killing their brethren. People supporting or justifying such actions of others. People disregarding their own humanity in order to justify disregarding the humanity of others. Political intimidation from agencies of power is such a constant that it has become the norm to ignore it and to censor oneself, to go about one's private affairs without any concern for the circumstances of others. Daily brutality, horror and death are the overbearing tools of repression. Common people in many places dream of the day when they can find one peaceful moment in which they can imagine what hope and peace are like. In Lebanon, social stagnation, racism, haughty elitism and a feudal mindset holds the population in decrepit shackles. Sectarian hatred and violence abound. In Palestine, an endless, belligerent, mass enslavement & torture of an entire people has lead to an agonizing despair that has driven people to surrender themselves to the internal cancer of suicidal abandon and wretched self-destruction. In Iraq, people have allowed themselves to be lead in reverse to a hellish backwardness of savage annihilation that is impossible to believe. In Sudan, racist massacres eradicate or expel entire tribes, while distant zionists exploit the situation to distract from their own genocidal actions. In Jordan, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Tunis, Morocco, Bahrain, and many others we know, hundreds of millions of people live in utter psychological enslavement and obedience to kings, generals and buffoons who recognize nothing of human rights and know nothing of respect for human liberty.



Today, as it was 4 years ago when I painted these four paintings, as it was a half a century ago when the world massacred each other and Palestine was usurped, as it was millennia ago when empires swept over the globe to enslave the minds of the masses in ignorance and war, today the common innocent people still stand STEADFAST, as the world rushes past them, screeching like a duststorm at the heels of a devastating horde. The air feels historic, but in a dreadful, brutal way. They stand in their spaces, attempting to withstand the gusts of power, violence and intimidation; they clutch at the memories of theirselves and their origins, protecting them from the tormenting currents that coil around them; each of them admonished, enduring the terror of the storm. In these blinding times of greed, confusion and reprisal, they steal glimpses into their secret inner knowings, to define and redefine identity and belonging, struggling against injustice and exclusion, reaching for truth, and envisioning an ideal that still writhes in mid-transformation.


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22 May 2007

... FROM OUR CLUTCHED HANDS



today is a refuge from tomorrow
a hiding place from the inevitable
a deceit onto ourselves
an inner clamor towards the unknown
a sinking into distraction

tonight is a flight into our memories
a longing for the anonymous
a weeping for deeper rains
a voiceless song
a slipping into intangibles

this moment is a look into our own faces
the patterns of walls and lost days
singling out that one non-essential
that one lonely morsel of knowing
which no earthly power can exact from our clutched hands
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17 May 2007

CRISIS

in Palestine,
in Iraq,
in Lebanon ..
they are killing each other - - they are killing themselves,
over nothing.

The cartoons of Naji al-Ali are more truthful than ever.




translation: freedom to the political prisoners in israeli jails and jails throughout the arab world.






translation: "the south" (a reference to the south of lebanon.)




translation: the cast and sling together spell the word "NO."






translation: "i think, therefore i am."




translation: we are all for the homeland.





For more on Naji al-Ali, visit my august 11 post.
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09 May 2007

From the Smithsonian

08 May 2007

This Year's AMC




Why should you attend the Allied Media Conference this year?

Many reasons:

ART,
CULTURE
ACTIVISM,
CAMARADERIE,
FRATERNITY,
IT'S IN DETROIT THIS YEAR,
A SENSE OF FREEDOM,
ACCEPTANCE,
LOVE,
OPPORTUNITY TO LEARN,
OPPORTUNITY TO TEACH,
OPPORTUNITY TO SHARE,
MEET PEOPLE FROM FAR AND WIDE,
REJUVINATE YOUR SPIRITS,
AND SO MUCH MORE.

BUT THE PRIMARY REASON you should come is to check out the BUMPER STICKERS in the parking lot !!

(just kidding!)

Last June I attended the AMC (took place in Ohio,) and I took loads of pictures of bumper stickers, just for the memory.

Click here for more info on this year's AMC.
Click here for my snapshots of bumper-stickers at last year's AMC.



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07 May 2007

A few good actors

What would I like to see in an Americna film? More than enough of the characters played by actors like these. Like a dozen of them. What do you call them? neurotics? method actors? theatrical types? I don't know, I'm no expert.
Ergo, can someone please cast these six together in a film? (I understand that a couple of them may be dead, but I don't see why that should be a problem.)

Below: Jerry Stiller, Esther Rolle,
Mercedes Ruehl, Julie Kavner,
Christopher Walken, Vincent Schiavelli.






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06 May 2007

The Mechanics of Politics & The Zealotry of the People

Instructions - -
One Arabic poem combined with one English song: either the Neil Young song that soars above the poem or the Bob Dylan song that slithers beneath the it.
Question is, which song belongs?



ميكانيكية السياسة وعنفوان الناس

لبن شؤم ظن جبن
خوف خون جهل لؤم


كره كيد طمع فقد

شتم سقط ضرب مقت


رذل مكر لهب فخر

عنف كبر شرس عهر


زور حسد دجل طرد

بطش غضب ضد نكد


سلب غصب ضمئ جشع

كذب نهب صخط فجع


فسد سرق حقد يأس

حرم غرق قتل بؤس


05 May 2007

The Album

Last month (yes, this post is a little late,) we went to see Marcel Khalife in concert......


We met him in the lobby after the performance....


I brought along my copy of "Ghina'iyat Ahmad Al-Arabi", an album that he recorded maybe 30 years ago......


It comes with a great book that features essays about Marcel's music and Mahmoud Darwish's poetry, photos, drawings, lyrics.


Marcel signed the book, and my aim is to get Darwish to sign it as well. Who can tell me how I can accomplish this?


Open the book......


Pictures of Marcel during a mega-concert in the 70's or 80's....


Umaima Khalil, his co-vocalist on the album, as a teenager when this album was recorded.....


More pictures of populous concerts at the height of the leftist-nationalist-liberationist epoch.....




Poet Mahmoud Darwish.....


Lyrics to "Ahmad Al-Arabi" (which is titled "Ahmad Al-Zaatar" as a poem written by Darwish,) and drawing by Kamal Boulata....


Drawings by others.........


Lyrics in French, and more drawings........

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