New Clear Vision


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Archive for the ‘Christine Baniewicz’

5 Broken Cameras

February 18, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Christine Baniewicz, Culture, Politics

‘We Know How to Live’

by Christine Baniewicz

Cinema 2 of the New Parkway Theatre in Oakland is deserted. I take a seat against the arm of a cushy brown couch on the third tier up from the floor. The place is lousy with sofas and retro red vinyl chairs. They’re flung about the room, clustered around off beat end tables like so many hipsters in a beer garden.

Two more folks enter, separately. We smile thin greetings at one another before they choose their seats in distant corners according to that awkward geometry of strangers. A fourth patron glides in. I recognize him from solidarity demonstrations in the city. I wave him over.

I remind him of my name and he apologizes for forgetting it. We fidget. The lights go down and I calculate: New Parkway is making $24 dollars in ticket sales from this matinee. I’m flooded with gratitude for this brave indie cinema and her clutch of pretty furniture and the (financial, political) courage it takes to screen films about Palestine in the United States. The opening credits roll. (more…)

Noise for Palestine

December 26, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Christine Baniewicz, Culture, Current Events

‘I Have Friends There, and I Don’t Know What to Do’

by Christine Baniewicz

My best recurring celebrity-demagogue fantasy starts like this: My boss calls me into his office…

“Christine,” he says, leaning back into his executive office chair, hands clasped across his belly. I’m perched at the edge of my seat across from him. My shoulders hunch down, preemptively apologetic.

“Mind telling me what the fuck this is about?” There’s a laptop open on his desk and I rise from my seat, cross closer to him, close enough to catch a faint whiff of his older-guy Polo deodorant and there, pasted across his computer screen like a smear of virtual finger paint, is my essay “Tears of Gaza”.

My stomach liquefies. My neck sweats. Physiological apocalypse sweeps across my body and I attempt to say something with dignity, like “I wrote that because I have friends who live in Palestine.” But I’m too far melted down and it comes out soupy, wet, and quiet. (more…)

A Meaningful Light

October 10, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Christine Baniewicz, Culture, Politics

Open Letter to Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times

by Christine Baniewicz

Dear Kenneth,

A cold wind bore down College Avenue in Berkeley last week as I waited in a long line outside of the Rialto Cinema. I shivered. The queue was stuffed with middle-aged patrons for the 7 o’clock showing of a French comedy that got excellent reviews: The cultural event of the year! I was going to see Tears of Gaza instead.

My date was running late and as I drew closer to the ticket counter, the swirling words from your review knocked around inside my brain. Frustrating, poorly executed, graphic, disturbing. Six months ago I lived above the Freedom Theatre in Jenin refugee camp, teaching a theatre course to Palestinian actors. My love for those students and their work burns like a blue flame down the center of my chest…

But I don’t live there anymore. Now I live in Oakland, working 40 hours a week at a manufacturing company in San Leandro and when I clock out, I want to see something beautiful, affirming, well-made. Especially when I’m slapping down $10.50 for it at an art-house cinema. (more…)

The Sleep of Reason

June 21, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Christine Baniewicz, Culture, Current Events, Family

Despite Adversity, the Shows Goes on at The Freedom Theatre

by Christine Baniewicz

Nabil Al-Raee, the currently incarcerated artistic director of The Freedom Theatre, awoke five nights ago to the sound of barking dogs. It was shortly after 3 A.M. on Wednesday, June 6th.

“I woke to check why the dogs were making such noise,” writes his wife, Micaela Miranda. “I came out of our house and saw more than 6 soldiers on our front gate and surrounding wall, all pointing guns at me with their lights on.”

Post-midnight raids are common under the Occupation. In December 2011, The Freedom Theatre reported more than 30 post-midnight arrests in Jenin Refugee Camp. Among those arrested were several staff members of the theatre itself. I remember their wincing steps and bloodshot eyes the morning after their abductions. Many had been blindfolded. Some had been beaten with the butts of guns. (more…)

Nabi Saleh’s Tears

January 31, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Christine Baniewicz, Culture, Politics

Reflections on a (Literal) Toxic Mix…

by Christine Baniewicz

I lean against the walls of a small bathroom in Nabi Saleh.

Someone knocks on the door.

“Just a minute.” I sniff and spit into the toilet. Alright, enough. I emerge.

I arrived in Nabi Saleh an hour ago with my colleague, Sarah, and a few students from Jenin. The journey took two hours.

“I hope they don’t spray the water,” I said.

Talib turns to face me. Morning sun bounces off his aviators as behind him, steam rises from a paper cup of coffee.

“The shit water, khara.”

“Ah, yes,” says Talib. “The shit.” (more…)

Hard to Describe

January 17, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Christine Baniewicz, Culture, Family, Politics

The Freedom Theatre Honors Political Prisoners with Live Performance

by Christine Baniewicz

The house lights dim around me and I settle into my seat. The theater hushes. Two pools of white light flood onto the stage and the performance begins.

It’s Wednesday in Jenin and The Freedom Theater is packed. Journalists, international peace workers and locals from the refugee camp fill the wooden benches. Today’s Playback Theatre performance, Midnight Raid, is the second in a series of creative responses to the Israeli military’s recent incursions and arrests in the camp.

“Thank you again for joining us,” says Ben. He stands onstage before a line of actors, aged 19 to 25. They are dressed in black. “Today we will honor your stories.” (more…)

Let’s Watch

January 03, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Christine Baniewicz, Culture, Politics

Telling Stories Through the Healing Medium of Theatre

by Christine Baniewicz

Khaleena enshouf!” Faisal calls. The crowd settles. Let’s watch!

I’m sitting in Jenin refugee camp, surrounded by Palestinians — men, women, children and adults. We are crowded together on blue mats, carried over from The Freedom Theatre down the street. It’s three in the afternoon. I bat a fly from my face and lean forward to watch the enactment.

To my left, a staff member snaps photos. Mustafa lies in the rubble, stretched out across the uneven ground and squinting down the barrel of a video camera. He aims it at the actors, who stand in silence before us. (more…)