New Clear Vision

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Walls Can Come Down

July 26, 2013 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Matt Meyer, Politics

Report from Palestine Chronicles Sense of Crisis, Hope

by Matt Meyer

We want everything, everything, everything
Other men aspire to.
What another’s entitled to we’re entitled to too.

– excerpt of “Everything,” from The Rothschilds (Brock & Harnick, 1970)

isr-pal3There is an emergency in Palestine right this very moment, but most internationalists are too caught up in our own entitlements, our own misunderstood history based on Broadway mythologies and Western distortion, to act with the intensity that is warranted. Unless solidarity and struggle shifts into high gear fast, there may be no averting the tragedy already in the making — one on a scale which dwarfs what has come before. These are the thoughts that whirl through this author’s head on traveling to the Middle East with my just-turned 13-year-old son, my daughter, and my partner. (more…)

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…)

‘Ordinary’ Thoughts

March 15, 2012 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Matt Meyer, Politics

On Solidarity and the Fight Against Fascism

by Matt Meyer

“In our struggle against Zionism, racism, and all forms of colonialism and imperialism, there is no place for antisemitism or the vilification of Jews, Palestinians or any people based on their religions, cultures, nationalities, ethnicity or history. At this historic junction — when the need to struggle for the liberation of Palestine is more vital than ever and the fault lines of capitalist empire are becoming more widely exposed — no anti-oppressive revolution can be built with ultra-right allies or upon foundations friendly to creeping fascism.”

So opens the statement Not Quite ‘Ordinary Human Beings’ — Anti-Imperialism and the Anti-Humanist Rhetoric of Gilad Atzmon, which was written by people from across the United States and Canada concerned about the attention within progressive circles being afforded someone openly attacking left-wing anti-Zionist Jews as being essentially the same as any anti-Palestinian Zionist. My own concern was magnified by the fact that this individual was doing so in the name of support for the just Palestinian struggle for peace and freedom. As an activist who has long struggled against racism (in and out of the “movement”), against imperialism and colonialism, I found it surprising and disappointing that some of my comrades and colleagues would give extra voice to someone with fairly open ties to positions more normally associated within the right-wing of the political spectrum. (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…)