New Clear Vision


constructive commentary for the chronically farsighted


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…)

Employing Empathy

October 13, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Politics, Winslow Myers

Moving Beyond War in the Middle East — and Everywhere

by Winslow Myers

The seemingly intractable discord between Israel and Palestine not only continues to cause enormous suffering and anxiety, but also to reverberate around the planet as a kind of symbol of all our conflicts in what we might call the post-nuclear age.

The mid-20th century superpowers were forced to admit, especially after the Cuban Missile Crisis, that war at the nuclear level was self-defeating, a victory only for war itself, not for the participants.

Isn’t that ultimately true for all wars, large or small? Yet the world, including the superpowers, continues to divide along the Israeli-Palestinian fault-line, almost as if one had to have an adversary to be clear in one’s identity. The conflict has functioned as an iconic symbol of general feelings of fear or powerlessness or injustice, let alone claims to the same territory, that give rise to the best or the worst in us as we humans try to resolve our endless differences. (more…)

Take a Hike

August 01, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Current Events, Politics, Randall Amster

Misconceptions and Machinations Keep Activists Incarcerated in Iran

by Randall Amster

(Editor’s Note: This article was originally published in May 2010, and is reprinted today in light of the recent trial of the two hikers remaining in custody, Shane Bauer and Josh Fattal. For more information, please visit their website.)

You’ve probably heard about the three hikers being held in Iran since last summer. Their case has become a political football, highlighting the inherent tensions and absurd machinations of the U.S.-Iran relationship. If you’ve followed the story even casually, you also likely have an impression of the hikers as either being dumb and naive or spoiled kids deserving of their fate. These perceptions are actually well off the mark, and in some ways have served to perpetuate their plight. Incarcerated for nearly a year now, we might finally consider taking a moment to set the record straight, and in the process come to appreciate the dedicated activism of these remarkable individuals. (more…)

Staying Human

June 29, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Kathy Kelly, Politics

Preparing to Sail to Gaza

by Kathy Kelly

Last week, newly-arrived in Athens as part of the US Boat to Gaza project, our team of activists gathered for nonviolence training.  We are here to sail to Gaza, in defiance of an Israeli naval blockade, in our ship, “The Audacity of Hope.” Our team, and nine other ships’ crews from countries around the world, want Israel to end its lethal blockade of Gaza by letting our crews through to shore to meet with Gazans.  The US ship will bring over 3,000 letters of support to a population suffering its fifth continuous decade of de facto occupation, now in the form of a military blockade controlling Gaza’s sea and sky, punctuated by frequent deadly military incursions, that has starved Gaza’s economy and people to the exact level of cruelty considered acceptable to the domestic population of our own United States, Israel’s staunchest ally. (more…)

The No-State Solution

June 25, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Politics, Randall Amster

Can the Israel-Palestine Conflict Provide a Path to Peace?

by Randall Amster

(Editor’s Note: This is the final installment in our thematic series on Israel and Palestine. By presenting varied perspectives — including Michael Walzer on Israeli politics, Kathy Kelly on conditions in Gaza, Ahmed Afzaal on political discourse, Julia Chaitin on historical narrative, and Michelle Chen on Palestinian youth — our aim has been to stimulate dialogue and suggest ways forward.)

Despite the obvious and intractable nature of the problem, it appears that something of a consensus has been reached on what to do about the Israel-Palestine conflict. From President Obama to Professor Chomsky, there is broad agreement that any potential path to peace in the region ought to devolve upon a “two-state” scenario in which Palestine is afforded national sovereignty and Israel engenders international (and perhaps more importantly, regional) recognition. Details about precise boundaries and territorial contiguity will of course need to be settled, not to mention issues of economy and culture, but overall this plan is widely embraced by nearly everyone except the rabid hardliners on either side. (more…)

Grassroots Political Education

June 24, 2011 By: NCVeditor Category: Culture, Michelle Chen, Politics

Palestinian Youth Channel an Old Struggle Through New Media

by Michelle Chen

(Editor’s Note: This week on NCV, as part of a thematic series, we are featuring articles focusing on the Israel-Palestine conflict and attendant issues, hoping to stimulate a dialogue and suggest potential ways forward.)

On the last day of class, we’re unplugging the media revolution. The last session of my social media training program at An Najah University, in the city of Nablus in the West Bank, has been sabotaged by a campus-wide Internet outage, a scheduling mishap that left the students locked out of the computer lab, and a general lethargy afflicting summer-session students in the oppressive summer heat.

So I sit down with the four students who showed up, all primly dressed Palestinian young women, and ask them about what they’ve gleaned from the past few days of tweeting and blogging bootcamp. (more…)