Tag Archives: Terrorism

THE HORROR COMES HOME


 

THE HORROR2

So attacks in Brussels by ISIS or ISIL or so-called affiliates or whoever the fuck is todays boogeyman are all over the news today… And the faux shock of chickens coming home to roost begins one more time… How could this happen…? How could our white superiority be attacked yet again…? And the talking head faces of white supremacy all say the same thing… Don’t these sand niggers know there place is beneath our heel…? Don’t these camel jockeys know that we can blow them back to the stone age…? Don’t these A-rabs know who they are fucking with…? Of course they don’t use those words but the effect is the same…

How many people on Facebook will change their profile picture to a Belgian flag in solidarity…? Will there be an app that Facebook will make for it…? Will we all feel better now that there is…? Will it assuage the guilt of living off the constant and consistent misery of almost everywhere outside the US, UK and Europe…? Will you donate to the GoFundMe page…? Or send out a tweet with whatever hashtag that comes with each and every act of first world terrorism …?

Every terror attack in London or Madrid or Paris or San Bernardino California is just an occasional appetizer in comparison to the constant feast of violence that London and Madrid and Paris and San Bernardino are serving up in places like Syria or Libya or Nigeria… Terrorism is just another tactic of political negotiation… And the US, UK and Europe have set the terms… They set the terms in 1492 with their racism and their slavery and their imperialism… They set the terms with their settler colonial mentality of white supremacy as their politic… And when that supremacy is challenged using the same tactics that created that very same supremacy the surprise is overdone to to insure that no one sees past the shock to see the guilt…

And for over half an eon the blood bath has been clogging the pipes and overflowing onto a killing floor… And when we try and get out of the tub to reach for a towel to wipe away the horror we slip and stub our toe and scream, ‘who left this blood on the floor where you can slip’…? And then we blame Bin Laden or the Taliban or Al Qaeda or ISIS for stubbing our toe on the history we spilled with the horror we let our democracy create…

In less poetic terms and to make it plain… We vote for Cameron and Bush and Berlusconi and Merkel and Putin and we toy with the idea now of voting for Trump or Clinton (again) and we wonder why they hate our bullshit democracy… We wonder why they hate our capitalist thirst for more than we can need and more than we can hold… We wonder why 99.9999% of them want us to get the fuck out of their country and just just leave them the fuck alone…? And you wonder why 0.00001% of them strap a bulletproof vest on with a thousand armor piercing rounds or drive a car full of explosives into into a cafe, a subway, an airport, a nightclub, a restaurant…

The problem with our bewilderment is that it’s only awakened by acts of terrorism that are close enough to ring in our ears, close enough for us to smell, close enough to choke on the smoke of burning rubber and plastic, close enough to mop up, close enough to bury… Our bewilderment is only shaken when the terrorism is visceral for us… When it’s around our corner, when it’s at our door, when it’s in the cloud of smoke that just won’t clear outside our broken windows, when it’s the sirens we can only see because our ear drums are shattered and we have to pick glass and shrapnel from our body before we bandage our wounds… This is the only time we wonder why… This is the only time the veil of our bewilderment can be lifted…

When the news cameras showed us the refugee grandmother carrying all that she could of her belongings while she held the hand of a child or the crying baby being pulled from the rubble in Libya, or the father in Iraq covered in blood carrying his son into the street, the veil that protected our bewilderment could not be lifted… When Boko Haram slaughtered 2000 Nigerians that was Nigeria, not us, when 147 Kenyans were killed at Garissa University College that was Kenya, not us, when 142 were killed in Sana’a in Yemen that was Yemen, not us, when 22 were killed in the Ivory Coast were slaughtered that was Ivory Coast, not us … The Facebook app to change flags doesn’t come in “African” and the hashtag never went viral on twitter…

Do we remember Aylan Kurdi…? No…? We don’t remember the name of the lifeless three year old refugee boy from Kobanî, Syria, found washed up on the shore of Turkey…? Then i guess we won’t remember Gelani or Rheana..? His five year old brother and his mother who also drowned off the coast of Turkey either… But we remember the Eagles Of Death Metal…? The american rock band that was playing in Paris the night of the attacks… Of course we do… The Eagles Of Death Metal were able to lift that veil that kept our bewilderment under wraps but when the Muslim Mandera Heroes of Kenya stood up to protect Christians on a bus from slaughter by Al Shabab the veil of bewilderment remained because it’s  Kenya… It’s over there… It’s how things are over there…

And now the delayed shock and the bewilderment of the war as it comes home… The karma comes home to nest… The horror that we sent into the world with our democracy, the same democracy that brought us Cameron and Bush and Berlusconi and Merkel and Putin and even our beloved Obama… The most advanced democracies in the world that can only find solutions in misery and terror… The horror returns home like a prodigal son, and we shun it, bewildered at how something like this could exist, unable to recognize that which we created…

We gave birth to this horror… What can we expect when it comes home…? Instead of taking ownership of it we turn it back out into the world to reek more havoc thinking surely this horror doesn’t belong here, surely this horror isn’t ours, surely that belongs somewhere else, surely that belongs to someone else…

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-1Dp

The Orphans Of Terrorists


AVT PSC#1 by vagabond ©
AVT PSC#1 by vagabond ©

Legal Disclaimer: The following is a Public Service Communique from Audio Visual Terrorism (AVT). AVT has not been and is not affiliated with the Orphans Of Terrorists and does not take responsibility for the message or any actions taken by the Orphans Of Terrorists. At this time AVT is simply a conduit of Public Relations, a messenger boy delivering a message. AVT has not edited or altered the content of the message. The message comes to you intact as it was received. AVT must stress that it is a semi-neutral party delivering a message. Do not attempt to take the head of the messenger should you not like the message, this would prove fruitless because AVT has no head. AVT would like to stress that it is not affiliated with the Orphans Of Terrorists but does however reserve the right to join the Orphans Of Terrorists at a future date. If the relationship of AVT to the Orphans Of Terrorists changes no mention of it will be made. That decision will remain secret. And now without any further delay the message from the Orphans Of Terrorists…

to the war
profiteers STOP

yesterday’s war
was yours
those of us who survive it
will learn our lessons
and apply them accordingly STOP

tomorrow’s war
will be ours
and we expect
something in return
for the price we paid STOP

enjoy the profits
of suffering
while you can and
consider this
your final warning STOP

sincerely
the orphans
of terrorists

– vagabond ©

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-19R

Radical Politics Radical Filmmaking On The Streets Of NY


Isaach de Bankholé as Jean Dumont The Journalist
Isaach de Bankholé as Jean Dumont The Journalist

Machetero, is a film whose guerrilla production matches both the film’s visual aesthetic and its narrative. It tells two stories concurrently: one in which imprisoned revolutionary Pedro Taino (Not4Prophet) is interviewed by a journalist (Jarmush regular Isaach De Bankolé, pictured), and the other about the political awakening of a young man (Kelvin Fernandez) on the streets of New York. As directed and written by Vagabond, Machetero’s radical politics extend to the film’s non-linear narrative, and its use of on-screen titles, foregrounding the revolutionary literature passed amongst the characters, as well as lyrics from the soundtrack by the NYC-based band Ricanstruction (of which Not4Prophet is the lead singer). Recently, I spoke to Vagabond about the film’s intersections of art and politics.” – Cullen Gallagher

Could you say a little about the word “Machetero,” where it comes from, and why you chose it as your title?
The direct Spanish translation of the word “machetero” is someone who works with a machete. However, there is a cultural definition to the word that is unique to Puerto Rico. The “Macheteros” were sugarcane field workers who fought against Spanish colonial rule, and when the US invaded Puerto Rico in 1898 during the Spanish-American war, they fought against the Americans as well. In the late 1960s, Puerto Rican independence leader Filiberto Ojeda Rios started a clandestine armed organization called “Ejercito Popular Boricua” (“Popular Puerto Rican Army”). Puerto Ricans throughout the Diaspora called them “Macheteros”.

The title of the film comes from a saying the Macheteros had, “¡Todo Boricua Machetero!” (“All Puerto Ricans Are Machetero!”) which connected Puerto Ricans to their revolutionary past. When I thought more about that saying, it seemed to me that what the EPB was trying to do was to create this idea of the Machetero as warrior and protector of the Puerto Rican people in much the same way that the Samurai is in Japan.

How did the revolutionary politics of the film affect your aesthetic approach to the film?
The film had to be radically unconventional in the same way that guerrilla warfare is radically unconventional. The reason revolutionaries use guerrilla tactics is because they don’t have access to fighter jets or tanks, so they make do with what they have. They become resourceful with their tactics in order to achieve their goals. It was the same with making Machetero. The structure of the film was devised in a way to make the shooing of the film easier. The use of voice-over in the film allowed us to shoot most of the film without having to worry or rely too much on shooting sync sound. The voice-over dialogue was recorded first so that we could juxtapose images against it. As a result, we could shift images and timelines around because the voice-over dialogue was the foundation from which the rest of the film was built on. As long as the voice-over dialogue had some sense of continuity, the images that accompany it had a freedom that could not otherwise be afforded to us if we shot the film conventionally. Since the film thematically is about finding a way to achieve freedom, it only enhanced the theme to have a certain freedom in the narrative structure to the film. The on-screen titles were also another way of playing with the narrative structure in the film, since many of them either allude to character and time or thematic issues the film raises. The subject matter of revolution doesn’t allow for conventional filmmaking or conventional storytelling.

How do you see your film fitting into the larger framework of politicized cinema? You mention Solanas and Getino’s essay “Towards a Third Cinema” on your website, but I was also reminded of Paradise Now.
I actually read Solanas and Getino’s “Towards A Third Cinema” toward the end of making Machetero. I came across the essay and immediately thought that this is what Machetero is. For those not familiar with Third Cinema, First Cinema is Hollywood commercial film and Second Cinema is the European art film or the European auteur film. Third Cinema is a response from the third world to create a cinema that would reflect the reality of poor and struggling people and inspire them to extricate themselves from whatever situation oppresses them. When the essay was initially written, it was calling for third world filmmakers to create a cinema that was reflective of their reality. Although I was born in Brooklyn and have lived in the US all my life, and a majority of Machetero was made here in the US, the colonial condition that Puerto Ricans have lived under both on the island and in the US has been one of third world proportions, so I felt comfortable relating Machetero to Third Cinema.

I made Machetero to raise questions about the way in which the labels like “terrorist” and “terrorism” are used and what that means to people who may feel that the only means to free themselves from these oppressive situations is to use violence. That violence is often described and defined by the state and its media apparatus as “terrorism”. One of the ideas that I’m trying to put forward in Machetero is that violence is a language that oppressors choose to use and that those who struggle against it and respond in kind are speaking the same language as their oppressors in an effort to get them to use another means of communication. However this decision to use violence as a means of communication is not a decision that oppressed people come to easily. This may be where you see a parallel to Hany Abu Assad’s film Paradise Now, which was definitely a source of inspiration for Machetero.

In recent years there has been much controversy surrounding rights of filmmakers to shoot on the streets of New York. As an independent filmmaker, what was your experience like?
One of the things I do to make a living is provide location services to production companies, so I know what I can get away with and what I can’t get away with or at least how much of a risk I’m taking if I do decide to work outside “the regulations” or “the law.” I shot everything but one scene in Machetero without permits or permission. That doesn’t mean I didn’t have problems with the police. There were five different encounters with law enforcement that varied from simply hiding from the cops to being arrested. Before I madeMachetero I wrote a manifesto called “Illegalist Cinema: The Cinema of Cine-automatic” that put art before legality in the filmmaking process.

Over the years I’ve seen the tightening restrictions that the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre & Broadcasting has put on independent filmmakers. It used to be easier to make a film in this town but lately it’s been getting harder and harder. That being said the Mayor’s Office still needs to make it easy enough for larger productions to come to the city and shoot, and as an independent filmmaker it’s important to exploit some of those incentives to our own benefit.

This interview was first published in L Magazine here

MACHETERO opens in New York City for a one week limited theatrical run.

WED. JUNE 12TH – TUES JUNE 19TH
CLEMENTE SOTO VELEZ
KABAYITO’S THEATER (2ND FLOOR)
107 SUFFOLK STREET
NY NY 10002
(BTWN RIVINGTON & DELANCEY)

TICKETS $10
SCREENING TIMES • 1PM • 3PM • 5PM • 7PM • 9PM
F Train to Delancey Street or J , M , or Z Trains to Essex Street.
Walk to Suffolk Street, make a left.

If you’re on Facebook Check out our MACHETERO Facebook Page and check out the Facebook Event page… 

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-16z

Terrorist Semantics


Terrorist Semantics by vagabond ©
Terrorist Semantics by vagabond ©

“In our age there is no such thing as ‘keeping out of politics.’ All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred and schizophrenia.”
 – George Orwell

With the reported discovery, attempted capture and assassination of Osama Bin Laden, the attacks on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya and the recent terrorist attacks in Boston, questions left lingering in the shadows since the terrorist attacks on the US on 9/11/2001 have once again stepped into the light. Questions that have not been answered and that haunt us not on a conscious level, but on a subconscious level. Questions like what lead to the US 9/11/2001 attacks. The exploration of those questions leads to other questions about American foreign policy and hegemony. Those questions lead to who and how are the terms “terrorism” and “terrorists” reshaped and to whose benefit. Those questions open up a whole new round of examination and each level of inquiry seems to only lead us further down the rabbit hole.

i was living in Harlem when the attacks took place. i watched the television news cameras trained to the aftermath of the first plane hitting the World Trade Center and thought it to be a horrible accident. When the second plane hit it became clear that this was an attack of epic proportions. Whoever planned this knew that with the first plane hitting there would speculation as to what happened, judgement would be withheld on whether or not it was an attack or an accident. In the process of trying to figure out what happened, every available camera would be trained on the World Trade Center and when that second plane hit all the hope of a horrible accident would be drained from us and there would be no doubt that this was an attack.

The second plane hitting the World Trade Center just a few minutes after the first would change the world. In the moment that second plane hit, the US would experience the fear, vulnerability and insecurity that is common place around the world due in large part  to US foreign policy. This is a lesson that the US never heeded when Malcolm X commented on the assassination of President Kennedy with his famous “chickens coming home to roost.” The same can be said of the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001. The terrorism sponsored by the US to achieve its own dominance in the world was coming back to haunt us. What kind of terrorism? The Iran-Contra Affair that lead to the crack cocaine epidemic in the US. The overthrow of governments who put their own interests ahead of US interests. The backing of dictators who put the interests of the US ahead of the interests of their own country. The use of torture in Afghanistan, Iraq, Guantanamo and other CIA black sites around the world. The karma laundry list goes on and on…

In the years following those attacks i struggled with the questions of defining “terrorism” and “terrorists” and how those terms are defined and by who and to what benefit. This is the question that you chase down into the rabbit hole. It was something that would not leave me alone because these were terms that i was already wrestling with in terms of the way US political prisoners and prisoners of war (PP & POW) are treated.  People like Oscar Lopez Rivera, Russell Maroon Shoatz, Leonard Peltier, Sundiata Acoli, Herman Bell, Marshall Eddie Conway, David Gilbert, and many others who had decided that they couldn’t stand by and allow US hegemony to exercise its will over Puerto Rican, African-American and Native American Peoples. They stood up in defiance to US empire within its own “borders” and in doing so their actions were often labeled as “terrorism” and they were often labeled as “terrorists”. With these recent terrorist attacks on the US the definition of these words “terrorism” and “terrorist” changed.

Within the zeitgeist of 1970 – 1980 the terms “terrorism” and “terrorist” didn’t hold the same kind of weight that it does in a post US 9/11 world. The US government and corporate media had refined and redefined “terrorism” and “terrorist” to now encompass anyone who disagreed with the American empire. The US was drawing a line in the sand and it couldn’t be more clear than when President Bush declared “You’re either with us or you’re with the terrorists”. The US government and the corporate media had now found a way to compress all dissent to American Empire by expanding the definition of “terrorism” and “terrorists”.  As an added bonus this new refinement of the definition of “terrorism” and “terrorist” now seemed to remove any doubt that the actions that US PP & POW’s were accused of, convicted of and were serving incredibly long sentences for, were anything but “terrorist” actions and that they couldn’t be anything but “terrorists”.

In the days, weeks, months and years following those attacks the supporters of members of the Black Liberation Army, Weather Underground, American Indian Movement and Puerto Rican separatists groups languishing for three and four decades in the US now had to fight to keep them from being categorized in this new expanded definition of “terrorism” and terrorist”. We were saddled with the responsibility of having to explain that they were not terrorist’s, because their actions were not acts of terrorism. They were freedom fighters who fought against US oppression.

This issue of “grandfathering” in US PP & POW’s was one that led me to the writing of my film MACHETERO. It was this expansion of the terminology of “terrorism” and “terrorist” in the post US 9/11 attacks that inspired me to make a clear delineation that would exclude US PP & POW’s from the new “terrorism” and the new “terrorist” definition. The film takes a stand against including US PP & POW’s within this all-encompassing and ever-expanding terminology. In trying to get people to think about how and who defines these terms i needed to stay away from the US 9/11 attacks because they were so polarizing so i used a different approach to begin a dialogue that would get people to think outside of the parameters that were being defined within this post US 9/11 zeitgeist.

The issue of US imperialism in Puerto Rico is an issue that unfortunately most people don’t know about. Oddly enough it was the fact that many people didn’t know about the colonial relationship that the US has with Puerto Rico that allowed me to bring up the issues of how and who defines “terrorism” and “terrorist” in a kind of hermetically sealed bubble that could possibly circumvent post US 9/11 polarization. Within that hermetically sealed bubble these issues could spark a potential dialogue that could safely allow that to re-think the issues of 9/11/2001 while at the same time educating them on the US colonial relationship with Puerto Rico.

Now that the issues of terrorism and terrorist are on the minds of many once again i invite you to explore some of these issues through the prism of my film MACHETERO…

MACHETERO Poster by vagabond ©
MACHETERO Poster by vagabond ©

MACHETERO opens in New York City for a one week limited theatrical run.

WED. JUNE 12TH – TUES JUNE 19TH
CLEMENTE SOTO VELEZ
KABAYITO’S THEATER (2ND FLOOR)
107 SUFFOLK STREET
NY NY 10002
(BTWN RIVINGTON & DELANCEY)

TICKETS $10 http://machetero.bpt.me
SCREENING TIMES • 1PM • 3PM • 5PM • 7PM • 9PM
F Train to Delancey Street or J , M , or Z Trains to Essex Street.
Walk to Suffolk Street, make a left.

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-13T

From Kandahar To Kindergarten


America Opens Pandora's Box
America Opens Pandora’s Box by vagabond

“In defense of humans
Lay down your sticks and stones
Weapons and violence are better off left alone
Cause you don’t rise when people fall

I see you rot this world
I see you ride this world
I see you rape this world
On, off, on, off, on, off
And I don’t like what I see
Greed
You don’t rise when people fall
Fugazi – from the song In Defense Of Humans

From its inception America decided to open Pandora’s box in the name of financial profit… They opened Pandora’s box and out came the genocide of Native people for their land. The Trans-Atlantic slave trade to profit off the lives and labor of others also came out of the box. The flimsy excuses to go to wars that line the pockets of the military industrial complex also came out of that box. The zombie capitalism that allowed profit to be a guiding cultural principal in America also came rushing out of that box.

These ills that came streaming out of Pandora’s box were opened because financial benefit was to be made and to hell with whatever consequences followed… And when the naked horror of the consequences rears up its ugly head we search for ways to close the box without ever trying to put what came out, back in… But there is no closing Pandora’s box… Not without a paradigm shift in thinking from capitalism (which is profit, at any cost) to something humane, something sustainable… Something that works for the many instead of something that works for the few…

While we reflect on the recent tragedy in Newton, Connecticut, and search our souls for some solace i propose that surest way to go about that is to investigate the history of violence that has shaped America into a death culture and it’s connection to making a profit at any cost. This country has a long history of placing financial profit over life. It was founded on that principle with the Native American genocide for land. Built upon with the enslavement of Africans. Expanded with war into imperialistic adventurism from Mexico to Puerto Rico and continues today in places like Afghanistan. i’m not trying to belittle or set side the Newton massacre, on the contrary, i’m trying to expand it, to have it be thought of and included within a larger context of ongoing tragedy’s that we have refused to either connect or recognize.

The occasional outburst of random senseless violence that bursts forth into our consciousness like the recent Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting and the Wisconsin Sikh temple shooting and this latest tragedy in Newtown Connecticut should be a wake up call to us. There’s writing on the wall in each of these incidents. A writing on the wall that we’re refusing to read because of the unease it’ll bring. The issue isn’t about gun control or gun laws it’s about placing the desire of financial profit above everything else. The problem is that laws created to control gun ownership curb the profits of gun corporations. Capitalism is God in America and nothing gets in the way of God in America.

Nothing is allowed to get in the way of making a dollar in America, not the delicate balance of the eco-system, not the unlivable wages paid by corporations at the expense of obscene profits, not the homelessness that is created by banks foreclosing on homes, not the maiming or death of soldiers that comes from the profiteering of the military industrial complex, not the privatization of prisons for profit and the link to increased prison population in times of low crime, nothing gets in the way of making a dollar in America. The guiding principle of placing profit above people in America is what makes the culture of America a death culture. The examples of this death culture abound…

The BP oil disaster placed profit above the lives of people. The government can’t afford to oversee these oil rigs properly but it can afford to subsidize the fossil fuel industry at the cost of billions to create record making profits for oil companies. Eleven people died on that BP oil rig, and untold number of wildlife, not to mention the destruction of an entire eco-system.

The company with the most employees on federal assistance programs in the US, like Food Stamps, is the low wage, part-time employment machine known as Wal-Mart. Wal-Mart pays its employees a substandard wage forcing them to seek federal assistance to survive. In essence, the federal government is subsidizing the billions of dollars in profits made by Wal-Mart by helping to feed its low wage employees.

The banks who became to big to fail capitalize their profits and socialize their risks. Their failures become our responsibility, we absorb their risk and bail them out. Our reward for that, is to be turned out of our homes in foreclosures and made homeless so that the bank ledger turns from red to black. Our misery quickly becomes their profit.

Nobody loves a war like the military industrial complex because it means multi-billion dollar profits. For the soldiers who are fighting that war it means asking their families for money to get the body armor they lack. In the meantime the federal money used for war that could have been spent on domestic needs like education or infrastructure or health care is fattening the pockets of private military contractors who seem to never lack for body armor or anything else…

The privatization of prisons all across the country for profit has seen an explosion in prison construction and in the prison population. The fact that the crime rate all across the country is at an all time statistical low is of no consequence. Crime statistics are ignored in order to fill the coffers of the prison industrial complex.

There’s money to be made at every turn in this death culture, even in these shootings that take place from time to time. In 1999 at Columbine thirteen were shot and killed, in 2007 thirty-two were shot and killed at Virginia Tech, in 2008 five were shot and killed at Northern Illinois University, in that same year thirteen were shot and killed in an immigrant center in Binghamton NY. In 2011 in Arizona a congress woman and six others were shot and killed, including a child. In April of 2012 seven were shot and killed at Oikos University, in July of 2012 twelve were shot and killed in a movie theater in Aurora and in August of 2012, six were shot and killed in a Sikh temple in Wisconsin. Each time there is a massacre there’s talk of gun control but no talk of the death culture that permeates American society… No discussion on limiting the ability to procure profits that are built on tragedy, in massacre, in war, in prison, in homelessness, in unsustainable wages, in hunger… Meanwhile there are 310 million guns in America and 312 million Americans… There’s money to be made in guns and the price we pay for these massacres could just be the price of doing business for gun manufacturers…

When the US sends out drones to “surgically” drop a bomb in order to kill a terrorist hiding in a village in Kandahar and a few others die in the process this is called “collateral damage” by the war machine profiteers and their lackeys in the media… In Kandahar they call that “collateral damage” mother, father, son, daughter, grandfather, grandmother, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, cousin, friend… The fallout of the slaughter that takes place in Columbine and Virginia Tech and Northern Illinois University, and in Binghamton NY and in Arizona and in Okios University, and in Aurora and in a Sikh temple in Wisconsin and yes even in a school in Newtown Connecticut is also called mother, father, son, daughter, grandfather, grandmother, sister, brother, aunt, uncle, cousin, friend… But on the balance sheets of the military industrial complex and the gun manufacturers, the victims of these massacres is listed as “collateral damage” to the profits of a death culture…

And this may be why the questions that are posed by these massacres are so difficult to answer… When you are forced to look for an answer within the current paradigm of American death culture, where profits trump life, then there is no answer to be found… Pandora’s box can’t be closed again and what has escaped can never be put back in the box within the current paradigm of thinking… If you’re looking for an answer within the system as it’s currently designed you’ll only find it in more dead bodies… Until there is a radical shift in the legal profiting off of the misfortune and misery of others, there will be no answer that will prevent another massacre. Until there isn’t a profit in America’s death culture the body count will continue to climb from Kandahar to Kindergarten…

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-Ti

Dylcia Pagan & Puerto Rican Independence


Dlycia Pagan - Puerto Rican Heroine by vagabond ©
Dlycia Pagan – Puerto Rican Heroine by vagabond ©

Today is Dylcia Pagan’s birthday. If you don’t know who Dylcia Pagan is then that’s probably by design. To know Dlycia is to know is to know that Puerto Rico has been a colony of the United States since 1898 and this isn’t a fact that the US likes to highlight as it supposedly beats the drum for democracy and freedom around the world from North Korea to Afghanistan. So not knowing who Dylcia is, is by design, because to not know Dylcia is to not know that the US has been a colonizing power in Puerto Rico for over a hundred years. Why are Dylcia and Puerto Rico’s colonialism so inextricably linked? Because Dylcia is a former US held political prisoner of war who spent 20 years in US prisons for fighting to free Puerto Rico from US colonialism.

Dylcia was a member of the FALN (Fuerzas Armadas de Liberacion Nacional  or the Armed Forces of National Liberation), a clandestine Puerto Rican group that used any and all means, including military means, to achieve the liberation of Puerto Rico from US colonialism. They were labeled a terrorist group by US law enforcement and they were hunted down as such. On April 4th of 1980, the FBI arrested a number of FALN member in Illinois and Dylcia was among those arrested. She was charged with seditious conspiracy to overthrow the US government. During her trial, she and her co-defendants chose to take a prisoner of war status as was their right under the Geneva Convention. The US legal system refused to recognize their status as Prisoners of War and Dylcia and her co-defendants refused to recognize the jurisdiction of the US government. In the end the US government found them guilty and sentenced them to incredibly long prison terms. Dylcia was sentenced to 63 years.

In September of 1999, President Clinton pardoned Dylcia and nine other Puerto Rican political prisoners of war. She’s been living in Loiza, Puerto Rico since she was release. Although Dylcia is best known as being a freedom fighter, it’s only a part of who she is, her story and the sacrifices she made for her ideals make her a heroine, not just for Puerto Ricans, not just for women, but for all of us… Check out the short film below i did of Dylcia where she’s tells her own story…

For more info on Dylcia Pagan visit her website…
www.dylciapagan.com

Connect with Dylcia on Facebook
Connect with Dylcia on Google+

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-QL

What Is The 4th Of July To A Puerto Rican?


What Is The 4th Of July To A Puerto Rican?

This was originally posted on 7/4/11 and is reposted here as a Public Service Announcement that American freedom is still American colonialism for others…

Shortlink: http://wp.me/p1eniL-NL