June 25, 2010
I can’t believe my last post was last Friday. It seems like months since I last said anything. The Film Festival came to a close tonight, which was amazing. If you get a chance to watch Presumed Guilty on POV/PBS, do it. The film follows the story of an innocent man in jail in Mexico, and explores the flaws and injustices of the Mexican penal system.
But more importantly, at this moment, I have 6 days and 12 hours until I leave NYC. I was thinking about that today. I went to MoMA to see the Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibit, and then to Le Pain Quotidien for a pot of coffee and coconut macaroons, and while sitting at the communal table drinking from my bowl of coffee (yes, a bowl), I realized just how short my time here has been. Four years of my life – four significant years – I’ve spent in NYC. Whether or not I’ll come back…who knows.
June 18, 2010
It’s been a long day, and tomorrow will only be longer. But I just have to say a few words about the Human Rights Watch International Film Festival, because it’s really incredible.
I’m currently a consultant with the film festival, and I’ve seen a good number of the films. Tonight I saw Camp Victory, Afghanistan, which follows the events that unravel over three years as the US National Guard tries to help train the Afghan Army to bring stability to the country. I hadn’t realized how little the media actually covered regarding the rebuilding of this entire nation. And furthermore, I had no idea how complicated it is. I mean, I always knew how complicated it all was, but seeing things happen and listening to the struggles on both sides…it’s eye-opening.
After I saw Camp Victory, I spent some time with the Youth Producing Change filmmakers. Seeing them all here from all over – Afghanistan, Kenya, Texas, Slovenia, L.A., Brooklyn – and watching them interact has been priceless. It’s so great seeing youth engaging in arts and human rights and activism and wanting to learn more. I love it. I love it all. It always gives me hope to see young, peaceful youth trying to live a good life and share themselves with others.
Anyway, that’s what I wanted to say. If you’re in NYC, come out to the festival. It’s the best $7-$12 you’ll spend this summer. (well, one of the best.)
June 12, 2010
A short list of things I don’t want to forget and may explain later.
1. Talking about Buffy makes me want to re-watch Battlestar Galactica.
2. I’m angry that there are people in the world who are anti-choice, and make it their lives’ mission deceiving women for no one’s benefit.
3. The BSG soundtrack is so good.
4. If it weren’t for art, science wouldn’t know how to think outside the box.
October 21, 2009
Alright, my past couple of posts have been out of pure anger or emotional euphoria. I need to post something a little more balanced. Here I go.
In today’s NY Times, Robert Bernstein, former chair of Human Rights Watch and current board member, wrote a piece for the Op-Ed section regarding HRW’s approach to “closed” versus “open” societies. He accuses HRW of focusing too heavily on Israel’s human rights issues and ignoring other Middle Eastern countries.
There seems to be an awful lot of opposition to HRW’s reports on Israel lately. Personally, I think they’re doing well. What surprised me most about Bernstein’s article was his statement that HRW “casts aside its important distinction between open and closed societies.” This doesn’t make sense to me. Is he saying that reports on the US, Italy, and Brazil aren’t worth doing? Are their human rights violations less worse than those in the Middle East? Is HRW any less dedicated to other Middle Eastern countries as a result of their reports on Israel?
It just doesn’t make sense to me. True, HRW has published quite a few reports on Israel in the past few months. It has also had numerous reports on the U.S. and Russia in the past few months as well. Furthermore, while I don’t have a great or thorough understanding of how the reports are generated, I know that some countries are more difficult to enter than others. If a country will not allow HRW researchers to visit, then it becomes much more difficult for them to develop a report.
All in all, I’m glad that HRW and its critics can have this dialog and get it all out in the open. Look for HRW’s response tomorrow in the NY Times. I’m sure there will be one.