Saturday, February 28, 2009
Richard Reynolds and his 93 year old grandmother go guerrilla gardening in Totnes Devon. She gets a kiss from a stranger for her efforts and Richard tries (and fails) to get some locals interested in planting veg.
From TV Guide: Urban guerrillas by Helen Ganska
Helen Ganska reports the revolution has begun.
Guerrilla gardening is political gardening.
It is a form of non-violent direct action, primarily practiced by environmentalists. Activists take over an abandoned piece of land which they do not own to grow crops or plants.
The gardeners believe in re-considering land-ownership to reclaim land from perceived neglect or misuse and assign a new purpose to it.
There are six guerrilla gardeners in the Channel 10 show.
They are Ally – gardening guru; Lilly – 'Jill of all trades' with a penchant for power tools; Scott and Pete – construction experts; Dave – keeping the public and the law on side and Mickie - the mastermind behind the disguises.
Executive producer Nick Murray talks about the show from his car while waiting to see if the council have got wind of their illegal project.
“Every week we have different decals on the side of our trucks and logos on our clothes to make sure we keep our cover,” he says.
“Channel 9’s Domestic Blitz was up here the other day and was shut down by the council and so we thought we would need to get away with it for a bit longer.”
On set two weeks ago the gardening team had filmed 18 ‘stings’ and had one shut down by the council with another one shut down but then allowed to be resurrected.
“With the council we try and buy a little extra time and if we push it back up the bureaucratic chain then we can buy some time.
“It can take them a while to work out if we should be there or not.
“Often we can be on the border of two councils and it takes a while to determine whose land it is.
“That is often why the land that we select is derelict and disused.”
The earliest record of guerrilla gardening was in 1973 when Liz Christy and her team transformed a derelict private lot in the Bowery Houston area of New York into a garden.
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Afghan war documentary charges US with mass killings of POWs
Showings in Europe spark demands for war crimes probe
By Stefan Steinberg
17 June 2002
A documentary film, Massacre in Mazar, by Irish director Jamie Doran, was shown to selected audiences in Europe last week, provoking demands for an international inquiry into US war crimes in Afghanistan.
The film alleges that American troops collaborated in the torture of POWs and the killing of thousands of captured Taliban soldiers near the town of Mazar-i-Sharif. It documents events following the November 21, 2001 fall of Konduz, the Taliban’s last stronghold in northern Afghanistan.
The film was shown in Berlin by the PDS (Party of Democratic Socialism) parliamentary fraction to members of the German parliament on June 12. The following day it was shown to deputies and members of the press at the European parliament in Strasbourg.
After seeing the film, French Euro MP Francis Wurtz, a member of the United Left fraction that organised the showing, said he would call for an urgent debate on the issues raised in the film at the next session of the European parliament in July. A number of other deputies in the European parliament called on the International Committee of the Red Cross to carry out an independent investigation into the allegations raised in the film.
Leading international human rights lawyer Andrew McEntee, who was present at the special screening in Berlin, said it was “clear there is prima facie evidence of serious war crimes committed not just under international law, but also under the laws of the United States itself.”
McEntee called for an independent investigation. “No functioning criminal justice system can choose to ignore this evidence,” he said.
The Pentagon issued a statement June 13 denying the allegations of US complicity in the torture and murder of POWs, and the US State Department followed suit with a formal denial on June 14.
Doran, an award-winning independent filmmaker, whose documentaries have been seen in over 35 countries, said he decided to release a rough cut of his account of war crimes because he feared Afghan forces were about to cover up the evidence of mass killings. “It’s absolutely essential that the site of the mass grave is protected,” Doran told United Press International after the screening in Strasbourg. “Otherwise the evidence will disappear.”
Doran’s call for the preservation of evidence was echoed by the Boston-based Physicians for Human Rights, which issued a statement June 14 urging that immediate steps be taken to safeguard the gravesite of the alleged victims near Mazar-i-Sharif.
Late last year Doran shot footage of the aftermath of the massacre of hundreds of captured Taliban troops at the Qala-i-Janghi prison fortress outside of Mazar-i-Sharif. His film clips, showing prisoners who had apparently been shot with their hands tied, ignited an international outcry over the conduct of American special operations forces and their Northern Alliance allies.
Doran’s new film includes interviews with eyewitnesses to torture and the slaughter of some 3,000 POWs. It also contains footage of the desert scene where the alleged massacre took place. Skulls, clothing and limbs still protrude from the mound of sand, more than six months after the event.
The film has received widespread coverage in the European press, with articles featured in some of the main French and German newspapers (Le Monde, Suddeutsche Zeitung, Die Welt). Jamie Doran has also given interviews to two of the main German television companies.
While the documentary has become a major news story in Europe, it has been virtually blacked out by the American media. The UPI released a dispatch on the screenings last week, yet the existence of the film has not even been reported by such leading newspapers as the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times and the Washington Post. The film and its allegations of US war crimes have been similarly suppressed by the television networks and cable news channels.
This reporter was able to view the 20-minute-long documentary in Berlin. In the course of the film a series of witnesses appear and testify that American military forces participated in the armed assault and killing of several hundred Taliban prisoners in the Qala-i-Janghi fortress. Witnesses also allege that, following the events at Qala-i-Janghi, the American army command was complicit in the killing and disposal of a further 3,000 prisoners, out of a total of 8,000 who surrendered after the battle of Konduz.
Afghan witnesses who speak of these atrocities are not identified by name, but, according to the director, all those testifying in the film are willing to give their names and appear before an international tribunal to investigate the events of the end of last November and beginning of December.
In Doran’s film, Amir Jahn, an ally of Northern Alliance leader General Rashid Dostum, states that the Islamic soldiers who surrendered at Konduz did so only on the condition that their lives would be spared. Some 470 captives were incarcerated in Qala-i-Janghi. The remaining 7,500 were sent to another prison at Kala-i-Zein.
Following a revolt by a number of the prisoners in Qala-i-Janghi, the fortress was subjected to a massive barrage from the air as well as the ground by American troops. The atrocities inside Qala-i-Janghi are confirmed in the film by the head of the regional Red Cross, Simon Brookes, who visited the fort shortly after the massacre. He investigated the area and found bodies, many with their faces twisted in agony.
The American Taliban supporter John Walker Lindh was one of 86 Taliban fighters who were able to survive the massacre by hiding in tunnels beneath the fort . In one chilling scene in the film, we witness actual footage, secretly shot, of the interrogation of Lindh. We see him kneeling in the desert, in front of a long row of captive Afghans, being interrogated by two CIA officers. The officer leading the interrogation is heard to say: “But the problem is he needs to decide if he lives or dies. If he does not want to die here, he is going to die here, because we are going to leave him here and he’s going to stay in prison for the rest of his life.”
Massacre in Mazar then goes to describe the treatment meted out to the remaining thousands of captives who had surrendered to the Northern Alliance and American troops. A further 3,000 prisoners were separated out from the total of 8,000 who had surrendered, and were transported to a prison compound in the town of Shibarghan.
They were shipped to Shibarghan in closed containers, lacking any ventilation. Local Afghan truck drivers were commandeered to transport between 200 and 300 prisoners in each container. One of the drivers participating in the convoy relates that an average of between 150 and 160 died in each container in the course of the trip.
An Afghan soldier who accompanied the convoy said he was ordered by an American commander to fire shots into the containers to provide air, although he knew that he would certainly hit those inside. An Afghan taxi driver reports seeing a number of containers with blood streaming from their floors.
Another witness relates that many of the 3,000 prisoners were not combatants, and some had been arrested by US soldiers and their allies and added to the group for the mere crime of speaking Pashto, a local dialect. Afghan soldiers testify that upon arriving at the prison camp at Shibarghan, surviving POWs were subjected to torture and a number were arbitrarily killed by American troops.
One Afghan, shown in battle fatigues, says of the treatment of prisoners in the Shibarghan camp: “I was a witness when an American soldier broke one prisoner’s neck and poured acid on others. The Americans did whatever they wanted. We had no power to stop them.”
Another Afghan soldier states, “They cut off fingers, they cut tongues, they cut their hair and cut their beards. Sometimes they did it for pleasure; they took the prisoners outside and beat them up and then returned them to the prison. But sometimes they were never returned and they disappeared, the prisoner disappeared. I was there.”
Another Afghan witness alleges that, in order to avoid detection by satellite cameras, American officers demanded the drivers take their containers full of dead and living victims to a spot in the desert and dump them. Two of the Afghan civilian truck drivers confirm that they witnessed the dumping of an estimated 3,000 prisoners in the desert.
According to one of the drivers, while 30 to 40 American soldiers stood by, those prisoners still living were shot and left in the desert to be eaten by dogs. The final harrowing scenes of the film feature a panorama of bones, skulls and pieces of clothing littering the desert.
On October 23, 1958, Boris Pasternak was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature for his "important achievement both in contemporary lyrical poetry and in the field of the great Russian epic tradition."
The latter clause referred to a controversial novel, banned in the Soviet Union, smuggled out to the West, and released in 1957 in Italian by the prominent Milanese publisher Giangiacomo Feltrinelli.
The work, "Doctor Zhivago," was a tragic love story set against the tumult of Russia's Bolshevik Revolution. Goslitizdat, the Soviet Union's main publishing house, had initially promised to publish the book in a season of growing social liberalization. But the Hungarian uprising in 1956 prompted Moscow to once again tighten the screws. Pasternak, whose work was seen as a subtle critique of the Soviet regime, was once again in the cold.
Without a "Zhivago" in the original Russian, Pasternak would lose his most important audience - and, it was believed, his chance of winning a Nobel. Although the Swedish Academy is famously protective of its rules for eligibility, it has long been believed an author must be published in his native language in order to be considered for the prize.
After Feltrinelli's Italian publication, "Zhivago" was later translated into English and French. But it wasn't until September 1958 - just a month before the Swedish Academy made its announcement - that a version of the original Russian text saw light at Expo 58, the Brussels World's Fair.
It was a mutant of a book, riddled with typographic and grammatical errors, incomplete passages, and underdeveloped story lines. The jacket appeared to come from The Hague-based academic publisher Mouton, but the title page was Feltrinelli's. This "Zhivago" had clearly not gone through ordinary publishing channels. So who was responsible?
The Soviets, infuriated by Pasternak's Nobel win, blamed the agents of imperialism.
Nikita Khrushchev denounced the Swedish Academy for political meddling and demanded that the prize be awarded instead to socialist realist Mikhail Sholokhov.
Still, few had reasons to doubt the Soviet accusations. It was obvious Moscow hadn't published "Zhivago" or lobbied for its author to win the Nobel. If it wasn't them, it stood to reason it had to be the other side. But the University of Michigan soon published an official Russian version of the work, and questions about the "mutant Zhivago" soon faded.
Thirty years later, I set out to trace its mysterious lineage.
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'Senoi Dream Theory is a set of claims about how people can learn to control their dreams to reduce fear and increase pleasure'
From Senoi Dream Theory: Myth, Scientific Method, and the Dreamwork Movement by G. William Domhoff
...It isn't just that dreams contain wisdom in esoteric symbolic form, as Jung claimed, or that they can be used in an aggressive fashion in therapy groups to deal with personal problems, as Perls said. In addition, according to Senoi Dream Theory, dreams can be shared and shaped in groups in a positive and supportive fashion for the benefit of everyone, not just specific individuals with problems. As the literature of the now-defunct Jungian-Senoi Institute in Berkeley put it in the early 1980s, "Senoi dreamwork emphasizes the deliberate alteration of dream states, the resolution in dreams of problems encountered in waking consciousness, dream 'rehearsal' for activity while awake, and the application of dreams to creative individual and community projects." The new theory sees dreams as an open and positive phenomenon which can be shared and shaped for maximum human development. The human potential movement has long since disappeared, but the dreamwork movement lives on.
The people who were said to first practice this new way of thinking about and using dreams, the Senoi, are an aboriginal people who live in the jungle highlands of Malaysia. Numbering between 30,000 and 45,000 for the past 50 years, they live near rivers in loose-knit settlements of fifteen to 100 people. The Senoi are characterized by the dreamwork movement as an easygoing and nonviolent people. Their ideas about dreams are so appealing because they are believed to be among the healthiest and happiest people in the world. There is reportedly no mental illness or violence precisely because they have a theory of dream control and dream utilization unlike anything ever heard of in Western history.
The main source on the Senoi use of dreams is the work of Kilton Stewart (1902-1965), who first learned about the Senoi during a stay in Malaya (now Malaysia) in 1934. His articles in Complex and Mental Hygiene provide the basis for the discussion of the Senoi in such widely read dream books as Ann Faraday's Dream Power (1972) and The Dream Game (1974). Moreover, three different articles in Psychology Today, one in 1970, another in 1972, and a final one in 1978, discuss his work in a favorable light. Then, too, his 1951 article in Complex, "Dream Theory in Malaya," later was reprinted in such once-influential collections on human possibilities as Charles Tart's Altered States of Consciousness (1969) and Theodore Roszak's Sources (1972).
In addition, Stewart's writings on the Senoi are supplemented by the work of psychologist Patricia Garfield, author of the best-selling Creative Dreaming (1974), which was reprinted with a new introduction in 1995. Although her book has chapters on the dream practices of Native Americans, ancient Greeks, and Eastern mystics, it is in fact built around her chapter on how to learn and utilize what are said to be Senoi principles for controlling dreams. Garfield visited with some Senoi at the aborigine hospital in Gombak, Malaysia, in 1972. Until the early 1980s, Garfield was the only dream researcher besides Stewart claiming direct knowledge of Senoi dream practices. She was that crucial "second opinion" that helped solidify belief in the reality of Senoi Dream Theory. Moreover, she tantalized readers by reporting that her personal use of Senoi techniques led to a decline in the number of dreams in which she was a helpless victim and an increase in the number of dreams in which she had orgasms.
According to Stewart: "The Senoi make their dreams the major focus of their intellectual and social interest, and have solved the problem of violent crime and destructive economic conflict, and largely eliminated insanity, neurosis, and psychogenic illness." Although highly cooperative, they are nonetheless individualistic and creative, with each person developing his or her unique personality characteristics. As Stewart puts it in a particularly well-turned phrase: "The freest type of psychic play occurs in sleep, and the social acceptance of the dream would therefore constitute the deepest possible acceptance of the individual."
Most of all, Senoi have near-perfect mental health. "Perhaps the most striking characteristic of the Senoi is their extraordinary psychological adjustment," says Garfield. "Neurosis and psychosis as we know them are reported to be nonexistent among the Senoi," she continues. "Western therapists find this statement hard to believe, yet it is documented by researchers who spent considerable time directly observing the Senoi. The Senoi show remarkable emotional maturity."
Those in the dreamwork movement who write about the Senoi accept Stewart's claim that this unusual level of health and happiness can be attributed to the way in which the Senoi use and interpret dreams. "There are no well-controlled scientific studies to prove that peacefulness, cooperativeness, and creativeness, mental health, and emotional maturity are the result of the Senoi's unique use of dream material," Garfield admits. "However, there is much to strongly suggest that, at the very least, their use of dreams is a basic element in developing these characteristics."
For the Senoi, life is a veritable dream clinic. The concern with dreams begins at the break of day. "The Senoi parent inquires of his child's dream at breakfast, praises the child for having the dream, and discusses the significance of it," reports Stewart. "He asks about past incidences and tells the child how to change his behavior and attitude in future dreams. He also recommends certain social activities or gestures which the dream makes necessary or advisable." ...
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