IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN AND PALESTINE: UNDER SIEGE
THE LEGACY OF OCCUPATION AND THE CHALLENGES FOR INDEPENDENT MEDIA IN THE MIDDLE EAST
June 21, 2010 at the Beit Zatoun House, Toronto
While the 3-year-old siege of Gaza has been brought into dramatic focus of late, the 12-year embargo of Iraq that crippled the economy and wrought havoc on civil society continues in another form, post-invasion. At the same time, the ongoing war in Afghanistan has taken a terrible toll on its beleaguered population. The massive $1 billion security and military presence in Toronto this month for the G20 will protect the very world leaders who are overseeing wars and occupations that have cost trillions of dollars, and countless innocent lives. Independent media has a crucial role to play in exposing the reality of war and daily life in Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan... Severe restrictions on visas and mobility for foreign and domestic journalists, as well as threats from government and paramilitary forces, hamper efforts to report reality on the ground.
rabble.ca blogger Derrick O'Keefe, New Internationalist co-editor and author of Dancing in the No Fly Zone, Hadani Ditmars, and Carmelle Wolfson and Jesse Rosenfeld of The Daily Nuisance discuss opportunities for breaking the siege of indifference and reporting from occupied lands.
As the G8/G20 prepares to meet in Toronto, many of these same countries are up to their necks in NATO's occupation of Afghanistan. This summer a massive new offensive is taking place in Kandahar, and greater numbers of soldiers and civilian deaths are expected. After almost nine years of war, Afghanistan remains a country dominated by discredited warlords and drug traffickers. Contrary to some media portrayals, life is still hell for Afghan women -- with impunity for rapists, an epidemic of women's suicide, the highest maternal mortality rate in the world, and a life expectancy of barely 43 years.
Derrick is a Vancouver-based writer and social justice activist.
Derrick is the co-chair of the Canadian Peace Alliance, the country's largest network of anti-war groups, and a coordinating member of the Vancouver StopWar.ca Coalition. He is the co-writer of Afghan MP Malalai Joya's political memoir, A Woman Among Warlords: The Extraordinary Story of an Afghan Who Dared to Raise Her Voice, and the author of the forthcoming book Michael Ignatieff: The Lesser Evil? (Verso, 2010). Derrick served as rabble.ca's editor from 2007 to 2009, and currently blogs on peace issues for rabble.ca.
Sponsored by the New Internationalist, rabble.ca, The Daily Nuisance and Canadian Peace Alliance
Video Production: Anita Krajnc