Monday, February 13, 2012

Apathy & Political Engagement

According to Dave Meslin, in order to overcome apathy as it relates to the governmental process, we need to dismantle the current systems that sustain political disengagement.  Although Meslin is speaking about Canada, his analysis is transferable to the American political system and citizen participation in governance structures:

Friday, February 10, 2012

Gloria Steinem on Rape in War, Its Causes, and How to Stop It

"Conflict is not the only or even the primary normalizer of the extremes of "masculine" and "feminine." Those roles at home are the normalizers of conflict." - Gloria Steinem

This article is possibly the best analysis I've read thus far regarding gendered socialization in regards to rape, war, and political policy.  This article is an absolute must-read:  The Atlantic - "Rape in War, Its Causes, and How to Stop It"

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Art, Activism, and Political Discourse

"We have to make sure that art is not a platform for activism. It’s a platform for discussing, for questioning, for putting doubts, for ideas. It’s not a place to make a revolution. If there’s a revolution, it’s revolution against myself, to provoke myself"Rabih Mroué

Rabih Mroué is a Lebanese actor, director, playwright and artist.  As an artist, he continuously questions the role of art and society: from the relationship between performers and the audience to art's use as a revolutionary platform for activism.  

The Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, MN will present Rabih Mroué’s Looking for a Missing Employee January 12–14, as part of Out There 2012. His Pixelated Revolution will be performed on January 14.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Waiting for Dadaab - Photo Series

Photographic journal of the refugee process of accessing relief in Dadaab Refugee Camp:

Huffington Post: Waiting for Dadaab

Friday, October 14, 2011

Guns for Hire in Somalia

Bancroft Global Development is an American private security company that the State Department has indirectly financed to train African troops fighting against Al-Shabaab in Somalia. Based in a mansion along Embassy Row in Washington, Bancroft is a nonprofit enterprise run by Michael Stock, a 34-year-old Virginia native who founded the company not long after graduating from Princeton in 1999. He used some of his family’s banking fortune to set up Bancroft as a small land-mine clearing operation.  The Bancroft camp operates as a spartan hotel for visiting aid workers, diplomats and journalists. But the company’s real income has come from the United States government, albeit circuitously. The governments of Uganda and Burundi pay Bancroft millions of dollars to train their soldiers for counterinsurgency missions in Somalia under an African Union banner, money that the State Department then reimburses to the two African nations. Since 2010, Bancroft has collected about $7 million through this arrangement.

The Central Intelligence Agency, which largely finances the country’s spy agency, has covertly trained Somali intelligence operatives, helped build a large base at Mogadishu’s airport — Somalis call it “the Pink House” for the reddish hue of its buildings or “Guantánamo” for its ties to the United States — and carried out joint interrogations of suspected terrorists with their counterparts in a ramshackle Somali prison.
The Pentagon has turned to strikes by armed drone aircraft to kill Shabab militants and recently approved $45 million in arms shipments to African troops fighting in Somalia.
Unlike regular Somali government troops, the C.I.A.-trained Somali commandos are outfitted with new weapons and flak jackets, and are given sunglasses and ski masks to conceal their identities. They are part of the Somali National Security Agency — an intelligence organization financed largely by the C.I.A. — which answers to Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government. 
The C.I.A. has also occasionally joined Somali operatives in interrogating prisoners, including Ahmed Abdullahi Hassan, a Kenyan arrested in Nairobi in 2009 on an American intelligence tip and handed over to Somalia by the Kenyans. “The C.I.A. does not run prisons in Somalia or anywhere else, period,” said the spokeswoman, Marie Harf. “The C.I.A.’s detention and interrogation program ended over two and a half years ago.”
(New York Times - U.S. Relies on Contractors in Somalia Conflict)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Gender Bending in Modern Fashion

The NY Times photographer Hedi Slimane captures a stunning boy-meets-girl moment, convincing models Susannah Liguori, Margarita Kallas and Cecily Manson to (gasp) chop their hair.

(New York Times Fashion Magazine)

Monday, February 21, 2011

Just A Band

The group was formed when their members were studying at the Kenyatta University. They went on to release the song "Iwinyo Piny" accompanied by a self-made animated music video. Initially the song received little airplay due to its unconventional musical style, but with time they started to gain popularity through underground channels. Their debut album Scratch To Reveal was relatively successful. They released their second single 'Ha-He' on 17 March, 2010, accompanied by a music video featuring a character known as Makmende. The video has subsequently been described as Kenya's first viral internet meme by the Wall Street Journal, CNN and Fast Company.