Censorship

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Got this in email today

THE PEACE AND JUSTICE FOUNDATION
11006 Veirs Mill Rd, STE L-15, PMB 298
Silver Spring, MD. 20902

IMPORTANT ALERT!!!

Assalaamu Alaikum
(Greetings of Peace):

The struggle to control and manipulate images is one of the most critical components of an efficient propaganda war. The Zionists (and their complicit slaves) have repeatedly shown themselves to be ruthless masters at it!

A couple of weeks ago a friend and brother-in-Islam (Dr Imad ad-Dean Ahmad) and I thought that we were going to the ONLY theater in metropolitan Washington to see the award winning film “Paradise Now.” Unfortunately, as we were preparing for our drive to Virginia, we learned that it had just closed – with the next closest venue being ONE theater in New York.

“Paradise Now” is an award-winning Palestinian film that has made a serious break-through in the international film industry, and is currently nominated for an Academy Award under the “Best Foreign Films” category. It is now my understanding that there is a chance it will be removed from the OSCAR bid because of anti-Palestinian lobbies.

A petition drive is under way to address this matter: http://www.petitiononline.com/para222/petition.html
Now I’ve learned that a play celebrating the life and legacy of a courageous (now deceased) young woman named Rachel Corrie, titled “My Name Is Rachel Corrie,” may not see the light of day any time soon in the U.S. – once again because of Zionist pressures!

We have first hand experience on the power of eye-opening, truth based, propaganda! The same year that Rachel was murdered by a hate-filled Israeli soldier operating an American made bulldozer, we published a small book on the ongoing Palestinian crisis titled “The Message of Rachel Corrie.” On the back cover of the second printing is a revealing quote, from a non-Muslim woman who read a copy of the first:

“Words alone cannot express the gratitude I feel for you having written the book on Rachel Corrie. It literally moved me to tears. As a woman who is half Jewish I am outraged by what occurred, shamed and saddened. All the while reading it I couldn’t shake the feeling that this could have been my daughter. I must also confess to feeling almost a sense of embarrassment for having allowed myself to view the Arab-Israeli conflict through a distorted lens for so many years. I will never be the same, and I have you and the incredible sacrifice made by this courageous young woman to thank for opening my eyes.
“God bless you and your organization sir, and may your book enjoy all the success that it so richly deserves.”

With these words in mind, it’s clear why the “freedom” touting powers-that-be are poised to prevent a PLAY on Rachel Corrie from seeing the light of day in the “Big Apple” (New York City). I pray that committed activists and well meaning citizens will take up the challenge and push back such HYPOCRITICAL CENSORSHIP!

El-Hajj Mauri’ Saalakhan

_____________________________

Surely Americans will not put up with this censorship

By Katharine Viner

The Guardian
1 March 2006

http://arts.guardian.co.uk/comment/story/0,,1720592,00.html

The flights for cast and crew had been booked; the production schedule delivered; the press announcement drafted and approved; tickets advertised on the internet. The Royal Court production of “My Name Is Rachel Corrie,” the play I co-edited with Alan Rickman, was transferring next month to the New York Theatre Workshop, home of the groundbreaking musical Rent, following two sellout runs in London and several awards.

We always thought that it was a piece of work that needed to be seen in the US. Created from the journals and emails of American activist Rachel Corrie, telling of her journey
from her adolescent life in Seattle, Washington, to her death under a bulldozer in Gaza at the age of 23, we considered it, in a sense, to be an American story, which would have a particular relevance for audiences in Rachel’s home country. After all, she had made her journey to the Middle East in order “to meet the people who are on the receiving end of our [American] tax dollars”, and she was a killed by a US-made bulldozer.

But last week the New York Theatre Workshop canceled the production – or, in their words, “postponed it indefinitely”. The political climate, we were told, had changed dramatically since the play was booked. As James Nicola, the theatre’s artistic director, said yesterday:
“In our pre-production planning and our talking around and listening in our communities in New York, what we heard was that after Ariel Sharon’s illness and the election of Hamas in the recent Palestinian elections, we had a very edgy situation.” Rachel was to be censored for political reasons.

It makes you wonder. If a young, middle-class, scrupulously fair-minded, and dead, American woman, whose superb writing about her job as a mental health worker, ex-boyfriends, troublesome parents, struggle to find out who she wanted to be, and how she found that by traveling to Gaza and discovering the shocking conditions under which the Palestinians live – if a voice like this cannot be heard on a New York stage, what hope is there for anyone else? The non-American, the non-white, the non-dead, the oppressed?

Anyone who sees the play, or reads it, realises that this is no piece of alienating agitprop. One night in London, a group of American students came to a performance and mobbed us afterwards, thrilled that they had seen themselves on stage, and who they might, in a different life, have become. Another night, an Israeli couple, members of the rightwing Likud party, on holiday in Britain, were similarly impressed. “The play wasn’t against Israel, it was against violence,” they told Cindy Corrie, Rachel’s mother.

I was particularly touched by a young Jewish New Yorker, from an Orthodox family, who said that he had been nervous about coming to see My Name Is Rachel Corrie, because he had been told that both she and it were viciously anti-Israel. But he had been powerfully moved by Rachel’s words and realized that he had, to his alarm, been dangerously misled.

But the director of the New York theatre told the New York Times yesterday that it wasn’t the people who actually saw the play he was concerned about. “I don’t think we were worried about the audience,” he said. “I think we were more worried that those who had never encountered her writing, never encountered the piece, would be using this as an opportunity to position their arguments.”

Since when did theatre come to be about those who don’t go to see it? If the play itself, as Mr Nicola clearly concedes, is not the problem, then isn’t the answer to get people in to
watch it, rather than exercising prior censorship? With freedom of speech now at the top of the international agenda, and George Clooney’s outstanding Good Night, and Good Luck reminding us of the dangers of not standing up to witch-hunts, Americans should not be denied the right to hear Rachel Corrie’s words – words that only two weeks ago were deemed acceptable.

I’d heard from American friends that life for dissenters had been getting worse – wiretapping scandals, arrests for wearing anti-war T-shirts, Muslim professors denied visas. But it’s hard to tell from afar how bad things really are. Here was personal proof that the political climate is
continuing to shift disturbingly, narrowing the scope of free debate and artistic expression. What was acceptable a matter of weeks ago is not acceptable now. The New York theatre’s claim that the arrangement was tentative is absurd: the truth is that its management has caved in to political pressure, an
d the reputation of the arts in New York is the poorer for it.

It is surely underestimating the curiosity and robustness of the American public, many of whom would no doubt be interested in an insight into the reality of occupation that led to the Hamas victory. Artistic communities need to resist the censorship of voices that go against the grain of George Bush’s America, rather than following the Fox News agenda and gagging them before they have even been heard.

_________________________

El-Hajj Mauri’ Saalakhan
Director of Operations
The Peace And Justice Foundation

will serve as guest khatib for Jumah this Friday (March 3rd)

MOSQUE OF THE ISLAMIC BROTHERHOOD (MIB)
in the Village of Harlem, NY