(OPE-L) Response to Amnesty Int. ban of The Revolution Will Not Be Televised]

From: glevy@PRATT.EDU
Date: Wed Nov 05 2003 - 15:28:40 EST

Mike L tried to post the following.  If anyone on the list is
having a problem receiving and/or posting messages, please contact
me ASAP./In solidarity, Jerry

-------- Original Message --------
Subject: Response to Amnesty Int. ban of The Revolution Will Not Be Televised
From: "michael a. lebowitz" <mlebowit@sfu.ca>
Date: Wed, November 5, 2003 1:44 pm

         in solidarity,

> To complain directly to the Amnesty International Film Festival please
> use  the below information:
>Don Wright - Regional Development Coordinator, BC/Yukon
>(604) 313-4069 E-mail:
>Amnesty International Canadian Section (E.S.)
>Pacific Regional Office
>#203 - 45 Dunlevy Street
>Vancouver, BC
>V6A 3A3
>Phone- (604) 294-5160
>Fax- (604) 294-5130
>E-mail -
>Statement in Support of the public viewings and screenings of the
> Documentary Film “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”
>To:  Amnesty International, others
>Two statements of support of the documentary. See also
>Statement in Support of the Documentary Film “The Revolution Will Not
> Be  Televised”
>We write to express our deepest support for public viewings and
> screenings  of the award-winning documentary film, “The Revolution Will
> Not Be  Televised.” In light of the recent suspension of the film’s
> screening at  the Amnesty International Film Festival to be held at the
> Pacific  Cinematheque in Vancouver, British Columbia, from November
> 6-9, 2003, as a  result of pressure from opposition groups in Venezuela
> and their  international counterparts, we find it essential to declare
> our support  for this revealing film, which evidences heinous human
> rights violations  carried out during the April 2002 coup d’etat in
> Venezuela.
>“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised” is an extraordinary documentary
> by  Irish filmmakers Kim Bartley and Donnacha O’Briain, who by
> happenstance  were able to document the events surrounding the April
> 2002 coup d’etat  against democratically elected President Chávez of
> Venezuela. The  filmmakers were able to remain in the presidential
> palace in Venezuela and  document while opposition forces violently
> overtook the government and  dismantled Venezuela’s pillar democratic
> institutions, including the  National Assembly, the Supreme Court, the
> Constitution and the offices of  the Ombudsman and Attorney General.
> The film exposes the atrocious human  rights violations committed with
> the purpose of executing the coup  successfully, including:
>- The extrajudicial killing of more than 50 people;
>- The torture of pro-government supporters and government officials; -
> The kidnapping and unlawful detention of President Chávez for a 48-hour
>  period;
>- The arbitrary arrest and persecution of pro-government supporters and
>  officials;
>- The violation of rights to political participation and
>self-determination by unjustly imposing an unelected de facto
> government  on citizens;
>- The violation of freedom of expression and public access to
> information  by perpetuating a media-led blackout on informati on
> during the mass  protests demanding President Chávez’s return to power,
> and distorting news  and manipulating images that were used as
> justification for violence,  aggression and the coup itself.
>These crimes violate fundamental rights embodied in the American
> Convention on Human Rights, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights,
> the  International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, the American
>  Declaration on the Rights and Duties of Man and the Constitution of
> the  Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela. Amnesty International has
> documented  these atrocities in their 2003 Annual Report:
>The film is presently being screened at film festivals and theaters
> around  the world. It has provided insight into a historical event with
> exclusive  footage that reveals details of this unconstitutional and
> undemocratic  overthrow of an elected-leader that were previously
> omitted by the  international mass media. As protectors and defenders
> of international  human rights, we strongly believe this film is
> poignant evidence of human  rights violations carried out by the coup
> leaders. By allowing the  international public to view this documentary
> account of the events of  April 2002, the audience is able to bear
> witness to these inexcusable acts  and arrive at their own conclusions.
>We find it unacceptable that Amnesty International, a worldwide
>organization campaigning for internationally recognized human rights,
> would bow down to pressure from groups opposing the film’s subject
> matter  and therefore remove it from its upcoming festival in British
> Columbia.  Amnesty International has decided to eliminate the film from
> their  upcoming festival based on two reasons: 1) Amnesty International
> claims  the film’s subject matter does not address human rights issues;
> and 2)  Amnesty International believes that screening the film would
> further  polarize the Venezuelan people and potentially create more
> violence within  Venezuela.
>These reasons are without justification. Firs t of all, the film
> specifically documents the above-mentioned human rights abuses as a
> result  of opposition forces carrying out an illegal coup d’etat,
> dismantling  democratic institutions and imposing a blackout on
> information so facts  would not be revealed to either the Venezuelan
> people or the international  community. Additionally, Amnesty
> International independently selected the  film as a part of its
> festival in Canada. Therefore, the organization must  have believed the
> film’s subject matter was in line with the festival  theme. It was only
> upon receipt of a petition from opposition forces in  Venezuela and
> their international counterparts that Amnesty decided to  remove the
> film from the festival schedule. Finally, since the film is  currently
> showing in theaters around the world, its viewing at a festival  in
> Vancouver, Canada would no more affect internal Venezuelan politics
> than any other screening.
>Amnesty International claims to work in pursuit of universal protection
>  and recognition of human rights and to maintain an independence of any
>  government, political ideology, economic interest or religion. Yet, by
>  choosing to remove the film from its festival, it is siding with those
>  groups opposing its factual content and documentary perspective.
> Furthermore, we view this as an outright case of censorship of this
> important portrayal of historical events central to the theme of human
> rights and believe it is deplorable that an international defender of
> human rights would choose to censor in the face of pressure, rather
> than  vehemently protect the paramount right of public access to
> information. By  taking this action, Amnesty International is
> perpetuating the blackout on  information imposed by the coup leaders
> in Venezuela during April 2002.
>If Amnesty International is truly concerned with the impartial
> protection  of human rights, it would follow that screening a film that
> exposes  horrific human rights violations would be in line with its
> mission. We  therefore urge Amnesty International to reconsider its
> decision to revoke  the film, “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”,
> from the upcoming  festival in Vancouver, British Columbia. We also
> reiterate our profound  support for this important chronicle of the
> unjustifiable coup d’etat of  April 2002 in Venezuela that resulted in
> innocent lives lost and harmed  and the deprivation of basic human
> rights.
>Initial endorsing organizations and individuals:
>- International Women’s Human Rights Clinic, CUNY Law School, New York
> - Venezuela Solidarity Committee in New York
>- Unión Nacional de Trabajadores (UNT)
>- Aporrea.org
>- Opción de Izquierda Revolucionaria (OIR)
>- Movimineto 13 de Abril - Proyecto Nuestra América
>- Juventud de Izquierda Revolucionaria (JIR)
>- Fundación Cultural Simón Bolívar
>- Coordinadora Simón Bolívar
>- Círculo Bolivariano Profesor Alberto Lovera (New York)
>- Venezuelanalysis.com
>- Eva Golinger-Moncada
>- Martín Sánchez
>The new <http://g.msn.com/8HMBENCA/2737??PS=>MSN 8: smart spam
> protection  and 2 months FREE*
>Project-X list:
>initiated for the (re)building of the Left.

Michael A. Lebowitz
Professor Emeritus
Economics Department
Simon Fraser University
Burnaby, B.C., Canada V5A 1S6
Office Fax:   (604) 291-5944
Home:   Phone (604) 689-9510

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