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Voxpopuli: Mexico City’s Central de Abasto, the world’s largest market, is visited by half a million people every day. With the help of the United Nations, the state of Mexico is endeavoring to make it the world’s biggest urban art exhibition by covering the walls with murals by dozens of artists. Administrators have reported a decrease in vandalism and graffiti near the murals >>> Photos
The photograph that changed the face of AIDS
By Therese Frare
Vox Populisphere: This picture is widely considered the photo that changed the face of AIDS. It showed AIDS victims as humans and people with families. The biggest opponents of doing anything about AIDS, anything at all, were conservatives trumpeting family values. This picture showed that HIV has everything to do with family values and to have family values you have to value families.
In November 1990 LIFE magazine published a photograph of a young man named David Kirby — his body wasted by AIDS, his gaze locked on something beyond this world — surrounded by anguished family members as he took his last breaths. The haunting image of Kirby on his death-bed, taken by a journalism student named Therese Frare, quickly became the one photograph most powerfully identified with the HIV/AIDS epidemic that, by then, had seen millions of people infected (many of them unknowingly) around the globe. David Kirby was born and raised in a small town in Ohio. A gay activist in the 1980s, he learned in the late 1980s — while he was living in California and estranged from his family — that he had contracted HIV. He got in touch with his parents and asked if he could come home; he wanted, he said, to die with his family around him. The Kirbys welcomed their son back.
The photographer Therese Frare recalls:
On the day David died, I was visiting Peta (one of David’s caretakers in Pater Noster House). Some of the staff came to get Peta so he could be with David, and he took me with him. I stayed outside David’s room, minding my own business, when David’s mom came out and told me that the family wanted me to photograph people saying their final goodbyes. I went in and stood quietly in the corner, barely moving, watching and photographing the scene. Afterwards I knew, I absolutely knew, that something truly incredible had unfolded in that room, right in front of me.
Early on, I asked David if he minded me taking pictures, and he said, ‘That’s fine, as long as it’s not for personal profit.’ To this day I don’t take any money for the picture. But David was an activist, and he wanted to get the word out there about how devastating AIDS was to families and communities. Honestly, I think he was a lot more in tune with how important these photos might become.
When published by LIFE, the image shocked the national conscience in the United States with its graphic imagery. While the public knew that AIDS was deadly, many only knew of its effects in the abstract. AIDS was still thought to be a “gay” disease and much of the populace was relatively uninformed about the effects of the illness. The image also helped the greater public to connect to the family’s grief at losing their son. The original caption on LIFE magazine: After a three-year struggle against AIDS and its social stigmas, David Kirby could fight no longer. As his father, sister and niece stood by in anguish, the 32-year-old founder and leader of the Stafford, Ohio, AIDS Foundation felt his life slipping away. David whispered: “I’m ready”, took a last labored breath, then succumbed.
David Kirby died in April 1990, only 32 years old, seven months before the photo was published. By some estimates, as many as one billion people have seen the now-iconic Frare photograph that appeared in LIFE, as it was reproduced in hundreds of newspaper, magazine and TV stories — all over the world — focusing on the photo itself and (increasingly) on the controversies that surrounded it >>>
23. Oktober 2018
Dear Madam or Sir,
Below please find our call for a Worldwide Reading on December 10, 2018, signed, among others, by Nobel laureates Elfriede Jelinek, Herta Müller, Wole Soyinka, Mario Vargas Llosa, as well as Manal al-Sharif, Margarete Atwood, Bernard Henri Levy, Roberto Saviano, Eva Menasse, David Van Reybrouck and the President of PEN International, Jennifer Clement.
Worldwide Reading for Freedom of the Press and in Memory of Jamal Khashoggi on the 70th Anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights
On December 10, 1948, 70 years ago, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was announced by the United Nations General Assembly at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris. On this anniversary, the international literature festival berlin (ilb) calls upon individuals, institutions, universities, schools, and media who value freedom of the press and human rights to organize and participate in a worldwide reading in memory of the murdered Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The last time Khashoggi was seen alive was when he entered the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on October 2. After nearly three weeks of silence, Saudi Arabia admitted that he died there during a fight with Saudi officials. However, the evidence – such as the deployment of a fifteen-member team of security officers including a forensic scientist – indicates that the murder of Khashoggi was planned well in advance or, at the very least, accepted. The involvement of the highest levels of the Saudi Arabian government, including the crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, is very likely, since such an action against a prominent critic of the regime would hardly be undertaken without the approval of the royal family. Until now, Saudi Arabia has not offered any clues about the location of Khashoggi’s body. The initiators of the worldwide reading demand the complete and transparent truth about the events that transpired. The responsible parties must be held accountable.
In the last text written by the 59-year-old (he would have celebrated his sixtieth birthday on October 13, 2018) Saudi journalist, which the Washington Post published two weeks after his disappearance, Khashoggi emphatically calls for freedom of expression in the Arab world. His firm stance has now cost the journalist his life.
This murder is the climax of a series of oft-unsolved murders of male and female journalists in recent years, as seen by recent cases in Mexico, Bulgaria, Malta, and Slovakia. Freedom of the press and freedom of expression, the indispensability of which Khashoggi emphasized with regard to the Arab world, is under threat everywhere, including in Europe. Consequently, journalists and political dissidents, even those in exile, are no longer safe, as this case blatantly shows. Jamal Khashoggi is simply the most prominent victim thus far. Many murders against journalists do not even reach the attention of the world public. We also remember that in Turkey, too, freedom of the press is extremely restricted. Over 150 journalists and authors are imprisoned, with some serving lifelong sentences.
At the same time, this incident has already led to serious consequences for international politics and the global economy. Numerous leading managers and economic policy makers will no longer participate in the large Future Investment Initiative scheduled to take place in Riyadh at the end of October. Therefore, this incident clearly shows that the protection of freedom of the press and freedom of expression and the fight against the murder of journalists and extrajudicial state killings are not about some kind of unrealistic idealism in terms of human rights, but rather that we are all affected by these crimes – culturally, politically, and economically.
If this incident, the most stunning murder of a journalist in recent years, does not lead to consequences – what then? Who will be the next murdered journalist, activist, or dissident, and in which country? Even after the partial confession by the Saudis, this incident may not be swept under the rug. Remembering Khashoggi on the anniversary of the Declaration of Human Rights is intended to make this emphatically clear.
With all this in mind, on December 10, we call upon you to participate in the worldwide reading of texts by Jamal Khashoggi and – depending on the specific national context – other murdered, missing, and imprisoned journalists.
Please send information about the reading in your location to email@example.com so that we may publicize the events on our websites http://www.worldwide-reading.com and www.literaturfestival.com.
Please mark your calendar and share the screening of this award-winning documentary for the first time in Los Angeles.
THE SECRET FATWA
The untold story of the 1988 Massacre in Iran
Winner of Exposé Feature Documentary Peace On Earth Film Festival - 2018
- Mihan Rusta, Victim family member
- Iraj Mesdagh, Survivor
- Mehdi Aslani, Survivor
- Delnaz Abadi, Film director
Date Time Location
Sunday October 21, 2018 2:30 pm – 5pm
Santa Monica Public Library
Main Martin Luther King Jr. Auditorium
601 Santa Monica Blvd.
Santa Monica, CA 90401
(Library parking structure accessible from 7th Street)
Change.org: "My name is Reza Teshnizi, a resident of the United States of America. I have been working towards obtaining a work visa in the US. However, on August 20th, my H1B petition was denied, thus forcing me to leave the country. I am writing to you to humbly ask for your support in my immigration case.
I am a 28-year-old young professional and a citizen of Iran. I grew up in a lower class family with the hardship of a country under a war. I made it my own goal to make every possible effort to move to the United States of America for my graduate studies; in 2013, I achieved my dream of a living in a society where fairness and equality are of paramount value. In which 'all men are created equal and independent, that from that equal creation they derive rights inherent and inalienable, among which are the preservation of life, and liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.'
I was admitted to the Computer Science graduate program in Texas A&M University. I moved to the United States with just enough money to support myself for a few months. I worked diligently to prove my best work ethic because I believed in this country. I had faith that hard work would not remain unnoticed. I published multiple papers in top research conferences and, as a result, my advisor offered me a position as a PhD candidate. I was thrilled by this opportunity! However, I felt responsible for supporting my siblings financially and their own dreams. So, I decided to start my career as a Software Engineer. I was keen to outshine and made it my personal goal to be promoted to managerial positions in my firm within five years. After working earnestly, I achieved my goal in less than three years when I was promoted to team lead in New York.
It is devastatingly heartbreaking that after working hard and making my best efforts to prove my worth, my lifelong dream is vanishing before my eyes. As George Washington said 'the bosom of America is open to receive not only the opulent and respectable Stranger, but the oppressed and persecuted of all Nations and Religions; whom we shall welcome to a participation of all our rights and privileges, if by decency and propriety of conduct they appear to merit the enjoyment.' I am humbly asking you to help me in my immigration case as I have done everything in my power to prove my merits to this great nation.
I sincerely appreciate your time for reading this letter.
For many, the American Dream is long dead. Too far removed from the struggles of our ancestors, our comfort dulls awareness of the depths to which men can suffer. Our grandparents Dreamed that we could have a better life than the strife they escaped. American citizens enjoy security and choice which is rare in history. For Reza, the American Dream is dying. Please help him preserve it.
Photograph courtesy Estate of Reza Abdoh
The New Yorker: It is always startling to hear the dead breathe again, speak again. Reza Abdoh, one of the more profound and original theatre artists of the twentieth century, died, of AIDS, in the spring of 1995; he was thirty-two. And yet it’s his voice—political, inconsolable—that we have the privilege of hearing once again in “Reza Abdoh” (at MOMA PS1), the first large-scale retrospective devoted to this Iranian-born spinner of epic, omnivorous tales about queerness, AIDS, American TV and violence, the cult of celebrity, and the gay child’s relationship to the patriarchy. Co-curated by the museum’s director, Klaus Biesenbach, and Negar Azimi, Tiffany Malakooti, and Babak Radboy, of Bidoun, the show is a marvel of archival research and curatorial empathy, paying the kind of attention that Abdoh craved for most of his professional life but had trouble receiving.
In the exhibition’s six rooms, monitors flicker with scenes from the nine productions that Abdoh wrote and directed, including “Peep Show” (1988), which was staged in a derelict motel in Los Angeles and featured sometimes scantily clad performers, full of testiness and threat, acting out scenarios about porn, drugs, and the Contras. Two years later, in New York, Abdoh, with his brilliant company, Dar A Luz, devised “Father Was a Peculiar Man,” an event that took place in the ungentrified meatpacking district, where the air smelled of offal and the cobblestones were slippery with blood. Amid all that, Abdoh’s performers reënacted President Kennedy’s assassination; it was a show that tore apart the idea of heteronormative masculinity as strength, as damage >>>
"For her leadership in campaigning for peace, justice, and the abolition of the death penalty and for her unwavering efforts to promote the human rights and freedoms of the Iranian people, despite persecution that has forced her to suspend her scientific pursuits and endure lengthy incarceration."
Narges Mohammadi, an Iranian physicist, engineer, and human rights defender currently serving a 16-year sentence in Evin Prison (Tehran), was born in Zanjan in 1972. She majored in physics at Imam Khomeini University in Qazvin, where she became actively involved in promoting rights and social justice by founding a political student organization and publishing on issues related to women’s and students’ rights. After graduating, she worked both as an engineer with the Iran Engineering Inspection Corporation and as a journalist, highlighting issues related to gender equality. Ms. Mohammadi’s efforts to maintain a career in the sciences while speaking out about human rights abuses were unsuccessful. In 2009 she was dismissed from her position with the Engineering Inspection Corporation. The same year, she was arrested and incarcerated.
communities, and other vulnerable groups. She has also been deeply involved in efforts to promote free and fair elections and abolish the death penalty in her country. As spokesperson and vice-president of the Defenders of Human Rights Center (DHRC), an organization founded in 2001 by Nobel Peace Laureate Shirin Ebadi and other prominent Iranian lawyers, and closed by the government in 2008, Ms. Mohammadi helped to provide pro bono legal assistance to prisoners of conscience and monitor the human rights situation in Iran. She also served as president of the Executive Committee of the National Council of Peace in Iran, an organization dedicated to opposing military conflict and violence. Together with other human rights activists, she created the Women’s Civil Center, a body that defends the rights of women, political prisoners, and minorities. Her courageous actions in support of human rights have taken many forms, from protests before parliament concerning acid attacks on women to prison vigils with the families of individuals facing execution. Ms. Mohammadi is the recipient of the 2009 international Alexander Langer Award and the 2011 Per Anger Prize for human rights.
2018 Selection Committee Members: Don A. Howard (Chair), Robert S. French, Lucas F. Hackl, Joel L. Lebowitz, Shelly Rae Lesher, Usha Mallik, Vladimir Mirnov, Surajit Se
The New Yorker: Look at “Saint Luke Drawing the Virgin,” a fifteenth-century portrait by Rogier van der Weyden, and you’ll notice two figures in the middle distance, lingering at the crenellations in the courtyard. One gestures in faint surprise; somebody has captured their attention. It’s not Luke the Evangelist, the Virgin Mother, or even the infant Christ. It’s a faraway man who has stopped to piss on a high wall.
This isn’t an isolated incident. The fact is, a river of piss runs through art history. For centuries, painters and sculptors have depicted the act of urination. Men piss. Women piss. Most of all, young boys piss, so much so that scholars assigned a Latin term, puer mingens, to their ubiquitous appearances. Now Jean-Claude Lebensztejn, a French critic, has written “Pissing Figures, 1280–2014,” a genealogy of the pisseurs and pisseuses who haunt our canvases, fountains, and frescoes. The book, in a rangy, fluent translation from Jeff Nagy, is a record of what Lebensztejn calls our “diuretic fantasies”—of the lore and lust surrounding urine, sacred and profane.
In the beginning was the pissing boy, the putto. He appeared first in the margins of illuminated manuscripts, peeing discreetly as if in fear of detection: the gentle plash, the flaxen strands as wispy as a maiden’s hair. By the fifteenth century, he’d grown brazen and begun to multiply—“processions of urinating children set about inundating paintings and sculptures in villas and public squares,” Lebensztejn writes. They pissed into vases and basins and shells and conchs, onto snowdrifts and poppy husks and flocks of cupids. They pissed in the mouths and anuses of other boys, who themselves pissed in more mouths still. These were no ordinary boys. Spritely and seraphic, often winged and laurelled, they charmed their way into old churches, where they patrolled the transepts and friezes, pure of heart and full of bladder. In Padua’s Ovetari Chapel, for example, Andrea Mantegna painted a cycle of frescoes that included a pissing putto suspended from a garland, where, according to Lebensztejn, he “lets loose a long jet of urine, as if it were a bemused, symbolic paraphrase of the baptismal water.”
Indeed, a boy’s piss seems at some point to have crossed streams with holy water, becoming blessed with ablutionary powers. In Italy, Lebensztejn notes, “it is still customary, even today, to call an infant’s intemperate pee acqua santa.” Sometimes the gift of pure piss transferred to adulthood, though it helped if you were aiming heavenward. A thirteenth-century fresco in the Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi shows three angels, grown men, holding their penises over Christ on the cross, as if they might relieve his suffering by relieving themselves.
Of course, the angels, being angels, feel no relief as they piss. They get their celestial jollies by raining a little holy water on us, but they know nothing of urination as a physical urge. If you want to enjoy some real salt-of-the-earth pissing, Lebensztejn reports, you have to skip ahead to 1600. It was then that, with the advent of genre painting, and its attendant embrace of everyday experience over iconography, more and more adults began to piss in images. In Rembrandt’s “Pissing Man” and “Pissing Woman,” both from 1631, we’ve at last found a couple urinating without ceremony, the peasant woman “turning around to reassure herself that no one is watching.” >>>