Category Archives: news

CONTINENT CHOP CHOP: climate justice film project on Indiegogo

Nnimmo Bassey with international activist Vandana Shiva

Nnimmo Bassey with international activist Vandana Shiva

We’ve launched a crowdfunder so that we can work with poet, author, activist Nnimmo Bassey. To support us click on the CCC logo on the right to go to Indiegogo.
For more information about the project click on the Continent Chop Chop menu.

What is CONTINENT CHOP CHOP?

A new transmedia performance by Virtual Migrants, touring from November 2015.  It focuses on climate destruction and how it is linked to global austerity policies and refugees.  It currently includes only a short voice-over from Nnimmo Bassey as a part of the story.  We’ve launched a crowdfunder for this climate justice film project on Indiegogo. The new film created in collaboration with Nnimmo Bassey will become a centre-piece of the performance.

Poster Film Collective "Whose World Is The World" cultural consciousness

Cultural consciousness: Poster Film Collective in the 80s and other online pieces

Selected posts by Kooj Chuhan recently on Virtual Migrants’ Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/VirtualMigrants :

Poster Film Collective cultural consciousness in the 80s

Whose World Is The World by Poster Film Collective cultural consciousness in the 80s. Any parallels now? http://poster-collective.org.uk/whoseworld/index.php
These posters were often in the youth clubs and community centres that we worked in, running creative, campaigning and discussion activities focused on anti-racist and suppressed historical ideas and knowledge. They gave a continuity in the environment that the people who used the building could continue to reflect on after the activities and workshops, in an immediate and visual way without too much text clutter. I really think we need this kind of stuff again in our physical environment, maybe the digital world makes us forget these possibilities?

Migrant crisis: tackle the cause and not the symptom?

The Chance Or Choice report suggests long term answer lies in Continue reading

How the People’s Climate March Became a Corporate PR Campaign

PCMlargestmarch“organizing thousands of people to nonviolently shut down the area around the United Nations was thwarted by paid staff with the organizing groups.”

Important and critical article by Arun Gupta, ‘How the People’s Climate March Became a Corporate PR Campaign’, originally published at http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/09/19/how-the-peoples-climate-march-became-a-corporate-pr-campaign/ .

Some extracts:

I’ve never been to a protest march that advertised in the New York City subway. That spent $220,000 on posters inviting Wall Street bankers to join a march to save the planet, according to one source. That claims you can change world history in an afternoon after walking the dog and eating brunch.

( … )

Environmental activist Anne Petermann and writer Quincy Saul describe how Continue reading

Unlawfully shooting working #migrants in #Greece #racism

Important story from the Guardian this week about farm guards shooting working migrants in Greece at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/01/greece-migrant-fruit-pickers-shot-they-kept-firing .  Some extracts here:

Greece’s migrant fruit pickers: ‘They kept firing. There was blood everywhere’

Last year, Greek farm guards shot at illegal migrant strawberry pickers, wounding 35. When a court acquitted them this summer, there was outrage. At the camp, where they continue to live like slaves, the workers share their stories

Is a man worth nothing when he is branded illegal? Tipu Chowdhury has spent the past 17 months wondering. The answer has not been easy. Even now, after being forced to endure subhuman living conditions, after being starved and worked like a slave, the Bangladeshi does not speak ill of Greece. Instead of anger, there is resignation, an almost fatalistic acceptance that this is the life meted out to those who go “undocumented”.

Had he and his fellow strawberry pickers not been shot at – had the case not reached the courts and the men who did the shooting not been scandalously freed – he might not have pondered the question at all.

“When they pointed their guns at us, and there were around 200 of us gathered in that space, we thought they were joking,” says Chowdhury of the April 2013 attack. “After all, we hadn’t been paid for more than five months. We couldn’t believe it when they actually began shooting.”

This week, unions, anti-racist groups and peasant workers’ associations will launch a solidarity campaign in support of the Bangladeshis, starting with a mass demonstration timed to coincide with a speech the Greek prime minister, Antonis Samaras, will give on Sunday outlining the government’s economic policy at the international trade fair in Thessaloniki. As preparations get under way, 33-year-old Chowdhury has found himself reliving the events of that day, one that would go down as the worst assault in Europe on migrant workers in living memory.

(full story continues at http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/sep/01/greece-migrant-fruit-pickers-shot-they-kept-firing )

Black Youth, terrorism and the moral blindness

The following is an short extract from an article by Lee Jasper taken from http://www.obv.org.uk/news-blogs/black-youth-terrorism-and-moral-blindness (submitted 24 May 2013). I thought it important at this fairly critical time to be passed on and more widely read.

The brutal killing of the young British solider Lee Rigby on a British High Street in Woolwich South London by religious fanatics was deeply shocking. The fact that such a savage and grisly attack can take place on a busy British street in broad daylight has left the nation numb with shock and bewilderment.

This was a 21st century murder, broadcast almost live in real time and instantly transmitted across the world. The images we’ve seen on the front page of our newspapers, and on our television screens were horrific and bloody.

The question haunting everyone now is how can seemingly ordinary couple of black British guys from South East London end up committing such an act?

The personal tragedy for the murdered young man and his family seems almost to have been overshadowed by the complete dominance in the print media of the murderers whose pictures were plastered on every front page. I refuse to name them here in a small act of personal solidarity with the family.

One can only imagine the pain and grief his immediately family must be going through. They are now condemned to be forever reminded of the graphic nature of his death suffering a living hell with a memory that will be forever etched into their minds.

Watching the news over the last couple of days, I was struck by a number of issues that I think are important. The overwhelming majority of the news has focused on analysing the story from the perspective of terrorism and utilising the usual array of largely white and Asian Muslim experts and representatives.

Given the men themselves are black and of Nigerian origin this struck me as slightly odd. The dominant news narrative seems to almost wish they had been Asian and in that desire has simply labeled them ‘Muslim’ fitting them in to a convenient and stereotypical category that reflects and allows for simplistic and naive commentary.

Of course what is missing from the debate and in some sense, is the huge elephant in the room, is the fact that these young men are African, they are black British men and largely unknown to many they are part of the largest single ethnic minority group in London according to the 2011 census. That is an important aspect of this story, and I will tell why I think so.

The fact is that the real lived experience of British black communities suffering the damaging effects of societal racism is a narrative that is largely missing from the mainstream British news agenda and completely absent from the Government’s agenda. I am not for one moment seeking to suggest, in any way, shape or form, that these grotesque murderous act are justified. I am, however, suggesting that a minority of young black British people, be they of African or Caribbean descent, many of whom suffer deep economic exclusion, deep political marginalisation and acute social demonisation from wider society, can be particularly susceptible to both violent criminality and sometimes, radical conversion by religious fanatics.

Our communities endure a youth murder rate that is unacceptable. Intuitively, instinctively British black communities know and understand that if the victims of killings were white middle class youth, there would be a national outcry.

Society remains largely silent in the face of such carnage but erupts in outrage when a white solider gets killed. Horrific, and symbolic as the killing of this young soldier was, there were similarities in its barbarity of the recent murder of Daniel Graham, who was chased by a gang and stabbed multiple times on a London bus or that of Andrew Jaipual of Islington stabbed between 20-40 times? Both in broad daylight.

The reality is that the number of black young people in the UK who have been brutally murdered over the period of the last 13 years exceeds the number of British soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan during the same period. What many in Black communities feel is that we are often facing an internal war generated by long term poverty, alienation and unemployment.

As the nation begins to reflect on the causes of the terrible events this week, the racism and rabid Islamaphobia of the English Defence League will feature large. And whilst the EDL and the BNP openly espouse their bigoted views without true leadership from mainstream political parties and beyond, many Britons will be silently sign up to at least a watered-down version. Such effects could take us back to the 1970s.

If as a society we are to tackle some of the root causes of violent extremism, and criminality, we will need to tackle both our moral duplicity home and abroad, but also begin offer real opportunity and hope to many more of our young men and women, Black and white.

Lee Jasper

Performed News at the BME Climate Change Conference

This short, simple and direct performance was used to start off the BME Communities and Climate Change Conference.  It was devised and scripted by Kooj Chuhan (Virtual Migrants), and performed by Kooj Chuhan and Michelle Ayavoro:

 

Part of the BME Communities and Climate Change Conference organised by Manchester BME Network in partnership with its members, MC-UK, Creative Hands and Salford Refugee Network, Manchester, 22nd March 2013.  Here are some extracts from the conference just to give a brief flavour of some of the presentations:

 

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