Dispatches: The Killing Zone screening
7 p.m., Monday, April 5
UA Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Auditorium
1130 N. Mountain Ave.
On March 16, 2003, a 23 year-old American peace activist died in an attempt to save the home of a Palestinian family in the Israeli-occupied Gaza Strip.
Rachel Corrie, a member of the International Solidarity Movement, was run over by an Israeli Defense Force bulldozer as it paved the way for Jewish settlers in Rafah.
The Gaza Strip, the setting for an ongoing struggle between Israelis and the Palestinians, is also the setting of Dispatches: The Killing Zone, a documentary by Rodrigo Vazquez and Sandra Jordan that examines the daily violence of the region.
"I have seen a lot of documentaries about the Middle East, and this is by far the most real and the move brave," said Mary Jo Ghory, a Tucson-area pediatric surgeon and a member of the UA student organization Voices of Opposition.
Voices of Opposition will be showing the film as part of its Monday-night film series, which has been running since 2003.
"We started showing films like this around the time of the run-up to the Iraq war, because we were against it and wanted to present alternative information at the university," said Ghory. "This film is a way of showing people what is going on behind the scenes in Gaza and the West Bank."
The film follows Vazquez and Jordan as they examine crime scenes and seek out eyewitness accounts. The duo investigates the death of Corrie and the plight of numerous Palestinians who are subject to IDF attacks on a daily basis.
"There is so much controversy about what is going on in Gaza, and so much publicity about both points of view, especially after the big blow-up following Vice President Joe Biden's visit to Jerusalem," said Ghory.
Admission is free. —W.F.
Author M.E. Harrigan
5 p.m., next Thursday, April 8
Catalina Magnet High School Library
3645 E. Pima St.
After a 27-year career as an analyst for the National Security Agency, author M.E. Harrigan has an inside perspective on the American intelligence community.
A Tucson native, Harrigan said she is the first author in 59 years to provide an insider account of the NSA in her spy-thriller novel, 9800 Savage Road.
The novel explores the inner workings of the NSA as analysts intercept transmissions from Osama bin Laden. The agency is certain the terrorist mastermind is planning an attack on U.S. soil; however, before the plan is revealed, a senior executive is murdered inside the top-secret NSA complex.
Harrigan leads her reader on a murder investigation that intertwines fiction with reality, all while shedding a light on an organization that prides itself on secrecy—and the NSA is not very happy about that light, said Harrigan.
"Everyone who worked at the NSA signed a pre-security agreement, promising to send any written material about the job to the NSA," said Harrigan. "My book was ultimately blessed as unclassified; however, they still hate it."
Harrigan said the upper echelons of the agency are extremely sensitive to any publicity.
"They thwarted writers previously," said Harrigan. "Using myself as an example, they had their chief psychologist call me and ask if I actually planned to kill someone—and it went downhill from there."
Harrigan said her career was an amazing experience.
"I was a Somali linguist for a while. That was back in the '70s, when Somalia was at war with Ethiopia," said Harrigan. "My favorite job was as a foreign-systems analyst. Any country that was testing weapon systems, we would collect information on those tests. It was a wonderful job."
Admission to Harrigan's talk and book-signing is free. —W.F.
Author Karen Anderson
7 p.m., Friday, April 2
Antigone Books411 N. Fourth Ave.
Little Rock, Ark., is the backdrop of one of the most pivotal civil rights actions in the history of the United States.
When the Supreme Court ruled on Brown v. Board of Education that black students should be allowed to attend public schools with their white equals, the Arkansas governor at the time, Orval Faubus, posted the state National Guard at Central High School to prevent black students from entering the premises in 1957.
"The South was determined not to allow any integration in the public schools, and really, they were determined to try to avoid any meaningful racial change whatsoever," said Karen Anderson, author of Little Rock: Race and Resistance at Central High School.
This event sparked an entire generation to action, creating activists and forcing people to fight for their beliefs and rights.
Anderson, a University of Arizona professor in women's studies, wrote the book over a 14-year period during which she studied the economy, sexual tensions and emotional culture of Little Rock in the 1950s.
"In the '50s, there was a resistance to change that was predicated on the politics of anger and the politics of righteous retribution," Anderson said. "I think there was an emotional culture to the segregationist movement that is very similar to the emotional culture of the new right today."
Anderson said that many conclusions can be drawn about today's civil rights climate by looking at the Little Rock example.
"Today, I think the sexual bogeyman is gays and lesbians, but it's the same kind of sexual fear given a religious rationale," she said. "... They are rooted in the same institution."
Admission to the event is free. —S.F.
7 p.m., Wednesday, April 7
3233 E. Speedway Blvd.
"I've never felt like an immigrant. I've always felt like everyone else, I guess," said Monica, 17, in a perfect American accent as she discussed the prospects of deportation in a trailer for Papers.
Monica is one of more than 2 million undocumented children currently living in the United States. In the movie, Monica deals with being a normal Mexican-American teen who has the added worry of possibly being deported to Mexico—a country that she barely remembers.
"Oftentimes, many people who are undocumented tend to be invisible," said Jill Nunes, of the Border Action Network, the activist group that is co-hosting the screening of Papers. "You know they are there, and maybe see them work, but you don't really see them as people. This film puts a face on a lot of those people."
A new school of thought suggests that instead of hiding their status, immigrants should be more vocal, showing their neighbors and friends the number of illegal immigrants around; Papers helps five students who will soon be graduating from high school share their stories.
"Telling your story is a necessary act toward your own freedom," said film producer Rebecca Shine. "It doesn't solve the problem, but you join with other people to try to solve the problem."
The film's genesis was in Portland, Ore., as a partnership between youth-activist group El Grupo Juvenil and film company Graham Street Productions, and the film is coming to Arizona with a national perspective on the issue.
"Some people will never (knowingly) meet undocumented young people," Shine said. "(Undocumented youth) are probably all around them, and they just don't know it."
Tickets are $8, or $6 for Loft members. —S.F.