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A Film/Discussion Series at MIT on

Terrorism -- the illegitimate use of force to achieve political ends -- has a history in the Western Hemisphere that stretches back for centuries, from colonial times, through revolutions, coups, and atrocities, and down to the present day. While the use of terror against civilians is atrocious, one could argue that it is just as atrocious when perpetrated by governments or private corporations. In this light, it seems that powerful vested interests often use accusations of terrorism to avoid real political debate.

Who is a terrorist? What is "counter-terrorism"? Who has the right to use violence and who does not? What are human rights and why do people turn to violence in the first place? What alternatives are there?

Have you been thinking about this subject? Attend our discussion series. Using a combination of film screenings, eye-witnesses, and guest speakers who have written on the subject, each session we will examine domestic or international terrorism involving Colombia, Peru, Nicaragua, Brazil, and the USA.

[Terrorists & Terror Attacks]

IAP 2002, Tuesday evenings, 7-10 p.m.

January 8
7-10 p.m.
3-133, MIT

What's Up With Colombia?

  • Joshua Rubenstein (Amnesty USA)
  • Jean Jackson (MIT Anthropology Program)

Rubenstein, director of Amnesty USA's Northeast Region, will show Colombia: Getting Away With Murder (30 mins.), a video on the regime of violence in Colombia; and Jackson, who has spent thirty years working in and studying Colombia, will speak about "Plan Colombia," a military-political program supported by more than a billion dollars in US military aid and weaponry.

Background information:

January 15
7-10 p.m.
2-105, MIT

Economic Development: Promise or Threat?

  • Liz Canner (independent film-maker)
  • Jennifer Lemire (Grassroots International)

Canner will show her film Deadly Embrace (30 mins.), on the damage that World Bank and IMF policies have done to the people of Nicaragua; and Lemire will show Strong Roots (40 mins.), about the MST: a social movement in Brazil that uses the country's Constitution to pressure the government into implementing land reform.

[Session co-sponsor: MIT Anthropology Program.]

January 22
7-10 p.m.
3-133, MIT

Is There Justice in Peru?

  • Zan Barry, Peter Cole, & Shawn Setaro (Committee to Free Lori Berenson)
  • Chappell Lawson (MIT Department of Political Science)

We will watch and discuss a pair of films about how justice is too often dispatched in Peru. Abducted (60 mins.) reviews the case of Hugo Muñoz Sanchez, a professor kidnapped (along with nine students) and murdered by the Peruvian military intelligence service; while Convicted by an Image (30 mins.) argues that Lori Berenson, a former MIT student now imprisoned in Peru for supporting terrorism, "was actually convicted twice, first by a kangaroo court in Peru and then, more effectively, in the media."

January 29
7-10 p.m.
3-133, MIT

A Year in the Streets

  • Randy Shadowalker, Lisa Igoe, Marshall Kirpatrick
    (Cascadia Media Collective)
  • Sarah Babb
    (University of Massachusetts at Amherst)
  • Tiffany Dumont & Rona Even
    (Independent Media Center of Boston)

A Year in the Streets is a film about a new generation of activists rising to expose the conflict between human rights and neo-liberal economic globalization. From the WTO protests in Seattle to the Bush inauguration in January 2001 and beyond, the film-makers criss-crossed the United States, providing a street-level view of the clash between activists who see a need for urgent radical change and a state apparatus that seems increasingly to be engaged in the repression of free speech and free assembly. Shadowalker, Igoe, and Kirpatrick are members of the Cascadia Media Collective (Eugene, Oregon), which made the film. Babb, an assistant professor of sociology at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, has conducted research on social movements, economic policy, and Latin America. Dumont and Even are members of the video-journalism team at indymedia/boston.

NB: If you find this film/discussion series interesting, we recommend that you take a look at the following course also being offered in January: Declassify This! The Secret History of the United States (17.919). You should also take a look at the class web-site.