Sunday, July 31, 2005

August 5th Fundraiser!


::PANEL on Arts & Activism in Age of Crisis::
::FUNDRAISER for two detained teenage girls::

The Brecht Forum
451 West St. (West Side Hwy betw Bank & Bethune 1-1/2 blocks
north of W. 11th)
NY, NY 10014

1,9,2,3 A,C to 14th st.
(212) 242- 4201

1.) 5pm 'Disappeared in America' Exhibition Opening
New work by Chitra Ganesh
2.) 7pm Panel Discussion: Arts and Activism in Age of Crisis
Avideh Moussavian, New York Immigrant Coalition (NICE)
Aziz Huq, NYU Brennan Center for Justice
Fariba Alam, director, BANGLA EAST SIDE
Konrad Aderer, director, LIFE OR LIBERTY, The ALAMS
Naeem Mohaiemen, VISIBLE Collective
3.) 8pm Fundraiser for Detainees: Speakers (Family members
of detainees), Multicultural Music Extravaganza
Bengali musicians from the Bangladeshi Institute of
performing Arts
Guinean musicians (Ahmadou Bah & Others)
Mor Dior Bamba of Senagal
Coumba Siddibe Shangan of Mali with Guinean accompaniment
Dawoud of Mystic JAz.
Bangla comedian Aladdin Ullah

Suggested Minimum: $10 (no one will be turned away)

Bring checkbooks if you want to make larger donations to the
fund for the detained teenagers

Friday, August 5
5 PM-11PM

5 PM:
New work by Chitra Ganesh

Exhibiting from Aug 5-Aug 30

Since 9/11, thousands of Muslim immigrants were detained in
a security dragnet. The majority of those detained were from
the invisible underclass of cities like New York. They are
the recent immigrants who drive our taxis, deliver our food,
clean our restaurant tables, and sell fruit, coffee, and
newspapers. The only time we see their faces are when we
glance at the hack license in the taxi partition, or the ID
card around the neck of a vendor.

Already invisible in our cities, after detention, they have
become "ghost prisoners." In this, there are eerie parallels
to past witch-hunts, including the 1919 detention of 10,000
immigrants after anarchists bombed the Attorney General's
home; the 1941 internment of 110,000 Japanese-Americans; the
trial and execution of the Rosenbergs; and the HUAC Black-
listing under Senator Joseph McCarthy. While our work started
in the American context, we have expanded to look at Europe,
in recognition that anti-immigrant xenophobia, coupled with
Islamophobia, is not a new or uniquely American phenomenon.

VISIBLE, is a collective of Muslim and other Artist-
Activists, that created the DISAPPEARED IN AMERICA project.
DISAPPEARED is a walk-through installation that uses film,
soundscape, images, installations and lectures to humanize
the faces of post 9/11 "disappeared" Muslims. It is also a
traveling, multimedia lecture that has been shown in
Stuttgart, London, Stockholm, Helsinki and other cities.

More information is available at


7 PM: PANEL DISCUSSION on Arts & Activism in Age of Crisis

8 PM: FUNDRAISER: America's Civil Liberties Crisis:
Respond with Music and Solidarity!

being a threat to national security:

Tashnuba Hyder (Bangladesh): detained and deported with family
Adama Bah (Guinea): detained and eventually released, all
charges dropped

Family and friends of Tashnuba & Adama talk about the case

Followed by a Multicultural Extravaganza including:
Bengali musicians from the Bangladeshi Institute of performing
Guinean musicians (Ahmadou Bah & Others)
Mor Dior Bamba of Senagal
Coumba Siddibe Shangan of Mali with Guinean accompaniment
Dawoud of Mystic JAz.
Bangla comedian Aladdin Ullah

For more info or call or 917 602 4450 All
proceeds will be divided by the two families!

If you cannot attend, but wish to make a donation, go to:

Or mail check to
Emergency Families Fund / CAIR
c/o 9-11 relief program / Adem Carroll
166-26 89th Avenue
Jamaica, NY, 11432
Donations are tax-exempt

Sponsored by
Ad Hoc Coalition for Adama & Tashnuba
Visible Collective (
Jews for Racial and Economic Justice
Justice For James Yee Ad Hoc Committee

Adama Back In School

On July 25th, Nina Bernstein from The New York Times wrote an article following up on one of the two 16-year-old Muslim girls detained in the spring as "suicide bombers" with little-to-no evidence or explanation, which inspired the creation of this blog (one of the girls was deported, the other allowed to resume her American life).

Here are some excerpts from "An Art Class's Lesson in Politics."
There's below

When Adama Bah's schoolmates decided to make a public artwork project about her case last spring, she and another 16-year-old girl were being held by the federal government after it had identified them, without explanation, as potential suicide bombers.

"We didn't know if we would ever see her again," said Kimberly Lane, who was then an art teacher at the school, the Heritage School in East Harlem, where many viewed Adama's detention as unjust and incomprehensible. "This was a way for the students to use art to speak out at a time when a lot of people, including adults, were afraid to do anything."

The result towers over anything that most people would expect high school students to produce. At Columbia University's Teachers College, where the work is on display through Thursday, the director of art education, Prof. Judith M. Burton, says it reminds her of Rodin's "Burghers of Calais."

That comparison does not seem too outlandish when looking at the seven larger-than-life figures at the college's Macy Gallery, even though they are fashioned from papier mâché and wire covered with colored cloth. They stand and gesture in a dramatic ensemble, the smaller ones urgently calling for attention or trying to intervene, the larger ones looming silent, deaf and blind to the victim in their midst, who raises her arms to heaven in a plea for help.

Adama is at least two heads smaller than the seven-foot figure designed to look like her, but the similarity is unmistakable. She was released from detention in May without being charged with a crime, just in time to pose for the 12 student artists - and to witness their crisis when the project seemed too controversial for the law firm where they had expected to display it.

But nothing prepared Adama for the final result. "As soon as I walked in, I was, like, shocked," she said. "My mouth just dropped. It was beautiful."

The reasons she was held for six weeks in a Pennsylvania detention center remain a mystery, and she and her lawyer, Natasha Pierre, are still under a court order not to discuss the case. The other girl, Tashnuba Hayder, is now back in her native Bangladesh. Adama, who came to New York as a toddler from Guinea, is fighting to stay here regardless of what happens to her father, a former cabdriver who is in immigration jail facing deportation after losing political asylum, which he had won by falsely claiming to be from Mauritania.

These days, Adama acknowledges that her family is in difficult financial straits. The telephone has been shut off and her mother stays late at her trinket stand in Brooklyn, trying to earn enough to buy groceries for Adama and four younger children.

Tax exempt donations can be sent to help the families of Adama and Tashnuba at:

Emergency Families Fund / CAIR
c/o 9-11 relief program / Adem Carroll
166-26 89th Avenue
Jamaica, NY, 11432

Or you can contribute online at this link.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Related Detention Story

Hey all:

My uncle and aunt got taken away by Homeland Security last week, and have
since been locked away in a detention prison in Virginia, and I need your
help. I myself have little faith in this "contact your senators"
approach -- but we're stuck here with very very few options, and we're
using what little options we have to try to make some noise and get some
attention paid to this. Go here to send a quick and easy fax... and for
more information...

This is a disaster. Detention is a black hole - it's like talking to a
crazy person. Ask the same question 5 times (like, uh, why did you take
my aunt and uncle?) and you get 5 different answers (an airport
investigation. they are out of status. we're deporting them. we're
bringing them back in 2 hours. we have information that they're a high
security risk to the US.) In reality, they're elderly folks in their 70s
who are so law-abiding they don't even freaking jaywalk. They are
struggling with an asylum case that recently got denied (again), and
worked at Dulles airport. Those two things together apparently spell
baaad news.

Here's the site with more information and a way to fax the senators in
Virginia: We have a lawyer and are working
on media stuff, but if you have any other brilliant ideas, shoot 'em on.

There's below

Thanks to anyone who can grit their teeth and fax something to republican
senators! I'll appreciate you forever. Not that I don't already.

a very tired and upset and pissed-off Sitara

More info:
My uncle, aunt and 19-year old cousin live in Virginia, and were home
after my cousin graduated from high school on June 22. They came to the
U.S. from Afgahanistan about 7-10 years ago, and have been involved in a
long asylum attempt. They were recently denied asylum in what looks like
it might be their last appeal. On June 22, the doorbell rang, and the
police/gov't officials were outside, saying they needed to take my uncle
and aunt to question them about an investigation they're doing at the
Dulles airport (where my aunt works and my uncle used to work before his
work permit expired and wasn't renewed).

The police told my 19-year old cousin that they'd bring his parents back
that night, which of course they didn't do. Now they're in a detention
facility in West Virgina, and are now being told they're being detained
because of their immigration status. The story they're being told keeps
changing, and it's unclear what's going to happen to them, whether they'll
be deported, what will happen to my cousin (who is also in danger of being
deported, though he was not detained), if there's any intervention that we
can do.