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From the Committee to Protect Journalists

Killers of Journalists get away with murder

No one has been held to account in 81% of journalist murders during the last 10 years, CPJ’s 2021 Global Impunity Index has found.

By Jennifer Dunham/CPJ Deputy Editorial Director

October 28, 2021, Somalia remains the world’s worst country for unsolved killings of journalists, according to CPJ’s annual Global Impunity Index, which spotlights countries where members of the press are singled out for murder and the perpetrators go free.

The index showed little change from a year earlier, with Syria, Iraq, and South Sudan, in that order, again coming in behind Somalia to occupy the worst four spots on the list, as conflict, political instability, and weak judicial mechanisms perpetuate a cycle of violence against journalists.

Click here to read the complete report by the Committee to Protect Journalists.

The Facade of Freedom of Speech: The Rise of Government Censorship in Hollywood

January 7, 2020 Posted by Alex Arabian Film News, Professional Publications No Comments

[Published at Living Life Fearless] Government censorship in film is inherently a bipartisan issue. The antiquated “both sides” argument does not apply to this alarming issue. It is nonsensical; it would be an exhaustive, self-confuting thesis to attempt to argue that censorship is the fault of certain corrupt, partisan leaders or administrations throughout U.S. history. Government censorship and involvement in film to sway public opinion has been happening under every administration, left or right leaning, for over a century. Both Democrats and Republicans have censored films to protect the government and its institutions due to long-established, deep-rooted traditions, always with the same goal of molding a specific geopolitical worldview of the U.S., regardless of party affiliation.

This series of three articles will cover censorship under liberal and conservative administrations fighting to preserve the diminishing, collective public perception of supposed “universal truths” in the postmodern world. The vast majority of censorship happens when films tell stories that depict government institutions, especially the military, C.I.A., FBI, and Homeland Security, whose images – which are representative of the U.S. as a whole (regardless of who occupies the oval office) – they have an obligation to protect. This perception that the government so desperately wants the public to hold onto is the idea that the U.S. is an entirely selfless, philanthropic, and magnanimous country.

Click here to read the complete article

Less We Forget about Child Labor

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From the Library of Congress: Hine later referred to his photographic work for the NCLC as "detective work." Photo historian Daile Kaplan offers this picture of how Hine conducted his work, which was frequently regarded with suspicion by business owners, supervisors, and workers:

Nattily dressed in a suit, tie, and hat, Hine the gentleman actor and mimic assumed a variety of personas--including Bible salesman, postcard salesman, and industrial photographer making a record of factory machinery--to gain entrance to the workplace. When unable to deflect his confrontations with management, he simply waited outside the canneries, mines, factories, farms, and sweatshops with his fifty pounds of photographic equipment and photographed children as they entered and exited the workplace. (Photo Story: Selected Letters and Photographs of Lewis W. Hine. Ed. by Daile Kaplan. Washington: Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992).

The NCLC distributed the photographs as part of its publicity and educational efforts.

  • Hine and some of the other NCLC investigators included references to the photographs in reports on particular industries and locations.

  • The NCLC used the photos to illustrate its own publications and succeeded in placing them in newspapers and progressive publications.

  • The photos appeared in stereoptican slide shows and in displays that the NCLC circulated. Hine was influential in this effort, particularly after he was promoted to the head of the NCLC exhibits department in 1913.

Mrs. Gertrude Folks Zimand, acting for the NCLC in her capacity as chief executive, gave the records of the NCLC to the Library of Congress Manuscript Division in 1954, in celebration of the NCLC's fiftieth anniversary. The Manuscript Division then transferred to the Prints and Photographs Division the photographs (arranged in 21 albums), negatives, and caption cards. (The NCLC apparently also offered the Library of Congress a file of nitrate negatives, which the Library did not accept. Some original negatives can be found at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County and the International Museum of Photography and Film at George Eastman House. For further information, see "Related Resources.")

Click here to read the rest of the article and see more photos like the one to the right at the Library of Congress.

July 24, 1903 New York - Immigrants arriving at Ellis Island (Restored with added sound)

Once a "Safe" Haven. Now What?

by Craig Rock

My grandparents fled Russia as World War I began. Two of their children (an uncle and an aunt) shipped over with them. Another aunt was born on the ship coming over. Forty million people would die during that war, at least 10 million civilians. Between 1900 and 1920, 14.5 million people would come to the United States fleeing wars and/or seeking better economic conditions in mines, factories, offices, or in farming communities like my birthplace, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Our "Help Wanted" sign welcomed people from everywhere, that is, until they were no longer needed or affordable.

Nonetheless, the United States grew as an empire. Unfortunately, empires, like power, corrupt, and empires with absolute leaders corrupt absolutely. And here we are today. Power and greed often rule both in private industry and in government. And the people suffer, and people with little money suffer the most.

We still have many challenges ahead. We as a country progressed somewhat in certain areas, for example, eliminating child labor although there are still kids working the fields in certain parts of the U.S. What we did in our early years to American Indians would put our leaders in prison if it happened today. What we did to refugees seeking safety in World War II is a mixed bag of something to be proud of and something we downplayed in history books. And today, the challenges for poor people fleeing crime and seeking decent housing, healthcare, and education in our poor communities seem insurmountable.

And we now turn a blind eye to our neighbors in Mexico, Central and South America despite how, since 1950s, we interfered in their politics and everyday lives by promoting dictators, drug cartels, and multi-national corporations. And we wonder why refugees knock on our doors pleading for help. Even worse, we have refused to give citizenship to more than 800,000 young people who came to this country as kids and who are now political pawns in the nasty game of U.S, politics 21st Century

One political party debates issues ranging from the Build Back Better bill and protecting voting rights to white supremacy, defunding the police, and abolishing ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement). Working on behalf of refugees or people's human rights regarding sexual orientation have divided some of the more liberal churches. Another political party has given up discussion and debate and blindly salutes their leader. Others question strategy and think that instead of proposing "pie-in-the sky" solutions to these major problems, liberals should focus on getting some goals accomplished before the next election, and better management of government agencies both in training current staff and in avoiding the hiring of incompetent political appointees.

Let us hope that, while we debate, we also remember next November, and two Novembers from then. Let there be civil discussion and general acknowledgment about the importance of victory in the fight for the inherent dignity of all peoples, of all colors, and all genders. And we need leaders and followers from all these groups working together, discussing strategy and taking action with their cohorts to form a "more perfect Union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity."

More Video on Ellis Island

Pablo Neruda, (born July 12, 1904, Parral, Chile—died September 23, 1973, Santiago), Chilean poet, diplomat, and politician who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1971. He was perhaps the most important Latin American poet of the 20th century. Neruda was the son of José del Carmen Reyes, a railway worker, and Rosa Basoalto. His mother died within a month of Neruda’s birth. Encyclopaedia Britannica

Some Other Notable Figures in

Latin American Politics

Che Guevara, (born June 14, 1928, Rosario, Argentina—died October 9, 1967, La Higuera, Bolivia), theoretician and tactician of guerrilla warfare, prominent communist figure in the Cuban Revolution (1956–59), and guerrilla leader in South America. After his execution by the Bolivian army, he was regarded as a martyred hero by generations of leftists worldwide, and his image became an icon of leftist radicalism and anti-imperialism. Encyclopaedia Britannica, Photo public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Eva Perón, byname Evita, (born May 7, 1919, Los Toldos, Argentina—died July 26, 1952, Buenos Aires), second wife of Argentine Pres. Juan Perón, who, during her husband’s first term as president (1946–52), became a powerful though unofficial political leader, revered by the lower economic classes. Encyclopedia Britannica Photo public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Efraín Ríos Montt, (born June 16, 1926, Huehuetenango, Guatemala—died April 1, 2018, Guatemala City), Guatemalan army general and politician who ruled Guatemala as the leader of a military junta and as dictator (1982–83). In 2013 he was tried by a Guatemalan court on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity, marking the first time that a former head of government was prosecuted for such crimes in a national, rather than international, court. His conviction and sentence of 80 years in prison were subsequently overturned by Guatemala’s Constitutional Court. Encyclopaedia Britannica Photo public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Simón Bolívar, byname The Liberator or Spanish El Libertador, (born July 24, 1783, Caracas, Venezuela, New Granada [now in Venezuela]—died December 17, 1830, near Santa Marta, Colombia), Venezuelan soldier and statesman who led the revolutions against Spanish rule in the Viceroyalty of New Granada. He was president of Gran Colombia (1819–30) and dictator of Peru (1823–26). Encyclopaedia Britannica

Jacobo Arbenz, (born September 14, 1913, Quetzaltenango, Guatemala—died January 27, 1971, Mexico City, Mexico), soldier, politician, and president of Guatemala (1951–54) whose nationalistic economic and social reforms alienated conservative landowners, conservative elements in the army, and the U.S. government and led to his overthrow. Encyclopaedia Britannica Photo public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.

Pablo Neruda, A Hero of the Americas

Book Review by Craig Rock

(In many ways, Pablo Neruda represents the "New West" of the Americas. Some think the political and social movements in South America are models for the future in the United States as well. I wrote a book review of his "Memoirs" in 1977 for the Daily Californian in Berkeley. Image created by Victoria Morgan.)

Pablo Neruda's Memoirs combines the life, poetry, and politics of a man who became poet of the Chilean people. Neruda's life is an adventure story, the story of a man who successfully used his words and wit to answer his critics and escape his enemies -- the repressive elements of Latin American society.

The book reads well for both the romantic and social idealist, who will be attracted to Neruda's philosophy and his approach to poetry. "In my poems I could not shut the door to the street (the poverty of the Chilean people) just as I could not shut the door to love, life, or sadness...." But the book offers much more than this. The reader will momentarily escape from the pessimism so ingrained in Western perspectives of the world and allow Neruda's message through.

"In my poems I could not shut the door to the street (the poverty of the Chilean people) just as I could not shut the door to love, life, or sadness...."

Neruda does an excellent job recording the identity of his people. Immigrants from around the world gathered on a narrow stretch of weather-beaten land. They developed from an economically dependent people to a politically conscious "popular unity" ready to develop the natural and human resources of Chile for the Chilean people. This unity would later express itself as the first socialist elected government of the continent.

The major influences on Neruda's life during the 1920s were his romantic poetry and the Chilean foreign service in which he served. After receiving a literary prize and some popularity from his first books, Neruda was appointed to a consulate position in Burma. He was later transferred to Ceylon where official duties occupied little of his time. He mainly wrote poetry while sharing the solitude with a dog, pet mongoose, and houseboy.

Neruda loved the outdoors probably as much as he loved women. He grew up in southern Chile, "under the volcanoes, beside the snow-capped mountains, among the huge lakes, the fragrant, the silent, the tangled Chilean forest."

"under the volcanoes, beside the snow-capped mountains, among the huge lakes, the fragrant, the silent, the tangled Chilean forest."

Hardly the makings for the communist he would later become. But amidst this natural beauty, Neruda remained conscious of the impoverished people in the region of the country. His father drove a ballast train that would replace gravel after heavy Chilean rains made the railroad tracks unusable. Other families around him --- the Irish, Poles and Spanish --- subsisted on the low wages paid by German industrialists who ran the nitrate and copper mines. U.S. industry would later replace the Germans.

"The young writer," he later wrote, "cannot write without the shudder of loneliness, even when it is only imaginary, any more than the mature writer will be able to produce anything without a flavor of human companionship, of society."

Neruda was then stationed in Singapore and later Buenos Aires. It was there that his friendship began with the legendary Spanish poet, Frederico Garcia Lorca. Up to this time (1933), Neruda's life was annotated with the crazy, surreal life of his madcap poets and friends, like Rojas Gimenez and Omar Vignole. Gimenez, a well-known poet, was approached one day by an admirer who requested the privilege of honoring him by jumping over his grave at his burial. Sure enough, several years later in the midst of funeral services for Gimenez, a man entered the funeral home, jumped over his coffin and left just as mysteriously.

Vignole, an Argentine poet, led his pet cow everywhere he went. The poet, who is known for such works as "What My Cow Thinks" and "My Cow and I," once was the subject of a police stake-out that tried to keep him from taking his cow to a writers' conference in Buenos Aires. Vignole smuggled the cow in through police lines in a van.

From this carefree existence, Neruda moved to Spain where the civil war and Lorca's assassination changes his way of life. In the face of one million dead and another million exiled, Neruda's commitment against fascism became entrenched, as did his poetry, which was carried in the pockets of Republican soldiers. At the same time, Neruda decided that he must change the "brooding tone" of his poetry and strive to write to "serve our fellow man... a place in man's struggles...on the road to humanism."

he must change the "brooding tone" of his poetry and strive to write to "serve our fellow man... a place in man's struggles...on the road to humanism."

It was in Spain, with the communists organizing as the most effective force against Franco's fascism, that Neruda became a communist. He was forced out of his consulate position because of his open support for the then-falling republic. However, with the fall, he was recommissioned to France to prepare the way for Spanish refugees immigrating to Chile.

After brief service in Mexico, Neruda resigned from the diplomatic corps and returned to Chile. In 1945, he was elected to the Chilean Senate. His constituency: the copper and nitrate miners of Chile. Neruda was continually forced into a position of defending himself as a communist. He notes one Italian interviewer's remarks, "I am not a communist, but if I were a Chilean poet, I would be one, like Pablo Neruda. You have to take sides here, with the Cadillacs or with the people who have no schooling or shoes."

The new Chilean government did not see it this way. Neruda's arrest was ordered but he managed with the help of friends to cross the Andean mountains by horseback into the temporary safety of Argentina. With Argentine police alerted, he borrowed a Guatemalan friend's passport and flew to Paris via Uruguay. Once there, the surrealist movement came to his aid. Picasso, Louis Aragon and Paul Eluard used their influence with French authorities to arrange for his safety.

Neruda was deeply impressed with the course of the Russian revolution after visiting Moscow in 1949. Only later, after the purge of Stalin, did Neruda become disenchanted with what he described as personality-cult communism. At the request of the Lenin Peace Prize committee, Neruda delivered their award in 1951 to Sun Yatsen's widow in China. However, after his second visit there he wrote critically of "one man's (Mao"s) grip on the creation of a world that must belong to all. I could not swallow that bitter pill a second time."

Neruda spent some time writing and traveling before being appointed as ambassador to France by Salvador Allende (1970). A year later, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature.

Neruda's "Memoirs" go far beyond his interesting biographical material. His work is a fascinating self-analysis of the humanitarian communist. The reading should be that much more interesting in the United States, a country whose rigid definition of communism has always retained a good portion of McCarthy-era taint.

"the main thrust of North American poets

is to look at themselves as small gods..."

Neruda also includes his interpretations of capitalist society and its literature. He said that the middle classes here demand a poetry that is isolated from reality. Consequently, the main thrust of North American poets is to look at themselves as small gods. This kind of poet, he adds,"basks in his own divining isolation from reality, and there is no need," for the ruling classes, "to bribe or crush him. He has bribed himself by condemning himself to his heaven. Meanwhile, the earth trembles in his path, in his dazzling light."

Neruda believes the poet has an obligation to "take his place in the street and in the fight. Poetry is rebellion...Life transcends all structures, and there are new rules of conduct for the soul."

Neruda published his last work in 1973. It was an appeal to the intellectuals of Latin America and Europe to help prevent civil war in Chile. But others, behind the doors of ITT, the Central Intelligence Agency and the Chilean military had different plans. Those plans began several years earlier with the economic blockade of Chile and they ended in September, 1973, when President Allende and his supporters were killed or imprisoned.

Twelve days after the death of one of the few democratically elected governments in the Americas, Pablo Neruda, age 69, died.

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