My Dinner with Syrian Refugees in New Jersey [Jennifer Bogut]

Last Sunday I went to a “Syria Supper Club.” 

I saw the article in the New York Times about a week before and wanted to attend as a paying guest. The idea is that dinner guests pay $50 to attend a traditional meal cooked by a family of Syrian refugees—hosted by an American household. Guests eat and chat with the family for a few hours and the money collected goes to the Syrian family.

When I contacted the organization I was told that all the guest slots were booked but they needed drivers to pick up the cooks and the food, deliver them to the host home, and drive them back at the end of the evening. I volunteered to do this—not because I wouldn’t have to pay but because I’ve been a domestic civil rights activist my entire life and the paradigm shift we are now caught up in has made me realize I need to expand my efforts. I was available the following Sunday and committed to the event.

I picked up the family of three—one man and two women—and their food trays in Elizabeth, New Jersey. The two women spoke no English and the man spoke very little. I had purchased a Penzy’s Spices gift card for the cook but had to point to the web address so they could follow the link to figure out what it was for. It made for an awkward ride to Montclair where the host lives. 

We were all tense as it seemed they had no idea what to expect either and, with the language barrier, I was frustrated I was unable to ease their concerns. I was silent the entire drive and kept under the speed limit out of fear for their safety if I was pulled over. They had a continuous dialog which I didn’t need to understand to imagine it was one of concern and trepidation.

When we arrived at the host’s home we found a camera crew making a documentary for German television, to show that not all Americans are xenophobes. I could not help chiming in with: “It is only 25% of those who consider themselves Republicans!” Although the family had been informed, they seemed to be caught unaware. The documentarians were all male and were not permitted to attach the microphones to the women, nor could we explain to them what was needed. The tension and fear of the Syrian family was palpable. 

After a while, the rest of the guests began arriving and two lovely Arabic-speaking young women were among them. Things began to lighten up and flow, the family’s faces changed, and they seemed lighter and “back in their own skin.” 

It was then I realized my own prejudice; this would not be a homogenized group. I’d had expectations, which I now realize were influenced by social conventions. I expected a group of rich, white people who had little to no exposure immigrants and certainly not to refugees. However, the guests were all colors and several were immigrants themselves. Many brought their kids. Two of the children were young, five and ten, but more were early teenagers. I could tell they had no idea what the big deal was—a beautiful thing.

There were group introductions and a quick background on the family and then we ate. There was an adorable moment when a guest who is a Swedish immigrant and of mixed race introduced herself; the man asked three times where she was from as he could not get that there are brown people in Sweden as well. The Swedish immigrant studies English five days a week for three hours a day and was able to get through his own introduction with no help from the translator. I could see how proud that made him.

I am not at all open-minded when it comes to food. I like what I like and rarely try anything new, but I tried almost everything and it was DELISH!! There were a few items I have had before like hummus and tabouli, which I eschewed since I was dedicated to branching out. It is no small thing for me and I was quite proud of this, I also found that I like Syrian food—a lot!

By the end of the evening the joy and gratitude of this family quite literally got me high. Although we could not converse together on the ride back to their home, the non-stop conversation they had was happy and chatty rather than the dire mood I felt earlier. When I dropped them off the women hugged me and I shook the man’s hand and they invited me into their home for coffee. But, I needed to get back to my own house so I declined. They thanked me profusely and the man said; “we are very happy that you drove us.”

I will do this again and I encourage others to find or host their own Syria Supper Club.

~ Jennifer Bogut (Montclair, NJ)

***   ***   ******

This piece, written by Jennifer Bogut, is adapted and edited from a Facebook post written on 28 February 2017.


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Not Just Another Dead Homeless Guy

It’s not uncommon to encounter homeless people sleeping in the grass beside the bike path that parallels the railroad tracks but something about this fellow seems different. 

Laying facedown in a fetal position, a gnarled hand resting over a soft guitar case, his backpack is open and his head is on the path. 

I double back and get off my bike to investigate. 

“Hey, man—are you alright. Do you need help? Are you alive?” No answer. 

I touch his hand. It’s stone cold. He doesn’t move.

I place my hand on his back and nudge his body, which rocks stiffly like a mannequin stuck in the mud. He doesn’t seem to be breathing. 

I call 911 and it’s not the first time I’ve made this call. There was that dead guy in Eugene circa 1986 and another guy in New York City in 1993.

“I think I found a dead homeless guy on the bike path,” I say to the dispatcher. Suddenly, his shoulder circles slowly.

“Oh shit,” I say into the phone. “False alarm. He’s alive. I think.”

“Does he need medical attention?” 

He raises his head like he’s come out of a state of suspended animation and glares at me with a feral look.

“Do you need medical attention?” No answer. “He’s not responding,” I say. 

“What are you doing here,” the man growls angrily.

“Just checking to see if you’re alright. Do you need help?”

“I’m trying to get away from people,” he says rising. “People like you!”

“Okay,” I say, laughing as I beat a hasty retreat. “Take care, man.” 

“Hey, HEY,” he yells. 

Chuckling with relief, I tell the dispatcher that he’s on his feet and coming after me but not to worry as I’m on my bike and riding away.

“Try to do something nice and that’s what you get,” she says. “You should buy a lottery ticket.”

I end the call, wishing I lived in a world where I could exchange good karma points for cold hard cash.

Standing in Solidarity with Refugees and Immigrants

Aalam is both a proper name and the Arabic word for World or Universe.

I am using the word Aalam as a universal term for solidarity with all refugees and immigrants that are being targeted and turned away by various countries throughout the world during these radically extreme days of the early 21st century. 

However, I’ve also chosen the name Aalam, specifically, because of what is currently happening to Muslim people in my country of birth. And because people with Arabic-sounding names are being singled out and targeted by government officials and organizations. People with brown skin and dark colored beards. People with head coverings. And even people wearing clothing that doesn’t conform to Western standards of fashion. 

Imagine you are a citizen of the United States with an American passport and you are stopped by immigration officials at an airport when you arrive back home from traveling abroad. How would you feel if they looked at the name on your passport and said, “Where did you get your name from? Are you Muslim?”

This is what happened to Muhammad Ali Jr., the son of boxer Muhammad Ali, who was detained for two hours by immigration officials at Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport on February 7—because of his Arabic-sounding name.

It’s been almost a month since President Business signed Executive Order 13769 (a.k.a. Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States) and the darker ramifications of the order are becoming more apparent every day. It’s an order that the American Civil Liberties Union called “just a euphemism for discrimination against Muslims.”

Signed by the President on January 27, 2017, Executive Order 13769 was written with the intention to suspend admission of Syrian refugees and limit the number of refugees from other countries into the United States. But the order has also proven to serve as an excuse to detain and question anyone with an Arabic sounding name. 

When President Business declared he was “establishing new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists out of the United States of America,” he omitted the fact that there are other countries besides Syria impacted by the order—namely Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen

And, even after the Department of Homeland Security suspended all enforcement of the immigration ban—the damage was done. It seems very clear to many of us that the fight for civil rights in America is just beginning. 

For historical reference, we can look at what happened after the Civil Rights Act of 1964 was signed and civil rights were still being violated for decades after the act was passed. 

So, we cannot be surprised by the refusal of some people and organizations to abide by the revocation of the immigration ban.  

Also, the Orange One has vowed that he will reinstate the ban, saying “For the safety of the country, we’ll win.” 

We cannot allow that to happen.

Which brings me back to the word Aalam—a name given to both boys and girls.

So, too, can we use the name to let others know that we consider ourselves to be more than just our nationality or race or gender. 

I am Aalam connects us to that within ourselves that is the same as other people.

We are Aalam connects us to each other as fellow human beings in the world.

 

Patty Hearst’s Homecooked Meal Interrupted [via H.J. Horacek]

“When is Patty coming to cook us dinner?” I asked Robert as he rushed through the front door into our Berkeley apartment.

“Haven’t you heard?” he gasped. “Patty has been kidnapped!” 

“I heard something about a kidnapping. What does that have to do with dinner?”

Robert flicked on the TV and turned to the news channel. A picture appeared of Robert’s lab partner in Zoology, a petite art history major who had been too squeamish to dissect a shark. Robert had to do all the lab work and tutor her so she could pass the class. Patty had promised to cook us dinner that night to thank Robert. Her familiar ordinary face did not belong on TV. Then the dots connected. Hearst Ave, Auditorium, Greek Theatre, Castle, Patty Hearst!

“That Patty is our Patty? I asked, in a state of numb disbelief.

Robert nodded grimly as we listened to the reporter. “The kidnappers fired guns while locking the struggling, blindfolded Hearst into the trunk of their car. The kidnappers, a counterculture guerrilla group named the Symbionese Liberation Army, are demanding that Hearst’s family donate food to all needy California families. Her father, San Francisco Examiner publisher Randolph Hearst, is mounting a multi-million dollar Bay Area food give-away program.”

“I already donated fifty dollars,” Robert said.

 “I guess dinner is off,” I sighed.

Two months later, the television showed Patty robbing a bank in San Francisco. She had changed her name to “Tania” and joined the SLA.

 “I want my fifty dollars back!” Robert complained.

The court later convicted Patty of bank robbery and sentenced her to 35 years in prison. After serving 22 months, President Carter commuted her sentence and Clinton eventually pardoned her.

Forty years later, I saw Patty again on the TV. She appeared on the Larry King show promoting her book and answering questions from viewers. I thought about calling to remind Patty that she still owed us dinner. While I deliberated whether to call, however, the window of opportunity passed.

~ By H. Joseph Horacek (San Francisco)

Threnody [Curt Hopkins]

For Kofi Awoonor, killed in the Westgate shootings in Nairobi, Kenya, on 21 September 2013.

THRENODY 

A poet not of bush but bottle shop,

Just not the kind of bottle shop you think,

In which each starry shelf is lined

With shining ranks, glittering with rime,

Of objects manifold with surfaced time.

There we rhyme and where we make a sign

We cannot be consistently defined,

Oriented as we are upon the infinite.

We cannot die, we cannot die,

We who are the folding sky,

We who broken lie where all the broken bottles lie.

Kofi Awoonor

***

Curt Hopkins is a blogger and freelance journalist in San Francisco. His work has appeared in Christian Science Monitor, Okayafrica, Newsweek, San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco Bay Guardian, Salon, Los Angeles Times, National Post, New Times, Reuters, ReadWrite, Ars Technica, Daily Dot and others. 

🎶 Musical Interlude 🎶 Purple Rain (feat. Amanda Palmer & Jherek Bischoff).

Advisory Warning: Do not attempt to listen to this song without earbuds or headphones. A quiet space is required and dimming the lights is recommended. 

Three things you need to know about this cover of Prince’s Purple Rain before you commit to listening to it.

One—it’s strings and whispers and a melodious and emotionally rich voice that will escort you through the depths of everything you’ve got bottled  up inside you . . . but it will guide you through expertly and safely. I tested the ride out myself and the equipment is solid. No need for a safety belt, either.

Two—you’ll need a quiet room and earbuds or headphones. I know I already said that in the advisory warning but you may not have been paying attention. Remember also that the whispering sotto voce needs to be heard and I promise you there are moments when the violins brush so gently against the little snails in your ears that they will not shrink from the touch of the music.

Three—you might need a pick me up tune afterward. I’ll drop one in at the end of this post.

 And that’s it. Catch you on the other side.

***

Amanda Palmer, with the support of 8,000 patrons, pays tribute to one of her biggest idols, Prince, in collaboration with Jherek Bischoff, with whom she had toured with as part of the grand theft orchestra. They were both “barely recovered from [David] Bowie’s death and the work [they] did on the Strung out in Heaven EP” when Prince died, so they texted each other and began collaborating on Purple Rain.

“Like with bowie…we could think of no better action than to get into the studio, and mourn and feel prince using the music. there is no better medicine. to all of our beloved…punch a higher floor.” ~afp (Amanda Fucking Palmer)

***

By the way, I recommend the cover that afp and jfb did of Heroes for that pick me up tune that I mentioned above. You can find it at Strung Out In Heaven: A Bowie String Quartet Tribute. ~ RLR

In the Name of Democracy Let Us All Unite! [Chaplin’s Inspirational Masterpiece]

Advisory Warning: 

Timely, chillingly appropriate, absolutely inspirational. If you are shell-shocked by current political events and need some inspiration right now you need this.

The Great Dictator was Charlie Chaplin’s first talking picture and it’s a scathing condemnation of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany. The speech in this video clip hits every single note perfectly and the music pairing—not original to the film but also spot on perfect—is exquisite. 

Chaplin worked for several weeks on the climactic speech, which was filmed from April to June of 1940 and he delivered it from the heart to the world, as Charlie Chaplin, not the character he was portraying.

Chaplin is expressing his real emotions in the scene and he allowed himself to be swept away emotionally by the speech. And he did it in one take with cameras zeroed in on him, surrounded by hundreds of extras. 

This version is a level-up from the original (in my opinion) with a sweeping instrumental by Hans Zimmer—borrowed from the film Inception, directed by Christopher Nolan.

Chaplin spent two years working on the movie, assiduously studying newsreels of Hitler—who had banned Chaplin’s films in Germany because he didn’t want to be ridiculed as a comedic doppelgänger of the Little Tramp. 

The comedian copied every gesture and mannerism of the man he once said gave “a bad impersonation of me.” His portrayal of a Jewish barber living in the ghetto who impersonates a very familiar fascist dictator by the name of Adenoid Hynkel is gold


Ironically, Chaplin and Hitler were more alike than either man would dare to admit, had they known of the similarities. They were born four days apart, both revered their mothers, and both men had ugly drunks as fathers. They also sported the same type of mustache. And they were both phenomenal actors.

This scene makes me want to become a phenomenal activist—to fight against the machine men with their machine hearts and machine minds.

Charlie is watching.

***

I’m sorry, but I don’t want to be an emperor. That’s not my business. I don’t want to rule or conquer anyone. I should like to help everyone, if possible—Jew, Gentile, black man, white. We all want to help one another. Human beings are like that. We want to live by each other’s happiness  not by each other’s misery. We don’t want to hate and despise one another. In this world there is room for everyone. And the good earth is rich and can provide for everyone. The way of life can be free and beautiful but we have lost the way.

Greed has poisoned men’s souls, has barricaded the world with hate, has goose-stepped us into misery and bloodshed. We have developed speed, but we have shut ourselves in. Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery we need humanity. More than cleverness we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost . . . 

The aeroplane and the radio have brought us closer together. The very nature of these inventions cries out for the goodness in men—cries out for universal brotherhood; for the unity of us all. Even now my voice is reaching millions throughout the world—millions of despairing men, women, and little children—victims of a system that makes men torture and imprison innocent people.

To those who can hear me, I say—do not despair. The misery that is now upon us is but the passing of greed; the bitterness of men who fear the way of human progress. The hate of men will pass and dictators die and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.

Soldiers! Don’t give yourselves to brutes – men who despise you – enslave you – who regiment your lives – tell you what to do – what to think and what to feel! Who drill you – diet you – treat you like cattle, use you as cannon fodder. Don’t give yourselves to these unnatural men – machine men with machine minds and machine hearts! You are not machines! You are not cattle! You are men! You have the love of humanity in your hearts! You don’t hate! Only the unloved hate – the unloved and the unnatural! Soldiers! Don’t fight for slavery! Fight for liberty!

In the 17th Chapter of St Luke it is written: “the Kingdom of God is within man” – not one man nor a group of men, but in all men! In you! You, the people have the power – the power to create machines. The power to create happiness! You, the people, have the power to make this life free and beautiful, to make this life a wonderful adventure.

Then – in the name of democracy – let us use that power – let us all unite. Let us fight for a new world – a decent world that will give men a chance to work – that will give youth a future and old age a security. By the promise of these things, brutes have risen to power. But they lie! They do not fulfil that promise. They never will!

Dictators free themselves but they enslave the people! Now let us fight to fulfil that promise! Let us fight to free the world – to do away with national barriers – to do away with greed, with hate and intolerance. Let us fight for a world of reason, a world where science and progress will lead to all men’s happiness. Soldiers! in the name of democracy, let us all unite!

~ Charles Chaplin (1940)


ACLU Mysteriously Announces the Deactivation of its Sonoma County Chapter.

To the bafflement and consternation of many North Bay American Civil Liberties Union members and supporters, an announcement was released yesterday at 6:33 pm by Carole Guffanti Notley in the Facebook page for ACLU of Sonoma County that the local affiliate will be deactivating its Sonoma County Chapter and shutting down its Facebook site this weekend.

Here is the message in its entirety: 

“It is with tremendous sorrow that I must announce the decision of the ACLU-NC to deactivate the Sonoma County Chapter. It seems unfathomable that, at this incredibly important time and with such an outpouring of support that we received at last Sunday’s Community Engagement Fair, such a thing would transpire, but it has.”

“Many people have given tremendous amounts of their time to volunteer for the Sonoma County Chapter over the years, and it would be remiss not to thank them for their unyielding support in the area of protection of civil liberties. In particular, I must thank Martin McReynolds for his tireless efforts attending community events, stepping in as past Chair, treasurer, and in producing our marvelous newsletter among many other noteworthy contributions.”

“I have been a board member for the past three years and am proud of the work our Chapter has accomplished in that time.” 

“For those of you who wish to continue the work of the ACLU, I am directed to refer you to the ACLU-NC site in San Francisco. I will be shutting down this Facebook site this weekend. In the meantime, should you wish to stay active locally, please feel free to PM me on my personal FB site: Carole Guffanti Notley.”

“It has been an honor to serve you in the pursuit of justice and civil rights as Administrator of this page, and I hope you will all continue to be engaged in standing up to civil rights violations and to fight the good fight, now more than ever.”

This announcement comes a month after the Sonoma County chapter had announced that their website was being revamped because of an increased interest in the organization since the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States. 

The website had stated:

“We look forward to seeing you at the next meeting on January 17th at 7 pm at the PJC, when we hold elections for our board.”

The February 3rd, 2017 announcement of deactivating the chapter is all the more puzzling in light of the closing lines of the last post by the ACLU-NC website:

“Get involved. Channel that anger in a productive way. Join us!”

All that is known, according to reports by the Sonoma County Chapter, is that the decision was made internally and the San Francisco  Chapter had no knowledge of the decision. 

The Sonoma County Chapter reports that:

“We have been directed to close the bank account for the chapter and send all money to the SF Affiliate.”

The San Francisco Affiliate oversees all the chapters in Northern California.

The Sonoma County Chapter has promised that a full explanation is forthcoming and I will update this post when the information becomes available.

~RLR

Update (5 February 2017 at 10:33 am):

I’ve been contacted by a few people that are involved with the ACLU and my impression is that there are many people working diligently to maintain a solid support system for protecting civil liberties and they will update the public further on the events of the deactivation and also reassure members that there will continue to be an active organization. I’ve also spoken to a friend that was formerly involved and they have nothing but praise for the people that are involved with the ACLU-NC. ~RLR

Update via Facebook (5 January 2917 at 11:22):

Please be advised that effective immediately, the Sonoma County Chapter of the ACLU has been deactivated. 

 For further information, contact:

American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California
39 Drumm Street • San Francisco, California 94111Phone: (415) 621-2493

Fax: (415) 255-1478

TTY: (415) 863-7832

aclunc.org

Those seeking legal advice from ACLU of Northern CA may call (415) 621-2488 (Monday to Friday, 10am-12 noon & 1pm-3pm) or fill out a confidential online form.

While it is our understanding that ACLU-NC is amenable to reconstruction of a chapter in Sonoma County, and they are following up with individuals who have submitted applications to join the chapter board and will work to engage them in the ACLU in a timely manner, none of the current board will be considered.

The basis for this deactivation may be up for debate, but the decision by ACLU-NC is final.
We will reach out to our current membership and those who have expressed an interest in activism to offer them possible matches depending on their area of focus. There are many organizations in the Country that would benefit from volunteers and embrace values similar to those of the (now former) Sonoma County Chapter of the ACLU.

~Carole Guffanti Notley, Secretary
Sonoma County Chapter

ACLU of Northern California

Phone: 707-978-9503

Email: caroleguffantinotley@gmail.com

Memories of Madjym…

I’m looking at this grinning photograph of myself at the age of twenty-two, holding a pint of beer at Lenny’s Nosh Bar, and standing next to a very familiar profile to the regulars at Lenny’s. It’s the ursine figure of James Wyant, known to us simply as Madjym, and he worked the night shift at Lenny’s for many years. Mad was the definitive face of the place in the evenings and early mornings, after the boss went home, and he was the closest thing to a manager at the Nosh Bar without actually having the title.

Lenny loved MadJym and he trusted him to keep things going smoothly. Especially when Hershel and Denise were going nuts in the kitchen.

Madjym Wyant and Richard La Rosa at Lenny’s Nosh Bar (1986)
 

The last time I saw Mad was almost a decade ago, during my annual family and friend visit to Eugene. I was hanging out with Joe Lewis in the courtyard of The Bijou Cinema late one night after a film, drinking coffee and riffing on one damn thing or another as we usually do, and Madjym came out to join us for a smoke. I hadn’t seen him since ’97 or so, when he worked as a clerk at a video store in the Friendly neighborhood, so we had a lot to catch up on. We made tentative plans to go on a road trip to Phoenix to visit Lenny, but I think we both knew it was just idle talk.

It was Joe that told me Madjym died. Details were sketchy, but it seems he shot himself a few days earlier at his home in Eugene. Stunned by the news, I swiftly put out a message to the members of the Lenny’s Facebook group, breaking the bad news as gently as I could, and soon got a phone call from April, a friend from high school. She said the last time she saw Mad he still seemed depressed over the death of his parents a couple of years earlier. April had also spoken to her friend, Eric, and he told her he was recently at Mad’s house and “it was a disaster area.” 

Madjym’s college roommate, Bob, confirmed April’s assessment that our old friend was still grieving for his parents. They had kept in contact over the years since Mad had played guitar years later at Bob’s wedding. I’m giving all these details about Madjym’s depression for a very specific reason: If you were Mad’s friend and if you feel even the slightest bit of guilt for not being able to save him, let it go. Because even Robin McIntosh, Madjym’s former girlfriend in the eighties, will tell you that she was never able to pull him out of the deep despair she usually found him in—though she often tried her best. Robin loved him deeply and even she, who had known him so well and had with him what she called a “short, wonderful, white hot romance and a long, deteriorating friendship,” knew—as she had to accept in the old days—that she couldn’t have done anything except get “sucked down to the depths along with him.”

No one was more shocked to hear about Madjym’s death than Katy, Lenny’s daughter. She had no idea he was in such dire straights and had spoken to Mad the year before after her Dad died. He seemed to her much like always. He probably still listened to The Beatles—his favorite band of all time.

Anyway, as I sit in my writing lair in California this afternoon, reminiscing about an old friend that is also a character in novel I’m writing, I’m finding that I have a rich history of the man behind the character based on the memories of a half a dozen people, including myself, but I’m having a difficult time remembering details of what was going on in his life in the eighties. In fact, I doubt I ever knew much at the time because Mad had a Lenny’s persona that was actually an exaggerated version of the madcap self that he showed his friends. In many ways he was a performance artist at work; part carnival barker, part ringmaster.

I think I’m ready to ask some of Mad’s other friends for some anecdotes, now that six years have past since I first heard the news that he died. For the novel, it’s now or never, since the draft is almost completed and I’m planning for publication in April. Time to collect the rest of the raw materials to flesh out the fictional Madjym. Maybe even give him a moment of the happiness he couldn’t find in life.

In an alternate universe, James Wyant would be a creative juggernaut. 

In the universe next door, Madjym is the fifth Beatle. 

Cheers to you, Mad. Here’s the send-off song I played for you at your virtual wake a half a dozen years ago.

Art of the Resistance [C.K. Itamura]

28 November 2016

I’m with my daughter, Sophia, at Gallery 300 and we are looking at an art series of American flags created by C.K. Itamura. We’ve come over directly after having a conversation about the American presidential election that happened nineteen days earlier. 

I’ve already been given the rundown on the exhibit so this is a special excursion for my offspring.

C.K. explains the meaning of the four American flags arranged like a storyboard and screwed directly into the wall instead of hung. It’s a deliberate choice, signifying a country getting screwed. 

The flags are made from sheets of white cotton fabric painted black and ripped into two-inch strips and I comment that they look like bandages. C.K. says they are, in fact, meant to be reminiscent of bandages used on the wounded during the American Civil War.

C.K. tells us that there were 19 states that voted for Clinton and 31 states that went to Donald Trump so, in the first flag, she glued all 50 stars on the flag and after it was partially dry she ripped off 31 stars and threw them on the floor.


In the second flag she did the same but ripped off 19 stars and threw them on the floor. And this flag is hung upside down.


In the third flag, fake stars are spray painted to symbolize a pretense that everything will be okay, but the flag is still upside down to show that everything is actually still messed up even though some Americans will be trying to fake it.


In the fourth flag the stars are missing and replaced by US currency of $1s, $5s, $10s, and $20s because CK feels that money is winning and the wealthy and all the corporations are now in charge of America. 

The stars that should be on the flag are now across the room in a dustpan. 


But, at least they’re still in the room—a message of hope that the stars will be restored to the flag.

***

Readers can see more of C.K. Itamura’s work by going to Peach Farm Studio online or visiting her gallery at 300 S A Street in Santa Rosa, California.

***

See more Art of the Resistance in my profile of artist Peter Crompton.


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Words in Revision