Lecture & Film: Josh Broiler Reports on Gaza Freedom March followed by ‘Return to the Land of Wonders’ (Iraq, 2004)

6:00 pm Wednesday March 17

1101 Humanities

Joshua Brollier, an activist with Voices for Creative Nonviolence (formerly Voices in the Wilderness) in Chicago, will give a slide presentation and reflect on his participation in the Gaza Freedom March in January 2010.

The Gaza Freedom March aimed to challenge Israel’s ongoing siege and blockade of Gaza and to commemorate the lives lost during last year’s Operation Cast Lead, a 22-day Israeli military assault that killed 1,400 Palestinians and wounded 5,300.

One of over 1300 delegates from 43 countries, Joshua found the original plans for a march across Gaza and through the Israeli border at Erez thwarted by the Egyptian government, which in support of Israel refused to allow passage through the Rafah crossing from from Egypt into Gaza. The resulting large and small unsanctioned demonstrations in support of Gaza in Cairo were also met with disruption and force. While the original plan was not achieved, the actions in Cairo raised awareness, strengthened international solidarity and resulted in the Cairo Declaration, a South African-led call for sustained international action against Israeli policies.

Sponsored by Kavanah and the Middle East Interest Group

Following the lecture, the film ‘Return to the Land of Wonders (Iraq, 2004) will be screened at 7:30 pm in Room 1101 Humanities as part of the Center for Middle East Studies Iraq Film Series.

Synopsis: Not long after the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003, filmmaker Maysoon Pachachi returns to her home city of Baghdad after 35 years. She accompanies her father, 80-year-old Adnan Pachachi, who is returning to head the committee responsible for drafting Iraq’s temporary constitution and Bill of Rights. We follow this tortuous process, with its arguments over wording changes demanded by U.S. leaders in Washington and compromises made to satisfy Iraqi sectarian interests. Moving between the political sphere and everyday life on the streets, Return To The Land Of Wonders offers a unique glimpse into the resilience of the Iraqi people as they struggle to sustain their lives without succumbing to despair and defeat.