Monthly Archives: July 2006

quick diary entry

I am a bit ill this week with a weird type of summer flu. The Filmhouse sent Indymedia 10 tickets for free for the community festival experience, for the film: “Who needs sleep?” which is about labour rights and trade unions (or their absence) in the film and movie industry.
The Russian language student will leave tonight and the French has first moved away into student accomodation and then got rapidly sent back home today as she went a bit overboard with her teenage freedom. We even got paid the telephone bill in total, which we did not really expect anymore, but her dad stepped in and sorted finally the stuff out.
I met two IMC volunteers from NYC Indymedia yesterday, they mainly work on the Indykids newspaper. It was interesting to hear a little bit about what projects they are doing and how they are structured in NYC IMC.

I would have so much to do and would want to do, but it seems I need to go back to bed to get better. Yesterday I had about 4 lemsip max, and on wednesday at least one.

This week

This week has been very exciting. I had an interview yesterday for a part time job. The fun thing about it was that they used an electronic pre-screening test via an interactive website, and I was second best.

The French language student has run up a phone bill of about £80 in the last 2 weeks, dialling premium call numbers for example for about 2-3 hours in the middle of the night at about 2am to a French mobile. This call alone cost £15!
We tried to get BT blocking the numbers, but BT was pretty crap, always saying that it would take 7 days for the service to work, and then not even starting it until you put in the code number they gave me. I even needed to hide the phone and take it always with me so to monitor her phone addiction better.
But now the language student wanted to move accomodation closer to where her friends stay, and could not pay the telephone bill. The language school actually gave us ground rules at the start, including “Do not let your student use your phone.”, which we as liberals and libertarians of course ignored, especially as the French language student had quite some difficulties at the start. So, now we know why we should have stuck to the rules.
The Russian language student also has a blog under the name Positronchick. However, she does blog in Russian, obviously.

More about telephone companies and their rates under Micah’s Blog.

I also watched Syriana and Munich start of the week, got them from the A&C Video library. Syriana has just been released, Both films are brilliant. I also got some real Haggis for the students from the best butcher of Edinburgh. They do Haggis in 1 person portions, which looks like a sausage. the French language student refused to eat it, because it looked like a sausage, and she doesn’t eat sausages. Micah ate the Haggis, I ate the vegetarian Haggis.

We also needed to do a big washing with all the bed sheets and similar. Lots of ironing, too. Also Micah brought me some sweeties – and my tooth filling fell out, so I tried to get a dental appointment, as well as reviewing the world cup football exhibition in the North Edinburgh Arts Centre, which is organised in cooperation with the Magnum Photoagency and the Goethe Institute.

On Thursday I tried to get clothes, shoes and make-up for the Interview. Unfortunately most of the clothes at Matalan did not fit, and the Sales started in Marks & Spencer. It was incredibly hot and so many people were crammed in the shop that it felt pretty suffocating. I went well over the budget, especially with the make-up and as I hate make-up I am not very experienced with it, I went to the Interview looking like my face fell into some yellowish cake icing.
I am unsure about getting the job. It seemed my make-up blew it.

My allotment is producing courgettes in extreme sizes. According to Micah, the largest courgette “could feed a family of 12 for a week.”

Mouth of Silence

I speak to cover the mouth of silence, said Umberto Ak’abad.?” exclaims Max, the Indian alcoholic refugee, reflecting on the forty years of civil war in Guatemala.


He stars in the theatre play “Mouth of Silence?”, which was brought to the North Edinburgh Art Centre at start of July by the Birds of Paradise theatre company.
It features a refugee family returning back home, reflecting about their personal situation from different angles and discussing ways to deal with the past.

“No one listens to the voices of the past.?” claims the victim Maria, who talks via sign language.
The play is fully signed, not everything is translated into English. But why?

“œIn Guatemala there are 22 different indigenous languages, Spanish is the colonial language.

We draw a pararell to the relationship of English and Sign language?”, explains the director Morven Gregor the reason for the gaps in the translation.

“The Truth. Then Justice. Then maybe Forgiveness.?”, states the fiery organiser Feliz, dismissing religion as a source of hope.

“They’ll never admit the truth until we make them.?”, states Feliz in the search of justice against the known local perpetrators of disappearances, murders and torture, whilst her pragmatic companion Susana wants to debrief and people to listen.

Max is guilt-ridden: “Why couldn’t I defend them?” whereas Maria turns both towards religion and superstition.

But all of them want the discrimination to stop and get the truth of the massacres out:

“Exhumations help heal the wounds. They are also evidence. Bones don’t lie.”

The theatre group is touring Scotland’s communities this summer with their new production, but they also hold workshops, organise a summer school, and because they define themselves as inclusive Agents for Change they offer plenty of information about refugees in Scotland, the situation in Latin America and the Guatemala Solidarity Network with their accompanying campaign stall.

Most of the play is staged outdoors, includes singing and dancing, jokes, open fire and a procession with the audience.

theatre play - refugee camp

Director Morven Gregor says about the tour:

“It has been smashing. Every venue we play in is different and we get different resonances. In Glasgow we played during refugee week. On the Island of Gigha they could relate more to the rural community in exile and the land issues.”

The audience was impressed by the performance.

Karen Grant says:

“I thought it was amazing. They managed to get lots of different issues into the play.”

Diana from Pilton went to see the play with her two children. She states:

“I thought the language of the play was beautiful. I wanted to learn more about Guatemala.

“They were really human characters you could relate to.”

market place in Guatemala

Edinburgh International Film Festival Community Experience

The Filmhouse published in its last programme its intentions of offering free tickets for community groups at the EIFF. the tickets get sponsored partly by Standard Life and a Business & Arts link up group.
Yesterday the meeting of all community groups interested in taking part in the free ticket scheme happened at the Filmhouse. There seemed to be about 20-30 different groups present, and the Filmhouse crew mentioned they had to turn many more away.

Unfortunately they only have 100 free tickets in total.

They also did not say how they would select the groups, and I exploded a little bit with my hungarian side going up the roof, which wasn’t particularly helpful, but made them probably realise the extend of the problem, and they seem to have shifted their focus slightly from selecting groups to giving all groups some, but fewer tickets.
Anyways, as blogged before I critisised the Filmhouse for the EIFF being pretty exclusive to the majority of the Edinburgh population, as many can not afford the ticket entry prices. It seems to be a bit better this year, I hardly found any tickets costing the £10 I saw last year, but still, most of the documentaries are only screened once, and they are an excellent tool for education and building global awareness and empathy for other people and situations.
I also claimed that it builds an atmosphere of playing groups of against each other, and that the criteria for selection would be unclear.

On a more informal note, I put the list of my prefered films to them and they recommended “Who needs sleep” and “The Refugee All Stars”. I also asked them about the “My country, my country” and they stated it would more about the general situation in Iraq rather than a profile of the politicians.
They seemed to be pretty passionate about the film.

Also the Al Gore film was recommended by a film critic, too; maybe I have been a bit too harsh in trying to select my prefered screenings. But then, I usually obnly can afford one EIFF experience a year!

Film Festival programme out

I had hectic past weeks. The shower finally got electrified last tuesday and it is so brilliant being able to take a shower every day. I also got a goldfish today. He is still pretty shy and hides behind the plants. The pH is pretty low in the water. i wonder how it could be increased.
Fluffy made an escape into the kitchen and it was difficult to get him back out from under the shelf.

I have got two language students here to stay at the moment, one from France and one from Russia, and it is good fun and very exciting to have them around. The local newspapers reported one other language student from the same school had run away with her Scottish penpal after meeting him in Princes Street Gardens where Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare were played at the same time. The two teenagers – 14 and 15 years old, later tried to get on a ferry to Ireland. After 4 days they were busted in the Aberdeen Youth Hostel.
So the theme of Romeo and Juliet is highly popular as ever. Apart from being dropped onto the Titanic, our local Pilton Video even tried to set it in North Edinburgh’s Old Peoples Home Silverlea, with the families having a deep-rooted historical and geographical feud as being from Pilton and Muirhouse. Unfortunately the film was never finished, only the trailer, but the old female actor was fantastic. I think one of the main actors died before the film was made.

The Edinburgh Film Festival published his programme on Wednesday. It has its 60th anniversary this year. I didn’t know that it originally started of as a documentary film festival. I went through the list of films and here are the ones which politically look interesting at first sight:

- 5 Days
- A crude awakening – The Oil Crash
Al Franken – God spoke
- The Empire in Africa
The Railroad All Stars
Who needs Sleep
The Refugee All Stars

- East of Havana

- Birds Of Heaven

- Cargo
Labour equals Freedom
The Right of the Weakest

However, I am not sure about “My country, my country”, a documentary which seems to be praised and recommended by the Film Festival management about the Iraq war and an Iraqi running for elections. The last bit bothers me a bit and probably makes the take or break of the film and the election is revealed to be the farce that it was, then it could be a good film – but most likely it is not a truthful account, but a misleading hope fresh out of Pandora’s box, and then the film would be crap.
Easy as that to classify, even without watching it.

There is also a documentary on Al Gore and portraits into the life of call centre workers in India and about globalisation. But I am a bit doubtful of both, as they seem to individualise the topic too much. There is also a documentary about film censorship. But it isn’t censorship of political films or economic censorship we as activists suffer from, but more censorship of sex and similar. Seems to have a lot of talking heads speaking, too. So I will give it a miss.