Studies show that US coverage is Israeli-centric. The main bureaus for CNN, Associated Press, Time, etc. are located in Israel and often staffed by Israelis. The son of the NY Times bureau chief is in the Israeli army;"pundit" Jeffrey Goldberg served in the IDF; Wolf Blitzer worked for AIPAC. Because the U.S. gives Israel over $8 million/day - more than to any other nation - we feel it is essential that we be fully informed on this region. Below are news reports to augment mainstream coverage.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Italian photographer captures suffering of Palestinian female prisoners

Falastine Al-Remawi - Wafa- Italian photographer Venturo Formicone Wednesday inaugurated his photographic exhibition ‘ Suspended Lives’ in Ramallah, which supports and gives voice to Palestinian female ex-prisoners and prisoners in Israeli prisons, shedding light on the human rights violations they have been subjected to.

Away from TV and newspapers which quickly mention these stories, and through photographs, testimonies and audio recordings of Palestinian female prisoners, Formicone shows the world the real suffering of these prisoners and tells the true story. “ I made a promise to the former prisoners and their families in 2009 to show the world what happened to them and speak about their suffering. It will make people think about these prisoners,” he said.

He told WAFA that his work is a letter to the world; tells the real story and shows real suffering of Palestinians, specially female prisoners. It also supports the Palestinian issue as it reflects the need of ending occupation that causes this suffering.

“ When I presented these photographs in Madrid last February, I saw people stop, check each photo and read the story, which is a way to support Palestinians. The Spanish government funded this work and that also shows support to the Palestinian issue. Each Photo says I am a former prisoner, I am a human being,” he added.

He also told WAFA that “this work will be presented in Europe, different cities in Palestine and we are planning to present it in Te Aviv.”

Lorea Uribarri-Berrojalbiz, head of Spanish cooperation, said that “ Spanish government supports human rights that’s why it decided to fund this work. I’m glad and honored to be among the protagonists of these stories, hoping that this work will help in making the world see and hear their story through the prism of a different and gender-sensitive narration.”

Allia El-Yassir, Head of United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) Office in the West Bank, Gaza and Jerusalem, said that the photographs act as a mirror of our time and our reality. “ They remind us that human rights violations are still perpetrated and that edifying gender inequalities persist, but are also a reminder that hope and support are the heartbeat of a society.”

She thanked the Government of Spain, whose strong commitment and financial support to human rights and gender equality, made this initiative possible.

Sana Amer, 24, from Hebron, one of the former prisoners who spent seven years in Israeli prison and one of the protagonists of this work told WAFA, “ I was imprisoned at 16 and released at 23. I suffered deeply because I was unable to continue my education, to walk in a street, to see new people…everything is the same, everything around me was motionless. I have been out for a year and now I am confused…should I pick up my life after seven years or subtract the seven years and start my life again at 16?”

“When they first called me and asked me to participate in this gallery I refused the idea because it is not easy to talk about my story as I don’t want to remember all the suffering I went through. Then I accepted because I want the world to know about the prisoners’ torment in Israeli prisons, especially female prisoners,” she added.

Suspended Lives exhibition was organized by Al- Mahatta Gallery and UN Women and funded by the Spanish government.

Ventura Formicone was born in Italy. His artistic activity is centered around images in general with a special interest in photography. Three years ago he began collaborating with the Nacional Academy of Lodz, Poland, where he worked as photographer, writer and Assistant Director. Several productions -mostly short films- are the result of this creative relationship.

He participated in the Cultural Planimetries show funded by the city of Bologna (Planimetrie Culturali – Bologna, Town Hall, April 1 –May 31). At the present moment he's working with painter Carla Francesca Catanese, on Vene Urbane, a show exploring form and the evolution of matter on the floor in streets and in rural areas. In Bologna he shows his work at the C30 Contemporary Art Gallery. He currently lives and works in Madrid.

He started his work in 2009 in the Occupied Palestinian Territory with UN Women, however this is his first work with the Palestinian prisoners.