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Issue 106 March 14
CAMPAIGN WEEK This issue of Quench will be coming out at the beginning of campaign week, whereby dozens of students strangers in a way similar to Freshers week, but without the receptive responses. All these students put themselves out there, faces on posters, manifestos on paper, voices ringing out in lectures campus-wide. Each candidate is more than aware of peoples perception on the whole event, the growls at the crossroads, and the uninterested faces they face when they walk into lecture theatres, speak volumes. It is understandable that for all those not involved, campaign week is simply a week of annoyance whereby crossing the roads becomes a bother and lectures run over due to strange individuals dressed as cowboys and such lecturer mid powerpoint. This is not an appeal on the behalf of any candidate, but rather on behalf of all of them. Each student running does so knowing they look silly. That they are annoying people. That at least a small percentage of the student body do not care what they have to say. The point is, they are running anyway, because each of them believe they have something to offer. That mid enough to pile even more work on top of their essays, lab work, dissertation deadlines. That they really want this. When you vote you have the potential to make eight people very happy, offering them a job they could only dream of, and support they didn't even know they had. That is not an opportunity you get everyday, so put aside your sceptism and embrace campaign week for all its worth. As the age old saying goes - if you can beat em, join em!
nal year illustration student reading for his degree at UWIC in Cardiff, Wales. He always has several projects on the go, but is interested in freelancing, childrenâ€™s books, sequential art, and the tallest of tales. More of his work is available at http://brhillman.wordpress.com/ Enough about him though!
Quench Quickie The man of the moment- some classic quotes courtesy of Charlie Sheen "I am on a drug. It's called Charlie Sheen. It's not available because if you try it, you will die. Your face will melt off and your children will weep over your exploded body."
way that is - I don't know, maybe not from this particular terrestrial realm." "I probably took more drugs than anyone could survive. I was banging seven-gram rocks, because that's how I roll. I have one speed, I have one gear: Go." "Blame the studio for giving me this much dough knowing who they were giving it to."
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The Human Serious Support Rights Issue Contents Introduction: Amnesty International Student Change Your Rights Libya Interview: John Amaechi Photography presents: Rory Peck Trust and the AKE Group Interview: Olga Kravets
AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL Niall Couper, Press
magazine has choosen to cover this more serious topic.
"Ordinary students want to know how they can change the world, and often its right there in front of you. They are powerful tools you have". It was an inspiring statement Quench teams decision to put together a Human Rights Issue. We are all more than aware that this small magazine will do nothing to change the lives of those prisoners of conscience who continue to suffer in Burma, or those facing the repressive regime in and that is exactly what we intend to do. Niall talks of "a student from a London univeristy who started a facebook group encouraging people to keep an eye on what is happening to the monks in burma. This student basically galvanised opinion across the UK, and his facebook group reached
and do little to engage in real debate or embark on real change. Niall response to my personal skepticism was realistic; "everyone has different levels of participation". Yet "the weight of opinion makes a difference, so yes joining that facebook group may seem like tokenism, yet if thousands of people join that facebook group then that’s where the difference comes from. It is like a march, if one people joins a march it wont make that goes on to talk of those British students who wrote to prisoners in Burma, offering hope and reminding the prison guards the world was aware of what was going on, I am reminded of the capacity of students to make a real impact, beyond mere facebook walls. This potential is never so evident than recently in Egypt, with students, "the masters of social media" leading the protests. Niall explains how “brilliant things are happening, amazing thing to watch, but there is a big but” as with so many promises being made - “freedom of expression, freedom of political assembly, freedom of media” - there is a potential of them not to be kept. This demands the attention of human rights activists globally. Human Rights for Niall is “the right to live free and to have their voices heard, to International’s “purpose is to protect people wherever justice, fairness, freedom and truth are denied”. Quench agrees with the former, praises the latter, and seeks in its own modest way to inform and entertain on an issue which should be close to all our hearts. We look at the role of students, and the role of journalists, both written and photgraphic, in the continuous struggle to cover and uphold universal human rights.
STUDENT CHANGE Everyday we see the world unravelling around us. Not only do we see the countless news stories telling us about the horrors of wars and the destruction that comes from them, but we hear and read about the human rights that are violated and ignored because of this. However, after the news report is over, most of us will just carry on with our lives and not give a second thought to the millions of people around the world that have been affected by such turmoil. It’s a sad fact that the majority of the human population will not care about human rights or the lack thereof, if it does not concern them directly. The topic of human rights is a major issue, a concept we simply don’t really realise until we no longer have them. Millions upon millions of people have campaigned and fought to preserve their basic rights over countless decades. Some have succeeded, some have failed and some conis that among these people, a great population of them have in fact been students, nothing special about them, just average students. If you were to look through the annals of dents of every age and generation have been at the head of some of the most prominent human rights movements. They are essentially the crucial members and the main driving force for change. Students and their campaigns have been successful in bringing down repressive regimes and governments, you could even go as far to say that they have been key players in ending wars and the domestic violence within their countries. Changes of this magnitude would not be possible without the individuals who risk everything to get justice for the violated and forgotten. Students the world over have fought tooth and nail for justice and fairness. To mention all of the student movements that have made a difference to the way in which we view life would take up a multitude of articles and more, yet there are those movements which stand out, such as the Burmese struggle to take back liberation from their government – the
Amongst a swirl of bad press, Kay Stevens shows the importance of the student protest
military Junta. In March 1988, a group of Burmese students began to campaign against the Junta, by organising a peaceful pro-democracy movement. The group was welcomed by the local Burmese community, and quickly raised much support, however the government took vicious actions against the members of the group, by murdering and imprisoning many prominent members; there were also reports of thousands of people who simply disappeared. Even now, over two decades later, the
teaching subjects related to politics, economics, religion and social and foreign affairs or even simply just been closed down altogether. One of the biggest movements to come from the 1988 campaigns is the '88 Generation Students' group, which includes many of the original members from the uprisings. Yet, student campaigns do not have to be for such an extensive cause, at San Francisco State University in the 1960s, students held a protest and eventually walked out and held a six month strike in order to have classes and departments brought on campus to teach Ethnic Studies. Even today, that one student protest remains as the longest student strike in US history. In recent news, students have been receiving negative publicity, but if history is anything to
the student movements of the past, they would have failed the moment that any opposition
The fact that we as students can even do any campaigns of any sort without the fear of violence or persecution from the authorities is a great deal more than the students of some countries have. This is why we should take advantage of the freedoms and liberties that we have, to help those who do not. To quote one of the in the world.”
FEATURES In an age of CCTV, protest and social media. Jack Doran argues it's time to know your rights
Civil rights, human rights, freedom. Words with definitions so broad, yet so fiercely contested. Any true meaning is surely lost in semantic battles between those with power, and those without. One thing is clear, as a citizen, you must know your rights. Here are a few tips you may find come to use. In the wake of national student activism, knowing your protest rights is paramount. If you intend to organize a march, communication with the police is not only wise, but a legal imperative. However, an assembly of people does not require such pre-warning. Consider your plans carefully, and act accordingly. Sit-ins and blockades whilst productive, do leave you open for arrest. In the event of detention, an answer of ‘no comment’ is a valuable resource. Whilst legal representation will be provided in due course, more than often specialist legal practices will offer their services for free in times of protest. Do your research before you set off. The police are the ultimate symbol of authority, their very presence can be intimidating, often causing the citizen to waiver their rights in favour of blind submission. A classic example of this is the ‘stop and search’. If an officer approaches you and demands you turn out your pockets, what rights do you hold? The crucial factor here is ‘reasonable suspicion’. If such an explanation has not been provided, you have strong grounds for a formal complaint. You should never be requested to remove clothing in a public space, although the officer may feel within pockets or the lining of clothing. Searches involving ‘intimate areas’ must be carried out by an officer of your own gender Britain is CCTV central, some citing an incredible statistic of one camera for every fourteen people. A camera set up in a public place, with the intention of monitoring the day-to-day movement of people before it, is most likely to fall under The Data Protection Act 1998. This means that you have an express right to request the footage held of yourself should you require it. In addition, CCTV should not be covert, signs should be clearly and appropriately displayed if video monitoring is taking place.
Libya is in focus. Jenny Pearce takes a closer look
Our television screens have been inundated with images of rioting, violence and protesters. However it is not the only North African country in turmoil at present. Libya, a generally less tourist- orientated country as its next-door neighbours, Tunisia and Egypt, has been under the rule of Colonel Gaddafi for 40 years. What are Libya’s human rights problems I hear you ask, well bluntly speaking, too many to contemplate. Although occurring outside of Libya the most high-profile for Westerners is the Lockerbie bombing, with Libya taking the blame in 2003. One UN high commissioner for human rights stated that Libya has an “illegal and excessively heavy-handed response” to pro-democracy demonstrations. The recent protests in Libya have claimed the lives of many, the exact numbers impossible to guess, however within three days in one region, 84 people lost their lives. With many of the violent acts being conducted by those under the instruction of Gaddafi, such as the security forces employed to ‘control order’ it asks the question what other atrocities is the regime to blame for? Many associate Gaddafi with being a bit eccentric; with his love of flamenco dancing and female bodyguards you would not think him a man capable of such things. Benghazi, Libya’s second city, where support for Gaddafi is much weaker, has been the centre of the violence- even the police force have sided with the protesters. There is increasing pressure from the rest of the world for Gaddafi to step down, even from Tony Blair who the Gaddafi family call a ‘family friend’. With the international media spotlight on Libya and their actions it can only be a matter of time before Gaddafi gives in to the pressure and stands down. With many of his assets frozen, an arms embargo and a travel ban the future does not seem bright for Gaddafi. Perhaps after four decades of human rights violations, largely ignored in recent years by the UN, Gaddafi and his government are finally receiving the backlash they deserve. The UN are promising that any human rights violations will be investigated and punishments issued. On a positive note there is hope for Libya’s citizens who have been waiting for Gaddafi’s rule to end and democracy restored. With the other North African countries attempting to resolve their disorder and their people calling for a better future, now could be seen as the best time for Libyans to get what they are calling for. Although these are positive actions, the future for Libya and its citizens email@example.com is, unfortunately, still up in the air.
Interview: John Amaechi Amnesty International ambassador and human rights activist. Amy Robinson talks to him about the Bejing olympics, gay rights and student activism. What were your biggest concerns about 'coming out' while you were still an active player in the NBA? Getting fired mostly; it’s still legal in 29 US states to fire someone for being homosexual. Fear of being fired is something very primal. You should be able to do your job without fear of reprisal; it’s one of the basics, it doesn’t matter if you’re a professional basketball player or a teacher. That fear is overriding. But I was 'out' to a lot of my teammates and they had little to no issue with it. Even in at large, it was a minority of people who had a problem with me being gay. However, the reality was that the people who minded were the people in power, such as the owner of the team I played for in Utah. What do you believe triggered your involvement with Amnesty? That was a question of me seeking out another outlet for my activism. We're making compromises between people’s human rights and our convenience on a day to day basis. And that is true with China, that is true with Egypt, it is true with a number of places. And Amnesty is, well if there was a brand name for human rights Amnesty is one of the big ones. And I wanted to be with a reputable organisation that could really help steer my education. Do you believe that sports are a particularly good method of analysing human rights, as they are generally well known and already in the global-media glare? Do you believe that athletes have a responsibility to use their status as role models to influence culture and speak against injustices? I do. I don’t think there is any point in having a high profile if you’re not going to use it for something useful. I think that the sad truth is that many athletes don’t use that profile for anything other than getting free food in fancy restaurants. But I certainly think it’s vital that you have well-educat-
ed, really tuned-in athletes and people who use that celebrity to shine a spotlight. Do you think that often sports people are uninterested in that? That they just prefer the nicer side of celerity status, the free meals as you say, and the popularity or do you think that often it's a bigger fear that if they do speak out they might loose sponsorship, salaries and so on. It is a reality that if you speak out you will be less palatable to some of the mainstream. I’ve found that myself. It’s just one of those things that you have to brace yourself for. But I also think that it’s quite a lot to ask. Certain athletes are not necessarily the most well known for being the most worldly or the most intelligent, you might say. And in order to be really engaged in the human rights issues you have to really educate yourself. You have to understand the nuances of a lot of very complex global issues. Not everybody’s into that. A lot of people want to wave the flag; there are not many people who want to be pinned down by a reporter who then says, "Well why is it that you’re against this or this? Why is it that you’re supporting this or this?" Why do you think that you were the only Amnesty International Ambassador to be let into China? I honestly know why this was. It was because of the fact that my role was high-profile and I suppose my reputation was high-profile enough that they felt it would have been a stink of some description had I not been allowed in. I also will say that I met with the Chinese representative in Britain from the consulate before I left. I had a long conversation with them about why I was going and what I wanted to see, and they gave me China’s perspective and I gave them mine. So there was a lot of prepreparation to make that trip happen.
Were you surprised with anything that was said from China’s perspective or was it what you expected to hear? I will admit I was very surprised by China's perspective. Almost by listening to them China was indistinguishable from England. I mean it was indistinguishable. When I talked about the right to get a group people and protest, the way they described the process of that in China made it seem like it was as easy as showing up in Trafalgar square and that’s just not the reality, it’s not the truth. But this man was convinced of it, or at least he tried to convince me. It was really bizarre; the whole process was quite intimidating, it felt quite frightening to be told that this meeting was going to happen and they wanted to explain how I had got everything wrong. When the ambassador of a country tells you this meeting's going to happen, it’s a bit intimidating. What are your reactions to the murder of David Kato and the following investigation? What's happening in Uganda? I'm trying not to be too flippant about this, but I don’t understand why people are surprised. This is a natural extension of two things: one, a government that is clearly trying to provide a scapegoat that everyone can agree over. Secondly, the outside influence of the West, from mostly America, but also the UK, who have gone over to, not just Uganda but various African countries, and told them that there is a God they must follow, saying it is more important to worry about gay people than it is to worry about feeding your children, educating your children and giving the members of your country clean water. I am disgusted by it. Do you think the response of U.S. and European governments was strong enough? I know that both the UK government, through its ambassador network and its foreign policy arm, and also the American government have made very strong statements about Uganda and its ‘Kill the Gays’ bill. I think that’s a very positive thing. What I do think is remarkable and alarming- even in the light of all the other stuff that’s gone on, such as Egypt being up in arms, and all kinds of other stuff that’s featured in recent news stories- is that this kind of murder, and then the blatant desecration of his funeral, is allowed to happen. (It was more a celebration of his life than it was a funeral. But while the ceremony was going on, the preacher who was meant to give him his last rites immediately began talking about how homosexuality was a sin, how Kato would be going to hell, before refusing to bury him. So in the end, his friends had to pick up his casket and take it and bury it themselves). I just think it’s shocking that these stories aren’t front page news.
How do you react to the issues of the UK deporting gay and lesbian asylum seekers who are asked to ‘prove’ their sexuality and are unable, back into countries where their sexuality is punishable by imprisonment or death? Such as the case of Brenda Namigadde, who was told she would be deported back to Uganda just days after the death of Kato. (The gay lobbyist group Stonewall suggests that between 2005-2009, 98% of appeals by gay men resulted in rejection, often on the grounds that they could ‘hide’ their sexuality) I’ve spoken to a couple of people within the Home Office about this issue, and I know that they are really making an effort to address some of the issues that they’re facing, but the fact is that it’s just not good enough. The idea that in this day and age we are not nuanced and sophisticated enough about identity to realise that having to hide your identity is in itself a breach of your human rights is ridiculous. It’s the same as when in the past, and we’re talking here in the '40s, '50s and '60s, there were famous Americans in office, who were the product of mixed marriages or mixed relationships, and they were light enough to ‘pass’, and they did. They ended up being in music or in film or whatever else because they were light enough to pass, but that is an imposition on someone’s human rights in itself, to have to do that to get by is disgusting. To suggest that gay people should go back to their countries of origin and all they should do is just not be themselves in order to survive is just an absolute transgression of their human rights. Are there any issues or cases you would particularly like to talk about, or get across to the student population. I think the one you just mentioned is one of the frightening ones at the moment. I suppose to give specific examples of human rights abuses across the globe, there are just too many to pick one out. I know I was talking about a Mexican native rights activist the other day, who has been in jail for, I think it will be coming up two years on trumpedup charges, basically to keep him quiet. I mean there is no corner of the world that you can look to where there is no shame of human rights. I suppose that the message I would give to students is : you have a reputation for being activists, for being sensitive to oppression when they see it. And though I know students have big issues of their own, in terms of their difficulties with the new fees and such, I would encourage them not to lose sight of the fact that students have always, and will continue to, play a massive role in bringing awareness to the larger problems to people outside of the UK as well. firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Griffths talks you through the help and support made available to freelance journalists.
Turn the clock back just a couple of decades and the world of journalists operating round the globe in war-zones or other areas of conflict was a very different one than that of today. The wearing of a press-badge or vest commanded respect, which afforded a great deal of protection for reporters and production staff, particularly if they were BBC, or latterly CNN. Non Governmental organisations were rarely targeted and enjoyed a similar status. Today that situation has changed. The fact that reports can be made immediately available worldwide has resulted in many of those involved in arms conflict or suppression feeling threatened by the presence of journalists and cameramen. Also, whereas in the past, most journalists were employed and supported by organizations like the BBC or CNN, today an increasing number are freelancers and do not enjoy the support or backup of a large employer. The number of journalist correspondents or crews being targeted during the course of their operations has increased. In 1995, The Rory Peck Trust was founded and named in memory of a distinguished freelance cameraman who was caught by crossfire in Moscow whilst covering the Russian constitutional power struggle of 1993. Co-founder of the Frontline News Agency, Peck had reported and helped to inform the world on many important events, including the Bosnian war, the war in Afghanistan and the first Gulf war. Set up by his wife, Juliet Peck, alongside close friends and colleages, the Trust was created to provide help and support for freelance journalists and their families when things go wrong. Their assistence is both financial and practical. Today, the Trust has grown into an internationally recognised organisation which operates in more than sixty countries around the world. Funded by international media organizations, trusts and foundations as well as fundraising events and individual donations, the trust continues to research ways to support freelancers and expand its own safety initiatives. The work of the Trust spans four main areas: The Rory Peck Beneficiaries Program: Provides direct, practical assistance to freelance newsgatherers - and their families - who have been killed, injured, imprisoned or persecuted as a result
The Rory Peck Trust of their work. It distributes around 100 grants a year and also undertakes project work in specific regions or countries. The Rory Peck Training Fund: Enables freelancers, who otherwise could not afford it, to undertake hostile environment training. The training teaches journalists how to minimize risk by identifying and avoiding dangerous situations, how to act in the event of kidnap or hostage taking, extensive medical skills, equipment handling and safety procedures. The trust works with three approved training organisations, and as you will see on the following page, I was invited along to AKE to see what hostile environment training entails. Information and Advice: Freelance enterprises that are undertaken based on properly -informed decisions and the advice of experienced colleagues are likely to be more successful and most importantly, much safer. The Trust offers advice for freelancers on insurance, safety, training, trauma counselling and is currently producing a web-based resource for freelancers. During the 1990s freelance camera operators were rarely recognised for their work for broadcast companies. The Trust has always held raising the profile of freelancers as a main concern and founded The Rory Peck Awards as a means to honour the bravery and courage of camera men and women - like Rory Peck. Each year, an awards ceremony is held in London to showcase footage and stories from freelancers and raise funds for the Trust. To see some of the incredible videos, search the Rory Peck Awards on Youtube and have a look at their channel. Prepare to be surprised, informed, uplifted, saddened and often deeply moved by the reports from freelance journalists who take such enormous risks to bring us invaluable information about the world in which we live. You can also join their Facebook group page to get the latest news and information from the Trust. To make a donation to the Rory Peck Trust, or just to simply find out more about their work then visit www.rorypecktrust.org.
The AKE Group
In September last year I was invited to spend a day at the training centre of AKE near Monmouth. I joined a group of journalists from a number of news and charitable organizations who were receiving training to prepare them for work in hostile environments. AKE does not only offer the 5 day 'surviving hostile regions' course to journalists, the training is also open to charity and aid workers and people from any other profession
ter a short classroom session we were then taken to locations where a number of scenarios were played out. Using actors, AKE place those on the course in very realistic situations involving roadblocks/security check points, car crashes and hostage-taking scenarios. This was full-on stuff with explosions, masked gunmen acting aggressively and potential booby traps. Some of those on the course were surprised by how intensely realistic the simulations were. As former members of UK special forces, AKE trainers have a great deal of experience of real-life situations and spare no detail in their efforts to prepare trainees for what can happen, even down cal police. My mentor for the day was trainer Steve Cooke and I interviewed him to get a little more background: Considering the Geneva Convention was so that they can anticipate risks and remain in set up with aim to protect journalists when control of their situations. People who get kidworking, how real are the dangers? napped usually present themselves as a potential Yes, just like civilians, journalists are protected target, either by advertising wealth or by makunder the Geneva Convention. However, depend- ing patterns and setting routines that are easy to ing on the country and region, a journalist may identify. It also depends on the kidnappers' motivation: how professional they are, why is that conventions are not adhered to. The conventions individual being targeted - for example is it for are only as good as the people that abide/ recognise the rules. people who live in environments for long periods Do you feel operating as a freelance jour- of time can become complacent, limiting their nalist is more dangerous than working for awareness. Some people come on the course exa newsgathering institution/broadcasting pecting to be taught unarmed combat. We do not company? No I don't feel that freelancers are at any more at chances are you will be hurt in this process and risk than anyone else - it's about awareness and will then be going into captivity injured - not a how aware individuals are. good situation to be in. Plus, you may be of less value than someone who is not injured. Do you ever accompany journalists to hostile environments as well as instructing the What immediate advice do you have for course? someone who is considering working from Yes I do accompany journalists on the ground in various environments. But I would ask the ques- with no experience? tion what people consider as a hostile environ- My immediate advice would be to attend one of ment? Some people think bombs and bullets, but AKE 5 day BTEC Level 4 Hostile Environment medical issues are a greater risk: a simple infec- courses. The course covers Planning Consideration in a region with limited medical care could expose an individual to poor treatment and at Weapon Awareness, Mine Considerations, Acthat, more danger. countability, Riots and extensive medical training up to dealing with multiple trauma situaGiven that journalists are required to un- tions. dertake a certain professional conduct when operating from hostile environments, how effectively can one be trained to deal with a they provide visit their website: kidnapping/hostage situation? www.akegroup.com say at the start of my courses that there is no silver bullet answer; we teach people to be aware
and Tom Armstrong interview freelance photojournalist Olga Kravets.
Military forces parade for the World War II victory day on May 9th 2010 next to the main Mosque in the centre of Grozny in Chechnya
The destroyed kitchen of Umatgirei Kartoev. Four of Kartov's sons were killed and three detained in the security operation on March 2nd 2010 in the village of Ekazhevo in Ingusheti. Five houses belonging to the Kartoev family were exploded by the security forces.
A team of handicapped footballers from Grozny. Rosneft oil drills in the outskirts of Grozny. The Most of them became disabled because of the powerful pro-Kremlin monopoly enforced the end of the second war in Chechnyato get hold of its resources
To what regions of the world has your work taken you?
You’ve been involved with the Rory Peck Trust’s Training Fund, how has the Trust
What news agencies and institutions have you worked for?
FEATURES+PHOTOS FEATURES I was just checking the tearsheets on my website today and actually realised how much stuff on Chechnya is published and it’s amazing. Many argue people are not interested in Chcchnya anymore. There are also a variety of magazines and newspapers, you can look up the names on my website because I can’t even pronounce them all!. Some from Scandinavia and the Netherlands have pretty hard names; there’s a long list. You mentioned your upcoming project in Bosnia, are you working on anything else at the moment? Yes I’m working on a project called “Grozny: 9 Cities”, it’s about war aftermath in Chechnya based on the philosophical concept of nine levels hidden in one city. Me and two other colleagues (Maria Morina and Oksana Yushko) are working together and it’s going to be a documentary eventually. The other project I’m working on is about the religious triangle in Bosnia and Herzegovina of the Muslims, Croats and Serbs.
Serious Support Do you have any advice for anyone who wants to pursue a career in photojournalism? Well, the market is really tough these days. I’m currently doing my MA and I face these people
I’ll give is that if you ever think it will bring you fame or money, it’s a miss. You have to realise that it’s really not a profession but a lifestyle and you just get on with it. It will seriously affect your private life. Not everybody will be happy to have a partner who says ‘sorry darling there is a revolution in Kyrgyzstan, I’m off and I don’t know when I’m coming back”. You either choose this lifestyle or you don’t. You either love it, or you don't. I love it.
journalists is to other news agencies? Generally they cannot survive without freelancers these days because there are not many staff positions left. You can’t get everything from the news wires, sometimes the personal projects that we do are done before actual things start. For example, Anastasia Taylor-Lind did a project on Egyptian bloggers about a year ago. Back then no one could imagine that the revolution would happen and many people would think it weird that she was taking pictures of bloggers. But then the revolution happened and suddenly she has this beautiful body of work and everybody’s interested. No major publications would think as far ahead as we think sometimes because we are on our own, we have some time, we don’t always have money but we still do the project so, yes, they need us.
To see more of Olga's work visit: www.olgakravets.com www.versoimages.com
FOOD GOES GLOBAL I wasn’t sure what to expect of the Refugee Rhythms event that took place in CF10 last Wednesday, but what I got was a lot of fun! The room was decorated with posters bearing information and quizzes about the status and lives of refugees in Britain, and there were performances happening throughout to keep you entertained. The music was great – an indie band in particular caught my eye, but unfortunately I didn’t get their name – the theatrical performances were good and the people were friendly. Several tables’ worth of food were laid out, prepared by the refugees and volunteers dishes, all of which smelled delicious. Food from Georgia, Iraq and Zimbabwe predominated, and I chose some gorgeous Zimbabwean curried potatoes, chicken which melted off the bone, a falafel wrap (these were the quickest sellers, vanishing almost immediately), slightly tough lamb patties, and well-cooked, nicely--seasoned biryani rice. I also dared myself into trying a chicken’s foot, which looked incredibly unappetising but didn’t taste half bad, if a bit weird! Desserts were a mixture of cakes and biscuits from Iraq and Georgia, made jointly by a very pleasant Georgian refugee lady (whose son I chatted to for a while) and by a friendly Iraqi student who was also one of the organisers: they cost extra (£1.50 for two) but all those which I sampled were delicious, especially a nutty little heart-shaped butter biscuit. Overall, it was a great night, so long as you kept your mind – and your palate – open, with all admission, and worth at least twice that for the food. I for one am really hoping it’ll happen again! Bethan Cable
For all who went to Refugee Rhythms during the Go Global week, wasn’t it a right laugh? For all who didn’t, shame on you! Okay, okay, I’m joking. However, Refugee Rhythms proved to be a night of Bhangra-dancing, beer-swilling, curry-munching mayhem! With such a frenetic atmosphere to the occasion, it might have been easy to lose sight of what the money being raised was actually going towards. the Welsh Refugee Council’s Hardship Fund. Whilst the music and food fostered a lively and culturally rich feel to the evening, it was arguably the warmth of the people who have, or are currently seeking, asylum in Wales that imbued the evening with a real sense of pride, integrity and purpose. Many of the asylum seekers and refugees in attendance were also contributors to the Welsh Refugee Council’s new recipe book Tastes of Home; this book not only serves as a fantastic source of ethnically diverse recipes, but its sale also raises money for the Hardship Fund. The Welsh Refugee Council (WRC) is a smashing charity that provides a plethora of services to those who seek asylum and refugee status in Wales. With the help of their loyal army of volunteers, tional support. Unfortunately, their resources can only stretch so far, which means they are unable to help everyone who seeks it. They do, however, strive to make donations and proceeds from such merchandise as the recipe book stretch as far as possible! The Hardship Fund allows the WRC to assist people who have had their claim for asylum refused, rendering them destitute. The WRC says: "Destitution may be caused if an individual has had their ment, or because of administrative delays causing a delay in support, or for other reasons." The Hardship Fund is used primarily to help with immediate and urgent expenses, such as travel and healthcare costs; the fund also provides a slight cushion to those who cannot afford food. bellies with all kinds of gastro-delights and giving us the chance to shake it to some sweet Bhangra beats. More importantly, we thank you for bringing our attention to such a fantastic cause. Now, I urge you all to get online and buy the recipe book. Try to recreate some of these saliva-inducing dishes at home and lend a helping hand to charity at the same time. http://www.welshrefugeecouncil.orgthe-wrcshop/ Gavin Jewkes
TASTES OF HOME Tastes of Home is an exciting new recipe book containing dishes from asylum seekers and refugees currently living in Wales. From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, there are recipes from 18 different countries, all contributing unique and tasty dishes that will certainly tickle your taste buds! The editor of Tastes of Home, Lydia James, was inspired by her experiences at Cardiff ’s drop-in centre for refugees and asylum seekers. She witnessed people talking about food and the relaxed friendly atmosphere it created. No language skills are needed for cooking, allowing everybody at the drop-in centres to debate a common issue - food! Lydia was able to experience other cultures and ticultural cuisine of modern Wales. Enderassie, from Ethiopia, shares his dish of ‘Doro Wat’ whereas Husien from Eritrea contributes a traditional dish of ‘Zigini’ - which can be extremely hot! I personally cannot wait to try an Egyptian lentil based meal called ‘Kushari’ as it appeals to my love of pasta. As well as vegetarian options, there are also sweet things to try. The ‘Cake with No Name’ from Georgia looks abso-
: Recipe book of the people
lutely delicious and would be a great alternative to plain old Victoria sponge. Zimbabwean ‘Nhopi’ was a hit at Refugee Rhythms! Tastes of Home not only contains recipes but some fascinating information on the countries themselves. This is a recipe book with a difference, giving you an eye-opening insight into the lives of refugees and asylum seekers. Chapter Arts Centre showed their support for Welsh refugees and asylum seekers by partly sponsoring the book. They have also agreed to try out some of the recipes in their own restaurant. So if you don’t fancy cooking then get yourself down to Chapter! All the recipes in the book are relatively easy to make and are affordable even on a student budget. some cultured cooking! The recipe book is available to buy from the Welsh Refugee Council website in their merchandise section. Melissa Parry
THE UNITING POWER OF FOOD When at Refugee Rhythms I got a chance to talk to Lydia, the editor of Tastes of Home I asked her what had made her think of producing a cookery book compiled of recipes donated by some of the refugees she has met through her involved in working with the Welsh Refugee Council she attended drop-in centres that they run to offer advice, offer help with English and allow people to meet other people applying for asylum in Wales. She told me that most of the conversations she had with people there were about food. There were many debates, for example, on the best way to prepare rice â€“ everyone's preferred method was different. Initially I ally a little obsessed with food but I see myself as being in the minority in that). Then I thought about it some more and came to the conclusion that this shouldn't have been at all surprising. Although it is often said that the only two inevitabilities in life are death and taxes, unless the former occurs very early on, food has got to essential for living. More than just being necessary in order to live food is not merely common ground shared by all people. It is central to communal life. Most major celebrations involve sharing a meal: Christmas, Hanukkah, Divali, Thanksgiving,
Id-ul-Fitr â€“ whether cultural or religious, humans link celebration with food.Certain foods people will have this in common. For example, even if you don't eat pigs in blankets, Brussel sprouts and turkey at Christmas you probably know what celebration they're associated with. Aside from its role as part of tradition certain food and drink tends to mean a lot to individuals; Orangina reminds me of visiting my Grandmother when I was a child. Proust idea that madeleines reminded the protagonist over-simplifying here and I apologise for that). If you look at refugee literature you will see it has the power to remind people of home and this can be comforting. Food can comfort people and remind them of times past but it can also bring people together. It is at the centre of communal events and yet also plays an important role in individual's lives. Food crosses cultural boundaries and can become a common language. I think that an excellent way to expand your vocabulary is to take a look at food from other cultures and Tates of Home is an excellent place to start. Jasmine Joynson
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REVIEWS... Jeremy Hughes Dovetail Dovetail
Mitch Albom The Five People You Meet In Heaven -
Craig McDowall Alex Calvin
Vikas Swarup Q&A
Kate Mosse The Winter Ghosts -
How to Write a Novel in Ten Easy(ish) Steps.
1. Keep your mind and eyes open
“Read until your brain creaks”, as one wordsmith put it. Read good books and work out what makes them good. Observe the world around you, particularly people and their actions, reactions and interactions. Keep a notepad and pencil with you at all times.
6. Keep writing 2. Have a plan, or at least an idea Some writers like to have a carefully worked-out would put the Underground map to shame. Others start with just a particular image or character or phrase, while some brave souls make it up as they go along. But whatever your planning style, you need something to write about.
3. Set aside time and set a deadline Typing steadily, you can comfortably write a thousand words in an hour. But this doesn’t include false starts, interruptions, and staring at a blank screen in despair. Dedicate regular chunks of time to working on your novel – perhaps an hour a day, or a couple of evenings per week. Give yourself a deadline, such as the end of the summer break, or better yet, the closing date of a writing competition. Get friends to hold you to it.
4. Write! This bit is fairly straightforward: write one word. Then another. And another. Repeat a few thousand times, remembering to arrange the words atmospheres, themes and plots.
5. Enjoy writing Okay, perhaps there’s a bit more to it than that. Develop a love for words, language and storytelling, and all the amazing things you can do with them. Some people like the label 'Writer' as a fashion accessory. They think it sounds cool and impresses people at parties. But they don’t actually like writing, which can be lonely, time-consuming and far too much like hard work. To be a real writer, you need to enjoy writing.
That said, there will be times when writing will just be a slog. Keep going anyway. Supplies of chocolate biscuits and coffee may help.
7. Get feedback and rewrite There’s no way round it: if you want to develop as a writer, you must seek out honest criticism of your work and change because of it. Yes, that means someone has to actually read your novel, and not just your mum or best friend. This is where writing groups can come in handy – if you kill someone for criticising your novel, at least it’s not one of your existing friends.
8. Avoid clichés (like the plague!) If you describe something as 'going like a knife through butter', have you stopped to consider what a bladed kitchen utensil moving through that particular dairy product feels like? Butter can be pretty hard, especially just out of the fridge! Readers will mentally skip over a cliché, so why not choose something that they’ll pause to imagine?
Think about everything you write. Don’t just repeat something you’ve seen elsewhere. Would something really feel like that? Do those words really describe this thing well? How would someone really react in that situation?
10. Ignore all advice There’s no formula for good writing. Writers often can’t really explain how they wrote their books, and even if they could, it probably wouldn’t work for you. My own novel hasn’t been published (yet), so draw your own conclusions about the usefulness or otherwise of my advice! Caleb Woodbridge
LoVE TRAVEL, LoVE PEoPLE
tell us of their personal experiences.
When I visited Nigeria in 2009 I was a little apprehensive listening to my parents' stories of how family members had been held up at gun point several times but luckily escaped unharmed. Despite this I was more excited than anything to see family that I hadnâ€™t seen in 10 years. Nigeria is an amazing country, its people are wonderful and there are so many sites to see from its long golden beaches, to massive outdoor shopping markets, large indoor malls and a picturesque skyline. However, there is so much poverty. I saw this land through different eyes from when I was a youngster. I saw an entire village living under a motorway bridge surviving from selling timber, roughly-dressed and hard-looking men selling snacks on busy roads for 12 hour days, 4 -5 people crammed onto a moped because it was cheaper than a taxi and police or not. Experiencing all these scenes made me immensely grateful about all the things I take for granted back home. Nigeria follows the 80/20 principle where 20% of the country has 80% of the wealth. It is impossible for small businesses to grow. One of the reasons for this is because they have to provide their own power by buying an expensive transformer and a generator. Despite this there are continual power cuts. Once a transformer is bought it automatically becomes the property of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria (PHCN). It is not a coincidence that the main stake holders of the PHCN also run the country. ing to Nigeria to see the many things the country does have to offer. Although it would be advisable to go with someone who knows the area well and I can guarantee you will enjoy it. Niyi Ajuwon
village in the vast plains of Venezuela. We were there to repair and repaint their community
practical as painting and repairing walls so that we could offer assistance effectively. However, for myself and the rest of the team, it seemed this task lacked a personal touch. Although we put much love into our week of work under the blazing sun, mending broken walls and painting vivid colours over their dusty, worn surfaces, it really felt like there was so much more that ing games despite the language barrier. They wanted to touch our 'strange' skin and 'straw' hair and they were fascinated with us. Feeling that we had made more progress with the people than just painting their hall, we wanted to give something more to these children and their families, so we went from house to house giving clothing, as well as balloons, hats and bubbles for the children. It was amazing to communicate with the local people on a personal level and to feel that as well as helping them practically, we had expressed respect for them and their culture, which I believe is more important than accomplishing a task and leaving. Claire Finnegan
RemaRkable JouRneys Jessica Wretlind from an arranged marriage in Pakistan for love and a new life in Sweden
Sobia was born in Pakistan in 1980, and continuing the family tradition of arranged marriages, it was suggested that she would marry her cousin. lege, and as her cousin hadn’t been well educated,
she felt that her aunt and uncle wanted to use her to make a good life for him. “It was like my family were saying to me, ‘no matter who you try to become you will always end up with a no-one, and will have to be his support’. Some years ago work was a career, a passion; my friends were doctors and engineers. My cousin worked in a shop, and so I felt humiliated being asked to marry him.” Sobia was lucky to have fairly liberal parents, who allowed her to express her opinion. Her cousin later became engaged to someone else within the family, but this woman was against the match. She left him for another man, whose child she was carrying. “My parents had faced a lot of criticism for sending their daughters to college, and when this happened,
TRAVEL my uncle said to my father, “It’s all because of you. You’re the one who gave liberty to your daughters and now we’re facing these problems because everyone is following in your footsteps.” Sobia, however, recalls that her parents were not always liberal about her relationships. “During my youth, my parents didn’t like the thought that they didn’t have control over my romantic feelings. I was constantly confronted and not allowed to have conversations with guys.” When her male cousin was again looking for a wife, Sobia was trapped into thinking that he would be her only option for marriage. Throughout her career, Sobia has had to work very hard to prove herself capable as a woman. “I was doing very well working for an American company and sought a promotion, but my boss didn’t approve of women wanting to advance their position working for the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the UN, despite often being the only woman guiding her staff. In 2005 there was a devastating earthquake in Kabul, and Sobia worked there as a translator. It was here that she met Anders, a Swede who was working a short rehabilita-
to Sweden. It was more like, yes we’re friends, let’s stay in touch.” Later in the year, Sobia was in Geneva taking a course in humanitarian assistance, and Anders travelled there to see her. “When we left Geneva we spoke on the phone everyday and I realised that we were becoming close.” In April 2007 Anders This is when their romantic feelings started. “We went to a party together and a friend asked if we were there as friends or as a couple. Anders said, “A couple I think”. We kissed, and that was the start.” This event was followed by a coincidence: Sobia was accepted on a week’s course in Sweden in Anders’ hometown of Enköping. She spent the week with him, during which time the couple got engaged. When Sobia returned to Pakistan, she told her family that she was returning to Sweden to continue her studies. “I didn’t tell anyone about Anders, because if they consider marriage with a Christian man a religious sin they should not have to be a part of it. Not everyone has to celebrate your happiness.” 07, she was to marry Anders the following month. truth to her sister, who felt that her parents should also know. I asked how they reacted. “My sister was scared of what her in-laws would think of our family if they found out, and my parents were uncertain that a westernised marriage would last long. My father still avoids the topic, but my mother has now accepted it; she recently gave me a book and a CD for Anders to learn the language Arfu.” Sobia acknowledges that her friends have religious
many traditions of her society have shifted from religious to cultural pressures, “Sometimes it’s hard to distinguish between religion and society. I have had periods in my life when religion was everything for me, it isn’t now. I do follow the teachings and am still proud of being a Muslim, but I with no cultural obligations here in Sweden.” stan before moving to Sweden. “I knew it was a risk someone that I really love.” Unfortunately, however, Sweden, and the hurdle of the language barrier
feel isolated and lonely. “When Anders works away there are days when I don’t even hear my own voice. I sometimes call my friends from home, but they have moved on with other things and I’m no longer a part of the same social circles.” Sobia is the only Pakistani in her town and doesn’t feel integrated in the community. “It’s a completely different world here; it’s not really my world in a way.” But despite having had many down periods, she isn’t ready to give up and is hopeful about making friends with other international students on her Swedish language course, which she feels is going well; “I
her livelihood for Anders, but it is warming to hear her smile as she describes her husband. “Anders is very funny, a good human being. I can tell him the truth and he can take it, whereas in Pakistan I couldn’t do that with a man.” Sobia laughed as she spoke of their daily routine. “Our way of eating and sleeping is so different. I’m often nocturnal whereas he’s very tired from work in the evenings; but he tries to cope with our different habits and he’s even learnt to eat spicy food!” The couple have agreed that if she cannot settle in Sweden, they will consider moving to another English speaking country where both of them can thrive. They would like to become parents but have decided to wait until Sobia is more settled so that she has something to get back to when the child starts school. Sobia remains optimistic about her future with Anders, and it is clear that she does not regret her decision to let her heart lead her out of Pakistan. As our conversation drew to a close, Sobia confessed that her only wish is for her family to be more involved with her life. “To know who I am is to know where I come from, and I hope one day we can go back and meet all the people I grew up with. My children will know about their father, his friends and where he grew up, but they need to know about their mother as well.”
A WORD WITH THE BOD Human rights are clearly one of the major issues of the 21st century. We live in a world that in some ways is so developed, yet in other ways sadly lags behind. For LGBT+ people, human rights are one of the most relevent issues in everyday life - from the USA where Illinois and Hawaii are legalising civil unions, through to Qatar where gay football fans wonder if they will be able to go to the 2022 World Cup as Qatar punishes homosexuality with imprisonment. In Issue 103 we looked at the issues about being an LGBT+ asylum seeker, but today we're looking more at LGBT+ rights in general, including why a country might not let someone live there if they were out as gay, and how human rights are more of a pressing issue than most of us probably consider. Kate Boddington
Anna Siemiackzo interviews Maris Sants and talks about the persecution suffered by the LGBT+ community worldwide.
gari, only 16 at the time of the execution, and Ayaz Marhoni, 18, unlawfully accused of rape were hanged in public on July 16th, 2005 in Iran. According to international human rights activists and organisations their prosecution and ultimate execution was a result of their consensual sexual relationship with each other. Uganda is another drastic example of shocking violation of basic humanrights in relation to gay rights. Gay people in Uganda can already be jailed for 14 years for engaging in laws in the past and, as the new Ugandan law demonsrates, is still exercised today. "It's not an inborn orientation, it's a behaviour learnt - and it can be unlearnt. That's why we are encouraging churches and mosques to continue rehabilitating and counselling these people," said David Bahati, from the ruling National Resistance Movement (NRM), one of the organisations responsible for the proposed and now passed law.
“These people” suffer persecution, social condemnation, isolation and discrimination in what would seem the most secure and friendly environments; within their own family and friends circles, schools and subsequent work places in an outrageously high number of countries, particularly those in the Middle East and Africa, but also Eastern Europe and America. The politician of the ruling party in Poland uttered impatiently “Can we just leave the gay and opportunity of the substantial number of Polish people. The Pride was banned in Poland not long ago under the rule of the conservative party and it continues to be banned or under serious threat in Belarus, Lithuania, Latvia and Russia. The battle for recognition and rights is continuous. The Latvian priest, Maris Sants, was forced to emigrate once excommun cated by his church after admitting his sexuality. His talks openly of the hypocrisy of the Church and the imporlieve that there is nothing wrong in being gay. Churches are doing very wrong things. Probably in 10 or 20 years, they will have excuses for having burned and stoned so many of us in the The struggle for equality manifests itself in far less brutal ways in many countries, but indicates a situation far from true equality globally. The battle over California Proposition 8 in America continues. The highest ever funded state ballot, there is a lot of people with a true passion for the cause. Closer still to home is Britain’s own controversy with the issue of marHomophobia is a massive problem, which to varying degrees of extremity affects the lives of millions worldwide. For all those whom place importance on human rights, understanding the global challenge which involves education and a shift in mindset, is essential, so lesbian,
The National Exhibition
Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama March 18th – April 16th Anybody meandering down North Road won’t struggle to spot the eyesore of scaffolding that currently British Theatre Designers are due to present the 2011 National Exhibition, appropriately titled Transformation and Revelation. The exhibition will feature a selection of the most innovative, breathtaking
to specialist props and costumes, as well as interactive exhibits from theatre architects and lighting, video and sound designers. The collection will be representing the UK at the Prague Quadrennial International Exhibition in summer, and a selection of designs will be on display at the V&A next spring, Intrigued? Well it’s worth getting a cheeky look-in while it’s here in Cardiff. And the added bonus: it’s free! So you have no excuse. Jo Southerd
Lockerbie: Unfinished Business Wales Millennium Centre 20th March at 8pm Tickets: £8-£12. ness’ focuses on the memoirs of Jim Swire, father of one of the terrorist victims. With doubts on whether the true murderer was convicted and accusations being thrown towards the criminal justice system, Writer and actor David Benson took the one-man play to Edinburgh Fringe Festival last year, subsequently winning the Fringe First Award with his believable portrayal of a desperate parent who had lost all faith in his country’s legal system. Benson suppresses within himself the anger and rage of Swire, providing the audience with a emotional illustration of grief, strength and determination. ‘Lockerbie’ exposes to its viewers a hard-hitting piece of political theatre, an alternative to the stories behind the headlines and leads us into the lives of the victims’ relatives, who had to put their loved ones to rest. Laura Evans
aRTs sCEnE THE CRUCIBLE Edge of the seat drama is one way to describe it so if you’re feeling hungover, slightly fragile and want to isn’t for you. From Tuesday 1st February, Act One has been performing The Crucible inside a cosy theatre in the Chapter Arts Centre. The cast are a talented bunch who excelled in their performance and clearly put much work into the production. Cast members to watch out for include Sam Blythe as the good hearted and hardworking John Proctor whose passionate and emotional performance made moments like the court scene even more gripping and intense. Another name to be glori-
considerate man. The end of the play was met by loud applause from an enthusiastic crowd who clearly much appreciated the work and effort put into this memorable production. Laura Macri
GEORGE’s MaRVELLOUs MEDICInE “Flea powder, IN?” Asks George to the wide eyed children, out for a night at the theatre during half term accompanied by a smiling, and ever patient, grandparent on each side. “IN!” This question was one of many, ever so many, posed to the audience throughout the performance as the marvellous medicine is being thrown together by George, raiding his mother’s cupboards for ingredients. Loud vocal responses and enthusiastic hand actions are expected of all members of the audience. Creating a magical potion consisting of household liquids was of course, a pastime for all of us growing up. Dahl’s classics may well be timeless but this production comes with an age guideline and frankly, it should be respected. The ginger bread style house was charming, George was an avid story teller and the scary bits actually made the incessant rustling of sweet papers stop for two minutes. Grandma was simply active theatre at its most animated; it’s colourful characters coaxing responses from their audience with the help of enlarged farmyard animals. This production was a hard medicine to swallow without the aid of a wide eyed audience member. Taking along a small companion is a must. Kirsty Allen
THE MaRTIn TInnEy GaLLERy This private commercial art gallery is a quiet and peaceful sanctuary, full of hidden gems. When I stepped in to the gallery, I felt immediately welcome. The gallery workers were friendly, welcoming and happy to talk through any pieces with me and other visitors. Bright and airy rooms were atmospheric and cast the work in a stunning light. The large windows also cast effective natural the work. rently focusing on Josef Herman who works in mixed media pieces which depict Welsh miners and the working class laborer. The collection is vast and widely changing, usually on a monthly basis. admired. From the 3rd of March there will be an exhibition focusing on inspirations from Welsh landscape, which I’m sure will we worth a visit! If you are not usually the type to wonder through art galleries- I hugely advise giving the Martin Tinney gallery a try. It is a small independent gallery with limited publicity, but has the potential to hugely change your perspective and transform you into an art lover within minutes! Megan Hockin
In 1994, Andy Davies founded Student Action for Refugees at Nottingham University. In doing so he brought together two groups of people who, as he saw it, rarely interacted. Three broad aims were decided upon: volunteering, campaigning and advocating positive images of asylum seekers and refugees. Gradually, groups formed in universities across the country, and a small Cardiff edition was formed at the start of the decade. The asylum population of Cardiff is more diverse than regular contact with any of these people. However, by joining forces with community volunteers, Cardiff STAR found a home at a drop-in centre on Newport Road. Recently, the number of visitors to the centre has bloomed, with students adding a real energy to the atmosphere there. First and foremost a meeting place for asylum seekers and refugees, volunteering at the drop in lar conversation class for asylum seekers and refugees, and are taking steps to throw arts, crafts and music into the heady mix. Aside from teaching, STAR offers the simple chance to meet and listen to people of other cultures and creeds. A number of events in February this year saw a harder Cardiff STAR campaign shout louder than ever before in support of asylum seekers and refugees. So loud, in fact, that Green MP Caroline Lucas visited the group's sleepout in support of a national campaign against destitution in asylum. In a climate where politics is now dominated by prudence, and anti-immigration support is growing as belts are tightened, asylum seekers are an easier scapegoat than ever before. Get involved. Thomas Stephenson
STARs in their Eyes
In honour of the human rights issue, Kirsty Allen chats to members of society STAR about the thriving arts scene in the student and refugee communimonolgues and cups of tea unraise awareness about the cultural contributions being made by the refugee community.
The Asylum Monologues was who explore human rights stories through performance. In an event the production came to a packed Cathays Community Centre last month. By collecting the personal testimonies of asylum seekers in -
words. As the performance comprised just four acAsylum Monologues challenged the myths about revealed the troubling reality of the asylum system and detention centres in the UK. The performance was followed by a panel discussion on the subject of what can be done to improve the situation of refugees and asylum seekers living
STAR and Amnesty societies held a sleep-out on 25th February to raise awareness about the destitution of refused asylum seekers. Different groups that joined in the sleep-out in the city centre included the Welsh Refugee Counterm accommodation for destitute asylum seekers and refugees and asylum seekers from the local community.
wet weather to raise awareness against the governmentâ€™s unfair policy of forcing refused asycial and accommodation support 21 days after their claim for asylum has been turned down. -
just a glimpse of the reality that people who have -
year exposed the mistreatment of asylum seekers at hand accounts of destitution from some of those The evening raised ÂŁ275 in donations and was a highly engaging and moving night. Despite the often up-
volunteering and offered an alternative perspective on the asylum process. Rachel Benson
our beds when we collapsed into them the next day meant that taking part in the sleep-out had a profound effect on us all. Lydia James
Spring is finally here, the daffodils have bloomed and the sun has managed to shine for a whole day meaning that festival season is fast approaching. Keep your eyes peeled for the Reading and Leeds line-up, released on 21st March. As it is the Human Rights issue we felt it was important to explore the close relationship music has with this subject. Over the years music has played a vital part in raising people's awareness to important issues from BandAid to Bob Dylan, Rage Against the Machine to Public Enemy. After Cardiff's STAR group's successful Refugee Rhythms a couple of weeks ago it is clear that music has the power to bring people together for a good cause. This fortnight also sees the Semi-Finals of the Live Music Society's Battle of the Bands. Head down to Koko Gorillaz on Thursday 17th and 24th March to see eight bands go head to head to win a slot at this year's Beach Break. It's also a fantastic chance to catch some of the up and coming talents Cardiff's music scene has to offer. Emma Wilford
Jungle in the Jungle The Wombats feat STIVS & Ed Cox SU Solus
CIA Wednesday 23rd March
Thursday 17th March
CAI Saturday 19th March -
Emma Wilford Michael Brown
In Search of Fela Afrobeat; staunch activist for Human Rights; Nigerian Presidential Candidate; Radical. These are just some of the many faces of the man known Fela Kuti. . . Father of
MUSIC Having recently been imortalised
lonial social order undoubtedly in-
name Olufela Olusegun Oludotun Ransome-Kuti has started to become familiar currency in dialogues concerning the relationship between music and human rights. Whilst often being lauded
an government held a focused eye Zombie - a scathing critique of Nigeria’s military regime- proved the catalyst that would spark a life-long campaign to silence his dissident politic voice. Said campaign in-
somewhat alarmingly taken the release of last year’s A Slice of Fela for Fela Kuti to be discussed as part of a wider cultural and musical discourse; a discourse that transcends the geographic boundaries within which much of Fela’s greatest work was produced. Born in Nigeria to middle class Fela’s spent his formative years studying music at Trinity College where the musical synergy between the Jazz being played in one of London’s many underground Jazz clubs and his own African musical tendencies would form the basis for what would eventually become Afrobeat. Never one to rest on the laurels that his parents’ middle class sta-
and politically. Fela’s outspoken political ideologies encompassed forms of Power movements. His mother was a feminist activist in Nigeria's anti-colonial movement and such exposure to political opinions deviating from the accepted hegemony of the post-co-
being burnt to the ground; Fela banned from entering Ghana and his mother being thrown from a from which resulted in fatality. Despite huge opposition from the litical credibility meant he was one the country's biggest musical exEurope and America. Fela's political activities crescendoed in 1978 with the formation of stood as a presidential candidate. Fela's candidature was quickly reing the human rights activism that he had been denied to voice as part of the Nigerian Election. Following Fela’s death in 1993
ence he exercised over the Nigerian musical and geo-political landscape. Jon Berry
What to expect from these recent releases...
What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? Columbia
4/10 I'm going to be frank: I'm not an avid fan of The Vaccines but I was keen to hear their debut album as it's been so hyped up recently, so what, then, is all the fuss over? Unfortunately, not a lot: they are just another band NME have hyped up and splashed all over its 'the next big thing'. NME love to take a band and make them famous: The Vaccines seem to be their latest vendetta. They are certainly nothing original and, for me, just another standard indie band plucked from the pile by some disullusioned music critics. The singles Wreckin' Bar (Ra Ra Ra) and If You Wanna are painfully the main highlights, positioned right at the start of the album. The rest, such as Blow It Up or All In White, is unmemorable drivel; it's just an album which fades into the background with no kick, no punch in the face, no
obvious, glaring expression of talent. Just another indie band which a label can make some desperately sought-after income from. The best thing about What Did You Expect From The Vaccines? is that it's short, at only 35 minutes long: thank you for that. Benji Lamb
Goodbye Twenty-Nine Unsigned
4/10 When I was handed the Max Shire album Goodbye Twenty Nine, I had the feeling I was in for something special. No, it wasn’t that I had heard the name or recognised the nineties grunge artwork on the cover, but the ten page press release, complete with photos and reviews describing Goodbye Twenty Nine as a mix of Jeff Buckley, Thom Yorke and Matt Bellamy. So, put simply, the best album ever made. Surprisingly it wasn’t. In fact it was very
far off. From the start I can see some comparisons to Jeff Buckley but Max Shire is very far from this goal. For an album saying goodbye to his twenties, the lyrics are all far too predictable and nothing we haven’t heard before. We get it: noone looks forward to turning thirty, and working in tion. But, really, I have better uses of my time than to hear Shire whine. The main issue with Goodbye Twenty-Nine is that, on the surface, the building blocks aren’t that bad. Max has a great voice and can clearly play the guitar, I have no doubts about this. But then what a shame to hear the end product. At best these can be compared to the B-sides from Grace or Pablo Honey and these are great places to start for inspiration. But the problem is that these albums exist and have done for almost twenty years now and, as a result, no one today needs an album that sounds like a nineties reject. Phil Kenny
6/10 AggroSantos.com by Brazilian-born English rapper Aggro Santos, is pretty short as they go: just a hair under half an hour long, all told. This was probably a good move by the artist, as it’s just long enough to be memorable but short enough not to grate on your nerves. Overall, it’s pretty solid: classic hip-hop and dance music with a strong beat that’s easy and fun to party to, but nothing that really stands up to in-depth analysis. Anaconda is a prime example of this, since it’s basically an ode to how big Santos’s penis is; a track that’s fun to dance to in a club while you’re drunk with your mates, but pretty eye-rolling when you’re sober. Stand-out tracks include Saint Or Sinner, with its snappy beat and excellent blend of melodies, and Like U Like, which features Kimberley Walsh of Girls Aloud fame in a well-played, attentioncatching cameo. Worst track: An-
aconda, hands down. Something about that song is just wildly irritating, and Santos’s lyrics, never the deepest or most introspective at the best of times, are plumbing the depths of banality here. Essentially, it’s an album that shouldn’t be taken too seriously, but it is undeniably fun. There’s nothing very new here, and the album’s general sound is very old-school, over-produced garage and dance, but it’s enjoyable enough. If you like to spend your nights clubbing, you’ll probably love this; if tortured artists and acoustic guitars are more your style, then it’s really not for you. Bethan Cable
Who You Are Island
4/10 “Stomp stomp, I've arrived”, Jessie J proclaims on Do It Like A Dude and with hotly tipped debut album Who You Are, it's fair to say she has. But is it any good? Well, if you've already decided you like her, you should probably
stop reading. I've got little good to say about it. In fact, let's get the good out of the way. Jessie J has one hell of a powerful voice, which is massively shown off throughout the album. Unfortunately, she abuses it to the point where some songs are literally painful to my ears... and I listen to noise-rock. Take Big White Room. A live song, it shows off just how capable a singer she is until the second verse where she throws in a frankly jarring vocal tic. This intentional stutter kills far too many tracks, and it's just not good enough. Okay, not everything is repellent: Who's Laughing Now is pretty great, with its off-kilter intro and decent rhymes. And Rainbow genuinely shows how good her voice is when she shows a little restraint. Still, these could have been performed by someone else and probably sound no different. That's the real problem with Who You Are - it fails to stamp out Jessie J's identity. Is she hip hop or pop? Aggressive or loving? New and different or an amalgamation of everyone who's come before her? I don't honestly know the answer to any of these, and I doubt Jessie J knows either. Dave Sadd email@example.com
Millenium Music Hall 27th February
The Globe 22nd February
The Go! Team
dance moves as she bounced all around the stage, never missing a beat. What I love about them is
On Sunday the 27th I got the every song saw them change inchance to see the Go! Team per- struments and lead singers. The Team opened with form live. Considering I’d only T.O.R.N.A.D.O. just been introduced to them last from new album, outs, released at the end of Januin three years and Cardiff was ary. Although many of the songs performed were from this new their last gig! album, that didn’t stop them from saw me listening to their three al- playing classics such as bums and researching all I could a Vice and The Power Is On. They used a vast amount of inabout them. According to trusted struments, including a harmonimusic is described as a combina- ca, a banjo, a melodica and even a typewriter! Some of the best mo- ments included Ninja strapping a camera to herself to record the double dutch chants, old school crowd dancing and her proclaimhip hop and distorted guitars.” ing that if we didn’t jump up and In all honesty, their sound needs down for the last song in celebrasome getting used to and I was a tion of Ian’s birthday, they would bit wary, especially when no one beat us up because they were “betreally showed up to the concert ter than the A-Team”- something until after the opening act had they’re apparently frequently compared to. started. If there’s one band you should All that said, the concert was an immense success. The Go! go see live, it’s the Go! Team. They’ll have even the biggest cynthe reviews lauding them as ics screaming for an encore. Samantha Mueller a live band. The energy in the room was electric and lead singer, Ninja, had everyone jumping up and down, trying out new
As a rule, I always seem to turn up for gigs late. It is never a conscience decision; I detest those who actively choose to miss the support acts. Such abhorrence towards an act you have paid to see, however indirectly, I have never
support act for this tour, instead slot as a platform for their An Island ment at yet another display of a what allayed. It's hard to put into words quite as an entity. The are more an organism than a band in the general sense of the word; Casper Clausen, the band's obvious frontman and source of crowd/band interaction never overshadows the other members in a state of netic I Was Playing Drums and the delicately meandering Modern Drift to name but two. be greatly missed. Jon Berry
Maybeshewill Buffalo Bar 25th February If one thing could be said about the performances of Maybeshewill and their supporting cast of vocal-less buddies, instrumental music is alive and extremely well, in whatever form it chooses to occupy. The evening was inaugurated by Hereford duo Aulos, who impressed with their delay-drenched dynamic antics, while second support, and headliners in their own right (at least in their native Germany), Long Distance Calling, put on an energetically powerhouse performance, despite Buffalo’s somewhat cramped stage. Unfortunately, by the time both opening acts had departed from the stage, Maybeshewill were left, unbeknownst to their eager audience, with a scant 45 minutes before curfew. Despite this disappointing setback, the band made the most of their curtailed set time, storming through the likes of Co-Conspirators and The Paris Hilton Sex Tape, the latter of which was greeted with the biggest cheer of the night. Despite performing as a four-piece, a four-piece with a three-stringed bass guitar at that, the Leicesterbased post-rockers were augmented by an inconspicuous sampleplaying laptop throughout their
exceptionally tight performance. As a result, the band were able to accurately recreate the expansive electronic textures which litter their recorded work in a curious but effective hybrid of the stage and the studio. Judging from the selection of new material performed, the band’s as-yet untitled third album could potentially be their best yet: latest single Critical Distance sounded suitably monumental, and by the time the prophetic voice-over of Not For Want of Trying ended, the audience were utterly entranced, if emotionally drained. It’s a shame it didn’t last a bit longer then really. Michael Brown
The Saturdays CIA 25th February
bined with generic club music. After an impressive entrance from The Saturdays, rising straight into chart hit Higher. I was instantly shocked by the fact that the girls could actually sing, with the exception of Frankie who sounded far too whiny (sorry boys), as well as dance. It certainly appeared that they were more than just pretty faces. They then went on to sing other hits such as Up and Work. and a sneak peak at their documentary, The , they slowed it down with songs, Died In Your Eyes and Issues. Interestingly they moved on to a Rihanna medley of Love the Way You Lie, Only Girl In the World and What’s My Name, which made the excitable crowd scream even louder. Then it was
orever Is Over and Ego. I may not have been enthralled by their talent, but the show was entertaining; it was colourful, fun and fast-paced. This music is clearly aimed at a certain market as my 13 year-old sister described it as the ‘best night of her life’. However, I had a great time and came out knowing Twenty entertained the crowd more than two of their songs. All in all a successful night! with upbeat pop rock. Then Six-D, Emma Wilford impressive dance moves comI’m going to be perfectly honest, before going to this gig I knew about two of The Saturdays songs and saw them as a commercial, manufactured, lesser version of Girls Aloud. However, as is true with all music, you can't really judge it until you’ve seen it live. Before they took to the stage
Another year, and another awards season has come and gone. The King’s Speech was the obvious big winner, taking the Best Film, Best Actor and stealing Best Director from under David Fincher's nose. 'Predictable' seemed to be the word of the moment, with Anne Hathaway and James Franco being predictably dull, a predictable f-bomb being dropped and the enjoyable, yet predictable, game of guessing where Chris-
tian Bale was from that particular evening. He was a cockney hobo, for the record. Reports that Quentin Tarantino’s next project will be a western is causing some fuss here at in 2007 that Tarantino wanted to make a “southern”, dealing with the American South’s turbulent past. Seeing as his last feature was the nihilisitc nazi-romp Inglorious Basterds, one can guess
Tarantino will be blowing up genre rules yet again. Last week saw the passing of Jane Russell, screen-siren of the ‘40s or ‘50s. Russell, best known either for her role alongside Marilyn Monroe in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes or her controversial promotional work for the earThe Outlaw, died aged 89. EKB.
TRAILER Fans of offbeat comical presenters Adam & Joe will be pleasingly caught off-guard to see the latter 0.5's foray The trailer eschews Boosh-esque absurdity and whimsy for the street slang of a London council estate. This is far from a Harry Brown morality tale or a Shane Meadows drama however. Despite being doused in the spluttering street lamps of London's nether-hours, an unexplained invasion of aliens is greeted by the 'Block's' kids with youthful belligerence. It bristles with hyperactivity met and surround the estate, yet the charming naivety of the kids is evident. Far from being Aliens vs full of sympathy for the kids' plight, as they weigh up killing extra-terrestrials or playing Fifa, and with the presence of Nick Frost, it should be able to balance otherwordly danger with sincerity and silliness. LG.
Attack the Block
FILM OF THE WEEK Animal Kingdom Dir: David Michod Cast:Ben Mendelsohn, Joel Edgerton, Jacki Weaver, Guy Pearce
8/10 Films about organised crime are not a new phenomenon, it is a well-established genre with many examples of how to do it well and how to do it badly. Having said this, do not expect something unoriginal as there is something very refreshing about Animal Kingdom, perhaps because it does not take place in America or Italy, the One thing is for certain, Animal Kingdom an example of how to do this kind of thing well. The negative undertones of describing it as slow paced would do it a disservice and perhaps a better way of wording it would be to say that it is perfectly paced in the sense that, for the most part, it doesn’t rush. Subtle character studies and constant tension are interspersed with moments that move the plot forward with
is essentially a coming of age cent central performance from newcomer James Frecheville, who is forced to confront the darker side of his family. The each of the family has their own inner demons, from his quietly psychopathic eldest uncle Pope, a character who really gets under your skin, to his grandmothsons, sometimes obsessively so. From this description some offers so much more than a serious, emotional and moving central plot. There are frequently brilliant uses of black humour that are so well pitched that I felt ridiculously awkward when the woman a few seats down insisted on laughing out loud at every single instance. On top of this, there are scenes that set the heart pounding, stopping and starting it all at once. Underlying all the obvious brilliance of the Australian outback provides a setting that is hauntingly and menacingly beautiful when matched up with the harsh sub-
tertainment on so many levels from pitch perfect performances, a gripping plot and an emotional core that plants the whole . Morten Wright
infrees, seemingly from nowhere, and stakes a claim to be considered a modern classic. Animal Kingdom...belongs in this category."
Little White Lies "A kingdom of wounded and dying animals is what director David Michôd portrays here, and this is maybe the nearest we're going to get to an Australian GoodFellas"
At the risk of sounding clichéd, Animal Kingdom is really not to be missed as it offers firstname.lastname@example.org
Wales One World
A word on WOW:
At Chapter from the 3rd to the 10th of this month, the Wales One World festival celebrates its 10th anniversary with a diverse and engaging look at Mexican and C h i n e s e c i n e m a , i n cl u d e d amongst a pick of some of this year’s greatest world film. Patagonia opened the festival, to much praise. The line up also included How I Ended This Summer, winner of Best Film at the London Film Festival and Pink Saris, the story of one woman’s campaign for the rights of the “untouchable” women of India. Thomas Mao explores the relationship between East and West and our different attitudes to life: the traditional and the modern, country and city, as well as the mysterious links between dreams and reality. La Rabia on the other hand is a primal look at a young girl's struggle to find her voice in a strange and oppressive environment. WOW pushes its audiences into uncompromising situations; we are made to reconsider how we see cinema and how we in turn see different cultures. With a dearth of world film available at our local multiplex, WOW is much anticipated event in Chapter and in numerous other cinemas across Wales. EKB
Patagonia Dir:Marc Evans Cast: Matthew Rhys, Matthew Gravelle, Nia Roberts, Nahuel Perez Biscayart
8/10 Capturing an imagined Wales or Welsh sensibility intuitively seems like the kind of thing more suited to fusty cultural historians or cloying Max Boyce-loving sentimentalists than the wide scapes of the big screen. It's partly this task that Marc Evans' Patagonia takes on, creating the Welsh-road movie as an intriguing sub-genre in its wake. Thankfully, the film is up to the task, carefully representing the fragile beauty of the Welsh mythology about the Argentinian colony and fusing this with a naturalistic look at two seperate 'couples' travails, from Buenos Aries, to Barry. For those of you not of Brythionic blood, Patagonia is a place many Welsh people emigrated to around 1840, in search of more prosperous planes. With them, they took their non-conformist Chapel culture and created a Welsh identity myth that wasn't self-denigrating or sentimental, instead hopeful and heroic. It is this defiance that sees Rhys sent to photograph the Chapels settlers left behind in the Argentinian desert. His girl-
friend Gwen travels with him, but soon becomes more excited by charismatic guide Mateo. At the same time, Cerys, a frail yet enthusing second-generation settler, ad hoc decides to hop to Wales to search for her Mother's farm. Her determination provides many of the offbeat laughs, as her determination and love for Wales meets the bemused apathy of many of the locals. The two stories never promise to meet, but this thematically links them, as both female protagonists are touched by seeing the places only previously known in imagination. Furthermore to this, Marc Evans has, in Robbie Ryan, a superlative cinematographer who brilliantly captures multiple sides of both countries without overwhelming the narrative. Ryan has an intuitive feel for the reflective tone and moments of road journeys, one which is often eschewed by Hollywood in favour of freewheelin' adventure. As such, as well the typical moments of dramatic and romantic pathos, the characters feel extraordinarily well drawn (even Duffy is moving) and soulful without the unrecognisable sentimental tropes of Welshness seen on screen typically. The kinship between the female leads is thus more beautiful for being unknown and unshared by them, as it ultimately allows Evans to affirm the imagined legend Patagonia as no less meaningful for its irreality. Lloyd Griffiths
Into EtErnIty Dir: Michael Madsen Cast: timo Aikas, Carl Brakenhjelm and Mikael Jensen A documentary by the Dane Michael Madsen, Into Eternity discusses the complex dilemma of storing away the growing amount of radioactive waste, which remains toxic for centuries to come. By taking us down to the deep depths of ‘Onkalo’; a cave amidst the forests of Finland, purposely built to store depleted uranium, the director explores all the problems we face in trying to build a hiding place that needs to last for over a 100,00 years. If successful, it would be the longest lasting man-made structure ever built. But how do we stop people, thousands of generations into the future, from opening up these long lost chambers, just like curiosity led us to open up the pyramids of ancient Egypt? A vast selection of conundrums are mesmerizingly intertwined with eerie cinematography and haunting music to present you with 75 minutes Alexi Gunner
PrEVIEW How I Ended this Summer
On a deserted, windswept Russian island inside the Arctic Circle, two men spend the summer working at a meteorological station. The gruff polar veteran Sergei barely tolerates the inexperienced Pavel, a feckless graduate on a temporary posting.
An Island Moon and Danish band Efterklang met up on an performances, experiments and collaborations.
Pink Saris Pink saris are worn by the Gulabi Gang, a group of women vigilantes led by the formidable Sampat Pal, who campaign on behalf of ‘untouchable’ women in India. Not the most diplomatic, or indeed likeable woman, Sampat Pal is a force of nature who bullies husbands, families and the police into treating vulnerable young women is another fascinating, psychologically complex woman. EKB
Combat Cartoon ers to use and bend to their narrative needs. A
ism; Kwai and Schindler's List -
, and even an ironic title -
theless, we are left in no doubt which side we are meant to be on.
So much, so descriptive, but
Heart of s tale, was prescient in relation to Ameri-
based on actual events (those of the director, who the ephemereal sense of lost and repressed memo-
Waltz with Bashir
Waltz With Bashir is a
...crashing a wedding.
...animating the fragility of nature.
...inspiring an epic adventure.
The Graduate (1967) Princess Mononoke (1997) -
Emily Kate Bater
Matt Ayres Matt Ayres
The Team Editor Dom Kehat
Executive Editor Sarah Powell
Sub Editor Matt Wright
Arts Katie Haylock and Kirsty Allen
Books Greg Rees
Fashion Gwennan Rees and Lucy Trevallion
Features Jack Doran, Claire Dibben and Jenny Pearce
LGBT+ Anna Siemiaczko and Kate Boddington
Film Emily Kate Bater
Food Gav Jewkes, Jasmine Joynson and Melissa Parry
Music Michael Brown, Emma Wilford and Jon Berry
Photos Travel Clare Baranowski and Simone Miche
Proof Reader Morten Wright and Christopher Ingram Davies
Quench - Issue 106