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Focus Video Collective
February 2008 Newsletter
PMB 248 • 3439 NE Sandy
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Two Programs Explore Sustainability
Extensive research suggests that the collective behavior of humanity is on an unsustainable path.
More people are awakening to this reality and are pursuing answers for a just and sustainable
future. The ways of life of indigenous people across the globe have and continue to be disrupted if
not lost altogether. In the bioregion of Salmon Nation (see http://www.salmonnation.com/about), there is a
continuing rich heritage of diverse indigenous cultures.
from the Perspectives of Native Leaders
David Hall, Ph.D. Candidate at Portland State University, has conducted a series of interviews
with contemporary Native leaders on the subject of sustainability. This project has been pursued
with the belief that those whose ancestors have inhabited a place for countless generations may
provide a valuable contribution on how to live in our shared home for countless generations to
"Native Perspectives on Sustainability: Nichole Maher (Tlingit)" (VB#65.5) features the voice of
an outstanding Native leader who serves as the Executive Director of Portland's Native American
Youth and Family Center. Maher shares her thinking on the subject of sustainability with focus on
the Native community of Portland. Her thoughts are insightful, hopeful, and carry a clear message
that much work remains to be done to reconcile the injustices of the past and present, and to
achieve a truly sustainable future for all.
Its companion show, "Native Perspectives on Sustainability: Roberta Conner (Cayuse)" (VB
#66.3), features a respected Native leader of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian
Reservation. Conner serves as the Executive Director of the Tamastslikt Cultural Institute and
recently received the 2007 Buffett Award for Indigenous Leadership. Conner effectively articulates
the value Native knowledge and culture brings to the topic of sustainability. Her perspective is
holistic, historically grounded, and reminds us that caring for the places we call home is a shared
For more information visit http://www.nativeperspectives.net
National, International Policies Post 9/11 Examined
In September of 2006, a forum was held to talk about US policy past, present and future through
the prism of the events of September 11th, 2001. "9/11, Five Years Later: America's Foreign and
Domestic Ramifications" (VB #65.1&2) presents five panelists from that forum.
They are: Kelly Campbell of September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows, who talks about
9/11 families who lost loved ones. They came together to say "not in our name" as the US reacted
by going to war in Afghanistan and then Iraq. Professor Zaher Wahab from Lewis and Clark
College describes the situation in Afghanistan, which he witnessed first hand trying to help rebuild
the country. He saw that the US occupation is not necessarily making things better. Dan
Handelman of the Peace and Justice Works Iraq Affinity Group (who also produced this show for
Flying Focus) talks about the situation in Iraq. He ties together the Clinton era policy of sanctions
with the current war and occupation. Andrea Meyer of the American Civil Liberties Union of
Oregon outlines the shredding of the US constitution and some minor victories in trying to restore
it. And finally, Center for Intercultural Organizing Director Kayse Jama speaks about the backlash
against Arabs, Muslims and immigrants and the "Real ID act."
The event was held Sept. 16, 2006 in Portland, co-sponsored by the Peace and Justice Works Iraq
Affinity Group and the First Unitarian Church. While a year and a half has passed since the event,
most of the information is, sadly, only out of date because more people from the United States,
Iraq and Afghanistan have died in the meantime.
"Islam is a religion of peace and friendship, not war... I hope soon the regime is changed, but
not by bombing them."
Another Face of Iran
As the Bush-Cheney-Rice axis of evil does their best to vilify and demonize the country of Iran,
Flying Focus is working hard to present a more rational view. In "Memories of Iran" (VB
#64.10&11), the voices of Iranians in the US at the August, 2006 Iranian Festival are combined
with reminiscences of Americans who have lived or traveled in Iran from a forum presented a
month earlier by the American Iranian Friendship Council. The general consensus is that the people
of Iran are welcoming, generous people with a problem government, which means they are just
like many Americans.
Two Speakers Promote Healthy Eating
VegFest 2007 was the largest vegetarian event ever held in Portland. Two presentations from it are
offered here as a package.
In "Benefits of a Plant Based Diet" (VB #65.12), author Caldwell B. Esselstyn, Jr., MD, a former
internationally known surgeon and researcher at the Cleveland Clinic, talks about his 20 year study
which indicates that a low fat, plant based diet can prevent and cure heart disease.
John Robbins, author of Diet for a New America, was the heir to the Baskin/Robbins
fortune. In this program he explains how he gave it all up to be true to his conscience and live a
heart-centered, compassionate life. One of the most inspiring speakers of our times, in "Good
Health at Any Age" (VB #65.13), he describes how his father changed his diet and survived heart
disease after a lifetime of eating ice cream and other killer foods. He also talks about how his most
recent book, Healthy at 100, made sustainable changes in the publishing industry.
"In '55 when they were rounding up the communists for 'national security,' we never thought t
he 60's would come, but come they did, and so we have to think they're coming again!"
Lynne Stewart Speaks Out for Justice
Lynne Stewart is a 67-year-old grandmother and former human rights attorney accused of helping
terrorists. The US government wanted to put her away for 30 years. The jury gave her 28 months.
Out on bail pending appeal, in "Lynne Stewart: Attorney on Trial" (VB #64.6&7), she gives her
side of the story along with a stinging indictment of the American judicial system under George II
Beginning in January, 2008, our video
"The Chick Who Always Talks about Atrocities in the Congo at Parties"
was featured in the "Everybody Reads" section of the
Multnomah County Library's website under Further Reading and Viewing
Looking Back on the 16th Year of the Flying Focus Video Bus
Flying Focus celebrated its 16th year of providing videos on peace and social justice issues
through cable access this past November. The "Sixteenth Busiversary" (VB #65.8&9) features
four people who produced 14 new shows (made up of 24 half-hour episodes) between November
2006 and November 2007. Those producers, along with field production coordinator PC Peri and
new contributing "videotographer" Joe Anybody, appear on screen to introduce short clips from
Subject matter ranges from US policy in the Middle East (Iraq, Iran, Israel/Palestine) to raising
consciousness about the women in the Congo and the children and animals in Peru, to nuclear
weapons, the "war on terror," women's equality, animal rights, police accountability and Native
American perspectives on sustainability.
The Busiversary was compiled by Flying Focus co-founding member Dan Handelman, with clips
from Barb Greene, Yvonne Simmons, and Dave Hall (who worked with Caleb Heymann on the
sustainability show). Longtime FFVC member Moss Drake directed the studio introductions. This
program is a great way to discover what our programs have been all about. If you don't have time
to watch it all at once, you can watch it in three-minute chunks.
A "teaser" for the show with clips from 5 of the programs and conversation in the studio is up on
our website at
Put Your "Wealth" to Work, Share Flying Focus with a Friend
Flying Focus has been an institution in Portland for 17 years now. We came together during the
"Gulf War" of 1991 to educate the public on important policy issues that affect everyone's lives.
We have been able to continue our work through generous donations from people like you. We
know that things are tight, but we hope you can dig in your pockets for a few dollars to keep
Flying Focus working as one of your sources of alternative information. We also hope you will
share the newsletter and catalog, or at least the address of our website
(http://www.flyingfocus.org) with your friends so that they can "tune in, turn on, and..." stay
We are trying, as Lynne Stewart says, to "Try to educate my fellow Americans to connect the dots,
it's not an accident, this is the design..." The more you learn about U.S. foreign and domestic
policy, the clearer those connections become.
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