Skip navigation

Indymedia UK is a network of individuals, independent and alternative media activists and organisations, offering grassroots, non-corporate, non-commercial coverage of important social and political issues

Birmingham Indymedia screening Thurs 17th June

Birmingham Indymedia | 16.06.2004 22:09 | Migration | Birmingham | Oxford

Arms Dealers, War and Refugees: Breaking the Cycle

17th June 2004 8:35pm @ the mac – Midlands Arts Centre in Birmingham

Birmingham Indymedia presents an evening of films during Refugee Week drawing out the links between the (heavily subsidised by the West) arms trade, people displaced by war and occupation, and their resistance. We will be discussing the films with the film-maker of “My Dear Olive Tree” whose first experience of political dissent in Britain was the DSEi Arms fair protest in September 2003.

Indefensible - DSEi 2003
Indefensible - DSEi 2003

My Dear Olive Tree
My Dear Olive Tree

My Dear Olive Tree
My Dear Olive Tree

Woomera - Breakout
Woomera - Breakout

'Indefensible - DSEi 2003'

A documentary from Indymedia UK on DSEi 2003, the world’s largest arms fair, brought to you courtesy of the British government. Unfortunately, the government rather carelessly forgot to consult with those who foot the bill for this circus of death, the British people. Happily, the people decided to conduct their own consultation exercise instead…

A blockade of the Thames by an armada of inflatable toy dragons, mirrored on the roads by activists atop their trusty tripods or linked to each other and the nearest available lamppost with arm-tubes, and of course the unavoidable delays on the DLR due to lock-ons, preventing military hardware as well as delegates from reaching the conference centre. Those delegates that did manage to find a train running, found themselves confronted by ‘thinking aloud’ caricatures of themselves courtesy of Space-Hijackers. Those that made it as far as the conference centre were no doubt charmed to meet up with The Affinity Group, a brand new PR company hitting the arms fair scene in a big way.

Along with documentation of the protests the film includes experts giving background on the arms industry's devestating impact on conflicts throughout the world. We hear from Mary Robinson former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, members from Amnesty International and Democracy Now!'s Amy Goodman about the proliferation of arms' role in such human rights disasters as the Congo and East Timor.

My Dear Olive Tree / Osama Qashoo

An 18 minute letter to an exiled olive tree.

The olive tree -- symbol of Palestine, where the olive groves date back to Biblical times, the roots of the family, the lifeblood of the Palestinian economy. The fruits and pressed oil of the olive tree sustain entire communities, its leaves are offered as a symbol of peace, its wood is carved into “Holyland” doves and crucifixes. Its plight echoes the plight of the Palestinian people.

My Dear Olive Tree follows the relentless destruction of Palestinian Olive groves and the communities they sustain -- both favourite targets of the Israeli ‘Defence’ Forces-driven, Caterpillar-made, D9 and D10 military bulldozers. Through the film, we witness the dismantling of Palestinian society as the Israeli army attempts to bulldoze and humiliate the economy and its people out of existence and, as a final insult, “deport” the remains of the ancient olive trees for sale as a symbol of peace in places of worship all over the world.

We follow the story from the first person perspective of a now-exiled Palestinian film maker as he witnesses the destruction of the olive tree he tended from childhood and then makes his own unwilling journey from Palestine to London, there to be reunited with his dear olive tree, on sale in a gift shop.

Woomera Breakout / Ska TV 2002, 30 mins

The arms dealers profit from government subsidies whilst their out-of-sight victims are forced to seek refuge, only to be persecuted and imprisoned all over again by those that profit from their plight.

Easter 2002: activists from around Australia converged upon Woomera Detention Centre to protest the federal government's mandatory detention refugees, many displaced by the War of Terror in Afghanistan. Activists outside coordinated with the detainees' protests from within the detention centre, culminating in the mass break out of 50 refugees. Includes additional footage of interviews with two boys who escaped from Woomera Detention Center and attempted to seek asylum with the British Embassy in Melbourne. The boys reveal the human rights abuses committed inside the detention centre and the means by which corporations, even then, continued to profit from their misery.

Birmingham Indymedia