Our Way to Fight has arrived. Got a message this morning from Victoria, the capitol of British Columbia, Canada:
“Feb 4 Program, Our Way to Fight, is being censored by Shaw. We have just received an email saying that Shaw TV cannot broadcast our scheduled program: Our Way to Fight: Peace-work Under Siege in Israel-Palestine, by Michael Riordon, as it is too ‘unbalanced’ and ‘controversial.’ You can watch the program here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxGUJtWVSpo, and decide for yourself.”
Shaw TV is the community cable arm of Shaw Communications, one of Canada’s largest telecommunications corporations. Based in Calgary, Alberta, it controls telephone, internet and television networks, including digital satellite, and broadcasting stations from Hamilton, Ontario, to Victoria. As a federally licensed community cable network, Shaw TV is required to air locally created programming.
The program that Shaw banned is a 29-minute video of a talk/reading I gave last November at the University of Victoria. I read several excerpts from Our Way to Fight, interwoven with commentary. The event was sponsored by Independent Jewish Voices, the Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid, and University of Victoria: Social Studies. The talk was recorded by videographer Linda Taffs of Pasifik.ca, a collective of concerned citizens aiming to foster direct democracy. (Which in itself is a rather ‘controversial’ idea, at least to the 1% who are inclined to prefer a well-managed democracy that protects their stuff and controls dissent.)
Yes, the talk was ‘unbalanced,’ so is the book – but only in the sense that both feature Israelis and Palestinians engaged in non-violent struggle for a just peace in Palestine-Israel, but no settlers, no generals, no presidents or prime ministers, no war-pushers. All of these have ample outlets to air their views widely and continuously without any help from me. In fact it is their views that the corporate media defines as ‘balance.’
And ‘controversial’? Well, yes. Anything that dares to counter the official version is bound to be ‘controversial.’ That’s the job, isn’t it, to counter or at least to complicate the noisy dominance of the official version. In that version, Israeli settlements/colonies, ethnic cleansing and apartheid – all of them illegal under international law – are not deemed to be ‘controversial.’ Not in the eyes of the corporate gatekeepers.
This is exactly why we need – desperately need – principled, courageous independent media like Pacifik.ca, books like Our Way to Fight, and people who care enough about freedom – the real thing, not the official version – to stand with them.
After the talk, a man asked me to sign his copy of the book. When I asked him to whom I should sign it, he said, “To me, Rabbi ___.” Because he spoke quietly, standing close to me, I assume that he wouldn’t welcome my passing on his identity via the internet. He said, “Thank you for what you’re doing. It takes courage, but it’s exactly what we need.” He smiled, nodded, and departed.
The banned Pacifik.ca program is here. Catch it while you can, and decide for yourself.
Same goes for the book.