Linda Stirling Unmasked: The Black Whip

: Dragged from her chariot by a mob of fanatical vigilante Christian monks, the revered astronomer was stripped naked, skinned to her bones with sharp oyster shells, stoned and burned alive as possibly the first executed witch in history. A kind of purge that was apparently big business back then.



Meeting Resistance: In The Brave Tradition of Battle Of Algiers

By Prairie Miller

Sometimes a film serves as a potent weapon of endangered truth, dispelling official lies and giving voice to those whose collective pain has been silenced. Meeting Resistance is that film and more, an act of resistance in its own right to the US war on Iraq.

A powerfully probing and enlightening antidote to the orchestrated news of the US money media that believes there is only one side to every story, Meeting Resistance is a daring documentary that deconstructs the government approved pro-war propaganda of the nightly news. Rather than the distorted depictions of Iraqi fighters as religious fanatics and political extremists, Meeting Resistance in a play on words does just that, in a courageous face-to-face with the everyday people who join these partisans in confrontation with US invasion and occupation.

Filmmakers Steve Connors and Molly Bingham pursued these truths with fearless determination and at great risk. Connors' perspective grew out of very personal experiences, as he became politicized as a young British soldier in the ranks of the bloody UK occupation of Northern Ireland in the early 1980s. And Bingham, a Harvard graduate, has worked as a photojournalist for Human Rights Watch and around the world, including in Afghanistan, Iran and Gaza. She was also held in Abu Ghraib prison during the course of the US invasion.

Connors and Bingham began their investigative filmmaking just prior to the invasion, as they took the subversive route as embedded journalists with the emerging Iraqi resistance rather than with the US military. The filmmakers gained the trust of a number of fighters who agreed to share their stories. What emerges is a portrait of fiercely dedicated, articulate and disciplined individuals from disparate economic classes and religious faiths, but who are all joined together in an idealistic mission to defend the collective dignity and sovereignty of their people against invaders, as one points out, what any American with courage would do if faced with the same situation in their own land.

Meeting Resistance is organized with richly textured and emotionally resonant visuals and music, as these proud fighters speak of embracing the cause as the daily humiliations of the occupiers ignite 'a fire in the heart.' With impassioned women as well included among their ranks, they are given names by the filmmakers like Warrior, Teacher, Fugitive and Wife to protect their identities. And it becomes increasingly apparent through their words that their commitment and actions are in response to the brutality of the US military.

In the brave, defiant and principled tradition of Gillo Pontecorvo's Battle of Algiers, Meeting Resistance is surely a companion piece as well to the semi-fictionalized upcoming release, Brian De Palma's Redacted, in a sense the 'Unredacted' response to the censorship that permeates the commercial media, and which De Palma continues to struggle against as his film does battle with those redacting his movie. Meeting Resistance finally, is both a valiant dissection of the anatomy of collective struggle, and a visionary blueprint for the end to US military madness and reckless foreign invasions and wars.

Meeting Resistance DVD Features: Audio Commentary: Filmmaker Q&A; Text/Photo Galleries; Biographies; Photo Gallery.

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Prairie Miller

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