International Film Festival opens at BGSU

From BGSU Program of International Studies For the next five Thursdays (April 4, 11, 18 , 25 and May 2), BGSU’s Program of International Studies is once again launching its annual International Film Festival. All screenings are at 7:30 p.m. in the Gish Theater in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union The event is free and open to the public, and we are particularly pleased that the film festival connects to the World Languages & Cultures Conference on “Austria in Europe: Migration, Immigration, Integration: Contemporary and Historical Perspectives,” which will be bringing colleagues from the Universität Salzburg and national scholars in the field to Bowling Green (April 11-14). The conference continues the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the agreement that has allowed BGSU students to study abroad at the Universität Salzburg; the celebration began this past summer in Salzburg and brought together around 80 alumni. (Please contact Dr. Christina Guenther ( for more information about the ASA conference.) The International Film Festival also connects to the annual Pallister French-Canadian Lecture Series made possible through the late Professor of French, Jan Pallister. This year’s Pallister speaker is Québécois film director Frédérick Pelletier who will be on hand to discuss his film, Diego Star (please see the attached flyer for more information).  This year’s theme of the International Film Festival is “Undoing the Single Story.” The title refers to Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Achidie’s well known TED talk about the “Danger of the Single Story”—where the complex richness of other individuals and cultures is reduced to the shorthand of a single story. She adds, “So that is how to create a single story—show a people as one thing, as only one thing, over and over again, and that is what they become. […] The Palestinian poet Mourid Barghouti writes that if you want to dispossess a people, the simplest way to do it is to tell their story, and to start with, ‘secondly’ … If, for instance, the story of the Boston Tea Party starts with the harbor scene where American patriots cast British tea into the Atlantic, the meaning of that story changes quite a bit. One way to move beyond the Single Story is to listen to stories told by film directors from around the world. Our film festival will begin with famous Turkish-German Fatih Akin’s The Edge of Heaven, followed by two Austrian films. The second film, Down There [Unten}, to be screened on Friday, April 12, will be introduced by the film director himself, Djodje Cenic. On April 18, we have included Timbuktu by Abderrahmane Sissako, and the following week will bring Frédérick Pelletier to Bowling Green with his film, Diego Star. The International Film Festival will end with Five Broken Cameras, a documentary put together by two film directors, one from Palestine, the other from Israel.  Each of the films will be introduced by a BGSU faculty member who will also linger after the film for an informal discussion with the audience. There will be a reception, open to the public, following the Pallister film on April 25th. All films will be shown with subtitles and will be screened in the theatre located in BGSU’s Bowen-Thompson Student Union 206. This event would not have been possible without the generous support of BGSU’s College of Arts & Sciences, the Departments of Theatre and Film and World Languages and Cultures, the School of Critical and Cultural Studies, and the Program of Africana Studies.

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Leah Bogusch – Separation of families echoes what was done to Indigenous children

I attended the Keeping Families Together rally this past weekend at Bowling Green, and I could not find the words to say to the attendees what was on my mind at the moment. But if I had been able to speak to you, Bowling Green, I would have told you that we were standing upon the traditional land of the Haudenosaunee and Miami nations. This land is not your land, and it was not made for you, even though you all sang this song with love and good intentions in your hearts.  If I had been able to speak to you, I would have told you that separation of children from families is not new within the United States – many Indigenous children in the not-so-distant past were ripped from their families to attend boarding schools and to die there far from home. I would have echoed Ms. Maya’s words when she called upon us to look at the United States’ policies of interfering with countries in Central and South America, to exploit their people and extract resources. These policies have inevitably contributed to conditions of poverty and violence in these nations, which have led so many people to our doorstep to escape.  Today, I ask you to acknowledge that cruelty and greed are exactly the values upon which the United States was founded and the responsibility that this nation shares in creating the immigrant crisis. I implore you to make the United States the beacon of hope and compassion that it can and should be. Remember the larger context in which this nation has negatively affected other peoples for its own profit, and take action, even when the immigrant crisis fades from media attention, to prevent such policies from continuing. Leah Bogusch Bowling Green

BG joins the nation in rallying for immigrant families

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Nearly 250 Bowling Green citizens sweltered in the sun Saturday to add their voices to the national cry for justice for families seeking refuge in America. They gathered on Wooster Green to be counted among the 800-plus rallies held across the nation today with their top message being – families belong together. They held signs saying “Resist Hate,” “Reunite Broken Hearts,” and “The Pilgrims were Undocumented.” They came to say their country doesn’t treat people with such cruelty. And their Christianity doesn’t turn away people in need. They listened as Dr. Bill Donnelly, a psychologist who specializes in the care of children, talked about the traumatic effects the forced separations will have on children taken from their parents as they cross the southern U.S. border. “There will be devastating consequences for children and their family members,” Donnelly said. Decades of research show that children forcibly taken from their families are likely to suffer long-term problems of anxiety, depression, panic and grief, he said. “There is nothing more important for the mental health and physical health of a child,” than being with family, Donnelly said. Children crossing the border with their parents had already undergone great stress making the dangerous trek into the U.S. “They’re not coming in a luxury train,” he said. “Children rely on their parents for support in difficult times.” Despite President Donald Trump’s executive order that children no longer be separated from their parents at the border, very few families have been reunited. More than 2,000 children are still being held in detention centers, and it appears that in many cases, the federal government does not know where some separated children are so they can be reunited with parents. “This policy is needless and cruel,” Donnelly said. “We know children are not reunited with their parents.” It’s that image that brought Sheila Brown to Saturday’s rally. “I’m here to help support immigrant families,” Brown said. “I can’t even fathom having my children torn from me just because I’m looking for a better life for them.” The rally began with Tim Concannon’s singing of “This Land is Your Land,” a folk song written by Woody Guthrie scolding Americans who didn’t want to share their country. Despite national policy, Bowling Green City Council members Bruce Jeffers and John Zanfardino talked about local efforts to make immigrants feel comfortable in Bowling Green. “Bowling Green has welcomed immigrants naturally forever,” Jeffers said. “Then Trump was elected.” So City Council considered how to “help with the new reality,” he said. “We cannot change federal law.” But the city did adopt an ordinance declaring the city a welcoming community. “We try to do what we can locally,” Jeffers said. The city needs immigrants as a vital part of the local workforce, he added. Plus, it is just the right thing to do. “We are a welcoming community,” Jeffers said. “We believe in the essential goodness of humanity.” Often immigrant workers perform the jobs that would otherwise go unfilled, said Beatriz Maya, head of LaConexion. “We are heavy contributors,” Maya said. “We do the work no domestic workers want to do.” The federal crack down on immigrants is not just affecting distant borders, speakers reminded the crowd. At least four undocumented immigrants in Wood County have been picked up and detained by ICE. Jeffers, a local teacher, told of one of his students whose father was picked up for a traffic violation and is now being held in an ICE detention center. The man has three children, all who are American citizens. “What’s going to happen…

Local residents rally to support immigrant families

About 250 people participated in a Justice for Immigrant Families rally this morning (June 30, 2018) on immigration policies that have separated immigrant families at the U.S. border, at workplaces, and in the local community. Among the speakers were psychologist Bill Donnelly who spoke to the mental and physical health problems coming from the trauma of children being separated from their families. Also addressing the crowd were City Councilors Bruce Jeffers and John Zanfardino, ministers Mary Jane Saunders and Deb Conklin, and Beatriz Maya, of La Conexion, which has been assisting families of undocumented immigrants detained by ICE. The rally was one of a series of protests being held across the country. A story on the rally will appear later today on BG Independent News.

BG women protest separation of children and parents seeking asylum

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Bowling Green women piled into an SUV Thursday afternoon and headed for Detroit to be part of a national protest against a U.S. policy they called inhumane. The numbers aren’t exact, but it’s been estimated that nearly 2,000 children have been separated from their parents at the U.S. border with Mexico in the last six weeks. The Trump administration has said it is simply following the law. But opponents say there is no law requiring that children be taken from parents who are seeking asylum in the U.S. “This is immoral,” said Janet Parks as the Bowling Green women headed up Interstate 75 in Tom Baer’s BG Airport Shuttle. Parks was joined by Joan Callecod, Beatriz Maya, Debra Nicholson, Sandy Rowland and Amanda Schackow – a retired educator, accountant, realtor, retail manager, writer and community advocate. “I’m ashamed of what our country is doing by separating families,” Rowland said. For some, the protest was personal. “I know several people who came here as asylum cases,” Schackow said. “Thinking about their children being taken away is really horrific.” As the SUV continued north, the women talked about tango classes, knitting, travels and food. But the conversation kept circling back to the injustice of children being separated from their parents. “I keep thinking about the trauma the children are going through,” Callecod said. “These are people. These are not animals,” Nicholson said. Maya, originally from Argentina, finds it hard to fathom the harm caused by the separations. “It is unbelievable that somebody can do this. It’s the most horrific thing,” Maya said. These families seeking asylum in the U.S. have made great sacrifices getting here – many trying to escape life-threatening situations, she said. “I went through a dictatorship in Argentina. It is already frightening to be an immigrant,” Maya said. “Do you know what it is to lose your kids to foster care and never know what happened to them?” The Bowling Green women joined about 300 other protesters outside the gates of the immigration detention center in Detroit. As they lined Jefferson Street and encouraged vehicles to honk, the protestors held signs saying things like: Immigrant rights are human rights. No more families torn apart. Hate does not make U.S. great. We’ve seen this before (with a Jewish star.) Nazis also took children away. Compassion not cruelty. Unless you are a descendant of Crazy Horse, what right do you have to be anti-immigrant. Family separation is not an American value. Families belong together – Sincerely, a pediatrician. There were older people with walkers, younger people with strollers, and families with children holding homemade signs. There were people still in their business clothes, like the man in a shirt and tie with a sign saying, “Don’t steal children.” “I see a cross section of young, middle-aged and older. Black, white and brown,” Rowland said. “The messages are similar. They don’t want the separation of children.” The crowd joined in chants like, “No fear, no hate. Do not separate,” and “Love not hate, makes America great.” Immigration problems have long plagued the U.S., but never before have parents seeking asylum at the southern border been immediately imprisoned and children placed in detention centers. In one Texas community, an old WalMart store has been transformed into a warehouse child detention facility, and talks are underway of creating “tent cities” on military bases. “It has been known for quite some time that there is a need for immigration reform,” Nicholson said. “Our country as a superpower has the capability of doing so much good in…

The Iguanas deeply rooted music connects with pro-migrant cause

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News When it comes to music, the fundamental things still apply. “The thing that’s always compelling is bands playing music together,” said Rene Coman, of the New Orleans-based roots band The Iguanas. “That’s the human part. That’s the exciting part that’s not dictated by a machine.” The Iguanas, who played the Black Swamp Arts Festival back in 2001, will play a benefit show for La Conexion de Wood County, Monday, June 18, at 7 p.m., at Grounds for Thought, 174 S. Main St., Bowling Green. Suggested donation is $10. The cause of supporting immigrants is one the band can get behind, Coman said.  The band’s lead singers, Joe Cabral and Rod Hodges, have grandparents who came to the United States from Mexico. “We definitely see ourselves as kindred spirits in that line of migration,” he said. “People are trying to improve their lives and find opportunities for their children. How can you fault anyone for that?” That’s not surprising for a band that embraces its American roots including those that extend south of the border or into the Louisiana swamp homes of the French Arcadians. “One of the things that makes the band work and that contributes to our longevity is we’re all into different kinds of music with a lot of intersections,” Coman said in a recent telephone interview. Cabral, saxophone and bajo sexton, and Hodges, guitar and accordion, were drawn to New Orleans by the city’s tradition of rock ‘n’ roll. That’s where they formed The Iguanas in 1989. Early on they had a shifting team of rhythm players. Coman joined on bass and keyboards in 1990. A year later he enlisted Doug Harrison, a former bandmate with Alex Chilton’s group, to take over the drum chair. The band has been a quintet at times, with another horn, but they’ve settle in as a quartet. “We’re perfectly comfortable swimming in that big open space.” Coman, who is from New Orleans, said the city sees itself linked culturally to the Caribbean. That musical tradition resonates throughout the sounds that took shape in the Big Easy. So much of it has “that rolling clave feel,” he said. “At the same time we’re all fans of country music, and of course, rock ‘n’ roll. We’re huge fans of all these different touchstones that we’re able to draw from and comingle into a true American music.” The songs take shape in a variety of ways, Coman said. Three band members write songs. Sometimes these are delivered as completed works. Other times, someone will come in with lyrics and “the band will collectively finish it off. … There’s no set rule to it.” The band also likes to include some offbeat covers, often the B-sides from their musical heroes, he said. Overtime the music tends to grow and slowly change, like watching a child grow. “It’s a pretty organic process,” Coman said. The musical center is a constant but the sound is always moving and always changing slightly over time. “After playing together for so long the telepathic communication is undeniable,” Coman said. “You see a band that has that much experience together. It’s not like someone who practices a lot. You can’t replace the years of repetition and the millions of variations. We have such huge common vocabulary. We can turn on a dime, go into different things and nobody misses a beat because you can almost see it coming before it happens.” He added: “Every time you play the song it’s different. Every time you do it you’re reacting to profile of everyone’s endocrine system, their…

Esther Nagel: Separation of immigrant parents from children is ‘abhorrent’

ICE’s current practice of separating immigrant parents and children upon entering our country is abhorrent.   According to pediatricians this practice does irreparable damage to a child’s emotional and psychological well being. Some of our countries’ leaders say this practice is to deter families from illegally entering our country.  But, many are leaving their home countries due to persecution, poverty and corruption. Agreed, some illegals use children as a shield.  However, this is not a good reason to continue this horrendous inhumane practice. We profess to be a nation “Under God”;  profess to care for our fellow human beings.  If we who profess this remain silent, our inaction is comparable to giving our consent to this repulsive practice. I have called and sent an e-mail to my two Senators as well as Representative Latta telling them to immediately cease this appalling practice.   Before I call I write down what I wish to say in order to correctly convey my opinion. For more information, google “immigrant families being separated.” If you wish to let your Senators and Representative Latta know your opinion on this practice, below are their phone numbers and e-mail connections.   Representative Latta:  202-225-6405 or 800-826-3688 Senator Portman:  202-224-3353 Senator Brown:  202-224-2315 To e-mail our above congressmen, google “contact my senator and congressman” The best way to change this despicable practice is to let your Senators and Representative Latta know your opinion! Thank you for your consideration   Esther Nagel, Custar, Ohio