It wasn’t the best of circumstances for expecting people to leave their homes: At the evening of our info night it was pouring down with rain and the wind was rocking the scaffolding around the Mezrab. When my grumpy self entered the space however, I was welcomed by a wave of Filippino warmth and some guitar sounds, which instantly changed my mood. The Saturay family and their friend Maybel had come from Utrecht by train and were practising a song/ rap/ performance to add to our programme for the night. I was overwhelmed – in my eyes, the evening was already a success.
With surprise I realised that Marakit, who was rapping the English translation of the song that night, had been the very same girl rapping at an Occupy demonstration some months ago, which we had recorded and put on this blog then!
Other highlights of the evening were that almost 30 people attended despite the rain, that we had lots of critical questions and inspiring ideas – even offers to organise fundraising events (e.g. with Filippino food and Kurdish music…).
When we had prepared for the evening, we agreed that one of our aims was to create (more) enthusiasm – in others as well as ourselves – an aim that I felt was certainly achieved this night.
Thanks to everybody who was there, and for your input, we really enjoyed sharing and discussing with you! Also a big thanks to Sahand and his mom for opening the Mezrab for us and providing soup, drinks and donations!
I just came across this interview and can’t stop but make a link between our project and what Godard is talking about.
” It is quite striking, when workers are interviewed…these people are given 15 brief seconds, when they haven’t opened their mouths for years. We give them 15 seconds or 3 minutes to speak. ‘What do you think of the strike? what do you think of your lot in life?’ Who can answer when he’s had his mouth sewn shut? Who can answer?
A worker who buys a small camera or a still camera and films his/her vacation, is making a political film. That’s what I call a political film. That’s the only film he can make. It so happens that he’s allowed to film his vacation, but strangely enough that he’s not allowed to film his work. Cameras are forbidden in factories, in the workplace…..”
Godard also talks about the claim that a worker does not understand the films made about his life, so it is useless to make films about workers. He says that this is not about the intellectual level of this worker as it was always claimed, but a problematic about the inaccessible film language that is used, that it is about who owns and creates this language.
He links all these points to different issues as his main concern is the film language and film industry in those years(1972). For us these points are related to other issues and many discussions we are having in a PV project being made with the workers in 2011. Hope to expand on these in the coming posts..
It’s been a while since the last update. Back in the Netherlands the Philippines are again so far away.
It’s hard to keep completely updated about what’s going on in the women workers struggle. However the support goes on here in Amsterdam. Many people have seen the short clips we made and heard the stories that traveled back here from Manilla with us. With the solidaritybag, made by the ex-triumph workers, on our shoulder, we are now looking for funding. More and more I realize that this project could actually make a difference. The women we met have so much to say that it would be such a shame to not share those words.
This week the Occupy-Movement took over Amsterdam. Thousands of people by now have occupied the city and spread their ideas about injustice in the world. The first day of the occupation a Philippino woman climbed up the stage and translated her anger into a ‘rap’ (in Dutch). She told the people who were listening trough what she all went, what she’s seen and why she’s angry. I made a little clip of the rap and the people demonstrating. There’s something with these strong philippino women 😉 I’ll do some English subtites soon!
Such a shame there was not more time to meet more people, to see more of the Philippines, to try more exotic food, to have more meetings, to make more plans, to build more network, to shoot more footage, to exchange more, to sleep more and of course to update this blog more often….
It’s been an amazing time with so much! Learned, exchanged, organized, tried, explained, planned, seen, networked, met, talked, filmed, edited, walked, ate, talked, laughed and so much more. Will update more stories soon, about our infonight in Manilla for example, our visit to the ex-triumph workers, the cooperation, the visit to the eco-village, our big fat planning meeting etc etc.
But for now just to let you know that everything is cool.
Today was a very intense day. Intense in a weird, confusing and uncomfortable way and intense in a very inspiring, empowering and impressing way.
Melona, our partner and friend of the Defend Job Philippines, really wanted to introduce us to some homeless families living next to the railway tracks. We asked ourselves many times before what that would add to our project and if it wouldn’t be weird to go there to meet these very poor people, but Melona insisted we had to meet them. At the spot it turned out to be that she knew them very well and so actually she wanted to introduce us to her friends and their children, who happened to be homeless. The community welcomed us with open arms, honoured and honestly taking care of us, which made us feel uncomfortable and with a reason of course.
If we thought we’re poor squatters from Amsterdam, here we were so rich these people could not even imagine. Weren’t we just stupid tourists? Or more like the development workers from unicef you see sometimes, proudly posing with poor kids with flies flying around? Or were we just invited to some ‘homes’ of our friend’s friend? All of these thoughts going through our heads and then suddenly some of the little girls started singing songs about living in the shanty town, about being evicted over and over again, about never being able to be somewhere long enough to feel ‘home’ and being violently robbed from the homemade spaces you just started to call ‘home’. Glad we went there. And glad we got this on camera.
The second part of the day was our meet and great with the workers of the Advan Shoe Factory who started a union and filmed the injustice happening inside the factory. The tree women came in little shy but ‘wow’ what an enormous empowerment and intense stories these women were carrying with them. They told us about the harassment by their boss before, during and after work. About the moments they decided they could not take it any longer. Gloria, the ‘president’ of the union, told us about the sexual harassments and the moment she decided to tell him to fuck off, unite and make all the women in the factory understand how important the union was. They first spontaneously started filming what was going on inside the factory with their mobile phones and then started to be more organized and spread it on the internet with the help of local video collective Tudla. We were happy to hear how empowered and connected these women felt after taking action by using the camera as a tool.
Here again we have some excellent video-material!
Tomorrow we’ll visit the old empty ex-Triumph factory and will meet the ex-Triumph workers who started their own little business in solidarity bags to support their struggle against Triumph and this garment-industry injustice. Keep posted!