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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Group voices dissent through films

    Sam Shumaker/Arizona Daily Wildcat
    Sam Shumaker
    Sam Shumaker/Arizona Daily Wildcat

    A group of activists on campus is stressing the importance of public awareness by using documentaries and public forums to expose the truth behind U.S. policy.

    Voices of Opposition: To War, Racism and Oppression is a group of UA students, alumni and community members who strive to publicize the truth they believe is distorted by the mainstream media.

    Group members meet weekly to watch and discuss documentary films featuring different national and global issues and conflicts.

    In addition to showing documentaries, the group organizes panel discussions and invites various speakers to discuss issues throughout the semester.

    “”I think that we have changed the awareness of people in the community and students about the war in Iraq and also (conflicts) around the world,”” said Mary Jo Ghory, a political activist and group member. “”We try to show films that are mainly substantial and not fictionalized.””

    Ghory said the group began when students and community activists joined efforts during the first stages of the War in Iraq in Spring 2003.

    “”What we want to do is show what wouldn’t be normally (shown) so that students can have a place at the university where they can learn about these issues,”” Ghory said. “”We hope people will learn from looking at the truth.””

    Voices of Opposition’s main goal is to present members of the community with alternate sources of information while also bringing subjects down to a local level, said Chris Floess, a political activist and group member.

    “”We try to pick the issues that are immediate in the media,”” Floess said. “”Letting people see what’s going on from an alternate angle is important for telling both sides of the story.””

    Recent weeks’ documentaries included two films about the U.S. War in Iraq: “”The Oil Factor: Behind the War on Terror”” and “”Caught in the Crossfire.””

    “”I enjoy coming to these (documentaries) because it generates political consciousness and awareness,”” said Chelsea Kappeler, an audience member and anthropology senior. “”It’s a free forum that engages people in debate and really helps facilitate (consciousness.)””

    One problem concerning the group is that a vast majority of students on campus and members of the community are unaware of the program, members said.

    “”I think that people either don’t want to come or just don’t know about it,”” Kappeler said. “”Literally, a lot of the people that show up don’t know that it has been going on for three years.””

    A typical public meeting involves the viewing of a featured documentary followed by an all-audience discussion, Ghory said. She said the audience size usually fluctuates between 50 and 100 people with crowd donations being the main source of funding.

    Although the majority of group members tend to be more liberal than conservative, the organization is open to all members of the political spectrum, Floess said.

    The next documentary will be “”Interviews with Participants in the Algerian War for Independence”” at 7 p.m. in Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering building, 1130 N. Mountain Ave., auditorium S202 on Feb. 27. For more information contact Mary Jo Ghory, 622-6419.

    Voices of Opposition is affiliated with Refuse and Resist, a student activist organization that is associated with The World Can’t Wait, a controversial local and national organization.

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