SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) –US immigration officials briefly detained the Palestinian director of the Oscar-nominated documentary 5 Broken Cameras on his way into Los Angeles for Sunday's Academy Awards.
Emad Burnat said that when he arrived at Los Angeles International Airport from Turkey with his wife and eight-year-old son late on Tuesday, he was told he did not have the proper proof that he was a nominee.
"Last night, on my way from Turkey to Los Angeles ... my family and I were held at US immigration for about an hour and questioned about the purpose of my visit to the United States," he said in a statement.
"Although this was an unpleasant experience, this is a daily occurrence for Palestinians, every single day, throughout the West Bank."
Burnat had earlier spent nearly six hours at an Israeli checkpoint as he attempted to drive to Amman to catch his flight to the US.
His detention in the US was first reported by filmmaker Michael Moore, a friend of Burnat's, who said he received an urgent text message from Burnat from a holding pen at the airport.
According to Moore's blog post, the director told Burnat to give Homeland Security his name and cell phone number to have him explain why Burnat was in the US.
Burnat had just been in the US two weeks earlier doing interviews alongside his co-director, Israeli activist Guy Davidi.
The US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) did not comment on the case but said in a statement that it "strives to treat all travellers with respect and in a professional manner, while maintaining the focus of our mission to protect all citizens and visitors in the United States.
"Travellers may be referred for further inspection for a variety of reasons to include identity verification, intent of travel, and confirmation of admissibility."
5 Broken Cameras features footage Burnat shot in his occupied West Bank village, Bilin - from everyday activities with his family to protests against the occupation and shootings.
The title refers to the number of smashed cameras since he began filming.
Village of protest
Bilin, a village near Ramallah, has organised weekly protests since 2005 when Israel began construction of its separation wall - a high concrete wall with guard towers and razor wire - meant to mark the border between Israel and the West Bank.
The route of the wall, however, is not along the internationally-accepted "Green Line" that marks the border; instead, it winds deep into the West Bank in some areas.
In Bilin, the wall's path annexes 60 percent of the village's land - much of it agricultural - for nearby, illegal Israeli settlements.
Faced with economic hardship from the annexation, villagers began protesting every Friday by marching from the centre of the village after prayers to the wall.
The protests, attended by villagers, other Palestinians, international activists and even Israeli activists, have been met by the Israeli army with teargas, rubber-coated steel bullets, "skunk" water cannon, live ammunition and arrests.
Two residents of the village have been killed in the protests. Hundreds more have been injured, and dozens from the village have been arrested for their participation.
Residents of Bilin have brought their case to the Israeli supreme court, and despite numerous rulings that found the current route of the wall is illegal, they have not recovered all of the land that was confiscated.-www.shfaqna.com/English
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — If you follow the Los Angeles County Museum of Art on Twitter, your timeline in mid-March was positively chockablock with enthusiastic 140-character sightings of a really big rock traveling on the back of a really big vehicle through the city’s streets. But what the heck was this #levitatedmass? Levitated Mass is an oversized, outdoor sculpture by artist Michael Heiser--a monolith resting atop a 456-foot-long, 15-foot-wide, concrete-lined channel dug into the ground. The 340-ton boulder’s epic 105-mile journey from the Pyrite-Hubbs Quarry in Riverside County toLACMA took 11 evenings but represents the realization of a project 43 years in the making. Heiser conceived the idea in 1969, but the logistics of maneuvering materials of such a large scale proved too difficult during the original attempt to construct it that year. In a way, the subsequent four-decade delay seems fortuitous--the rock’s complex and incredibly conspicuous trip seems tailor-made for modern times, a bit of public performance art by an inanimate object, super conducive to social media sharing andYouTube clips.
As it stands now, visitors are encouraged to walk the path directly underneath the crag, experiencing the view from every angle but above. And should you have the opportunity to see it in person, it seems like a no-brainer to take a photo where you make like you’re Indiana Jones in theopening scene of Raiders of the Lost Ark.
SHAFAQNA (Shia International News Association) — The space shuttle Endeavour rolled out of Los Angeles International Airport around 2 a.m. Friday for what has been named Mission 26: the two-day crawl through urban streets to retirement at the California Science Center 12 miles away.
Actually, crawling might have been faster. Traveling aboard a specially designed 80-wheel transporter and stopping frequently while it maneuvered carefully between streetlights and waiting for overhanging tree branches to be felled, the shuttle took hours to cover just its first couple of miles.
But the slow progress only facilitated the paradelike atmosphere that followed the spaceship. By the time the sun was up Friday morning, thousands had gathered in the parking lot where the Endeavour had pulled in for a rest.
“Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness!” said Lealind Vitello, 7, who stood, gaping, outside her elementary school across the street. “It’s parked just in front of the school. I go to that school!”
Her mother, Lisa Vitello, though calmer, was no less awe-struck.
“It’s amazing to see it this close, and to know that it’s been in space,” Ms. Vitello said. “To have this piece of history in our little neighborhood is incredible.”
But for all the excitement that the shuttle’s arrival has engendered here — this city, considered a cultural also-ran by many, is now home to one of only four retired NASAspace shuttles — actually moving the Endeavour through the dense streets has hardly been as smooth as the space shuttle Enterprise’s float up the Hudson River in New York.
Hundreds of trees were cut down so that the shuttle could make the trip in one piece, angering many residents of South Los Angeles who worried their neighborhood would be left barren. A deal to avoid a lawsuit was reached just a few weeks ago.
Street signs have also been removed; thousands of steel plates have been placed on the road to protect water and sewer pipes underneath from bursting under the shuttle’s weight; and several major power lines along the way were to be temporarily taken down.
But it is the immense public interest that poses one of the biggest challenges for engineers, according to Richard Plump, the president of Plump Engineering, which is assisting with the Endeavour’s move.
“That’s a problem for us,” Mr. Plump said. “We have to make sure the shuttle is safe and the public is safe.”
While the Endeavour stayed parked in the lot near the airport through the early afternoon as engineers prepared for the next phase of its journey, a makeshift festival cropped up around it.
Parents and students sold baked goods and hot dogs to the steadily growing crowd outside the elementary school. Some teenagers skipped school altogether to come sell Endeavour T-shirts, Silly String, cotton candy and plastic horns.
But students were not the only ones playing hooky. Sandra Krauthamer and Mariana Cunningham left work to come see the shuttle in person. (“We talked each other into it,” Ms. Cunningham said.)
Grown men jumped up and down in excitement. And nearly everyone — including some of the police officers charged with keeping the shuttle safe — had a camera perpetually pointed toward the spacecraft, making it impossible to walk anywhere without ruining a photograph.
Amid the festive atmosphere, people reveled in being so very close to the hulking vehicle that had traveled so very far away.
“It’s interesting to see how much wear it’s taken after all its journeys,” Greg Bristol, 69, said. “It’s got burn marks on it. It’s got missing tiles. It’s been through hell.”
As the Endeavour began to inch away from the parking lot (at top speeds of 2 miles per hour), people clapped and shouted, “It’s moving!” The shuttle’s wings — 78 feet from tip to tip — just barely fit between the buildings on either side of the street.
As far as it has traveled, the shuttle still had a few more miles to go..www.shafaqna.com/English