Islamic State is harvesting the world’s attention, but meanwhile, Kurdish freedom fighters are using the disintegration of Syria to carve out an autonomous state they call “Rojava” (sunset). Their vision is of creating a completely new kind of society based on radical democracy, diversity, tolerance and gender equality – shaped by the ideas of a forgotten American revolutionary thinker called Murray Bookchin. The formerly socialist PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan discovered Bookchin’s writings whilst in solitary confinement in a Turkish prison on a tiny island and found a new template.
This clip from Submedia TV shows how men and women have been fighting the head-chopping ISIS to create a libertarian commune along the border between Syria, Iraq and Turkey.See also this more in-depth documentary from anonymous journalists who had to dodge Turkish army patrols to enter the autonomous zone area to meet Kovan Direj, a Kurdish activist, and read Adam Curtis’s post and analysis of the situation.
“We were never as free as we were under the Occupation”
For the existentialist philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre, human beings are simply a coincidence of Nature and it is our task to find meaning in our presence in Life. The “existentialist” part of that meaning is our search for Freedom.
This BBC documentary is an invitation to spend 50 minutes with ‘one of the greatest minds of the 20th century.’
Tired of reportages depicting favela kids in poverty-stricken misery, Iris Della Roca decided to ask the children how they wanted to be photographed. The results are inspiring, poignant and complex. See the images >>
Robert Frank’s classic book The Americans was a seminal piece of work in a variety of ways.
In this essay, George Cotkin explores how Frank’s photographic expression was fundamentally aligned with the literary vision of Beat writers (Kerouac, Ginsberg, Burroughs et al) and their “sustained critique of the barrenness of American culture,” overlapping with “a vision of renewal and rebirth”.
As part of his thesis, Cotkin suggests that Frank saw and portrayed Black Americans in the Fifties as living an embodied form of existential freedom that far surpassed the experience of the theoretically freer White American “walking dead”…
Skateistan began in 2007 when an Australian skateboarder, Oliver Percovich, discovered a perfect spot to skate at the weekend – Mekroyan Fountain, an abandoned, Russian-era concrete relic located in the heart of Kabul. In 2009 Percovich created the non-profit skate school in Afghanistan. The goal is simple: to use skateboarding as a tool for empowerment in a country worn away by 30 years of conflict and dislocation. The children, and especially the girls, come for skateboarding, they stay for education writes Kat Lister.
“With a calm mind we gain a broader perspective, a perspective on our environment. We seek not only our own happiness; instead, calmly looking at the circumstances surrounding us, we regard our environment as our companion and we are able to maintain a calm and peaceful state”
In an intense and sometimes crazy world that is seemingly tipping increasingly into chaos, Zen practice offers a pathway to stilling the mind and learning to maintain that mental stillness in the world.
Zen Master Taigen Shodo Harada Roshi offers a clear, simple 20minute introduction to the basics of Zazen sitting meditation. Bringing the mind to order, by connecting it to the simple order of the body and the breath.
[Note for viewers who don’t understand Japanese! – you may need to turn subtitles on: click the little cog on bottom right menu bar to get the option up.]
“If you could have a window in your cell, what place from your past would it look out to?”
Prisoners have a unique perspective on the nature – and relativity – of freedom… The photographic project Windows from Prison seeks to offer moments of relative liberation to people incarcerated in the U.S. federal prison system by bringing them a photograph of a view of their choice. Read ->>
The PfB Sound Blog and Soundcloud page are in development. We’ll be presenting a curated flow of DJ mixes and original productions, all produced or offered as musical responses to the PfB invitation: “What’s going on out there? What’s your journey? And how can we be free?”
While you’re waiting, check out Polarone’s ‘medicine wave’ for deep listening and embodied journeying. Make a a little space to move, turn the lights down and the sound up, and see what happens…
DJ-mix soundtrack to PfB. Put it on while reading or looking at the book, or else use it as a medicine wave: make a space to move, turn the lights down and the sound up, and take the journey as a dancer. Mixed by Polarone. Click ‘read more’ for track-listing.
Postcard: image & text based missive sent to friends by travelers. Babylon: (1) capital of Babylonia in 2nd century B.C, often considered the first city. (2) Rastafarian term for capitalist civilisation. Liberation:the process of seeking and embodying freedom for, and by, all peoples