"Blessed Are The Peacemakers"
Censored Anti-War Photos Restored
The Connecticut Civil Liberties Union decided to take Jill Friedman's case to the City of Hartford to reinstate two censored photos that were removed from her show "Blessed are the Peacemakers" at the Office of Cultural Affairs. They asked the City of Hartford Corporation Counsel in Jill's behalf to reinstate the pics and the city's lawyers agreed.
So as of Tuesday, October 15 all 25 photos in the exhibit, documenting the April 20 peace rally in Washington D.C., will be hung. The Hartford Courant will be running another story as a follow up and the OpEd page in the Courant will be printing Jill's Artist's Statement on Monday. "Thanks to the insight and wisdom of the Counsel to admit that one of their own had made a mistake," says Jill.. Announcing the reinstatement of the photos, Jill added " I couldn't be prouder. I thank all of you who said, "You go girl" and "hang tough" because I couldn't have done this without you! "
Jill's statement is printed below.
Blessed Are the Peacemakers
When my photographs were censored from the current exhibit at the City of
Hartford Office of Cultural Affairs last week because of their content, I was
accused of being "deeply un-American". If exercising my right to freedom of
speech and expression is un-American, then yes, I am un-American. If the US
Constitution is considered 'un-American',then yes, I am un-American. But in
fact, I love this country and the real values that it was founded upon. It
scares me that censorship is alive and well in this free country of ours.
The April 20th Coalition Peace Rally in Washington, D.C. this year has proven
that it is more than a single voice that is crying out for peace. The
headlines in the newspaper, the pounding of the drumbeat with war in Iraq,
the Pakistanian/Indian nuclear showdown, the terrifying eyewitness accounts
of war, the realities of landmines, orphans, amputees, the stories told and
untold, whether in Israel, Palestine, Colombia or Afghanistan...all of these
crimes against humanity are beyond my understanding. I cannot accept that I
live in a world that could not only create these horrific things, but
perpetuate them for corporate greed and in the name of religion. It scares
me. It scares me that children are becoming indifferent to war. It scares me
when I look into the face of a child terrified by the sights and sounds of
war. When I traveled to the Washington, DC rally, I felt an urgency and force
to document the intensity of feelings of a segment of the American public.
My photographs are testimony that a movement exists. Young and old, black,
red, yellow, brown, tan and white people from every nation, not just the US,
are crying out for the insanity to stop. We, the peacemakers, the taxpayers
of the machine for war are saying to our governments, "No More Killings in
our Names". We, the Pacifists of the world, know what is right in our hearts.
With a mixture of hope, love and self-determination, we can transform the war
machine into a farm machine. We can feed the world and create opportunities.
We can turn the manufacturing of guns and bullets into the manufacturing of
schools and housing for all. If not for the individuals who make up the
organizations and coalitions that stand for peace, we as a people would
continue to destroy ourselves with our silence.
I believe that if I, as one person, can make a change in this world, it is
through the prism of a lens. My portraits express another view of the people
of the world, who would not sit idle or be passive to the brutality. One that
prays, marches and takes action for peace. One that believes in nonviolence
as a way of negotiating the impossible as Mahatma Gandhi did. The possibility
that peace will ever exist in certain corners of the world, where it has only
existed in dreams, is real in the minds of the peacemakers. Blessed are the
Jill R. Friedman