March 8, 2018
Jen Marlowe
Reflections on Resistance: From Palestine, To Darfur, To Death Row
Thorley Recital Hall

Reflection | Video | Podcast | Photos

Jen Marlowe is an author/documentary filmmaker/playwright and human rights/social justice activist. She is the founder of Donkeysaddle Projects, which creates pieces within the realms of film, theatre, and creative non-fiction to amplify stories of resistance and struggles for equality and liberation. Jen’s most recent project is her play, There Is A Field, addressing the killing of a 17-year old Palestinian citizen of Israel by Israeli police, and connecting the issues of state violence, structural injustice and supremacy in Israel and the U.S. Jen’s most recent documentary film, Witness Bahrain (2015), documents the aftermath of the Bahraini regime’s crackdown on pro-democracy and human rights activists. Her previous film, One Family in Gaza (2011), profiled one family’s experience during and after the 2009 assault on the Gaza Strip. One Family in Gaza received the Audience Award at the Bellingham Human Rights Film Festival in 2013.

Event Reflection

by Billy Clouse

On March 8, Jen Marlowe came to SUU to discuss the many different types of resistance she's seen as a journalist and documentary film maker. She shared three stories, each of which dealt with tragedy, but led to a form of resistance that isn't always seen as such.

Her first story took place in Sudan, where the government was violently fighting rebel groups. Marlowe and her team were touring a village that had been bombed. The remains of the buildings were scattered with debris and shrapnel.

During this tour, planes that carried bombs soared overhead, forcing the villagers to take cover. That night however, there was a wedding.

Marlowe recalled the joyous dancing and singing, and although she didn't speak the language, she said the message behind the songs seemed to be "You will not destroy us. We will continue to live."

Marlowe's second story involved a Georgia woman's fight to save her brother's life. After Troy was convicted of murder and put on death row, Martina made it her mission to prove her brother's innocence. Although evidence of a police coverup seemed insurmountable, the conviction was never overturned.

While in jail, Troy took part in raising his nephew, holding him when he was younger and helping him study for tests as he got older. Troy managed to resist the concrete walls, chainlink fences, and barbed-wire coils and remain an active member in the lives of his family.

On the day Troy was executed, his sister was part of a rally outside the prison. In the evening, she helped a young activist get plugged into the anti-death-penalty movement.

A digital time stamp on a photo showed that she was doing this at the moment her brother was murdered by the state. In the words of Marlowe, Martina was "enlisting another soldier in the fight against the system that killed her brother."

The final story Marlowe shared was of a family living in the Gaza Strip who lost their home and a son during an attack. The children, who were emotionally scarred, played on the rubble of their home, using the bullet casings and shrapnel as toys.

Through the pain and financial struggles, the family rebuilt their home, but it was later destroyed during a second attack. This was a difficult time for the entire family, as well as the others living in the area.

The father, who held his dying son in his arms during the first attack, said that despite the pain, his family would continue to fight for peace and humanity.

Although resistance is often associated with rebels and soldiers, Marlowe said that protesting and contacting legislative representatives are powerful forms of resistance.

The A.P.E.X. season will continue on March 27 at 11:30 a.m., when author, journalist, and editor Susan Casey presents in the Great Hall of the Hunter Conference Center.


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