tv Democracy Now LINKTV August 12, 2015 3:00pm-4:01pm PDT
08/12/15 08/12/15 [captioning made possible by democracy now!] amy: from venice, italy, this is democracy now! >> i am an artist, activist, and archivist and interested in using our to recover forgotten victories and a space to imaginal -- imagine possible new features. amy: as we are at the venice biennale, will speak with afghan american artist mariam ghani about her life and work. she is also the daughter of the president of afghanistan, ashraf
ghani. we will look at what happened when an artist attempted to send a group of pigeons from havana to florida caring cuban cigars in violation of the u.s. embargo. the first, we speak to the celebrated palestinian artists emily jacir. for years she has greater groundbreaking art to capture the palestinian experience. among her projects is one that was banned by the city of venice years ago, which translated the italian names into arabic. all of that and more coming up. welcome to democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. a new opinion poll shows vermont senator bernie sanders is the leading democratic presidential
candidate in new hampshire. the poll shows sanders has 44% support among likely new hampshire democratic primary voters, compared to only 37% support for clinton. this poll follows a series of speaking events where sanders has drawn record crowds. on sunday, 28,000 people turned out in portland, oregon. it was a large is campaign rally for any democratic were republican presidential candidate this year. a day later, more than 27,000 people attended his event in los angeles. before his speech the campaign's , new press secretary symone sanders, an african american criminal justice advocate, spoke about the black lives matter movement and said -- "no candidate for president is going to fight harder for criminal justice reform and racial justice issues than senator bernie sanders." in more campaign news, hillary clinton is turning over her
private computer server she used while serving as secretary of state to the justice department. she is also turning over a thumb drive that contains copies of her email. the move is the latest in a series of attempts by clinton to end the controversy surrounding whether she mishandled any classified material with her private email set-up. in news from greece, the government says it has reached a preliminary bailout deal with its international creditors ahead of a $3.5 billion payment to the european central bank on august 20. the deal in its current form includes a $95 billion bailout in exchange for harsh austerity measures. it does not include any debt relief. the deal must be passed by the greek parliament, the german parliament, and that of other european nations. the european commission spokesperson spoke tuesday, echoing caution from european officials who say the text of a final agreement has not yet been reached.
>> what we have at the moment is a technical level agreement reached by the staff of the institutions in the greek authorities on the ground following the weeks of negotiations. what we don't have at the moment is a political agreement, and that is what we would need. amy: in australia, prime minister tony abbott is facing criticism for his proposed greenhouse gas reduction goals, which seek to reduce carbon emissions by at least 26% by 2030. this plan rolls back more ambitious proposal of reducing emissions by 30% over the same time period. abbott's conservative government also repealed laws last year requiring large companies to pay for carbon emissions. scientists and environmental groups said the new greenhouse gas reduction plan is "way below" what's needed to address climate change. among the many to criticize the plan was tony de brum, the foreign minister of the marshall
islands who told the australian broadcasting corporation any proposals that won't limit the increase of warming to no more than 2 degrees celsius threatens his country's very existence. >> it is the end of our country. we will go underwater when that happens. asis important for australia our brothers to the south to take our cause and not to do things that would endanger our very existence. amy: in news from ferguson, missouri, the st. louis county police department has released a video it says shows african american teenager tyrone harris drawing a pistol before he was shot and critically injured by ferguson police officers sunday night. the shooting occurred during the ongoing protests over the one year anniversary of michael brown's death. harris has been charged with four counts of assault on law enforcement, and is being held on $250,000 bail. his father says harris did not have a gun. meanwhile, the presence of a
group of heavily armed white men in ferguson is sparking controversy. the oath keepers consists largely of former and current law enforcement and military personnel who say they are upholding the u.s. constitution. during the protests, a ferguson resident spoke about the presence of the oath keepers on the streets. >> you and people who look like you, white males, of the sovereignty to take advantage of the second amendment and walk around with assault rifles, but we can't stand out here in a similar peacefully and exercise our constitutional right to do so without being gassed, maced, amy: in news from texas, the arlington police department has fired a white officer who shot and killed an unarmed african american college student last friday. the officer brad miller, was , still in training when he fatally shot christian taylor last friday while responding to an alleg burglary at a car dealership. the arlington police chief said he is turning over evidence to
the district attorney, who will decide whether to present it to a grand jury for a possible criminal indictment. amnesty international has voted to support a policy calling for the full decriminalization of all aspects of consensual sex work. the vote occurred tuesday during a biennial meeting in dublin . amnesty says the policy shift comes after years of research in which the organization says it found that decriminalization is the best way to defend sex workers' human rights. amnesty international will now turn to lobbying governments to repeal laws that forbid the sale and purchase of sex. in news from nigeria, an explosion in a market has killed nearly 50 people tuesday in the northeastern town of sabon gari. no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, although the u.s. state , department noted that it occurred in a region that has faced a wave of recent attacks by the militant group boko haram. federal prosecutors have unveiled criminal charges against nine people accused of
orchestrating a multimillion dollar insider trading hacking scheme. authorities say that stock traders partnered with ukrainian hackers to gain access to financial news releases before publication, allowing them to make insider trades worth millions. new jersey district attorney paul fishman announced the indictments tuesday. indictments, one returned here and in the district of new jersey and one in the eastern district of new york, charging a total of nine individuals, we alledge the conspirators stole more than 100,000 news releases, traded ahead of more than 800 releases, and made more than $30 million. in addition, the sec has filed a civil complaint charging those individuals and a host of others with similar trading conduct. amy: those indicted include six stock traders and two ukrainian computer hackers. five of the defendants were arrested in the united states on tuesday. in news from afghanistan, president ashraf ghani has called on the pakistani government to crack down on taliban training camps in
pakistan following a wave of deadly attacks in afghanistan . explosions outside police and military bases and the kabul airport left more than 70 people dead over the weekend. ghani called on islamabad to take action. the incidence in the past humans in general and particularly, the incidence of recent days, prove that suicide bomber training centers and bomb making factories which are continually used to kill our innocent people are still active in that country, pakistan. we want the pakistani government to take practical action against those circles who are committing rebellious acts against afghanistan. we want them to stop. amy: in news from yemen, pro-houthi demonstrators gathered in the capital city sanaa tuesday to protest the u.s.-backed saudi-led coalition air strikes. hundreds of men marched through streets at an all-male rally, while women gathered for an all-female rally outside the united nations building. one of the houthi leaders spoke out at the protest.
>> today we came out in rejection of colonialism, and rejection of the siege. we will continue preparation and implementation of strategic options soon. amy: and harvard professor lawrence lessig has announced he is considering a run for president in order to protest money in politics. he says that if he won the presidency, he would serve only as long as it takes to pass sweeping campaign finance reform. then he would resign, he says. lessig says that he will run as a democratic candidate if he's able to raise $1 million in small contributions by labor day. and those are some of the headlines. this is democracy now!, democracynow.org, the war and peace report. i'm amy goodman. we're on the road in venice, italy, the site of the venice biennale, the oldest and most prestigious international biennial art exhibition in the world. the theme this year is "all the world's futures."
you may hear inside where we are broadcasting outside today at , people singing. we begin today with one of the muscle liberated palestinian artists, emily jacir. in 2007, emily jacir won the golden lion here at the venice biennale for her work "material for a film." it was a large scale installation based on the life of palestinian writer wael zuaiter who was assassinated near his home in rome, italy, by israeli mossad agents in 1972. for years, emily has created groundbreaking art to capture the palestinian experience and other issues. in 2001, she presented titled "memorial to 418 palestinian villages destroyed, depopulated and occupied by israel in 1948." the piece consisted of a large refugee tent with the names of 418 palestinian villages
embroidered on it. she later did a project called, "ex libris," that commemorated the approximately 30,000 books from palestinian homes, libraries, and institutions that were looted by israeli authorities in 1948. emily jacir is speaking here at the creative time summit as part of the venice biennale. we welcome you to democracy now! >> i'm so excited to be here. i do say this because my father is probably your biggest fan. amy: well, thank god for fathers. so, emily, you gave a remarkable speech here yesterday. -- well, person not from venice, though you lived in rome, gave us a tour of venice, a kind of geopolitical cultural to her that most people are not privileged to get. visitorst what many may mess. >> yesterday i spoke about a project that i made for the 2009 biennial, which was a public
intervention that was meant to stops, theon the 25 water bus line, the water bus stops, that runs through the heart of venice. what i did was i translated each arabicaims -- names and and place those next to the italian, creating a bilingual transportation routes into the city. what inspired this project was a two-year period of researching the history of venice when it was really interdependent with the rest of the mediterranean. i was interested in exploring the shared heritage venice has with the air world. for example, the very first book ever printed mechanically in their book was called -- arabic book was called the book of hourx. i think it was 1514.
another highlight from that research was the first mechanically printed -- on the world printed here in venice. it was in 1537. in the glassblowing technique that dennis is so famous for was actually developed in palestine. the technique of glassblowing. whereas from a period there were no borders. venice was like a liquid city. it is a shared heritage. the words in the venetian .ialect come from arabic for example, where the summit is being held, arsenale, comes from word that means house of manufacture. it is an incredibly rich and layered history. the architecture, you can see -- amy: explain.
>> it is the water bus you take to move around the city. it is like a bus in any city, but it is in the water. amy: venice is a remarkable city of canals. there are no cars. these take gondolas or water buses that we have been on throughout venice. it is kind of like, well, a watery subway system, you could say. small ferries. each station stop has the italian name of the stops. amy: exactly. actually there separate floating kind of dust not platforms jutting out into the water. the idea also putting the arabic next to the italian name was so that the stop would have a dialogue with the architecture along the grand canal, which is this incredible mixture of influences from the air world and here. amy: so you did this for the -- >> 2009 biennale. to: you are actually going
put the arabic translation of the italian stops on each stop. >> we worked with the bus company in charge of the lines in the bus stops, and they were really excited about the project , and it were going to fund it, actually. they had asked me to create a text to explain to tourists to put on some of the stops what is this arabic that is on the stations. we were going to have an opening with the mayor of venice. and then shortly before biennale the, the project was shut down. amy: by? >> the city officials. summit he can to the head of the bus company and told them this was not to take place in venice, which was really devastating for me because i think it is very important project dealing with a beautiful history, a shared history, shared cultural heritage, and it was a secular project, which is also something that is very important.
amy: what did they tell you? it -- now,you showed at that time, you showed it in a palestinian pavilion. >> it was the first palestinian pavilion. so instead, after this happened, to come up with something else. i created a brochure which was a map of the project and where biennale doors river could go see this map and five my project. when they would arrive, they would see was not there. my intention was maybe sometime in the future, people would think it was there because we created this brochure that it actually happened when it didn't. it was the only way to overcome this. actual, you had won the what is a call -- >> the golden lion at the 2007 biennale, for my work called "material for a fountain." amy: i want to talk about that in a moment.
a but about this issue of not being able to put up the sign, we reported the icelandic pavilion was shut down when the artist, the pavilion was in an old church that had not been used by the catholic church a thing for like 40 years, turned it into a mosque. the venetian authorities said no. >> and in 2005, there's an artist called gregor schneider who was going to put a black -- and that was also shut down. it is the main square of venice where the church is. amy: what was the black square representing? >> well, the artist would have to explain. i'm not when a stick on his behalf. that they shut it down because they were too afraid it would look like mecca. amy: the place we're sitting right now, and some people might hear sounds of music or speakers wafting through, we are right
next to the theater where the creative time summit is taking place. we are in an area called the arsenal hast an old been changed into an artist's space. talk about the arsenale, the significance of this area, emily. >> it is interesting because it is one of the things i was talking about the translations because it was the place where ship building took place in this word comes from, which is house of manufacture. amy: in arabic. >> yes. [laughter] amy: and it was one of the first industrial -- >> exactly. amy: where they made warships in a day here in venice, italy. we're talking with emily jacir, palestinian artist and film maker, professor of international academy of art house time enron the law. her work includes a diverse range of media and strategies including film, photography,
social interventions, installation, performance, video, writing and sound. now i want to go back to 2007 to what you won the golden lion award for at the 52nd venice biennale. in 2008, winning the hugo boss prize at the guggenheim museum. it was for the same thing. was.in what your project >> essentially, that project was palestinianrst named wael zuaiter who was killed by the israeli mossad on european soil in 1972. the title for the project comes from the chapter of a book written by his companion for eight years. there was a chapter called" material for a film" where the
famous italian film maker had done a series of interviews with the people who knew -- wawl was important in the cultural scene in italy. he was the first person to bring over to morale to the middle east. he took them to iraq and syria, kuwait, and he was very involved with people. so this chapter does amy: and that was? >> the italian film maker. so this chapter basically i felt i was bringing dust building on more work in gathering material for a film. with the installation of it el,ng it is not only about waw but my journey. amy: you lived in rome for many years. this is where he was murdered. >> yes. i lived in rome for many years so there was this specter of his death and my mind since i was a child of this kind of impending
threat. and to make that project, it actually required a did a lot of research. it took five years. collaborated mainly with janet, who was his companion. frankly, we would not really have any information on him for his life if it wasn't for her because she kept everything will documents, every single letter, all of his books she held onto. a lot of the work was working with her in her apartment, going to her archives to create this beast. -- piece. ,my: talk about the images here 120 years old, the venice biennale, the oldest in the world, and also at the guggenheim -- i remember being there, seeing this breathtaking display. >> thank you. was, iintended to do
wanted it to function like you aboutlking through a film this man and his life, and my life, except unlike a film where if you're watching a film you're in a very passive position in almost being lectured to, you are moving among the elements a euro and pace. so there was video and there was sound, various text, images i collected from his life, photographs. it took place in several rooms, kind of like a maze. amy: and guggenheim, the circular building that you walk up. the response to this and how did you know the mossad assassinated him? >> actually, there was a court case. he went to the court case in italy, and it was proven. their names, which i don't have off the top of my head right now, are available in the documents of that court case. amy: finishing this project, what did it mean to you wringing out this man's life -- bringing
out this man's life and death in such as the establishment art institution? and it goes to bigger question about your role as an artist come also as a palestinian artists, what you're trying to do. >> that is a huge question. amy: a lot of people might be experiencing are looking at what is going on in the world today. so many conflicts from ferguson to palestine. here we are in venice at an art exhibition. here you are. how does that mesh? how did you choose art as a way of expressing yourself? do you consider yourself an activist? >> i do consider myself an activist but i also feel when i'm working with my projects, many of them are very long-term and require a lot of research. actually, it is con of the opposite of what journalism is about, because it is about going really slow and taking your time, looking at tiny details
that would not actually normally appear in his reports or news stories, especially the stories coming out the way of the west bank and palestine is contextualized in the media. amy: let's go to your third project that i wanted to talk about, the tent. >> the memorial to 418 villages. amy: explain what you did. >> i was in new york at the time and i got a family sized refugee tent. it was a community-based project which took place over a three month period. i stenciled the names of every village that was destroyed or depopulated were occupied in 1948 onto this tent and invited people to come sew each name from and border each name into this tent. amy: and where did you get the
names of the villages? >> the names i used were from a book "all that remains." when we would work on the tent and someone would start selling a new village, we would read in the book what he wrote about who lived there before, how it was the populated. amy: and the father of the club university professor? and so you have these names. >> it became -- it really became a social space where people came to gather and sew and work, but the other thing that was happening at that time when we were working on that he's was a second intifada had started. so for many of the communities, they were on skype or try to call family members and you would get on the subway train in the morning and there would be these horrible headlines and you would just -- you just didn't feel safe. even though we were selling these names from what happened in 1948, we were also gathering a we could be together to deal
with what was happening in the contemporary moment. it was really important. amy: and you left the front of the tent? >> i did because i think the destruction of palestine as a work in progress that is still going on. so to imply i would be adding more names later. there is one panel that is completely empty. amy: and then there is ex libris. explain where the installation was shown. a big artmade for exhibition that happens every five years in germany. which is an incredible site because it is in the region where the biggest book repatriation project in history ever took place, and it was under the americans own. i was very fascinated by this idea of repatriation and restitution of property. so it made sense to me that my project would be about the books which are currently in the israeli national library that
were looted from palestinian homes and institutions in 1948. amy: explain. >> so i went to the library -- well, first of all, those books are in the jewish national universityhebrew and never mark ap, the catalog number, which stands for abandoned property. it is interesting because they're part of the system, but there also -- what happened of them is signified in this ap designation. amy: abandoned property. >> but they were looted. amy: what deeming by looted? >> they were taken by people's dust from people's homes and libraries and they were looted. amy: does the israeli government recognize this? >> no. amy: but it's in the library. >> it's in the library. i took photographs of traces of the original books from the owners. that is what it is comprised of. notes, flowers, inscription,
somebody's prayer card. amy: for example, what would a prayer card look like? >> there was one that was a picture of jesus, like a little bookmark. you know, those little -- amy: so a picture of jesus in an arabic talk. >> yes. note or pressed flowers. amy: talked about the response to this project. -- oh, thereeally was another element of the project i forgot to mention. i took some of these inscriptions and -- because i wanted this idea of the public and our collective to be an important part of this. an inspection and a book, do so small and personal, i took a couple of them and turned them into large-scale murals so they would be out in public space. one of them is actually -- i put few yes later up in new
york, and i think it is still up. you can see it from the high lines. amy: explain what the highlights -- not really a banner. >> it is a painted mural above my gallery. book?bout owning a >> this book belongs to its owner and he bought it with his own money in march 1892, think it is. that is the inscription. but insd esh and we have it in english and arabic. it is still there for those who walked the hireling. amy: your next project, emily, as we wrap up? >> angina couple of projects right now. two are films that will be filled here in italy. back to the subject of translation and naming and what gets lost in translation or gain in a translation, and who gets
to name things. amy: i want to thank you very much for being with us, emily jacir, palestinian artist and film maker, professor at the international academy of art palestine in ramallah. her work includes a diverse range of media and strategies including film, photography, installation, performance, video. in 2007, she won the golden lion at the 52nd venice biennale. in 2008, she won hugo boss prize at the guggenheim museum. we will continue to follow her work over the years. when we come back, mariam ghani joins us, brooklyn, new york artist from afghanistan. she takes on in her art everything from ferguson to brutality in u.s.-run prisons, from guantánamo to afghanistan, her own country. she is the daughter of the current afghanistan president ashraf ghaniin the so-called non
>> it is my pleasure, amy. a scene quite yesterday. not everyone appears in person, but i understand the reason your coke and a list wasn't also here is -- well, you can tell us. >> it is a bit difficult for him to come to venice without also bringing a whole infrastructure of security personnel with him, which would have quite changed the character of the creative time summit, i think. amy: where talking about the afghan president ashraf ghani, your father. but your focus in talking with biennial -- >> yes. amy: why the president of afghanistan and you talking about art? >> as i said before, and actually we talked about this during our conversation, art is a really powerful space in which
to both recover forgotten histories and to imagine possible futures that don't resemble the present as we know it. and i think those things are incredibly important to afghanistan today. and i think afghanistan's artists should be encouraged to play that role, and to play to a much greater extent than a have so far. amy: let's talk about the kind of work you have been involved with. i would like to start with "the guantanamo effect your coat explain what you're doing. >> my collaboration has been running for 11 years. it is both a physical archive, as you mentioned, of detentions, deportations, renditions and reductions, and a platform for related interventions around ares and issues that contained in the documents we archived. we do visual interventions and
organize discussions and public dialogues. archivingen declassified documents, first-person testimonies, other artists projects, and all cans of other material around these issues for a long time now. and in the course of that archival projects, we have a cry heard -- acquired different things. amy: you are linking what happens in u.s. prisons with what happens in u.s.-run prisons abroad. whether we are talking guantanamo afghanistan. talk about what you found. talks the interactive project we made for creative time reports grew out of this phenomenon that we noticed in the course of archiving the disappeared, which is both ideas and policies, and personnel circulated among all the different u.s. run prisons
in the world. first coming of u.s. corrections officers and u.s. policeman who policeloyed as military to afghanistan when they're called up in the national guard reserves. so they end up in abreu grade and bagram, end up in other temporary holding facilities that are prisons and operating bases. my: charles greener, the guard who went to jail who is known for his brutality in pennsylvania prisons. >> the records were not considered. amy: he took the pictures of the tortured prisoners. >> and a 2002 when two detainees died and they. specifically as a result of what are called coronal strikes, which is a technique taught to u.s. police departments to subdue prisoners who are resisting arrest.
it is a strike supplied with a point of the elbow. it is supposed to be applied highs.o the tjogh but in this case, they were apply to their entire bodies and not when the prisoners were in motion or resisting arrest, but were suspended and hanging position and left their for more than 24 hours, which caused blood clots to circulate through their bodies and led them to die of a stroke. amy: he was a taxi driver with -- authorities imprisoned >> on false evidence. amy: and killed. >> yes. amy: how many times was his body hit? >> over 100 times. this is revealed in an internal army investigation. the mps involved in the incident themselves testified in the internal army investigation that they hit him just to hear him
cry allah, because they thought it was funny. so that is why they kept hitting him. amy: repeat that, police. >> they said, we hit him just to hear him cry "allah, allah" because it was so funny when he did it. amy: i remember the descriptions of his body, the muscles. >> there were bruises all over his body, but especially along his thighs and torso. amy: his muscles shredded by the speeding. >> the internal muscles were shredded when they did the autopsy, yes. amy: and this practice coming from u.s. -- >> a t taught in u.s. police department's come although, he was is applied. it was applied in a way i don't think was ever intended to be applied, but it is typical of the way these techniques and personnel circulated into these other theaters of war and then were -- i don't want to say refined, but were transformed
if it were changed. i think it is something that will be very difficult to change in places where those agreements are already in place. but it is certainly something that any countries that are entering into these sorts of agreements in the future should be very careful about. in terms of how they structure those agreements. because you don't know exactly
what you're going to let yourself in for in the future. amy: talk about what happens here in the united states. >> we have really been seeing this in the last two years in particular. it has become extremely visible with the military surplus equip it from the wars in iraq and afghanistan into domestic police department's even into school police departments through the mrap program. we saw this extremely visible in missouri, the use of riot gear that actually came from the military surplus equipment and created the extraordinarily shocking images that look like war in a domestic space, that looked like a foreign war in a domestic space. but they're much less visible things happening as well as especially in our prison systems in the u.s. one of the most important ones 's,the creation of the cmu
especially in illinois and indiana. these are basically extreme exemplars of solitary confinement were not only the body is physically confined, but also all communication is diminished and managed to such an extraordinary extent that it is severely limiting to all speech. it is intended to limit political speech and activism and organizing in prison and outside prison as well often applied to prisoners who were activists in one way or another or who are muslim. that what it has ended up being used for in many cases is limiting organizing in prison as sag orch the way ad traditional solitary housing units have been used in the california raisins, for example, with the case been one of the most significant example of that. of: and the significance
pelican bay? >> representing the hunger strikers of pelican bay state in their case against excessive use of solitary confinement in the political use of solitary confinement, especially the use of gang classification against people are political activists to put them into administrative segregation. he is also representing most of the plaintiffs in cases against u's.use of cm amy: i want to switch gears, mariam ghani, to talk about gulf labor coalition. there are official posters here, part of the biennale, and i want to show this for our tv viewing audience and for our radio listeners, you can go online and see. gulf labor, who is building the guggenheim abu dhabi? it says guggenheim ,louvre,
collective bargaining. talk about what is happening in the activism you are involved with as an artist. a well, gulf labor is coalition of artists, writers, scholars, curators, architects and other cultural workers who are organizing to ensure that workers rights are respected in the construction of the cultural institutions in the gulf and we are particularly concentrated on abu dobby and the island where a new cultural zone is being constructed basically from scratch and it is also part of a larger real estate developer project in which the arts are basically being used as one of the luxury commodities of the luxuryevelopment. and that is one of the reasons why it is particular flashpoint. the other is it is one of those rare moments when artists cap
real leverage because one of the projects is that guggenheim in abu dhabi, which is -- it collects art and have a mandate to collect contemporary art from and about the middle east region. so we artists who are part of the producers of this work that is needed to fill this museum felt at the moment when it was first being discussed that we had a chance -- a chance to use the museum is a kind of lever to create a wider change of the region. amy: i want to turn to a quote we govern the guggenheim in new york from the director of public relations for stuff she wrote --
evasive to say no construction is being done on the guggenheim abu dhabi site. they haven't contracted the specific contractors for the very design, perhaps, although they have put out bids, they just have not selected someone. for their specific architect building. but there is work been done on this site. so there are workers who are already working. amy: and you're concerned about what is happening to these workers, whether we're talking about guggenheim ,lovure, british museum? >> we're concerned about all the work is at saaidyat island and those subjected to the system sponsoryou are bound to who basically is in control of your right to stay in the country.
and this can be, especially problematic for workers who have paid a fee to a middleman recruiter to enter the country and, therefore, in debt when they arrive. they are already in debt for several thousand dollars when they arrive and are basically working for the first two years just to pay off that debt. so they are essentially indentured servants. their presence, depended on the grace of their sponsor and the length of their visa, which is generally two years initially -- which is just long enough at current wages to pay off the middleman recruitment debt. it doesn't seem like a very fair system as it stands. fairuld like to see a real working wage. we were elected see workers truly being given the right -- we would like to see the workers truly being given the right to organize.
as it stands, if they organize, they're deported. we see this happen over and over again. and we would like to see practices that they claim to be put in place through their code onpractices for contractors their site. we would like to see them actually enforced. they exist as a code, but they're not actually enforced. amy: are you in talks with the guggenheim directly? >> we're always negotiation and open to conversations. we always say a boycott is not the end of the conversation, it is the beginning. amy: here your father is a president of afghanistan. have you considered going directly into politics? >> no. amy: why? >> i prefer to work to the space of art. for me, it is more flexible and it is more interesting. amy: well, i thank you so much for being with us. we're going to record a conversation with you after about your project in ferguson, which is fascinating, the film
you made about it. we will post it online at democracynow.org. mariam ghani, afghan american artist based in brooklyn, new york. her father is afghan president ashraf ghani. on tuesday, they took part in a public dialogue here at the creative time summit in venice. mariam was here in venice. president ghani participated by video stream. when we come back, secretary of state john kerry is headed to cuba to raise the flag on the u.s. embassy in cuba friday. we will see what a local artist did to break the trade embargo -- well, at least to challenge it. stay with us. ♪ [music break]
but secretary of state john kerry is headed to cuba for a ceremony friday to open the u.s. embassy in havana. we turn now to an artist here in vienna who used art to challenge the u.s. embargo of cuba. duke riley spent four years planning and eight months breeding and homing a kit of 50 pigeons in key west, florida. his goal was to prove that pigeons could make the 90-mile flight from havana back to key west carrion -- caring cuban cigars, which is illegal in the united states. riley also installed video cameras on the pigeons. he began with 50 pigeons, 11 returned. duke riley called the project, "trading with the enemy." duke riley joins us here in venice, italy at the venice biennale, the oldest, most prestigious art exhibition in the world. duke, welcome to democracy now!
what you did. people are scratching their heads. >> well, pretty much what you described. i'm pretty much impressed use the word "kit." basically, i trained -- spent about four years planning and about eight months training some homing pigeons to carry cuban cigars. amy: how did you do this? i mean, how do you train them? >> well, pigeons have a natural ability -- homing pigeons have a natural ability to find their way back home. you just sort of -- amy: you released them in cuba? >> i don't going to to much detail help the pigeons got into cuba. amy: what kind of cigars to do strap on each of these? >> coh, the most covetedi. there were harnesses made out of brought straps. amy: and cameras? >> yes. amy: were you aware there was a
trade embargo with the pigeons? >> i did not get into it very serious clinical discussion with the pigeons, but i was definitely aware of the trade embargo and with the trading with the enemy act. amy: how do you know the pigeons made it to key west? >> well, there was, you know, a out of andere homed that is where they return to with the cigars. amy: and the cameras successfully filmed the voyage? >> it was important -- as i said, 50 pigeons and 205i trained to carry the cigars and 25 to carry these very tiny cameras so that i could fill the process improve likely happen. amy: john kerry is headed to cuba right now and, well, at least relations are going to begin to be normalized with the u.s. embassy in cuba, the flag
being raised, the one in havana recovered as to few weeks ago the one in washington, d c your thoughts as an artist that attempted to break the embargo a little while ago? when i, well, i think was doing the project, i was, you know, mainly concern more with the fact that i failed at the trading with the enemy act was completely unconstitutional and it was different than in embargo, actually, because -- unlike amy: we have five seconds. i'm not very good at this. amy: i want to thank you for being with us, duke riley. did "trading with the enemy" project and we will link it at democracynow.org. we want to thank the wonderful people who worked with us in venice. democracy now! is looking for feedback from people who appreciate the closed captioning. e-mail your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail them to democracy now!