Liv Lewitschnik

Naked Town

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Review of 'It's Winter', Director: Rafi Pitts

Except for a disheartening background song that breaks through the storyline of It's Winter, the short feature is near silent, just like the snow that falls in the northern Iranian village where the film is set. The characters are also quiet, sombre, worried. There are no jobs and times are difficult.

Iraq: 'The British army is just another militia'

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Kamil Mahdi interviewed

Daily the media tells us about clashes between "insurgents" and Western troops in Iraq. We hear less about the unarmed resistance which is fighting the occupation with strikes and workplace walkouts. The General Union of Oil Employees in Basra (GUOE), or Basra Oil Union as it is commonly referred to, is in many respects leading in that struggle - continuously opposing international corporations that want to take over the national oil industry.

Loud Whispers

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Review of 'Chronicler Of The Wind', Henning Mankell, Harvill Secker £12.99

A shot cracks through the African night. No one hears it except for Jose Antonio, who is baking bread in an old and dilapidated theatre in a city. The bullet has seriously wounded a young boy. Jose finds him bleeding on the theatre stage and carries him to the rooftop.

The boy refuses to let Jose take him to hospital because he knows he is going to die. But he can't before he has told his story to the baker. During ten nights Jose listens to the boy's story and is transformed by the end of it.

Between the Lines

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Review of 'Guardians Of Power', David Edwards and David Cromwell, Pluto £14.99

'Guardians Of Power ought to be required reading in every media college. It is the most important book about journalism I can remember,' writes John Pilger in the introduction. He is right. The book about the myth of the liberal media offers an invaluable insight into the world of journalists and media companies.

'Guardians Of Power' is a compilation of the authors' media alerts issued on their Media Lens website. The website works as a public forum where critiques and questions about journalists' articles and commentaries can be posted.

The Price of Fashion

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Review of 'Ripped and Torn', Amaranta Wright, Ebury £10.99

Amaranta Wright thought she had landed the job of her lifetime when Levi's offered her the opportunity to make the brand 'an indispensable accessory' to Latin America's youth. While Levi's wanted people's dreams, vulnerabilities and desires, Wright wanted a return ticket to the continent where she was born. It seemed the perfect match but Wright soon realised that her seemingly innocent undercover mission helped to nurture corporate exploitation of a world already ripped and torn by Western global capitalism.

Lebanon: Doves Scatter as Hawks Gather

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It was just before 1pm on Monday 14 February when the sunlight suddenly became sharper, my office building in east Beirut shook and a horrific thundering clapped from west Beirut. Thousands of doves took to a sky already blackened by a massive cloud pluming over the cityscape.

Former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri had been killed along with 16 other people, including his bodyguards and private medical assistant. A hundred more were wounded by the 300-kilo car bomb that tore apart Hariri's travelling motorcade, which made a ten-metre crater in the ground, set 22 cars on fire, ripped apart a hotel and shattered several others.

Strangely enough one bombed-out hotel, left unrepaired since the 15 year long civil war that ended in 1990, still stood its ground, rising up behind the site as a scarred reminder of Lebanon's past.

Media: Shooting the Messengers

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The terrorising of independent media in Iraq continues, writes Liv Lewitschnik.

Media coverage of the US attack on the Iraqi city of Fallujah in November came exclusively from reporters embedded with US coalition forces because Al Jazeera, the Qatar-based Arab television station, had been banned indefinitely from reporting in Iraq.

Distorted Journalism

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Review of 'The Murdoch Archipelago', Bruce Page, Pocket Books £9.99

Bruce Page's Murdoch Archipelago reveals the murky business of Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation and his worldwide media monopoly where establishment collaboration disguised under the banner of media freedom threatens the democratic process.

The book is an important reminder of the dangers of media concentration - the 2003 Iraq war was the latest manifestation of how Murdoch's empire could be synchronised across several continents in promoting Bush and Blair's imperialist project.

Reincarnation Game

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Review of 'Birth', director Jonathan Glazer

Grey skies. Naked trees. Thick snowflakes falling on an early morning Central Park. A jogger in black runs speedily along icy paths. Winter envelops him - his fast breath steaming - as he stops to wind down.

Resting, panting, the jogger suddenly stumbles, kneels, his legs losing strength. The wet asphalt takes his fall. He lies still - and dies.

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