this is not a movie review (une étude en deux mouvements)

Note: The following is an editorial study in two parts; a play on words, connoting both an analysis piece written in two parts, and a musical étude – or rudimentary composition meant for study and training for the perfection of basic skills – reflecting on two separate yet connected movements.

{To be translated into Italian}

Last night I saw a really, really profound film. It was called Diaz: Don’t Clean Up This Blood. It’s an Italian film by Daniele Vicari recreating the horrific events of the 2001 G8 protests in Genoa, Italy.

For those who are not familiar with this history, I have two things I would like to say:

First, I am not surprised that such a thing would have been hidden from our view as a society in America, and as people of the world. It is the quietly suppressed story of how at the fringes of power, an alternative people-powered movement was the victim of a “Mexican Butchery” at the hands of the global war machine. As the G8 convened in Genoa, hundreds of thousands organized in protest around the Genoa Social Forum, which run concurrent to this feast of the cabal of hypocrites. And as this farce was taking place away from the view of the people, atrocious acts of violent injustice were committed by a militarized police force controlled by the rich and powerful in the shadows behind the closed doors of the G8 meeting.

In a midnight raid, riot police descended upon a school and media center being used as a headquarters and refuge for the organizers of the Genoa Social Forum. Hundreds of people – activists, journalists, participants of several different nationalities – were subjected to an unbridled brutality such as is normally reserved to a place in our minds’ inventory for nightmare and slasher horror films. Hundreds were woken from their sleep to be beaten and grievously injured to a point near death, carried out not in handcuffs, but on stretchers. Broken limbs. Kicked out teeth. Some crippled, some in a coma. This, a lunatic’s nightmare, did not end here, as those arrested in the midnight were then detained in prison for several days and tortured physically, sexually, and psychologically.

Yet the nightmare here still ends not. Every attempt at a semblance of justice resulted in acquittals, dismissals, cover-ups, denials, and abdication of guilt or wrongdoing. Initial trials found no wrongdoing on the part of the police. Appeals yielded a mere pittance of accountability for those responsible. When an Official inquiry wad commissioned to review the events, the government voted to block the investigation.

Does any of this sound familiar?

Such is the so-called “democracy” we live in, and the warning of an artistic work such as this film is too relevant to the struggles we are experiencing today in New York, Chicago, Oakland, Montréal, and elsewhere to not be heeded as mandatory curriculum; a lesson of our past to be clear on our future. We may have seen just a taste of it at #NATO and only narrowly avoided a massacre as the G8 this year hastily retreated to tuck itself away in the woods. Otherwise, we would have been in for a bloodbath. It is so vitally important to understand where we are coming from, and the history of the movement we find ourselves a part of today.

Occupy Wall Street had the tendency to be simultaneously overly self-referential and yet not self-aware. But a handful of individuals appreciate the present moment’s positioning in the broader lineage of the Anti-Globalization Movement. Radical lawyersStreet MedicsMutual AidHorizontal, Consensus-Based Organizing – All these existed before September 17th, and so did the violent government repression, surveillance and infiltration of social movements.

And so the second thing I have to say to those to whom my recounting of this story is a shocking revelation is this: see this film – not because I casually recommend it with a favorable review as if I were film critic – see this film because it is our history. And don’t stop there. Educate yourself about where we are coming from, and where we are going. And don’t stop there.

Part II:

To the people to whom my story is not new;

To the Italians:

{To be continued}

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