Thursday, March 24, 2011

Posters of the Week

The Good, the Bad & the Unthinkable

The Good : The Return of Former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to Haiti

Haiti Will Rise Again
Eastside Arts Alliance
Jesus Barraza
Dignidad Rebelde
Silkscreen, 2010
Oakland, California

In 2004, Haitian President Aristide was kidnapped by U.S. soldiers, and forced to Leave Haiti for Africa. It was the second time that U.S. had forced the democratically elected president into exile. When Aristide announced earlier this month his plans to come back to his impoverished country, still reeling from the disastrous January 2010 earthquake and an ongoing cholera epidemic, the U.S. worked overtime to prevent his return. The New York Times reported that Obama even telephoned South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma, to prevent Aristide from getting a passport, but Zuma refused to comply. To add insult to injury, State Department spokespeople kept repeating the lie that Aristide had “chosen” to leave 7 years ago.

The Bad: The U.S. Bombs Libya

This Is the Result of Reagan Terrorism
Artist Unknown
Offset, 1986

CSPG’s Poster of the Week reminds us that this is the second time in recent history that the U.S. has bombed Libya…and again, the primary casualties are civilian.

The Unthinkable: Ongoing Nuclear Disaster in Japan
The tragedy continues to escalate. First a devastating 9.0 earthquake, followed by an even more devastating tsunami, followed by the worst nuclear disaster since Chernobyl–and it is still out of control. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal (March 15, 2011) reported that President Obama continues to promote the safety of nuclear power and wants to speed construction of nuclear-power facilities.

Nuclear Power Gives Us Everything
Richard Adams
Ecoropa; Reprodux Ltd.
Offset, Date unknown
United Kingdom

Text: Nuclear Power Gives Us Everything: Cancer, Accidents, Unemployment, Armed Police, Radioactive Waste. All this and Higher Electricity Bills too.

Take It To Wall Street
Stop Nuclear Investments

Annie Katz
SHAD Alliance
Offset, 1979
New York, New York

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Poster of the Week

Las mujeres de Juárez exigen justicia
The Murdered Women of Juarez Demand Justice

Dunahi Aquino, Paul Alarcon, Lourdes Almeida
2003, Digital Print

March 8, 2011 marks the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day. Although it grew out of protests organized by New York garment and textile workers, and has long been celebrated in many countries, International Women’s Day has only been commemorated widely in the United States since 1970 with the development of the Women's Liberation Movement.

As we celebrate our many victories, much more needs to be done. CSPG’s Poster-of-the-Week commemorates International Women’s Day, by honoring Mexican poet and activist Susana Chávez (1974-2011) who was killed in Ciudad Juárez on January 6, 2011. Chávez, who was born and lived most of her life in Cuidud Juárez, was strangled and one hand was cut off. A long-time activist for women’s rights, Chávez, coined the expression Ni Una Más! (Not One More!) about the murdered women of Juárez.

Femicide and Impunity
by Laura Pomerantz

“Our Blood”
by Susana Chávez (1)
(Enrolle abajo para el español)

My blood,
from dawn,
from a split moon,
from the silence,
from dead rock,
from woman in bed
jumping into the void.

Open to insanity.
Clear, defined blood,
fertile and seed.
Incomprehensible blood swirls,
blood liberation of itself,
blood river of my chants,
Sea of my abysses.

Blood instant when I’m born in pain.
Nourished by my final presence.

How can we deal with or even comprehend violence that targets a portion of the population solely because of their gender? Since 1993, hundreds of women from Ciudad Juárez (the state of Chihuahua, Mexico), most between the ages of 13 and 30, have been kidnapped, tortured, raped and killed, cut up into pieces or have just disappeared on their way home. Their route is now called the death path. While the reasons are not known, unidentified men have been committing these atrocities against poor women of their own ethnic group with impunity. This massive and deliberate killing is known by the name femicide o gendercide. (2)

The Poster-of-the-Week is one of 60 large-format images by designers from throughout Mexico. In 2003, the posters were displayed in several subway stations in Mexico City, and the exhibition then traveled throughout the country. The purpose was to make the general population aware of the killings, as well as to pressure the authorities to get involved and demand justice.

We dedicate this poster to Susana Chávez. It features a typical family photo showing the classic three generations. Everyone is looking at the camera except in the spaces where bodies are missing; the empty white spaces stained with red. In the back row are a middle-aged man and woman standing beside a young man. In front of them are nine people: four girls, four female silhouettes and a man. The empty spaces become suggestive and uncomfortable. Not only does it indicate the approximate age of the women who have disappeared but it also reflects their fragility and that of the little ones, the latest ones added onto the list of victims. The emptiness, painted with blood, turns obscene, expressing excessive sexuality; an emptiness absorbed by the bodies of girls who still occupy a space in the family scene.

A verse from a popular children’s game in the Hispanic world, We’ll Play in the Woods, (3) appears on the left (from the spectator’s viewpoint) in yellow and red letters, but some words have been modified: “We’ll play in the desert while the wolves aren’t around, because if they appear, all us girls will be killed.” The transformation from woods to desert is a gruesome twist, underscoring what Susana Chávez eloquently and courageously condemned through her poetry and her activism.

(1) Susana Chávez’s blog, with her biography and her poetry, was Other written material at

(2) “The term was first used by Mary Anne Warren in her 1985 book, Gendercide: The Implications of Sex Selection. Warren drew "an analogy between the concept of "genocide" and what she called "gendercide." Citing the Oxford English Dictionary definition of genocide as "the deliberate extermination of a race of people," Warren wrote: By analogy, gendercide would be the deliberate extermination of persons of a particular sex (or gender). Other terms, such as "gynocide" and "femicide," have been used to refer to the wrongful killing of girls and women. But "gendercide" is a sex-neutral term, in that the victims may be either male or female. There is a need for such a sex-neutral term, since sexually discriminatory killing is just as wrong when the victims happen to be male. The term also calls attention to the fact that gender roles have often had lethal consequences, and that these are in important respects analogous to the lethal consequences of racial, religious, and class prejudice.”

(3) In Spanish, the game is called “Jugaremos en el bosque”. The children sing: We’ll play in the woods, while the wolf isn’t around, because if the wolf appears, he’ll eat us all up. Wolf, are you there? The wolf answers, I’m putting on my pants. Let’s play in the woods while the wolf isn’t around, because if the wolf appears, he’ll eat us all up. Wolf, are you there? The wolf answers, I’m putting on my shirt, and so on and so forth. The wolf keeps answering with different garments until he’s all dressed, at which point he answers, Yes, and I’m coming out to eat you up!

Feminicidio e impunidad
By Laura Pomerantz

“Sangre nuestra”
by Susana Chávez (4)

Sangre mía,
de alba,
de luna partida,
del silencio,
de roca muerta,
de mujer en cama
saltando al vacío.

Abierta a la locura.
Sangre clara y definida,
fértil y semilla.
Sangre incomprensible gira,
sangre liberación de sí misma,
sangre río de mis cantos,
Mar de mis abismos.

Sangre instante donde nazco adolorida.
Nutrida de mi última presencia.

¿Cómo abordamos una situación de violencia que se dirige a una porción de la población que por su género se discrimina violando sus derechos? Nos referimos a las muertas de Juárez (Estado de Chihuahua, México): mujeres entre los 13 y 30 años aproximadamente, desparecidas, raptadas, torturadas, violadas y asesinadas hasta ser descuartizadas, en el camino de regreso a sus casas, denominado camino de la muerte. Sin saber a ciencia cierta las razones, desde 1993 los hombres realizan dichas atrocidades con mujeres humildes de su misma etnia. Asesinato masivo y deliberado que se conoce con el nombre de femicide o gendercide. (5)

Susana Chávez (1974-2011) poetiza y activista mexicana, fue asesinada en Ciudad Juárez el 6 de enero del corriente año. Como parte de nuestra postura ideológica en el CSPG, condenamos la violencia y la crueldad, a la vez que le rendimos un homenaje a esta defensora de los derechos de la mujer en el Día Internacional de la Mujer, el 8 de marzo.

En el año 2003 se presentaron posters en diferentes estaciones del metro de la Ciudad de México, mismos que posteriormente viajaron por la República. La finalidad era concientizar a la población sobre los asesinatos así como presionar a las autoridades a que se involucraran e hicieran justicia. He aquí uno de ellos, dedicado a Susana Chávez.

Una aparente típica fotografía familiar presenta las tres generaciones clásicas. Todos miran a la cámara salvo unos contornos corporales vacíos en blanco, manchados de rojo. El registro del fondo describe un hombre y una mujer maduros parados al lado de un joven. El frontal cuenta con nueve personas: cuatro niñas, cuatro siluetas y un hombre. El vacío se torna sugerente e incómodo. No solo indica la edad aproximada de las desaparecidas sino que también señala su fragilidad y la de las pequeñas, últimas que prosiguen en la lista de víctimas. Vacío que deviene obsceno y de una sexualidad excesiva al pintarse de sangre, vacío absorbido por los cuerpos de las menores que aún ocupan un espacio en la escena familiar.

Un verso de un juego de niños popular en el mundo hispano, Jugaremos en el bosque, (6) se lee al costado izquierdo en letras amarillas y rojas (visto desde el espectador), aunque con algunas palabras modificadas: “jugaremos en el desierto mientras los lobos no están, porque si ellos aparecen a todas nos matarán”.

El bosque transformado en desierto se vuelve macabro, acentuando la denuncia que también pretendía hacer Susana Chávez.

(4) Blog de Susana Chávez, con su biografía y su producción poética, Otros escritos en

(5) El término fue usado por primera vez por Mary Anne Warren en su libro Gendercide: The Implications of Sex Selection (Generocidio: Las implicaciones de la selección por sexo), de 1985. Warren dibujó "una analogía entre el concepto de genocidio" y lo que ella llamó "generocidio." Citando el Diccionario de la lengua Inglesa de Oxford, la definición de genocidio es "la deliberada exterminación de una raza de personas," Warren escribió: “Por analogía, generocidio puede ser la exterminación deliberada de personas de un sexo (o género) en particular. Otros términos como "ginecidio" y "feminicidio," han sido usados para referirse a los asesinatos injustos de niñas y mujeres. Pero "generocidio" es un término sexual-neutral, en el cual las víctimas pueden ser tanto mujeres como varones. Hay una necesidad de un término sexual-neutral en tanto el asesinato sexualmente discriminatorio está mal como cuando las víctimas son varones. El término también llama la atención por el hecho de que los roles de género frecuentemente han tenido consecuencias letales y que éstas son en importantes respectos análogos a las consecuencias letales de los prejuicios raciales, religiosos y de clase.”

(6) Jugaremos en el bosque, mientras el lobo no está, porque si el lobo aparece a todos nos comerá. ¿Lobo estás ahí? Me estoy poniendo los pantalones. Juguemos en el bosque, mientras el lobo no está, porque si el lobo aparece a todos nos comerá ¿Lobo estás ahí? El lobo sigue respondiendo hasta que luego de haberse vestido, dice: Sí, y salgo para comérmelos!