"Don't look away. This is the reality of Iraq." This is the key appeal of Iraq Peace TV in Japan Tokyo Metropolitan, calling to people to subscribe to IFC (Iraq Freedom Congress)'s Sana TV and attend "Sana Film Festa" held on March 1 in the City of Kawasaki. Besides an on-the-ground report from Iraq, this event featured movies from US antiwar activities and three-minute video clips publicly invited for it. NONAKA Akihiro, a journalist heading Asia Press International, gave a lecture shedding light on the potential of Sana TV.
Move to New Iraq
This Festa attracted more than 70 citizens.
The Sana program introduced in the event was "People in the Jareed neighborhood - The Voices of the Displaced in Iraq." The camera follows people living in a ruined government building. A matron with a baby says, "It's been three years since we moved in here. Some disease is affecting my child's eyes. We have no gas or water supply services." The camera also shows massive accumulation of garbage outside the building. Angry words rush out form another occupant. "No water. No electricity. No job. Where is our share of oil revenues?"
In response to a question from the audience, it was also reported that the food ration system is being downsized.
Four short movies from the audience were shown, including one showing a monthly peace candle action against the occupation of Iraq carried out by citizens of Isogo, Yokohama. TAKAHASHI Ayako on the staff of Peace TV in Tokyo expresses her joy, saying "It is a work featuring people having activities in their local community. That makes me so happy."
Concerning the low tone of interest among the Japanese in the issue of Iraq, Nonaka emphatically noted, "Information is abundant except for the most important information. We do not have opportunities to hear voices of the Iraqis on the ground." As for the reason, he pointed out the fact that Japanese mass media only relay information from news companies and TV stations based in the US or UK, the parties that launched the war.
On Sana TV, he called to the audience, "The significance of the TV station is twofold. On one hand, this is a move by the Iraqis for telling the truth about themselves and for creating a new Iraq. On the other, it is a way to enable true voices of the Iraqis to reach us. It is important to develop the project through concerted efforts of us all."
Encouraged by local support
In preparation of this Festa, Peace TV in Tokyo made strong efforts to appeal to local residents. Some staff members visited various establishments including movie theaters and cinema-related schools for cooperation. One school willingly let them distribute 500 copies of the flier at the school's graduation works rollout event. Several theaters also cooperated by allowing placement of fliers for cinema audience to pick up. Two churches in the local area expressed their support for Sana.
These efforts led to a good turnout of the Festa.
What was a greater joy to the staff members was a new registration by a lady among participants of a get-together following the Festa. Another young lady also cheered up all by saying, "I understand fully that spreading audience of Sana TV helps stop war."
The chief secretary of Peace TV in Tokyo, KATADA Katsuko, showed her spirit making comments, "Participation of local people engaged in civil activities has contributed to this breadth of the Festa. This is the way I'd like to stage the next event."