LATEST: ‘From war zones to museum: The legacy of Serena Shim’

From war zones to museum: The legacy of Serena Shim


Artefacts from the celebrated career of journalist and foreign correspondent Serena Shim were recently put on display at the Arab American National Museum (AANM), a Smithsonian Institution affiliate, in Dearborn, Michigan.

Shim, who was originally from Detroit, spent her professional career overseas, broadcasting from such places as Iraq, Syria, Turkey and Ukraine.

She was most well-known for her fearless reporting on the presence of the Islamic State (IS) group and al-Qaeda-affiliated militants operating freely along the Turkey-Syria border.

“The Arab American National Museum is thrilled to accept the artefacts donated by the family of Serena Shim into our permanent collection, and to display them with other recent donations,” said Elyssa Bisoski, AANM’s curator of collections.

“The museum tells the story of Arab Americans, starting with the earliest immigrants, and Serena’s exhibit helps bring that story into the modern day.”
The glass-covered exhibit at AANM – the first and only museum in the United States devoted to Arab American history and culture – features various press ID cards that belonged to the late Lebanese-American reporter, along with her passport, driving permit and tablet.

“She is being commemorated back where she was born and raised, for the work that she did abroad,” said Shim’s mother, Judith Poe.

“To see her in a museum today speaks volumes about all that she was able to accomplish in her life.”

Shim died in October 2014 while covering a siege by IS militants on the Syrian-Kurdish border city of Kobani for Iran’s PressTV, after a car crash in southeastern Turkey. She was 29 years old.







Remembering American Journalist Killed In Suspicious Car Crash In Turkey After Entering Erdogan’s Crosshairs

serena minto

DETROIT — American journalist and foreign correspondent Serena Shim documented Turkey’s role in the Syrian insurgency from the conflict’s earliest days, reporting firsthand on the presence of Daesh (an Arabic acronym for the terrorist group commonly known as ISIS or ISIL in the West) and other al Qaida-affiliated militant groups operating freely along the Turkey-Syria border. She knew about the weapons transfers, the non-governmental organization trucks being driven into Syria by the militants themselves.

“I go to do reports at the Bab al-Hawa border crossing,” the young American reporter explained in early 2013, “and I don’t have to ask Turkish security for permission — I have to ask the militants for permission.”

It is a testament to Shim’s journalistic prescience that her life’s work has only grown more relevant since her untimely death in October 2014 at the age of 29. Along with the horrors of war in Syria and Iraq, her video reports and investigations likewise foreshadowed Turkey’s current political turmoil years in advance of last month’s failed military coup attempt.

Far from supplemental, Shim’s own story is bookended by the very work that she sacrificed so much of her life for. The Detroit native died while covering the ongoing siege by Daesh militants of the Syrian-Kurdish border city of Kobani for Iran’s PressTV. She was the lone fatality following a suspicious car crash in Turkey’s Sanliurfa province.


My latest:

Who’s Afraid of BDS?

Meet the organizations and mega-donors trying to suppress pro-Palestine activism.


Photo: Ahona Mukherjee / Chicago Maroon

The call for boycott, divestment, and sanctions (BDS) against Israel approached its ten-year anniversary this past July, and despite humble beginnings the movement has gained significant global traction. Last June a “secret” anti-BDS summit was reportedly held in Las Vegas, while a Haaretz opinion column predicted that the “age of BDS” had officially begun.

The secretive closed-door summit was hosted by Sheldon Adelson — a billionaire casino magnate who once referred to Palestinians as “an invented people” — at his luxury hotel and casino, the Venetian. Early reports estimated the roughly two dozen mega-donors and fifty organizations in attendance raised at least $20 million.

The Vegas summit’s fundraising take is a fraction of what wealthy donors give to fight pro-Palestine organizing in the US and abroad. In an attempt to catalog such fundraising efforts, the International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN) — a network of Jews “committed to struggles for human emancipation, of which the liberation of the Palestinian people and land is an indispensable part” — published a report last year entitled “The Business of Backlash: The Attack on the Palestinian Movement and Other Movements for Justice.”

IJAN’s study deconstructs the maze of financing and social action that supports efforts to suppress and block pro-Palestine activism in the US by mapping out a money trail leading back to eleven major donors  — the Sheldon Adelson Family Foundation amongst them — and highlights important tactics of the anti-Palestine movement, including media manipulation and attacks on academia…


The Campaign Against Rasmea Odeh
With the US government pressing for prison and deportation, Palestinian activist Rasmea Odeh needs our solidarity now more than ever.
by Mark Mondalek


Rasmea & her supporters, Detroit Nov 2014. Mark Mondalek

Odeh & her supporters, Detroit Nov 2014. Mark Mondalek

BFP Exclusive- PTSD, Community, and Character: Notes on the Trial of Rasmea Odeh

It was as if all the air had been let out of the room. With a brief pause and puff of his cheeks this past November, Judge Gershwin Drain of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan—just hours after unconventionally lauding the jury for finding Palestinian-American Rasmea Odeh guilty of unlawfully procuring her U.S. citizenship––sided once more with the government’s lead prosecuting attorney, Jonathan Tukel, in moving to revoke Odeh’s bond and have the 67-year-old immediately detained.

The possibility that prosecutors would seek to establish Odeh as a flight risk prior to her sentencing reportedly took her attorneys by surprise in a hearing that many assumed to be a mere formality, including the friends and supporters who filled the benches of the Detroit courtroom to capacity in their support, a large majority having made the 300-mile trek from Chicago the night before. Odeh, dressed in an emerald-green taqsireh––an embroidered, waist-length Palestinian jacket––maintained her usual poise as the arresting officers barreled toward her, appearing almost instantaneously, as if mere fixtures of the art moderne architecture. Hulking over her as they handcuffed her arms behind her back, she was quickly rushed forward.

“We love you, Rasmea!” a woman shouted out from the back row, cutting through the shock waves of nervous disbelief that had suddenly pervaded the room.

“I love you!” Odeh responded, her chin lifted up toward the ceiling, adding last-gasp before being whisked away entirely: “Don’t mind––be strong!”

And then she was gone.

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new BFP book review: Sibel Edmonds’ “The Lone Gladio”

The Lone Gladio distills the complexity of the “Deep State” down to its most basic properties- A Review by Mark Mondalek

In its own “web of ambiguity,” The Lone Gladio journeys beyond labels and pegged ideas to frequently ask more of its readers than meets the eye

The Lone Gladio, Sibel Edmonds’ follow-up novel to her 2012 memoir Classified Woman: The Sibel Edmonds Story, has a unique literary identity so far as being something of a supplementary text to the autobiographical work that preceded it––not as a mere addendum, however, but an entirely alternate entity in and of itself…

Ray Bradbury once characterized his classic dystopian novel Fahrenheit 451 as being a literary novel disguised as a fugitive chase story. Edmonds’s own fictional approach deploys a similar story-telling technique, one grounded in the fast-paced, life-or-death aesthetics of her foremost subject matter: …

Read the entire review here @ Boiling Frogs Post:

what’s it all about

what's it all about