Friday, December 13, 2013

"Why Photographs and Images of Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela are So Important" by Sylvia Frain

Global Val welcomes her first guest blogger & international correspondent, Sylvia C. Frain, PhD Student at the National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Otago, New Zealand.

Why Photographs and Images of Rolihlahla Nelson Mandela are So Important

by Sylvia C. Frain

While President Barack Obama’s ‘selfie’ picture with British Prime Minister David Cameron and Denmark's Prime Minister Helle Thorning Schmidt at the memorial of Rolihlahla ‘Nelson’ Mandela now dominates the international media’s attention, I would like to offer a more in-depth analysis regarding photographs and images within the coverage of Mandela’s passing.

A reflection and exploration of this past week’s vast amounts of photographs and images has demonstrated a parallel struggle for freedom. Photographs of Mandela that we are sharing and reposting were once banned from the media and outlawed from the public under apartheid. However, this past week they have flowed freely across online media galleries and slideshows unlike ever before.

A review of online news outlets and blogs from the day of his death and until his memorial service has produced numerous titles for Mandela. Depending on the source, he has been branded as a revolutionary, a protestor, a president, a trouble maker, a terrorist, a freedom fighter, a political activist, a rebel, a leader, a prisoner, world’s best negotiator, a peacemaker, and a legend. While these titles are descriptive and expressive, a photograph or image of him communicates much more.

“On the day Nelson Mandela died, like millions of other people around the world, my 14-year-old updated his Facebook page with a picture of Mandela… I have been mesmerized by pictures of him, soaking in gallery after gallery of photographs of his remarkable life.”

Nearly all online media and blogs relating to the coverage included at least one photograph or image, producing an inclusive visual language. Each feature included a range of visual components: a slideshow, visual timeline, or an interactive photo essay with photographs by professionals as well amateurs. “Photography is the starting point of mass media and communication, and is the most common language of our civilization.” Since its invention, photography has been examined and critiqued, regarding its powerful role to revisit history, examine politics, and to understand international affairs visually.

History has demonstrated that photography’s power can be used for ‘good and evil’, as a propaganda tool, for political manipulation, and as a method to control the representation of conflict and war. It has the power to “deaden [the audience] to political horrors and condition them to accept racism, sexism and deepening class divisions as natural, necessary conditions of existence.”

We can come to understand history through the images of the era, or even the absence of images. “Prohibitions against photographs always indicate a healthy respect for their power.” According to the BBC, during the 1970s and 1980s, “carrying the image of Mandela or being overheard saying his name could result in torture and a prison sentence.” Not only was his photograph illegal, the apartheid state banned Mandela posters and “imposed stiff sentences on anyone caught smuggling posters across the border.” See The New York Times for apartheid posters from the 1980s and 1990s. This censorship and control further helped to elevate visual representation of him as a symbol against oppression and defiance of unjust leadership. The more the regime tried to hide, suppress and control his image, the greater the drive was to expose it.

“As you can imagine, there was intense competition to get the first picture of Mandela. A day before his release, the South African government reversed its policy and published a picture of Mandela.” Once released in 1990, and thanks to contemporary technology, live images of a ‘free Mandela’ were transmitted via satellite to audiences around the world. This photograph of a free man, a man who had spent so many years in prison, and endured institutionalised racism, now could be seen in full light, and his image became an international icon.

Photographs and images of Mandela are a symbol for common experiences of the struggle against oppression, as well as a figure of forgiveness, strength, and democracy. His image represents more than a resilient and tolerant man, but also a resistance ideology, one that works towards freedom and against repression worldwide. Through this past weeks' ‘Life in Pictures’ online slideshows and galleries, photographs have communicated and visually expressed the universal struggle against domination as well as creating the image of common humanity.

Mandela’s passing is unlike any other magnitude of global grievance, mourning or loss. Photography shapes public memory, assists with making sense of a shared experience and can relay emotions better than any written text. His actions, words and practices have reached people all over the world, and people want to celebrate his vision. The photography of the global reaction, as well as pictorial tributes, which are featured on nearly every media site, show people from all walks of life, speaking different languages, across borders and spanning generations around the world gathered to pay respect, and join together in remembrance and collectively mourn Mandela.

The Wall Street Journal developed a live interactive obituary platform, with global user content, Twitter posts and quotes embedded within the article. The Australian ABC featured a video timeline of his life and major events also a tribute page with mix-media including user content and Instagram photographs. These sites provide a shared pace to instantly and visually collaborate and memorialize Mandela globally.

Mandela’s image now “adorns everything from expensive cotton pillowslips, to fridge magnets, to dusty township tavern walls.” The pictures of Mandela were once outlawed, and now have become one of the most shared images online. I believe it will continue to influence people struggling and resisting oppression world-wide for generations to come, much longer than any number of world leader ‘selfies’.

December 2013

Sylvia C. Frain
PhD Student
National Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies
University of Otago
520 Castle Street
Dunedin 9054, New Zealand


2. Freund, G. l. (1980). Photography & society. Boston: Boston : D. R. Godine.
3. Mitchell, W. J. T. (1995). Picture theory: essays on verbal and visual representation. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
4. Goldberg, V. (1993). The power of photography: how photographs changed our lives. New York: Abbeville.

Friday, November 15, 2013

KPFA Women's Magazine - Monday, November 18, 2013: Poetry as an Agent of Change

Monday, November 18th, 1-2pm
Women's Magazine with Global Val
2nd Women's Poetry Showcase: Poetry as an Agent of Change
KPFA 94.1 &

There are several ways to listen LIVE:
KPFA 94.1 FM
KPFB 89.3 FM
Comcast Digital Cable 967
iPhone: Public Radio App
Android: TuneIn Radio App
WebOS: Public Radio App
KPFA Live Stream Channel:

LISTEN to the show: Click this link to access the Archive/Podcast on and

Poetry as an Agent of Change

When I started producing shows for Women's Magazine on KPFA 94.1, my intention was and remains to be highlighting women who are changing the world. I've brought it back to poetry this month because Poetry is an underdog of change. In this show, we'll hear from two poets who are using their words & work to inspire and activate others toward personal growth and creative community-based solutions for some of the world's most daunting challenges.


Alicia Zakon is an educator and spoken word poet in & from Berkeley, CA. She's written a poetic memoir called "Laundry and Love Notes", a collection of poems she wrote from age 10-25 that reveal her own choices in love & dating and gives readers a raw examination of how she has grown as a young woman. She plans to teach a series of free poetry workshops in 15 cities around the country so other young women can receive the gift of poetry as a means to deal with life's transgressions and gain a better sense of self-worth. You can contribute to her workshop tour by purchasing her book on her website,

Alexandria 'Rain' is an ambassador of peace and positivity who came into our lives at The Common Thread Collective (Fridays 3-6pm) at Mutiny Radio this past summer. She has her feet, hands and heart planted in the grass roots as she shares her vision about how the creative collective can help us reinvigorate and inspire each other.
- She's currently involved with CAJA-3, standing up to feminicide by lobbying for a better distribution of US funds allotted for the drug war in Mexico, and by empowering a group of women in Mexico, who are suffering domestic violence, to grow and sell local delicacies to gain independence.
- She was also selected to participate in a retreat with the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom as it looks ahead into the next 100 years of the organization. See the WILPF website to sign the petition to ratify CEDAW and let the 113th Congress know - on the day they're sworn in - that Americans want the US to join 185 other countries who have signed on to the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women.


The Necatarian Collective from the Big Island of Hawaii consists of three goddesses: Mary Isis, Sea Star and Parmita, accompanied by their friends, Lotus Moon. Today's show features:

"Cosmic Mind" and "Earth's Child" by Mary Isis from her album Nectarian
"The Wellspring" by Sea Star from her album Sacred Red
and a special live track of "Only Love Can Heal Us" by Parmita

All their music can be enjoyed and downloaded at

There are several ways to listen LIVE:
KPFA 94.1 FM
KPFB 89.3 FM
Comcast Digital Cable 967
iPhone: Public Radio App
Android: TuneIn Radio App
WebOS: Public Radio App
KPFA Live Stream Channel:

Archive/Podcast will be posted here and on and

Thank you for your participation!

Global Val

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Litcrawl 2013: Global Val Reads with SF Poet Laureate, Alejandro Murguia!

This year, I'll be reading in Litcrawl with San Francisco's Poet Laureate, Alejandro Murguia!

Post Script, if you missed the intimate performance that night, here's link to a video by April Ellis, who captured it beautifully: Val Ibarra - LitQuake 2013

International Poetry Library Presents…"Los Días de Los Muertos Celebration" with Poet Laureate of San Francisco, Alejandro Murguía. The Executive Director of the International Poetry Library of San Francisco, Kimberly Escamilla, has invited me to read poetry at this event. It's an honor and I know it's going to be a fabulous evening.

Saturday, October 19th
Litcrawl/ Phase 3 / 8:30-9:30pm
Casa Bonampak
1051 Valencia St.

Peace & Poetry,
Global Val

Monday, October 7, 2013

100 Thousand Poets For Change presents...

Please join us in Berkeley on Sunday, October 13, 2013, 4pm, for a night of celebrating poetry as an instrument of change around the world!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Governor Brown Vetoes AB 926

Thank you, Governor Brown, for acknowledging the dangerous enticement that AB 926 would have posed on women in California who may have been unduly seduced into "donating" their eggs for research at risk of exploitation and health complications.

Click here to read the article and find the link to his Veto Letter to the Legislature.

Thank you to all of my guests on Women's Magazine for spreading their expertise and concerns for women's health.

If you missed the show, you can go to the directly to the archive HERE!

Peace and Thank You,
Global Val

Sunday, August 4, 2013

KPFA "Women's Magazine" August 5th: Human Egg Harvesting & AB 926 + More!

Monday, August 5, 1-2pm
Women's Magazine with Global Val
KPFA 94.1 &

TUNE IN to this important two-part show that will address a range of women's reproductive health issues.
If you missed the show, you can go to the directly to the archive HERE!

Part I: Harvesting Human Eggs & International Surrogacy: Risks to Health & Human Rights

Discussing California AB 926 (on Governor Brown's desk as of August 5th): A bill that would repeal the current limits on compensation for women who 'donate' their eggs to research, and elevate it to $5-10K. Framed as a 'women's equity' bill, it neglects the health risks of invasive egg donation procedures. We'll discuss the history of this legislation, the health risks - as seen in the acclaimed documentary Eggsploitation - as well the legal argument against harvesting human eggs & the under-regulated industry of international surrogacy.

Featured Guests:
- Diane Tober, PhD, Assoc. Executive Director of the Center for Genetics and Society
- Jennifer Lahl, Executive Producer & Director of the Award Winning documentary Eggsploitation: The Fertility Industry has a Dirty Little Secret -
- Mona Lisa Wallace, Esq.

AB 926 is going to be on Governor Jerry Brown's desk as of Monday, August 5th 2013, where he has 12 days to sign it, veto it or let it pass into law without a signature. To contact the Governor, you can write to his aide:

Part 2: Reports from the Abortions Rights Freedom Ride

The first in a series of regular updates on KPFA Women's Magazine directly from the Abortion Rights Freedom Ride going around the country to raise awareness about new state laws that are challenging reproductive health rights.

Monday, August 5, 1-2pm
Women's Magazine with Global Val
KPFA 94.1 &

*There are several ways to listen LIVE, but you can always go to > archives > search the date > Women's Magazine...voila!
KPFA 94.1 FM
KPFB 89.3 FM
Comcast Digital Cable 967
iPhone: Public Radio App
Android: TuneIn Radio App
WebOS: Public Radio App
KPFA Live Stream Channel:

*Podcasts/archive will be posted on and


Radio Producer
Mutiny Radio & KPFA 94.1

Monday, June 24, 2013

California Senate set to vote on AB 926: Selling Human Eggs for Research Despite RISKS to Women's Health

On Friday, June 28, 2013, 1-2pm, I'll be talking to Diane Tober, PhD, the Associate Executive Director of the Center for Genetics and Society. We'll be discussing AB 926, currently being debated in the California Senate, which seeks to expand the market in human eggs by paying women for their eggs for research. This bill is coming up for a vote despite growing evidence of serious short and long-term health risks for young women.

Please join us on Women's Magazine (Mutiny Radio) for this important conversation so that you can get the knowledge you need to contact your State representative re: AB 926.

Friday, June 28, 2013
1-2pm (aka:
LIVE & Podcast

Thank you,
Global Val

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Women's Poetry Showcase on KPFA 94.1 "Women's Magazine": Monday, June 3rd 2013, 1-2pm

Thank you for joining me. I'm Global Val of "The Common Thread Collective" on & "Women's Magazine" KPFA 94.1 &

Spring is a season of creativity, so throughout the month of April - National Poetry Month - I invited some poets into the studio at Mutiny Radio in San Francisco to share not only their poetry, but also their love of community. I put together a showcase from those interviews which airs on KPFA 94.1 & on Monday, June 3rd 2013, 1-2pm for "Women's Magazine".

Listen to the show here:

If you were listening, you've come here to find out more about the Poets involved in this project. So it is my pleasure to present the women who were part of the 1st Women's Magazine Poetry Showcase.

Lost at Last, Clara Bellino "This is Happiness" & Nova Jazz


E.K. KEITH organizes Poems Under the Dome, an annual open mic celebration of Poetry Month inside San Francisco's City Hall. She enjoys the spectacle of open mics for entertainment, as well as the fun of participating. Recent print publications include work in phati'tude Literary Magazine, Soul Vomit, Nerve Cowboy, Sparring with Beatnik Ghosts, Haight Ashbury Literary Journal, and Out of Our. Online publications include Dead Flowers and Dark Matter.

E.K. explained to her high school English students that the moniker Chief Keith was already taken, however they affectionately re-created her as a rap star after she told them she was a poet. She will complete a manuscript of her poetry this summer.

*Videos of Poems Under the Dome are all over YouTube, but there is some special footage from 2013, courtesy of the IPLSF (see below)at this YouTube link: Poems Under the Dome 2013

- Barrio poet, songstress, activist and spiritual healer comes from the Yaqui people of the Sonora desert. She has presented her work at Theater Artaud, La Pena Cultural center, Brava Theater (SF), among many other international venues.

MamaCoatl has curated ceremonies to heal the Amazonic River Mother of God at the border of Bolivia-Brazil-Peru, concerts for peace in communities affected by femicide along Mexico's highways and healing days at public plazas in the US.

Blessed by a mayoral proclamation, MamaCoatl made San Francisco the first and only city in the United States to officially proclaim and celebrate International Day for the Elimination of Violence toward Women and Girls since 2006.

MamaCoatl MA in Women Spirituality, MFA in Performance Activism and Creative Inquiry is also a Reiki Master, Absolute Balanced Mastery practitioner and is currently training with the Maya Council of Spiritual Guides.

Her book, "Border Crossing Diosa" is available at Alley Cat Books in San Francisco

JENNIFER BARONE is the founder and co-host of the long-running “WordParty” – a poetry and jazz open mic which happens at Viracocha in San Francisco, every third Tuesday of the month.

Jennifer is known to collaborate with local artists combining poetry, fine art and jazz and has been a featured poet at venues such as The SF Public Library, The Red Poppy Art House, The Beat Museum, SF MoMa, DeYoung Museum, The Randall Museum and many local venues for poetry. She has had the honor of being a selected poet for the North Beach neighborhood of San Francisco in the 2007 and 2012 “Poets Eleven” city-wide contest, organized by the SF Public Library.

She is the author of three self-published collections of poetry: Saporoso, Poems of Italian Food & Love with drawings by Lam Khong, 2012, Secret City, 2007 – a bi-coastal collaboration with her father's original artwork in response to her poems about New York City and San Francisco and Simple Language, 2003.

You can find links to her books, video files and more about Jennifer and the Word Party by visiting

AVA BIRD is the author of two books 'the new now' & 'rage against the war machine.' & her work is published in many journals, publications, papers, and anthologies around the globe. You can check out more of her work by visiting: and and liking her articles and poems and buying her books, and becoming a fan on facebook! Her new works will be released soon, including a cd, a musical project and several new fun stories, poetry, prose and a raw recipe collection. She is an organizer for 100thousand poets for change and will be hosting upcoming events in the bay/russian river at the center for sacred studies.

KIMBERLY ESCAMILLA’s recent work has appeared or forthcoming in Red Wheelbarrow, Huffington Post, Plath Profiles, 5AM, DMQ Review, and My Baby Rides the Short Bus anthology. She has taught college-level writing and literature in the San Francisco Bay Area for 19 years and is the director of The International Poetry Library of San Francisco. She lives on the coast, a few miles north Half Moon Bay, CA with her husband Michael and son Harrison.

Global VAL IBARRA is a native San Franciscan, world traveler, poet & radio producer. The weekly Co-Host/Producer of "The Common Thread Collective" with the legendary Diamond Dave Whitaker LIVE on Fridays, 3-6pm, on She has hosted events for "100,000 Poets for Change" in San Francisco Civic Center in conjunction with Peace Day SF, 2011. Her work has been selected for several honors, including: Winner of 'Poet of the Month' (December 2007) & given 'Honourable Mention' (October 2007)through The Beat Museum Poetry Contest of North Beach, for which she was subsequently published in "The Beat Museum Poetry Anthology Vol. 1" (2009). Selected by the Poet Laureate of Benicia to participate in a poetry & visual art collaboration in response to the news, called "I READ THE NEWS TODAY, OH BOY!" which was on exhibit in the Public Libraries of Benicia and Pacific Grove, CA, in 2011 (videos available on YouTube). Author of "Shaking Out the Smoke Screen", an introductory collection of poetry (2011, 2013). In October 2012, she joined the team of independent Producers for KPFA 94.1 & "Women's Magazine", Mondays 1-2pm - a weekly show uniquely forged to highlight issues affecting & change being affected by women - and looks forward to continuing to grow and produce more programs in collaboration with the inspirational members of our local and global communities.

If you have an important topic that you think needs to be covered, or to find out more about performance opportunities in San Francisco, you can contact:

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

March 18th: Women's Magazine: Aging Women, Housing Rights & Domestic Violence

The connections between domestic abuse and homelessness, issues that are increasingly affecting an aging population of women in San Francisco and the greater Bay Area, and leaving some women sleeping in plastic chairs. Do we have a real quest to invest in affordable housing in San Francisco? Or is City Hall too focused on tax breaks for new downtown businesses inviting higher rents? What are our priorities as we move forward as a City and as a nation?

Global Val of Mutiny Radio interviews...

Rose Aguilar - Host of "Your Call" on KALW 91.7, author of "Old, Female and Homeless" in The Nation, February 13th. There are 19,000 older adults living below the poverty line in San Francisco. There is not enough affordable housing and the problem is getting worse. According to the Coalition on Homelessness, there are over 40,000 homeless seniors in this country. The amount of money spent on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq in one month could house everyone in this country for a year. These are just a couple of astonishing facts presented in this segment with Rose Aguilar. She gives an up close and personal perspective of what it's like to be on the streets of San Francisco, how easily it can happen, what is being done about it and the huge challenge of fixing the ever-growing tragedy of homelessness.


Lindsay Sweetnam, Community Programs Director of La Casa de las Madres, talks about La Casa, which provides a range of domestic violence services in San Francisco.
"One of the leading causes of homelessness is domestic violence."

Listen to the show and/or download it here:

February 2013: Break the Chains: Forty Years After Roe v. Wade

Global Val speaks with Mona Lisa Wallace, a civil rights and environmental justice attorney and president of San Francisco NOW, and Rose Aguilar, host of the daily call-in show Your Call on KALW 91.7.

We discuss the state of women's rights in our country 40 years after the landmark Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion in the United States.

We'll also be reporting on Eve Ensler's V-DAY (Feb. 14th) campaign, this year called "One Billion Rising" which encourages people to Strike!Dance!Rise! and demand an end to violence against women around the world. The number is based on a United Nations study showing that 1 in 3 women on our planet will be raped or beaten in her lifetime.

Listen and/or download here:

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Code Pink Delegates Report: CIA Drone War in Pakistan

In October 2012, 32 Americans went to Pakistan as part of a delegation put together by Code Pink, including the co-founder of Code Pink, Medea Benjamin, as well as former U.S. Army Colonel Ann Wright, and several members of Veterans for Peace.

The delegation went to protest the use of weaponized drones that the U.S. is currently using to hover over and attack at will the defenseless tribal people of northwest Pakistan.

I interviewed three delegates, Medea Benjamin, Dr. Dianne Budd and Toby Blome who met with the families of drone victims, anti-drone activists in Pakistan, as well as the acting U.S. Ambassador Richard Hoagland.

Hear their reports and the stories of Pakistanis from the site of a modern U.S. massacre that is not only costing thousands of innocent lives, but also billions of U.S. dollars.

The episode that aired on January 7, 2013, is available to download:

Also, be sure to pick up a copy of Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control by Medea Benjamin, and visit the website for more information about this important matter.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Spreading the word through KPFA & Mutiny Radio

Positive Greetings in 2013!

As we welcome the new year - and the new world - with gratitude and open spirits, let's keep moving in the direction of using information to cultivate wisdom.

NEXT on "Women's Magazine", January 7th:
"Code Pink Delegates Report: CIA's Drone War in Pakistan"
Interviews with delegates from the Code Pink trip to Pakistan in October 2012. Guests include Medea Benjamin (co-founder of Code Pink and Global Exchange, and author of Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control), as well as Dr. Dianne Budd and Toby Blome who went to protest U.S. drone strikes in the tribal regions of Pakistan. Hear the stories of the people and of the international movement to STOP drone strikes and alert the world to this 21st century arms and surveillance race. Want to know more? Go to

Tune in LIVE two ways:
*Archive/Podcast will be available on respective websites by day/date and time under "Women's Magazine"

1. Friday, Jan. 4, 1-2pm on

2. Monday, Jan. 7, 1-2pm on KPFA 94.1 and

Here are the links to the archives of my previous KPFA shows...Feel free to share them!

December 3rd: "Shedding a Light on an Invisible War : Survivors of Military Sexual Trauma (MST)"

November 5th: "Election (of) Eve"

October 29th: "Peace-building at Home and Abroad: The Peace Alliance lobbies to create a U.S Department of Peace"

So serious...but so important...

*Don't forget to tune in for FUN and (r)evolution on "The Common Thread Collective" on with Diamond Dave Whitaker & friends, open forum & open mic, Fridays 3-6pm.

Thank you for all your good work and continued support!

Shakin' things up!

Global Val