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Darnell »Stephen« Summers & Dave Blalock

Darnell »Stephen« Summers was born on July 9, 1947 in Detroit Michigan, USA. He volunteered for the US Army and served from 1966 to 1970. While home on leave before going to Vietnam in 1968 he became involved in the struggle to found the »Malcolm X Cultural Center« (MXCC) in Inkster Michigan, a suburb of Detroit and was one of the spokespersons for the »MXCC«. His political affiliations included membership in the Black Workers Congress, Viet Nam Veterans Against The War / Viet Nam Veterans Against The War (Anti-Imperialist), chartermember of the Malcolm X Cultural Center(Inkster Michigan). As a Black man inside the Army he was confronted by not only by racism but also the fact that he was in a military organization that was murdering people across the globe. Since then Summers has been active in the struggles against racism and U.S. instigated aggression. He was instrumental in organizing the STOP THE WAR BRIGADE in Germany during the Gulf war to build support for anti-war GIs. Darnell has professional experience as a Musician, Film Director, Actor, Media Editor, Composer, Cameraman, Producer and Sound Technician. He presently lives in Germany and has 4 children.

Dave Blalock (born 1950 in Johnstown, Pennsylvania) volunteered for the US Army and served from 1968 to 1971. After being AWOL for nine days in basic training he was court-martialed and spent one month out of a possible six-month prison term doing »Hard Labor« time in the Fort Jackson stockade. He then spent one year in Vietnam (1969-1970) where he became politicized by his experiences there. After returning, he spent his last 15 months in the army by joining the large anti war movement that had existed within the US military and actively worked inside one of the many underground GI organizations. In 1989 Blalock, along with three other people burned American flags on the steps of the US Capital building in protest against the new Flag Protection Act of 1989. They were arrested for this and their case ended up in the Supreme Court, which ruled the law un-constitutional. From Vietnam, to the 1980’s counter-insurgency wars in Central America, to the ‘91 Gulf War, to the ’99 Kosovar war, to 2001 bombing of Afghanistan, to the present war on Iraq he has been active in the fight to expose and oppose all US war moves around the world. He puts special emphasis on building support for the GI anti war resisters inside the armed forces.

Blalock and Summers are also playing themselves in the Rimini-Protokoll theatrical production of Schiller’s »Wallenstein« where they among a cast of ten people out of real life take this opportunity to tell their story in the midst of Intrigue, War & Death.

Faith or futility?

by Khalo Matabane, 17 April 2003 in Mail&Guardian Online

Does the possibility exist for filmmaking to effect change? (AP)
We are sitting in my flat watching the war on Iraq on BBC World. The coalition forces continue to talk about “precision bombs” despite the heavy civilian casualties. A friend of mine, a fellow filmmaker, looks at me with a sense of resentment and resignation. He then remarks that it is events like this war that make him question the significance of cinema. I am silent for a while because even though I have felt a sense of futility in making films, I can’t accept the thought. I have lived my life for cinema and the potential it has to effect change. My decision to become a filmmaker was inspired by the great storytelling tradition of my grandmother and the daily struggles of the people in the rural village where I grew up. In the evenings my grandmother would tell stories of political and social struggle; during the day I would see the village women walking barefoot for long distances in search of wood, hear about the spreading plague of infant deaths, and feel the immeasurable hopelessness staring out from the sunken eyes of so many. I always wanted to intervene, but was never able to. Then, soon after I turned 17, I watched Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing and the films of Costa-Gavras. They inspired me immensely; I felt they had the power to change society for the better.

History Begins at Home

Photography and Memory in the Writings of
Siegfried Kracauer and Roland Barthes

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