February 25, 2012
MEDIA ROOTS — Judi Bari was an
activist, a person of conscience, who exercised her First Amendment rights toward socioeconomic justice for much of her life.
She was one of the leading organisers to popularise environmental
activism with Earth First!, which influenced the environmental activism
contributing to the historic 1999 WTO resistance in Seattle, as well
as the more recent Occupy Movement. On
May 24, 1990, a motion-triggered car bomb exploded under Judi’s car seat, as she
and Darryl Cherney drove through Oakland en route to Santa Cruz during the Redwood Summer organising
Judi Bari’s story, one of solidarity and collective action, has
been documented in an important new film by Mary Liz Thomson (Director/Editor) and Darryl Cherney (Producer)
entitled “Who Bombed Judi Bari?” The
documentary film will have its world premiere next week at the 2nd
Annual San Francisco Green Film Festival taking place March 1-7. The world premiere
screening will be on Friday, March 2, at 5pm (1746 Post Street, SF). With the full production team in the house, this
screening will likely be filled to capacity.
So, advance tickets are recommended
for those interested in attending.
This is an important film for all because it speaks directly to our human
rights in the face of state belligerence.
If we don’t care to question culpability when our neighbours are
attacked, particularly where the state has motive to repress, we are unlikely
to encourage future generations to take principled stands for socioeconomic justice. From JFK, X, Ché,
Hampton, and countless others to 9/11,
as the state obfuscates and destroys evidence outright, lack of curiosity
becomes erosive to our humanity.
Perhaps, we are learning. In the case
of the 1990 attempt on Judi Bari’s life, the FBI was thwarted in
its plans to destroy all of the evidence.
According to Democracy Now:
“A U.S. federal judge in California has ordered the FBI to preserve evidence in a 1990 car bombing that nearly killed two members of the environmental group Earth First! The FBI
was planning to destroy all evidence in the case, even though agents
had never determined who carried out the attempted assassination of
environmental activists Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney. The FBI initially arrested the activists for building the bombs themselves, but the pair later sued the FBI and won more than $4 million in damages.”
“Who Bombed Judi Bari?” trailer
SFGFF — This is a raw, personal and at times abrupt film, with a protagonist and
story vitally important to American justice and the struggle for the
environment. Judi Bari was an environmental and social justice activist
who popularized protests against clear-cutting (e.g. at Headwater
Forests) together with the organization EarthFirst! in the 1980s and
’90s. At times, she (and others) proceeded despite threats of death and
violence. Then, on May 24th, 1990 in Oakland, CA, a bomb explodes in
Judi’s car and she suffers debilitating injuries along with confidant,
and the film’s producer, Darryl Cherney. In the aftermath FBI and local
police accuse the team of bombing themselves. It chronicles the rise of a
powerful movement as well as the circuitous court cases that followed
the blast. Chock full of archival news footage, interviews and
statements by Bari, viewers follow a path from non-violent eco protests
to an ostensible assassination attempt on Judi’s life with an associated
cover-up – ending with a surprising resolution.
“Redwood Summer: Where the 90s Begin,” by Mary Liz Thomson, et al. (1990)
Photo by Flickr user Gary Soup