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Swarthmore in the News February 4, 2011


The Philadelphia Inquirer

For Egyptians, Tahrir Square bears rich significance, professor says.

By Jeff Gammage, Inquirer Staff Writer

February 4, 2011

When she first traveled to Cairo for fieldwork in 1993, Farha Ghannam recalled, Tahrir Square was mostly used as a bus depot.

Today, it's the battleground on which the future of Egypt is being fought - a space rich with symbolism and meaning, held and defended by protesters at the cost of some lives.

"There's this feeling [among demonstrators] that 'if we lose at Tahrir Square, we're going to lose the fight,' " said Ghannam, an anthropology professor at Swarthmore College who studies the use of public space in Egypt.

For 10 days, television cameras and news photographers have beamed and broadcast image upon image from the square, first of mass protests and now of bloody fighting. It can be hard to tell what the square - a big, usually traffic clogged plaza - actually looks like. And it's impossible for pictures to convey the importance of the place to Egyptians, and how it was the obvious, logical place for the protests to erupt.

No longer mostly a stopping point for buses, the square remains the hub of the Cairo transportation system, busy with cabs, cars, and subways, and with people coming and going. In a society sharply divided by class and gender, the square has been a place where all feel comfortable - young and elderly, rich and poor, men and women, Muslim and Christian.

It's a physical link between old and new, a place central to the Egyptian revolution in 1952. The main office of the American University in Cairo is on the square. So is the headquarters of President Hosni Mubarak's ruling political party, the National Democratic Party.

The square is the center of government power and bureaucracy - a corrupt, inefficient bureaucracy that many Egyptians have come to hate. Across from the main government building stands the Egyptian Museum - a juxtaposition that pits the symbol of a repressive regime against a representation of Egypt's ancient and glorious civilization.

"What happens there determines what happens in Egypt," said Ghannam, author of Remaking the Modern: Space, Relocation, and the Politics of Identity in a Global Cairo. "It's hard to believe that one small space could mean so much, but that's what's happening now."

Ghannam, who has been traveling to and working in Egypt for 17 years, has been in Tahrir Square thousands of times. She knows the square like a National Park Service ranger knows Independence Hall. (more)

Philadelphia City Paper

Art Review: Tableaux 2006-2010

February 4, 2011

Philadelphia artist Susan Fenton's current exhibit is perfectly suited to its winter setting at Swarthmore College, where the buildings' imposing gray stone, flecked with silver, overlooks a snowy hillside. The lack of color outdoors is reflected in the inkjet and gelatin silver prints of Tableaux: 2006-2010, a simply-presented, two room exhibit at the college's List Gallery. The works are largely black, white, and grey, with one room housing Fenton's brilliant White series and another the dark Nocturne pieces.

The works are, for the most part, strikingly geometrical, displaying familiar objects-balls, boxes, vases-arranged on what appear to be shelves and columns. White's inkjet prints live up to their name: they're nearly monochrome, and their simplicity and stillness evokes an eerie calm. Fenton was influenced by the 20th-century Italian artist Giorgio Morandi, she explained in a lecture last week, noting his influence in the works' prominent horizontal lines.

Across the room are four works from Fenton's Ballinglen series. These pieces are visually similar to those in the White series, but instead of digital printouts, they're painted gelatin silver prints. The objects pictured here are items the artist found in Ballycastle, Ireland; many are simply litter, rocks, and driftwood washed ashore. While the arrangement of the objects in the White series seems almost mathematical, Ballinglen combines the items into unified shapes.

The Philadelphia Inquirer

Student-Organized March in Center City Supports Egyptian Protesters

By Jeff Gammage, Inquirer Staff Writer

February 3, 2011

More than a hundred people staged a loud, traffic-stopping march through Center City on Wednesday, shouting support for the Egyptian street protesters even as they recoiled from the sudden, shocking violence in Cairo.

"It's Egyptian against Egyptian," said Hend Salah, an Egyptian student at Temple University who helped organize the march.

It was the third rally in three days in the Philadelphia region, part of a wave of sympathetic protests that have taken place recently in New York City, Seattle, Atlanta, and Jersey City, along with cities in Canada.

On Wednesday, demonstrators massed at 22d and Market Streets, outside a Salvation Army store, then trudged through slush and over snow piles as they made their way toward City Hall.

...The demonstration was organized by students at Temple, with help from friends at Drexel University, the word spread by e-mail and postings on Facebook. The march began in a gray afternoon haze that hid the tops of buildings, but ended in sunshine - the bright rays incongruous to the news from Egypt.

....Local demonstrations took place near Independence Hall on Monday and at Swarthmore College on Tuesday, before the violence erupted in Tahrir Square. Early reports said three people died there and about 600 were injured.

"Their struggle is our struggle," said Heidar Albandar, a Temple University student who helped organize the march on Wednesday. "I'm not Egyptian, but I feel an attachment to what's going on there. It's globalized."

The Philadelphia Inquirer

Egyptians in the Philadelphia Area Share the Hope and Fear

By Jeff Gammage and Daniella Wexler; Inquirer Staff Writers

February 2, 2011

Ramy Hassan, a 25-year-old Egyptian American student, is eager to discuss his hopes for democracy in his homeland - but he does not want to say what college he attends in Philadelphia.

Mohamad Elazizi, an Egyptian oral surgeon who moved here in June, said he was willing to talk to a news reporter, but first, "I just want to make sure you're not Intelligence."

On Tuesday, Egyptians in the Philadelphia region fixated on reports of the giant street protests in Cairo, as hundreds of thousands of people jammed Tahrir Square in the largest demonstration yet.

But even as hopes soared, some here felt compelled to measure their words, for the sake of family in Egypt. The thuggish reputation of Egyptian security forces reaches even to Philadelphia - and no one knows how the protests will end.

"People are scared. They're worried about what may happen to their friends and family if they talk," said Marwan Kreidie, director of the Philadelphia Arab-American Community Development Corp. and a Middle East researcher at Villanova University. "The security forces in Egypt were quite draconian. . . . They monitor the papers as much as anyone else."

The excitement and hope felt by demonstrators in Egypt resonated here. Across the region, Egyptian Americans went to class and to work, even as they kept up with breaking news.

...For instance, the group "Egyptians in Philadelphia" formed within hours of a Monday rally at Sixth and Market Streets. The nondenominational group seeks to disseminate ideas and news among Egyptians in the city.

Other sites and e-mails promoted a Wednesday march through Center City to support the Egyptian protesters. A teach-in is planned for Friday at Swarthmore College, where about 50 students staged a campus demonstration Tuesday.  ...

The Delaware County Daily Times (PA)

Free Tax Prep Service Begins

By Kathleen E. Carey

January 31, 2011

CHESTER - Sara Forster of Swarthmore College remembers her first time volunteering as a tax preparer four years ago.

At the Booker T. Washington Community Center Friday, she remembered her client's thoughts: "How is this 18-year-old going to do my taxes?"

By the end of the session, though, she and her client were laughing and hugging each other.

On Friday, the Delaware County Asset Development Group (DelcoAD) and PathWays PA kicked off their Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program for the season.

Lea Zacharka, IRS senior tax consultant, said DelcoAD last year filed 2,000 returns for free and claimed $2 million, thanks to a group of volunteers, many students from Swarthmore College and Widener and Villanova universities.

"They help the members of the community to get the earned income tax credit that helps lift people out of poverty," she said.

...Ellis said officials are hoping that a minimum of 300 tax returns are filed from her site and added that transportation and child care will be available.

In the meantime, Forster, who oversees a group of 24 volunteers from Swarthmore College, said this allows the students another perspective.

"It's so easy for us to not leave campus and to lose touch with the world," she said, adding that for participating students, it's invaluable. "It's not about filling out forms for us. It's exciting to meet the people at the sites and the people we're doing the taxes for."


The Philadelphia Inquirer

Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts focuses on Paris between 1910 and 1920

By David Patrick Stearns; Inquirer Music Critic

January 30, 2011

Paris was where everything artistic came together - and fused.

Personalities were huge, masterpieces were numerous, and scandal was everywhere in Paris between 1910 and 1920, the period covered by the Philadelphia International Festival of the Arts, whose April 7-May 1 schedule offers more than 100 Paris-inspired events at numerous venues.

If the festival seems unwieldy, it was bound to be: Prompted by a $10 million grant from the late philanthropist Leonore Annenberg, the festival - two years in the making under the auspices of the Kimmel Center - was meant to encompass the lion's share of the city's arts institutions. So it's perhaps best parsed as something like the Live Arts Festival/Philly Fringe - though with a fringe that already happened and became legendary.

...The festival's other giant is Marc Chagall, the Russian-born painter whose creative life spanned 98 years but yielded its first masterpieces in Paris between 1910 and 1920 - the period documented by the Philadelphia Museum of Art in Paris Through the Window: Marc Chagall and His Circle, March 5 through July 10.

...The older Chagall, who was given to painting huge, biblical murals, finds a musical counterpart in composer Olivier Messiaen, whose vivid orchestral colors, intense religiosity, and belief in the spirituality of earthly love is all contained in his Turangalila-symphonie, which is performed April 12 by the Curtis Symphony Orchestra with pianist Di Wu and conductor Christoph Eschenbach.

Messiaen's artistic descendant, the 95-year-old composer Henri Dutilleux, is performed April 8 by Orchestra 2001, specifically Mystere de l'instant, accompanied by visual portrayals of the piece's 10 micro-movements. At the same concert, Messiaen will be memorialized by one of his students, Swarthmore composer Gerald Levinson, in a new work.  ...


Eureka Times Standard (CA)

Remember the Golden Rule: Humboldt County Veterans Working to Restore Historical Peace Boat

By Donna Tam

January 30, 2011

A 30-foot wooden boat rests in a boat yard at the edge of Fairhaven. Planks of wood are missing from its hull -- some torn out by rough waters, others carefully removed by the hands of men who see the small vessel as a symbol of peace and activism.

These men, members from local chapters of Veterans for Peace, gathered on a cold January day to work on the restoration of the Golden Rule, a boat that tried to sail into nuclear testing waters to protest militarism during the Cold War.

..."Some people said it wasn't worth saving, but the boat has history," said Fredy Champagne, the coordinator of the Golden Rule restoration project. "How can you let it rot?"

In 1958, Albert Bigelow -- a former lieutenant commander in the U.S. Navy who commanded three combat vessels in World War II -- set out with four crewmen aboard the small sailboat from San Pedro, Calif., to protest nuclear testing in waters off the Marshall Islands, located in the western Pacific Ocean between Guam and Hawaii.

The boat was boarded by the U.S. Coast Guard twice in Hawaii, and the Golden Rule crew was arrested before the boat could make it to the testing area. The incident was an example of nonviolent protest and inspired a second boat, the Phoenix, which was able to complete the trip. There are also efforts to restore the Phoenix, which was recovered in Central California.

Wendy E. Chmielewski, curator of the Swarthmore College Peace Collection, said the preservation of war history often lacks the peace perspective.

"This is a piece of Cold War history. We seem to be able to preserve the plane that dropped the bombs on Japan," she said. "These are the actions of U.S. citizens who opposed the Cold War and nuclear weapons."

...The veterans see the boat becoming a floating museum of sorts, preserving the history of non-violent protest and being a vehicle for protesting current military acts, such as the U.S. Navy's recent plans to boost the frequency of training off the West Coast.   ...


The Philadelphia Inquirer

The Solo Show is the Focus

By Edith Newhall, Inquirer gallery critic

January 30, 2011

Perhaps it's the brighter economic picture that has galleries doing something they haven't dared do much of over the last two years: one- and two-person shows. Or maybe, like most of the rest of us, they're just tired of being cautious.

Whatever the calculations, solo exhibitions not only are back this spring, they're everywhere. Yes, there are more than a few enticing group shows, several of which are mentioned here, but the focus of galleries for now seems beamed on the solitary achievement.   ...

Spring Arts - Galleries: Spring gallery showings...

Andrea Packard - Members of the Swarthmore College art faculty aren't just unafraid of accusations of cronyism, they apparently have a collective great eye - they've invited their own gallery director to show her work in the college's prestigious List Gallery. Packard's mixed-media collages are sublime, tactile evocations of wetlands. March 2 to April 3.  ...






Guru Report: Temple Stays A-10 Perfect While Swarthmore Star Ties DIII Record

By Mel Greenburg

February 3, 2011

Stockbower Makes Swarthmore History

Garnet senior forward Kathryn Stockbower, a graduate of Upper Dublin High, became part of two records, including an impressive run of consistency in the NCAA, but all did not end well at Tarble Pavilion, where host Swarthmore lost to Muhlenberg 76-63.

The win completed a season sweep for the Mules (14-5, 10-4) in the two games played by the members of the Centennial Conference.

Muhlenberg's Alita Zabrecky scored 21 points while Sheila Cook scored 14 points and the Mules also got 13 each from Kelly McKeown and Alexadra Chili,

Stockbower had 14 points and 14 rebounds to register her 79th career double double tying the NCAA Division III record set former Johns Hopkins star Julie Anderson in 1998.

Furthermore, Stockbower's 14th rebound late in the game made her the all-time rebounder in Garnet women's history with 1,264 carooms - one more than the previous achievement reached by Heather Kile in 2002.

There's more to be said but the Guru's holding off until Stockbower earns the NCAA mark outright, which could occur as early as Saturday at first-place Johns Hopkins in Baltimore.

The game was interrupted for one hour when a power outage in Swarthmore occurred early in the first half.

The arena went dark briefly and then auxiliary lights went on until full power was eventually restored.

Centennialconference (blog)

February 2, 2011

Groundhog Day 2011 has brought the entire gamut of weather to our region - snow, ice, rain - but the hearty Centennial folk are still in action tonight with a host of key matchups.

Gettysburg at Johns Hopkins
Muhlenberg at Swarthmore (Women's Basketball)
The playoff race on the women's side may become a little clearer when the dust settles tonight in Baltimore and Swarthmore. The Blue Jays (13-2, 16-3) can clinch a berth in the five-team field with a win tonight and losses by Swarthmore and Ursinus, while the Bullets (9-5, 14-5) can improve their chances for a first-round tourney bye with a win. Hopkins captured a 59-52 decision on Dec. 2 and is 13-3 vs. the Bullets at Goldfarb Gym since 1994. The Mules (9-4, 13-5) have won eight straight from the Garnet (8-6, 12-7), following an 86-67 victory in the year's first meeting, and hold a 45-7 all-time series lead. Swarthmore has not defeated 'Berg at Tarble since 2005. Garnet senior Kathryn Stockbower needs one more double-double to tie the Conference and NCAA Division III record of 79, held by Julie Anderson of Johns Hopkins.


The Gettysburg Times

Swarthmore Deals Gettysburg 64-47 Loss

January 31, 2011

SWARTHMORE, Pa. - Senior Caitlin Moser moved into second on Gettysburg's career scoring list, but the milestone was bittersweet as Swarthmore handed the Bullets their worst loss of the season 64-47 inside Tarble Pavilion on Saturday.

Swarthmore (12-7, 8-6 CC) ended an 11-game losing streak to Gettysburg (14-5, 9-5 CC) by holding the visitors to their second-worst shooting performance of the season at 30.2 percent (19-63). The Garnet reserves played a key role in the win, out-scoring the Bullet reserves 41-19.

...In the second half, Swarthmore's bench established itself with 25 points, including a dozen by Kayla Moritzky, as the lead steadily expanded. Gettysburg whittled a 13-point deficit down to seven on a jumper by sophomore Alyssa Ourlser with 6:51 left to play, but the hosts retaliated with a 14-1 run capped with a three-point by Moritzky to jump ahead by 20 points (61-41) with just over two minutes left.

...Moritzky finished with a game-high 15 points on five three-points and Katie Lytle added a dozen points and nine rebounds off the bench. Kathryn Stockbower just missed a double-double with nine points and 13 rebounds.