Most artists would be happy to have a closing party thrown for their show. Not Omer Fast. On Saturday, activist groups held a protest to celebrate the end of an exhibition they deemed “racism disguised as art.” Fast’s work was an insult to native Chinatown residents being pushed out by galleries, critics argued.
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When Radwan Ziadeh was living in his hometown of Daraya, southeast of Damascus, its population was 300,000. Now, he says, the population is zero. Ziadeh, a political opponent of the Bashar al-Assad government, came to the U.S. after his outspoken belief in democracy made it unsafe for him to remain in Syria.
But after 10 years, the U.S. may no longer be an option. In June his application for political asylum was revoked because of a conference he organized between Syrian opposition groups. The State Department saw the conference as offering “material support” to terrorist groups despite the American government providing aid to several of them. During his 10 years in the U.S., Ziadeh has been a fellow at Harvard, Georgetown and the congressionally funded U.S. Institute of Peace.
New York’s Attorney General is demanding a temporary restraining order against the Trump administration’s third travel ban, it was announced today. But while A.G. Eric T. Schneiderman claims Trump’s new limitations on travel from North Korea and Venezuela are “a Muslim Ban by another name,” some in the Venezuelan community are just fine with it. Unlike the restrictions on seven other countries, the restrictions on Venezuela target select government officials rather than citizens in general. Some emigres see this as justice served.
Hurricane Maria hit close to home for the many Puerto Ricans living in Alphabet City. Among the 34 who died when the storm hit Puerto Rico was Joey Montalvo’s uncle. The San Juan resident had a heart attack and medical assistance couldn’t reach him. “He can’t even have a decent funeral because all the cemeteries are flooded,” Montalvo told us during a recent visit to Don Juan’s Barbershop, on East 4th Street.