Everybody can be great... because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love. - Martin Luther King, Jr.
featured artist: Ben Heine: Belgian political artist, caricaturist and sometimes photographer.
FROM A RECENT BEN HEINE Q&A by NEW AMERICAN DREAM FOUNDER, Mike Palacek ---> Palacek:Where do you think your passion came from? What are your personal experiences of oppression, militarism, imperialism?Heine: My passion started a long time ago when I was a little boy. I didn’t live in an oppressed country, I read about it in books and news articles. And I do my best to denounce all kinds of social injustices, crimes against humanity, human rights infringements, racism and oppression with my pencils and brushes. Palacek:How long have you been making a living as an artist? You don't have a day job, do you? Did you use to?Heine: Are you joking? Do you really think I make a living as a political artist? Ha ha, no, I don’t. I do have a full time day job. I teach French, English and History in a Belgian high school. This is very challenging and time consuming. A few months ago, I was working in a communication agency. I didn’t really like it. I think we, artists, must accept making jobs that have nothing related to our passion. That’s stupid, I know, but that’s what society obliges us to do. A good friend of mine and a very talented Spanish artist, Juan Kalvellido, used to work many years at Burger King and make his revolutionary political creations beside! Palecek:Let me see, how do I want to put this... Do Europeans give a shit about America? Do we really affect your lives? How about our wars, our government? Our movies, entertainers? Or, do you have your own culture, exclusive of us. I have never been to Europe, you understand.Heine: Very good question you ask here. Yes, in my opinion, all European countries and people are very concerned about America’s decisions. Many European countries are involved in the same wars (sad to say, but for instance, the Belgian government sent some troops in Afghanistan too…) Many Americans used to be Europeans in the past. American culture affects us in a strong way too. We have all your big Hollywood movies in our cinemas. I’m not sure that this is positive because this is somehow a “brain colonization”. And we actually don’t have much choice. And yes, we have our own culture. We have our own movies too, ha ha! Each country in Europe has rich traditions. Belgium is in the middle of Europe. From Brussels, I can travel to Amsterdam, Paris, London or Berlin in just a few hours. We all have different languages. Although we all have different customs and standards of living, we still feel Europeans.Palecek:What else would you like to add? What else should I have asked?Heine: I would like to put here some questions that were recently asked to me by Joe Szabo (Joe Szabo is an American cartoonist, author, editor, public speaker and founder of WittyWorld International Cartoon Magazine). He is currently making a worldwide survey for his upcoming book on “The Image of America”. Szabo:If you could think of one word that could describe the United States best, what would that be?Heine: The US, as everybody knows, is a multicultural country. It is the fruit of the old European colonization. The practice of intense slavery gave the US African people. Now, people from all around the world (especially from South American coutries) are coming to live in the US, because they consider it as an "El Dorado". The US is a mix of nationalities, of origins and roots, that's, according to me, an explanation of its cultural wealth, but also of the growing xenophobia, and the fear of the foreigner…FULL INTERVIEW HERE: http://www.newamericandream.net/i