I have loved this powerful stencil graffiti, featuring a child carrying toy building blocks surrounded by broken bricks, from the very first moment I saw it…I always thought it was taken in Palestine and represented the plight of Palestinian children caught in the middle of war and occupation. I had thus included it as part of my ongoing visual critique of violence in children’s media in an online photo-album I curate on my feminist page Brainquake—Little did I know however that the artists behind this iconic image are actually from Iran and drew this on a wall in their hometown of Tabriz, critiquing rampant child labor (کودکان کار) in Iran—
I came face to face with a big canvas painting of the same child carrying toy blocks in the stairway of 318 Maujer Street, Brooklyn following the senseless murder-suicide there that claimed the lives of Iranian musicians Ali Eskandarian (35) and the brothers Arash Farazmand (28) and Soroush Farazmand (27) of the rock-punk band The Yellow Dogs, including their shooter. I had accompanied my dearest and oldest friend Payam there to collect his beloved nephews Arash and Soroush’s precious belongings. The same evening I learned that the artists behind the child and bricks are known as Icy & Sot, a young Iranian Azeri brother duo who also lived at 318 Maujer Street in Brooklyn where their artwork hung on almost every wall and adorned their neighborhood. The younger brother SOT, who was home at the time of the shooting, narrowly escaped certain death when the bullets meant to kill him miraculously hit his right arm. His other roommates weren’t as lucky. Their young blossoming lives were cut short…
Icy & Sot
The traumatic circumstance surrounding my learning about Icy & Sot's artworks and speaking to the artists provided me with some solace and introduced me to their other equally compelling artworks which concern anti-militarism, children’s rights, and the environment among others. The range of Icy & Sot's artwork, formally and thematically influenced by the legendary Banksy, is quite extraordinary and they have seamlessly extended it from an Iranian context into New York with equally compelling resonance and relevance. I very much hope a larger audience will be drawn to their politically powerful and yet decidedly gentle artwork.
Icy & Sot
My laptop was stolen in broad day-light yesterday. I’ve written about the emotional impact of this experience here. The moment of theft was captured on camera yet lack of information on Apple’s website and the misadvise I received from their customer services has eliminated my chances of ever retrieving it.
Getting hold of Apple was not an easy task, it took me hours to find a number where I could bypass the automated robot and speak to a human. Apple customer service advised me, rather reluctantly to activate “Play Sound” on iCloud’s “Find my iPhone” which actually alerted the thief to fact that the device was being tracked with GPS—so the sound went off (was played) not on my phone to notify me but instead on my stolen laptop—I was notified about the location by email. So the person who was using it last night immediately went offline. Police is investigating.
My advise would be to definitely install “Find my iPhone” on iCloud, and explore other security and anti-theft apps that help lock/erase/track lost/stolen devices: Ben Boychuk’s piece "Don’t get Apple picked: How to protect your Mac from theft in public places" will be helpful.
Now in hindsight I would have chosen the ERASE option on iCloud’s “Find my iPhone” instead but I was misadvised by Apple to Play Sound (Apple is now investigating the customer service agent who gave me the wrong advise). The ERASE option will still email you the location of the device but it will lock and erase your hard drive (protecting your data). Apple is all chummy when one buys their products but in moments of distress (theft etc) turns out to be a terrible “friend.”
I am writing about this because it may benefit others—my bag which contained my laptop was stolen yesterday during a school trip at a museum—a parent/guardian of a child on this trip snatched my bag when we were having lunch in a closed off area reserved only for schools. Security cameras caught this person taking my bag—this person then disposed of my bag and hid the laptop somewhere in the museum—my iCloud’s “Find my iPhone” feature detected exact location of my device last night in New York but I will most probably never get it back (I explain why here)—the point I want to make is that I don’t care about the laptop even though it contained EVERYTHING connected to my life: precious videos of my children, my writings…everything—I do have most of it backed up—But I am finding it hard to process this experience—and while petit larceny is common, something I should somehow even be grateful was all that happened to me, the fact that it was perpetrated by an adult accompanying a child on a school trip makes it difficult for me to deal with both emotionally and legally—every second of every day horrific crimes are committed—so to have one’s laptop stolen is nothing in the grand scale of things—but any violation of trust is a traumatic experience—it brings home the harsh realities of our world and robs one’s sense of safety—
Such experiences tear one’s heart apart and expose it to the bare socio-economic hardships that make a person steal on their child’s school trip. Reading about petit larceny online has exposed the horrific situation of some of children who live with adults who commit these sorts of crimes (drug and alcohol abuse, neglect, domestic violence, poverty). As a mother, I’m left shaken…
So look after yourselves! Hold your loved one’s close, be kind, gentle and attentive to all children.
* For electronic devices, make sure to secure them to very max. I’ve written a separate piece about Apple mac devices here.