Propagandhi: Live from Occupied Territory: An Official Bootleg: DVD

Sep 26, 2007

Well, shit, it’s a Propagandhi video. For a lot of people, that’s all I need to say, one way or the other. The footage is from a 2003 show (with the majority of songs coming from Potemkin and Today’s Empires) and shot with two or three hand-held cameras. Despite their usual self-deprecation in the liner notes, the production values are pretty decent, if a little, um, dull. Not necessarily due to anything specific (I mean, Chris’s guitar noodling is awesome to watch, the band performs virtually flawlessly, Todd bops around and provides witty between-song banter) other than the fact that, hey, I’m watching a video of a band that’s still around and actively touring.

For me, the bonuses were what actually sold me on this disc—two lengthy, awesome documentaries. As Long as the Rivers Flow tells the story of the Grassy Narrows Blockade—a group of indigenous people who blockaded a series of logging roads in order to demand that Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources respect their treaties regarding land use rights and, frankly, to keep logging companies and their own government from razing the shit out of their forests.

The other documentary, Peace, Propaganda, and the Promised Land is the one that clinched it for me—it deals with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in relation to the U.S. media and is fucking flat-out amazing. In-depth, point-by-point coverage of Israel’s use of public relations firms in the U.S. to alter our nation’s view of the discord and violence that’s taking place there, how Israel and the States (far from being an “impartial” third party in peace negotiations) have attempted—and in many cases succeeded—in portraying Palestinians as nothing more than a bunch of incendiary, instigative, violence-loving, suicide-bombing zealots. It’s a fascinating piece of work: intelligent, scathing and, best of all, it allowed me to recognize my own inconsistencies and ignorance in regards to the situation—I was able to identify my own hypocrisies and buy-ins in regards to how the U.S. media has reported, altered, and slanted news coverage about this matter for years. When it comes down to it, this is ultimately exactly what a documentary should do: lend itself the opportunity to resonate in our own lives. To make us think, feel, question our own value systems. It’s what punk music at its apex has always done and in that regards, Peace, Propaganda, and the Promised Land succeeds fabulously. Propagandhi deserves a nod for managing to use their particular stature within punk rock to bring us something more than just the music, and I’m grateful for it. –Keith Rosson (G7 Welcoming Committee, PO Box 27006, C-360 Main St., Winnipeg, MB, R3C 4T3, Canada)