Let's hear your Voice! This discussion board is a place to Voice your feelings about the conference and, more importantly, to discuss how you will take that experience and transform it into action. Let's come together to inspire each other and make a difference.

Nathan Shedroff, San Francisco, CA, 15-Jun-02
What Israelis and Palestinians do or not is not the problem with the "Don't Say You Didn't Know" exhibit and to dwell on it misses the point. There can be no doubt that it was one-sided and emotional because it was meant to be. Ms. Bartelt’s statement that...

Sue Vessella, Woodbury University, Burbank, CA, 31-May-02
Sylvia Harris inspired me to examine examples of poor design in public information contexts. While in Washington, I visited the Arlington National Cemetery and discovered an informational brochure in need of design attention. As a graphic design professor,...

Steven Heller, New York, 17-Apr-02
Dana is right. Human RIGHTS should be protected at all costs. No right-minded human being can look to the mideast wihtout being angered and saddened by the violence -- the murder on both sides. ON BOTH SIDES. This conflict started almost a century ago and...

(Re)Becca Rapp, Jefferson LA 70121, 16-Apr-02
Allowing their personal agendas to interfere with an exceptional and unprecedented exhibition addressing the Palestinian/Israeli conflict, Mr. Heller and his supporter turn their backs on the recurring violations of human rights in Palestine. I was a participant of the conference and the exhibition "Don’t Say You Didn’t Know," and find Mr. Heller’s volatile attempt to corrupt the credibility of the exhibition and its curator Ms. Bartelt extremely offensive. While some of the posters explain the cause of the Middle East crisis with potent symbolism and text, the images presented are mild in comparison to the reality the people are enduring. Not one poster is anti-Semitic.

I question why Mr. Heller is maintaining his superfluous/reductive/one-dimensional focus on the "Star of David" when faced with 31 other posters portraying the oppression of Palestinians and America’s complicity. My posters addressed the US support of Israel–amounting to billions of dollars and thousands of dead Palestinians, a biased media, and many forms of incursions on the Palestinian people. Why not focus on the symbol of the US dollar which empowers Israel to levy a lop-sided attack on the Palestinian people. We should be enraged that our tax dollars pay for such atrocities.

The purpose of the conference was to acknowledge the potential of the graphic designer as a catalyst for change. I participated in the exhibition because I firmly believe in its objective-to provoke thought and inform. As a student, it was particularly gratifying to hear the many positive responses at the conference to not only my posters, but also the exhibition as a whole.

Dana Bartelt, New Orleans LA, 16-Apr-02
My final response to Steven Heller's and Judy Kirpich's accusations concerning the "Don't Say You Didn't Know " exhibition are: This is not a Jewish issue. The exhibition dealt with human rights violations. Israel chose to use a powerful religious icon representing Judaism, to also represent a political, military state. They mounted that symbol on flags, guns, tanks and bulldozers. Consequently, that icon now also represents weapons of war and destruction. To Palestinian victims, the Star of David has become as frightening and evil as the swastika, representing oppression and annihilation. We as 'sensitive' Americans should be sensitive to their suffering too. It is also insulting to the many thousands of Jewish peace activists to suggest that their dissent is anti-Semitism. If Israelis were any other religion or a secular state, their crimes would be just as heinous. Zero tolerance for criticism of the Israeli government and military is dangerous.
A careful review of the exhibited poster images which angered the two respondents leads one to ask the following questions: Are occupation, demolishing Palestinian homes, repeated and blatant disregard for international law right? Is it not true that: the US supports Israel with billions of dollars yearly; that the media gives us a biased report; that the Israelis deny water to Palestinians; that the Palestinians deserve equal rights? Isn't it logical that desperate people resort to desperate acts? THESE are the issues brought up in the exhibition. Acts of oppression are by their very nature inflammatory and so consequently will be their exposure. Ms Kirpich says there is no easy solution, however, the exile and genocide of the Palestinian people is not, under any circumstance, a justifiable solution. The recurrent theme of Holocaust exhibitions is "Never Again!" So, with a clear conscience, I will not stand by through apathy or cowardice. I will continue to use the power of graphic design as a voice against injustice. If we have the courage to face these tough issues, there can be peace in the Middle East; if we don't, then both Palestinians and Israelis will suffer; who knows for how long and how far this conflict will extend? Meanwhile I am busy making posters for the Peace Rally in Washington, DC April 20-see you there?

Steven Heller, New York, 16-Apr-02
Roger Cook's justification for using the Star of David is reasoned, but what this once again proves is the power of charged symbols to ingnite emotion and prompt reaction. I too think it takes courage to present unpopular ideas in a public forum, but I continue...

Scott Gillam, Winnnipeg, MB Canada, 16-Apr-02
I would also like to express support for the posting of this exhibition, although not having attended the exhibit myself, many of the comments here have raised many valid points. Many editorials posted here have noted anti-Semitism and a definite slant towards...

Roger Cook, Washington Crossing, PA 18977, 14-Apr-02

I want to express my support to Dana Bartelt and her courage to post the exhibit "Don't say you didn't know."

I designed the poster of the American flag wrapped around the star of David that was in the exhibit. I used these symbols to express...

Steven Heller, New York City, 12-Apr-02
Ms. Bartelt says this exhibition is responsible activism, and in her lopsided presentation of the Palestinian issue it is indeed responsible to the Palestinian cause. And frankly, I accept this subjective position as being consistent with the history of propaganda...

Dana Bartelt, New Orleans, Louisiana, 11-Apr-02
In response to Steven Heller's reaction to the exhibition "Don't Say You Didn't Know" shown at the Voice AIGA National Conference, I am pleased that he found the exhibition itself of high quality and am also encouraged that he agrees that the exhibition "had every right to be mounted". The theme of the conference was, in fact, to encourage designers to find their voice in the pursuit of social good and it was within this context that the exhibition was presented. The intensity of Mr. Heller's reaction to the exhibition demonstrates the effectiveness of visual images of human suffering and injustice. However, I find his visceral response to be based on personal political convictions, his perceptions of who is to blame for the violence in the Middle East, and his own interpretation of the posters arising from his political agenda. The issues presented dealt with the political and military actions of the State of Israel (symbolically represented by the Star of David on its flag-since it is a Jewish State). Nowhere was any criticism levied at Jews. That interpretation was solely Mr. Heller's. Others had equally powerful reactions, including shock at the victimization of an occupied people and the brutality of the Israeli military. All of these reactions were anticipated and necessary for the exhibition to serve its purpose-to promote
peace through honest, if difficult, realization of the facts. The 'suicide bomber' poster in the exhibition by no means JUSTIFIES their actions as Mr. Heller accuses, but perhaps EXPLAINS why they exist–other than the advertised notion of lustful afterlife rewards! Time Magazine (April 15) has similarly presented a four page spread on this subject in order to make us aware of the ramifications and magnitude of Palestinian desperation. Mr. Heller was also concerned with the timing of the exhibition. There is no better time than now, while hundreds are dying, to try to understand the reality of the conflict. We presented only a small portion of the enormity of the Palestinians' suffering. This suffering has been ignored or minimized by mainstream media while they have focussed disproportionate coverage to the Israeli perspective. Exclusively presenting the plight and perspective of an oppressed people is not unique to this exhibition. Civil rights activists present only the suffering of those who have been denied those rights; Holocaust exhibits never present the suffering of the innocent German people who also suffered and died in the Second World War. What is unique to this issue is the demand that any time human rights violations against Palestinians are presented that 'both sides' must always be presented! Israel, by denying UN observers and journalists access to the occupied territories, conducts massive military and political actions against Palestinian civilians in secrecy. The designers participating in this exhibition came from around the world, including China, Russia, Israel, and America, to bear witness for the Palestinians who are not given an equal voice–to become vocal in support of the American ideals of justice for BOTH sides. This is responsible activism. We are asking the public to consider what is presented here, explore beyond the images shown in the media, and then to ACT responsibly to ensure justice which will lead to peace. Whether or not they reflect your political bias, the messages should inflame an intellectual desire to find the truth and not rely on stereotypical rhetoric.
Dana Bartelt, curator of "Don't Say You Didn't Know" New Orleans, LA.

Judy Kirpich, Grafik, Alexandria, VA, 11-Apr-02
Trying to follow up Steven Heller's eloquent reaction to the display for Palestinian posters is a tough act to follow. I have spent the last few weeks since the conference trying to get a coherent voice for my outrage and hurt, and attempting to understand...

Tom Semmes, Bethesda, MD, 08-Apr-02
It seems to me that the material presented at Voice was so rich and challenging to absorb that it would make sense to have regional conferences where people can meet to discuss how to use this material and find out what designers are doing locally. Has there...

Steven Heller, New York, NY, 02-Apr-02
Responsibility and Propaganda
For the better part of my professional life I've supported the active participation of designers in political affairs. The designer's ability to create mnemonic images in the service of social critique is a right and responsibility...

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