Entre Cineastas: Arab and Latin American Women's Film Festival

Wish I were there:

بين سينيمائيات

(بين سينيمائيات) هو مهرجان القاهرة الثاني لسينما المرأة العربية واللاتينية والذي يعقد في الفترة من 8 إلى 13 يونيو 2009 بمركز الإبداع في دار الأوبرا المصرية. و المهرجان هو جزء من مشروع "بين سينمائيات، برنامج تبادل سينما المرأة العربية واللاتينية". وهو مبادرة من شركة الإنتاج المصرية كلاكيت عربي والمؤسسة الثقافية كلاكيت لاتيني (إسبانيا). (بين سينمائيات) يحاول في عامه الثاني أن يقدم إلى الجمهور أفلاماً لم نتعود على رؤيتها في صالات السينما التجارية، وهي أفلام عربية وإسبانية ومن أمريكا اللاتينية وكلها مصنوعة من قبل النساء. إن الهدف الرئيسي هو التعرف على سينما تقدم بديلاً للطريقة التقليدية في التعامل مع المرأة، سينما تحاول أن تتخلص من النظرة النمطية ومن اللغة التي تكرس في حالات كثيرة عدم المساواة والتفرقة العنصرية والدينية والجنسية والثقافية، إنها سينما تساعد على إكتشاف وجهة نظر النساء، باعتبارهن صانعات للأفلام، فيما يحيط بهن من قضايا مختلفة في البلاد العربية وفي البلاد الناطقة باللغة الإسبانية. للحصول على برنامج المهرجان http://seefoundation.org/v2/images/ME_Agenda/entre_cineastas_2009_ar.pdf

============ (Entre Cineastas/Among filmmakers) (Entre Cineastas/Among filmmakers/بين سينيمائيات) is the 2nd Arab-Hispano-American Women Film Festival of Cairo, that will take place in Cairo from the 8th to the 13th of June 2009, @ the Artistic Creativity Center (Cairo Opera House Complex). The Festival is the result of a project initiated by Egyptian production company Klaketa Arabe and the Cultural Association, Klaketa Iberoamericana (Spain). Entre Cineastas or “Among filmmakers” is a cinema exchange program between Arab and Hispano-American countries that intend to offer the public some uncommon audiovisual productions created by women. The objective is to offer an alternative to the traditional representation of the woman; a space where they can represent themselves without stereotypes and avoiding the kind of discourse that contributes to ethnic, religious, sexual and gender discrimination. Check this link for the full program for the festival (dates & synopsis) http://seefoundation.org/v2/images/ME_Agenda/entre_cineastas_2009_en.pdf *************** The festival event-page on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=93411417058 Official website for the project (Entre Cineastas) http://www.entrecineastas.com/
Thanks Zainab
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New York Debut of Philip Rizk's Documentary

Philip Rizk 's documentary is finally out:
This Tuesday, Feb. 17, will be the New York-debut of Philip Rizk's documentary This Palestinian Life at All Angel's Church in Manhattan. Please see below for more info. This Palestinian Life shares stories of nonviolent struggle in Palestinian rural communities in the face of the Israeli occupation. Filmmaker Philip Rizk meets with villagers in the Gaza Strip, Jordan Valley, and the South Hebron Hills who have endured home demolitions, imprisonment, settler attacks, and other forms of oppression that threaten their very way of life. This film exposes the rarely told story of community-based resistance against the unjust policies of an occupying state. The film's co-creator Philip Rizk was detained by the Egyptian government for four days last week after participating in a peaceful solidarity march for Gaza just north of Cairo. [SEE NYT ARTICLE] After Rizk was released, he expressed the wish for all the attention his arrest received to be transferred to the crisis in Gaza. This film screening is one way we can carry out Rizk's requests. This event is sponsored by the New York Faith and Justice (NYF&J) and All Angel's Church in Manhattan. There will be a discussion with film co-creator Julie Norman following the screening. Please see http://philiprizk.org/ for more info on Philip's arrest. And this Facebook invite for the event. We would love to see you there. Please spread the word WHAT: New York-debut of This Palestinian Life WHERE: All Angel's Church, 251 W. 80th St. (80th at Broadway) New York, NY WHEN: 7:30 - 9:30pm
Thanks Laura!
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Israel Declares Cease-Fire After its "Goals" have been Achieved

(Picture is from the eternally biased, pro-Israel Associated Press) From the NY Times News Alerts:
Israel announced a unilateral cease-fire on Saturday evening in the three-week-old war in Gaza that has killed at least 1,200 Palestinians and 13 Israelis. Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told Israelis in a televised address: "The conditions have been created that our aims, as declared, were attained fully, and beyond."
I guess the "aims" were to see how many days it can take them to put all their new weapons to use and kill no less than 1000 Palestinians. I wonder what is next, since as we all know Israeli and American soldiers and politicians are above all international laws and treaties.   
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Relocating to NYC

Starting from next week I'll be moving from Cairo to New York City where I'll, hopefully, live for the next five years or so. This of course means that there will be no more posts for at least two months from today. How do I feel about the move? Right now I'm in the middle of a whirl of emotions, however that is not something I'm bothered with, it's just a natural reaction to such a big turning point in my life. What bothers me is people's reaction to the fact that I am traveling on my own. With the exception of my immediate family and some friends and colleagues who have been super supportive, everyone else, from close relatives to my credit card customer service guy whom I barely know, have reacted to the news of me leaving the country to pursue my graduate education with a half-hearted congratulations followed by a big "but": "Mabrouk but are you going alone?" "Mabrouk, but isn't that too long?" "Mabrouk, but are your parents okay with that?" after that follows the comment "well, it's good for your professional life but you'll be neglecting your personal one [which you will regret]" or, as is often the case, there would be this awkward silence with "but when will you get married?!" written all over their faces. This is finally followed with a look of pity as they gaze sadly at this poor future "spinster" (I'm only 23 years old). These comments made me angry and offended at the beginning with all their disgusting innuendos about me being alone in a "morally loose" country and their predictions of a miserably lonely future for yours truly, but now they have left me feeling very sad and very frustrated. One of my professors told me when she heard such a comment that people only say such things because they want to comfort themselves with the idea that while you might have done better than them in one aspect they are still better than you in another. However, while that might be true of some very, very few people I know, it isn't the case with the many people and relatives who were genuinely sad for me. What this is, in my opinion, is just pure social bias against women because if I was a man no one would have thought or cared to ask or worry about when will I get married (unless I was approaching my 40th birthday) because when it comes to men there isn't this crazy urge to get them married and knocked up as soon as possible. If I was a man no one would have expressed fear for my safety amid those non-believers, if I was a man no one would have told me to look for a nice Egyptian guy while I'm there and to avoid foreigners because while it's okay for an Egyptian guy to come back home and show off his pretty white western wife it isn't for Egyptian women. When I get such reactions my responses vary depending on my mood. Sometimes, I just play the sweet, traditional good girl role and answer "Mahadesh 'aref el naseeb fein" (No one knows where or when I'll find Mr. Right), while other times I enjoy shocking people with the comment that I have no intention of getting married before I'm thirty and then sit back and enjoy the look of disbelief and fear on their faces as they try to bring this crazy girl back to her right mind. Other times I just shrug my shoulders, remain silent, allow them to look at me with pity and promise myself, while looking at those sorry excuses of human beings, that I'll always do what I want and that I'll enjoy every single moment of my life and won't let such creatures confine me inside their little boxes with their dos and donts.
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Saudi Blogger Dead

Just found out (through Muslima Media Watch) about the sad sudden death of 25 year old Saudi blogger, Hadeel Alhodaif. (Hadeel in her childhood) Hadeel, owner of the blog, Heaven's Steps, was one of the leading and outspoken Saudi female bloggers.
Leading Saudi Woman Blogger Alhodaif Passes Away at 25 Ebtihal Mubarak, Arab News For 25 days supporters and friends of Saudi blogger Hadeel Alhodaif have waited anxiously, hoping that she would emerge from the coma she fell into unexpectedly. But on Friday these hopes died as the 25-year-old writer and social critic — known for fearlessly using her real name in her criticisms — passed away. ... ... ... When blogger Fouad Al-Farhan was detained late last year for openly defending a group of conservative academics that had been arrested for meeting and discussing the need for political reform, Alhodaif was the only Saudi woman who came out publicly calling for Al-Farhan’s immediate release. She started a “Free Fouad” website and created a forum on the social networking site Facebook to keep interested people up to date on the case. “She was truly courageous speaking to the BBC Arabic eloquently and bravely about Al-Farhan’s detention when most Saudi bloggers wanted only to be quoted anonymously,” said a fellow blogger, who preferred to be quoted anonymously.
To read the full Arab News article click here. If you have a facebook account you can join a group created in her memory here. An Arabic Wikipedia page of her is now also available. Rest in Peace Hadeel
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University Faculty Members on Strike

Yesterday, for the first time ever in Egyptian history, most Egyptian university faculty members went on strike as a first step towards forcing the government to improve their living conditions and the conditions of higher education in the country. The decision to strike came after months of negotiations with the government that led to nothing because the government that gave away millions of pounds in a few minutes to football players (because they have finally learned how to kick a ball) claims it can't afford to increase the salaries of professors, workers and doctors all at once. For many years now Egyptian universities have suffered from strong governmental and state security control that monitors everything from how many students should be accepted by each university to who is allowed to be invited inside campuses for conferences. In addition to that, academic funding and salaries have not increased at a suitable rate to meet the growing inflation rates since the late 1970s! Here are some links to stories about the strike: http://www.alarabiya.net/articles/2008/03/23/47332.html http://www.almesryoon.com/ShowDetails.asp?NewID=46377&Page=1 http://www.ikhwanonline.com/Article.asp?ArtID=35715&SecID=304 http://www.elbehira.com/elbehira/nd_shnws.php?shart=2263 And here is the official (Egyptian regime) side of the story. While an estimated 1200 faculty members demonstrated outside his office, the president of Alexandria university claimed that the school day went smoothly and no strike took place! http://www.masrawy.com/News/Egypt/Politics/2008/march/23/univ_stri.aspx [See Arabawy for full length English report and pics]
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New Year Resolutions

Once again I have been too busy to post for almost three weeks and have missed celebrating my blog's first anniversary at the beginning of this month. Hatshepsut is now one year old and as happy as I am that it has lasted this long I have been unhappy with the fact that I keep missing on writing about real important social issues (that are not properly covered) all the time because I'm too busy most days. For this reason I have made the following two resolutions: first, I'll commit myself to posting every Tuesday (my favorite day of the week) and second, I'm going to slowly add contributors to the blog. These will be other Egyptian girls who will add more diversity and depth to this blog so as to truly reflect the experience of being an Arab, Egyptian woman. Since my Arabic typing speed has improved over the past months, I'll be posting in Arabic as well, something I always felt that I as an Arab should do. The first contributor is Zainab Magdy, a third year undergraduate student in my department who is also a very good friend of mine and a talented writer. More will join soon.
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Gaza: Stop the Blockade

Just got this by email. Please subscribe. The people of Gaza need your support:
Dear friends, Gaza is the largest prison on earth – call on the international community to end the blockade and broker a ceasefire: The people of Gaza are being squeezed to death. This week's blackouts have finally reached the attention of the world -- and the international community could help end the blockade. Our obligation is clear. This isn't about Israel vs Palestine or Hamas vs Fatah: this is about 1.5 million human beings locked up in the biggest prison on earth. The siege of Gaza is a collective punishment violating international law, and far from ensuring Israel's security, it only stokes the rage and desperation fuelling this conflict. Incredibly, the UN, European Union and Arab League have so far failed to act. We must seize this moment with an emergency campaign: demanding that the international community end this blockade, ensure the free flow of supplies, and help broker the ceasefire which civilians on all sides desperately need. Please click below to sign the emergency petition -- we'll deliver it to the UN, EU and Arab League when we reach 150,000 signatures, so sign and tell everyone you know: http://www.avaaz.org/en/gaza_end_the_siege/5.php?cl=50574183 The humanitarian crisis is only getting worse. Starved of fuel for the last three months, the power station exhausted its reserves on January 6th. A handful of shipments have been let through today, but hospitals, water pumps and sewage systems are on the verge of shutdown. 91 of the drugs defined by the World Health Organisation have run out, including most children's antibiotics – stopped at the border, along with fuel, pencils, schoolbooks, candles, and many foodstuffs. Over 50 people have died because they cannot get treatment. 80% of the population depend on food aid which the UN says could run out this week; unemployment is spiralling. A rain of missiles is falling in both Israel and Gaza. No genuine negotiations will be possible while the siege continues. Support is gathering for a real alternative. From the Fatah-run West Bank, President Abbas too is calling for the Gaza blockade to be lifted -- a former Clinton official has proposed an internationally-facilitated ceasefire -- and both ideas were endorsed by an overwhelming consensus in our global interactive poll. It's time for the world to go beyond words of condemnation, and pressure Israel and the US to accept practical action to break the deadlock. In the Israel-Lebanon war of 2006, we saw how global pressure and assistance can help stop a crisis and protect civilians from harm. We cannot stay silent today about the crisis in Gaza. Please, sign the emergency petition today at the link below, and forward this message widely: http://www.avaaz.org/en/gaza_end_the_siege/5.php?cl=50574183
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Benazir Bhutto Assassinated!

Couldn't believe it when I heard it. I really appreciated and respected her.

Benazir Bhutto killed in attack

Benazir Bhutto at the rally on 27 December 2007

Benazir Bhutto had been addressing rallies in many parts of Pakistan

Pakistani former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has been assassinated in a suicide attack. Ms Bhutto - the first woman PM in an Islamic state - was leaving an election rally in Rawalpindi when a gunman shot her in the neck and set off a bomb. At least 20 other people died in the attack and several more were injured. President Pervez Musharraf has urged people to remain calm but angry protests have gripped some cities, with at least 11 deaths reported. Security forces have been placed on a state of "red alert" nationwide. There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attack. Analysts believe Islamist militants to be the most likely group behind it.

Map: Scene of the assassination

Ms Bhutto, leader of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), had served as prime minister from 1988-1990 and 1993-1996, and had been campaigning ahead of elections due on 8 January.
Benazir Bhutto's coffin leaves hospital in Rawalpindi

Benazir Bhutto's coffin has now been taken from the hospital

It was the second suicide attack against her in recent months and came amid a wave of bombings targeting security and government officials. Nawaz Sharif, also a former prime minister and a political rival, announced his Muslim League party would boycott the elections. He called on President Musharraf to resign, saying free and fair elections were not possible under his rule. The United Nations Security Council held an emergency session and later said it "unanimously condemned" the assassination.
This is what happens when military men rule a country.
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The Committee for the Defense of Universities

Remember the plans to sell Alexandria University that were temporarily postponed? They are now being resumed and for this reason March 9 academics have just announced the establishment of the National Committee for the Defense of Universities, and they need your help. Below is the announcement:

دعوة للمشاركة في لجنة الدفاع عن الجامعة

تدعو مجموعة العمل من أجل استقلال الجامعات (9 مارس) الأفراد والجمعيات والنقابات والحركات السياسية والأحزاب جميعها للقيام بدورها في الدفاع عن جامعة الإسكندرية التي تخطط الحكومة لهدمها وبيع الجزء الأكبر من أراضيها كما نشر في جريدة الأهرام في صفحتها الأولى يومي الأربعاء والخميس 5 و 6 سبتمبر 2007 حول توقيع رئيس الوزراء لخطة الهدم، وما سبقها من تصريحات على لسان رئيس الجامعة ووزير التعليم العالي طوال العام الماضي عن هدم مستشفى الشاطبي الجامعي ونقل جامعة الإسكندرية خارج المدينة.

إن من مسئوليتنا جميعا الوقوف ضد هذه الهجمة البربرية الهادفة لطرد الجامعة بطلابها ومستشفياتها إلى خارج المدينة، وحرمان الملايين من مواطني محافظات الإسكندرية والبحيرة ومطروح وكفر الشيخ من الخدمات التعليمية والعلاجية للجامعة، كما أن من واجبنا مواجهة إهدار الموارد وهدم المؤسسات التي بنيت من أموال الشعب وجهده.

ونحدد المطالب العاجلة فيما يلي:

· أن يتراجع رئيس الوزراء رسميا عما يسمى "خطة تطوير مدينة الإسكندرية" وأن يخضع تلك الخطة لدراسة معمقة مستبعدا أي مساس بالجامعة ومستشفياتها، وأن يلغي كل الإجراءات المالية والتنظيمية بهذا الخصوص.

· أن يصدر مجلس جامعة الإسكندرية بيانا يلغي فيه قراره السابق بنقل الجامعة خارج المدينة، ويضع خطة واقعية لتطوير الجامعة والحفاظ على مبانيها.

· أن تعلن الحكومة عن خطة عاجلة باعتمادات كافية لصيانة مباني جامعة الإسكندرية ومستشفياتها.

· أن تبدأ الحكومة الدراسات لإنشاء جامعة حكومية ثانية في محافظة الإسكندرية لاستيعاب التزايد السكاني وتخفيف الكثافة في الجامعة العريقة.

إننا ندعوكم جميعا للالتفاف حول هذه المطالب كبداية لتحرك واسع من أجل رفع شأن الجامعات المصرية التي أدرك المصريون منذ مئة عام أنها تمثل أوسع الطرق نحو التقدم والازدهار لأمتنا.

 

A Call for Participation in the Committee for the Defense of Universities

The Movement for Academic Independence (March 9) calls on individuals, NGOs, syndicates and political parties and movements to help in defending Alexandria University which the government is planning to demolish and sell the majority of its lands as has been published on the first page of the Wednesday and Thursday 5-6 September 2007 Al Ahram newspaper, which reported that the prime minister has signed a plan to destroy the university, in addition to what was previously announced by the president of the Alexandria University and the minister of higher education all through last academic year about pulling down Al Shateby Educational hospital and moving the university outside the city.

It is our duty to stand against this barbaric attack that is aiming at expelling the university with its students and hospitals outside the city and depriving millions of Alexandria, Al Beheira, Matrouh and Kafr el Sheikh citizens of its educational and health care services. It is also our duty to stop the waste of resources and demolition of institutions built by the money and effort of the people.

Our urgent demands are as follows:

  • For the prime minister to officially withdraw what is known as "the plan to develop the city of Alexandria" and to subject this plan to closer study excluding any thing to do with destroying the university and its hospitals.
  • For the Alexandria University board to issue a statement canceling its previous decision to move the university outside the city and to create a realistic plan to develop the university and preserve its buildings.
  • For the government to announce an urgent plan to issue a budget to renovate the buildings and hospitals of Alexandria University.
  • For the government to start studying the establishment of a second university in the Alexandria Governorate that can absorb the increase in population and that would lessen the density of students in the Alexandria University.

We call on all of you to gather around these demands as a beginning for a wider pro-Egyptian Universities movement.

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Qandeel To Replace Al Messiry

Just got this piece of news via the email:
Since Professor Abdel Wahab Al Messiry, the general coordinator of Kefaya and one of the co-founders of Al Wasat party, has left this Saturday for the USA for treatment from a number of serious diseases, the Kefaya coordination committe has unanimously agreed that Abdel Halim Qandeel should replace him till his return.
I have met Professor Al Messiry several times and he struck me as a very respectable and knowledgeable person. Hope he recovers soon.
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More Female Judges

As most of you have heard, Egypt has just announced the appointment of 31 female judges. I have been following the news in different local newspapers and the responses varied between those who applauded the move as one step further in the process of empowering women in Egypt and others who have cried foul. Why? According to documents printed in Sawt Al Umma, all the appointed women are related to judges holding important positions. Who saw that coming?! Anyway, Whether the appointment of more female judges will have an impact on our judiciary system or not is too early to discuss. Let's wait and see.
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