LOS ANGELES (November 7, 2011) - Powerful performances by Brenda Blethyn and Sotigui Kouyaté drive this touching film from Rachid Bouchareb, the three-time Academy-Award nominated director of DAYS OF GLORY (Indigènes) and OUTSIDE THE LAW (Hors La Loi). LONDON RIVER, the story of two parents looking for their respective children following the aftermath of the London bus bombings will have its American premiere at NY's Cinema Village on December 7 and at the Laemmle's Royal in Los Angeles on December 16 with a platform release to follow.
For decades or perhaps even centuries, disparate societies around the globe have been growing more and more intertwined. A single world culture is emerging; or at least the history of the world as told in different places is merging into the single history of us all.
As we near the 10th anniversary of 9/11, there is both troubling and positive news for Arabs/Muslims living in western countries. The question is, how much progress have we made in our quest for equality and freedom from racial and religious profiling?
By Dana Siegelman
Today is September 11, 2010. I am here in New York City to hear my father speak at a INN World News Conference, and I had the privilege of coming down to Ground Zero to observe the enormous activism taking place in America today.
There is a heightened sense of awareness as people pass each other in close proximity. It is one of brotherhood and fear. Eyes darting in all directions convey the attitude of the day. Who are we and what do we stand for? Where is America going?
Within political arguments, it is vital to understand the far-reaching roots that exist in the background of complex issues. In this case, it includes distinguishing that the term "war on terror" is not synonymous with "war on Islam." In fact, if we make it a war on Islam, we not only abandon the principles of freedom and tolerance that America stands for, but we faultily deduce that Islam inherently supports terrorism, which is like concluding all Catholics are innately pedophiles.
Despite nefarious post-9/11 connotations, the word "Islam" comes from the Arabic root "salaam" meaning peace. Peace, among certain other universal virtues such as compassion and tolerance, is a central religious imperative that Cordoba House intends to showcase. Yet sixty-eight percent of Americans oppose Cordoba House's initiative, according to a CNN poll. The sensitive nature of the site has evoked a deluge of emotionally-charged responses that equate the terror of 9/11 with Islam, something Muslim novelist Kamran Pasha deems natural "because the murderers themselves that day did." Even so, the vast majority of the world's 1.5 billion Muslims condemn the death cult of violent extremism that uses the word "jihad" (meaning "righteous struggle") to justify the killing of innocent people.
If approved by the Landmarks Preservation Commission, the Islamic community center will be funded by The Cordoba Institute, a Muslim organization that "aims to achieve a tipping point in Muslim-West relations within the next decade, steering the world back to the course of mutual recognition and respect and away from heightened tensions." They are an organization that claims, "Solving some of the most intractable conflicts in the world today requires innovative strategies for cross-cultural engagement," which is why they are proposing a center that includes a 500-seat performing arts center and auditorium, a swimming pool, art exhibition spaces, bookstores, a prayer space, restaurants promoting the rich culinary traditions of the Middle East, and more cultural programs as funds allow.
Contact: Jordan Elgrably, Nile El Wardani, Elie Karam
Levantine Cultural Center
310.657.5511 or 310.402.8866
[Los Angeles, May 20, 2010] Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's top aide, Special Representative to Muslim Communities Farah Pandith, will speak in a public forum on cultural diplomacy organized by the Levantine Cultural Center on Thursday, May 27, 2010, at 7 pm at the Mark Taper Auditorium in downtown Los Angeles.
The "clash of civilization" dialectic and the "war on terror" discourse require Americans to broaden our international outreach, to improve understanding of the Arab/Muslim world. In fact, the alchemy of change requires that we empathize with narratives that may differ from our own; and sometimes these narratives are strikingly similar. Cultural diplomacy efforts use the arts to address communities in conflict-or groups that appear to have opposing interests whether because of different religious traditions, political beliefs or ethnic identification.
Reviewed by Tara Marie Good
Encompassing the main pillars of theatre genres, the Salaam.Peace anthology, edited by Holly Hill and Dina Amin (Random House 2009), addresses questions of identity in the face of conflict. It is a riveting tome that introduces both students of theater and lovers of literature to the vibrant world of Middle Eastern American drama.
In her introduction, Holly Hill describes the naissance of these plays and Middle Eastern theatre as a collective, as a call to arms following the social backlash many Middle Eastern Americans felt following September 11th. Before 2001 there wasn't much interest in Middle Eastern American theatre, from either the general American audience or in the Middle Eastern communities themselves. This lack of support of Middle Eastern theatre stems from a long history of Arabs/Muslims keeping ethic identity private and out of the national spotlight. The need and ability to remain private changed almost ten years ago when Middle Eastern playwrights and artists experienced a communal need to represent the history and humanity of their culture in the face of so much inhumanity stemming from propaganda and war.