On Saturday, March 19, Women's Voices Now presents the final day of the Women's Voices from the Muslim World: A Short-Film Festival. The event will include screenings of a multitude of amazing and empowering films along with roundtable discussions and a book reading and signing. Topics include: girls in the Muslim world, health taboos in the Middle East, and women at work, among others. The event will wrap up with an awards ceremony and closing benefit.
Women's Voices from the Muslim World: A Short-Film Festival presents a collection of voices from women of all faiths living in Muslim-majority countries and Muslim women living as minorities around the world that fills the void in information created by traditional news, media and art sources.
The selection includes many never-before-seen films from women filmmakers in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran.
Reviewed by Jawad Ali
DOCUMENTARY QUESTIONS WHETHER LIVES OF AFGHAN WOMEN HAVE IMPROVED SINCE THE FALL OF THE TALIBAN
What: Screening and discussion of documentary View from a Grain of Sand
When: November 18 2010, 8:00pm-9:30pm
Price: Free to the public, donations welcome
Where: Levantine Cultural Center
5998 W. Pico Blvd Los Angeles CA 90035
Between Fairfax and La Cienega (ample street parking)
"'Gripping.' Nanji narrates this history with clarity and passion. Insightful, often heart-wrenching account of trauma, war and rights abuses." -LA Weekly
[Los Angeles, CA October 26] While the media tends to paint a rosy picture of the condition of the women's lives in Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban, View from a Grain of Sand gives the stark reality through the eyes of the women themselves. Through her exclusive footage, interviews and archival material, filmmaker Meena Nanji is able to provide illuminating context for Afghanistan's current situation and the ongoing battle women face, even in a post-Taliban state, to gain basic human rights.
View From a Grain of Sand, the documentary by Meena Nanji, is presented in partnership with the Levantine Cultural Center and produced by Folk Art Everywhere, a project of the Craft and Folk Art Museum.
"searing, wide-reaching... an especially timely addition to the collective history of the plight of women under repression."—Los Angeles Times
Shot in refugee camps of Pakistan and the war-torn city of Kabul, three remarkable Afghan women lead us through the maze of Afghanistan's complex history, informing this examination of how international interventions, war and the rise of political Islam have stripped Afghan women of their freedom over the last thirty years. Combining verité footage, interviews and rare archival material, this evocative film is a harrowing, thought-provoking and movingly intimate portrait of a still divided and brutalized nation. Addressing timely issues of women, Islam, and US foreign policy, the film is a compelling and vital addition to the global dialogue of our times.
In the West, the veil has now gone beyond a cliché symbol into a catalyst for policymaking. Whereas new dress code laws claim they aren't specifically targeting religion, banning face coverings directly affects the choice to wear certain traditional Muslim attire such as the niqab or burka. Consequently, issues of free speech, freedom of religion, public safety, and current events are all colliding with stereotypes and Islamaphobia in a cocktail for rabble-rousing debate on how religion should be dealt with in the public sphere, and more specifically, how Eastern cultural traditions should be dealt with in Western democratic societies.
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.
By Tamim Ansary
Review by Tara Marie Good
In 1940 Walter Benjamin wrote, "To articulate what is past does not mean to recognize ‘how it really was.' It means to take control of a memory, as it flashes in a moment of danger." For the German-Jewish Marxist philosopher that moment of danger was the Nazi march on Europe. The moment of danger that inspired Afghani born Tamim Ansary to articulate Islamic history in Destiny Disrupted was September 11th.
Destiny Disrupted is a historical narrative of the Islamic world addressing the chasm seen to separate Western and Middle Eastern histories. The main thesis presented by Ansary is that the history of Islam and the West are two parallel histories, which overlap at points, but are fundamentally separate. Claiming to represent a general Muslim perception, Ansary charts Middle Eastern history from the ancient world to the western colonial and economic expansion in the modern era.