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.
On Friday evening, May 15, Levantine Cultural Center hosts a salon devoted to discussion of Afghanistan, past and present. Authors Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould will be talking about their new book Invisible History: Afghanistan’s Untold Story (City Lights 2009) including a DVD presentation. They’ll be introduced by a prominent Afghan-American attorney and activist, Mariam Atash Nawabi, and the evening will wind up with live music by young Afghan-American singer/songwriter Ariana Delawari. Read more about them here.
In reality, many of us are already asking ourselves if Afghanistan wasn’t the Soviet Union’s Vietnam—and many have begun to wonder if it will become Obama’s Iraq.
Reza Aslan presented his new book How to Win a Cosmic War: God, Globalization, and the End of the War on Terror May 2, at Café-Club Fais Do-Do, at 5257 W. Adams Blvd., LA 90016. Also appearing were Turkish indie rocker Kutsal and Arab hip hop artist Omar Offendum.
check out a few pix from the event: