“Beirut” Film Screening at AUB

AUB final poster

This Tuesday, March 13, at 6.30pm we will be screening a director’s cut “Beirut” at the American University of Beirut’s West Hall auditorium B. Our student and the movie maker Rahel will be there personally to talk about the important scenes  in, and the making of, the film. This will be followed up by a question and discussion session. All are welcome to join!

3 responses to ““Beirut” Film Screening at AUB

  1. By Hirut Mesfin 5/4/2012
    The Death of Alem Dechassa gives a whole new meaning to domestic politics, played out on global space.

    I find this whole situation deeply painful. My main objective here is to illustrate how space in the modern era gives a whole new meaning to human subjectivity of a given state. What happened outside the Ethiopian embassy in Beirut and daily in Lebanon to Ethiopians has exposed the functions of the Ethiopian state naked!
    First, just the sheer number of Ethiopians in Lebanon about 100 thousand, the vast majority of them young women working as maids often in terrible conditions shows, (for all the talk of development) the best Ethiopia can offer its young females is migration to hell! So, in a way the hidden and suppressed human right abuses in Ethiopia is transferred and transported to Lebanon and many other places and continued to be lived there. If this was not too painful, it can be described as artistic, never the less, this also reveals and exposes the flaws of globalisation.
    Instead of being a chance for opportunity, it is rather an opportunity to transport ones existing conditions to a different location often with added insult to injury. So, if you are well treated at home, you are bound to be well treated anywhere. If you are a dog at home, you are bound to be a dog, wherever you are moving next!
    Women in Ethiopia are voiceless; decisions are made for them, a quite a lot of them are living lives that is forced by conditions rather than by informed choice. When they try to run away from it, the same fate awaits for them. In Lebanon, Ethiopian girls live abused lives just like back home. They are suppressed, they are controlled by others, decisions are made for them they have no control of their lives.
    What is also interesting here, the relation-ship these girls in Lebanon have with the Ethiopian Embassy. There are all sorts of horror stories coming out every day. Just like a child who would not give up on looking for affection from its abusive mother, these girls keep flowing to the embassy for help. Although, they know all too often their plea for help in falling on deaf ears.
    The way the embassy is functioning ones again reveals many things about the Ethiopian state. As a symbol and representative of Ethiopia, one of the functions of an Embassy is to look out for its citizens and protect them just as they would be looked after in their country. But in an exact replica of how the Ethiopian state functions, its embassy abroad also, is none existent to the needs of its citizens in their hour of need. It is abusive when approached, exploitative if it has to do basic things like renewal or issue of passports. Just like the state, it is indifferent to the plight of citizens.

    When that embassy staff, whose name I cannot be bothered to check gave such a damning press conference that shows no concern and almost blame Alem Dechassa for the ill treatment she encountered before her subsequent and unexplained death. How shameful! Where were his protective instincts of a diplomatic service or was it the knowledge or lack of it of what his office has been doing? That is also exactly how the Ethiopian state functions back home. It is indifferent to the plight of its citizens, when they are thrown out of their land and houses and cry desperately, the answer is they are in the way of development or that it is their fault to be in the wrong place.
    In order to overcome these societal and political problems, first we need to stop burying our head in the sand. Acknowledge our weakness as a society would be a good start. It is about time, the issue of women in Ethiopia takes a forefront agenda both at home and the Diaspora. We need to address these issues; they hold the key in finding solutions. Hiding cultural and societal baggage under the burner of poverty is not good enough. There are other similarly poor nations, whose poverty is not necessary gendered.

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