Human Rights (where the liberty starts)

VERZIO International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival has just finished in Budapest. It was organized by Open Society Archivum (OSA), together with the Open Society Institute (OSI), Russian State Film and Photo Archive and some other local institutions/partners. A one-week event aims at screening wide variety of films about ordinary people’s rights across the world and, particularly, in such countries as Afghanistan, Congo, Kenya, Russia, Kyrgyzstan, China and many others.
Volunteering during the festival in October 2010, I was lucky to watch some films two of which I was most of all impressed by.
The first documentary is called Nairobi Love Story, directed by Maria Weber. It is about two young lovers from Kenya, Eric and Margareth. Belonging to the different tribes (Kikuyo and Luo) they are strictly condemned by the society and, in particular, their own families for their relationship. Kenyans from Kikuyo and Luo cannot marry each other because of the continuous conflicts between the two tribes which at the same time represent different ethnic groups. However, in spite of all the blames and difficulties a couple has to overcome, they purely love each other and dream of their future family. At the same time, managing together a household, at some point they also face a problem of division of their domestic duties. So, another problem raised in the film is gender roles in the family. Eric, quite typically for a man, believes that laundering and cooking, as well as supposedly, other household works, are not man’s duties. Therefore, doing chores, he only helps Margareth. Meanwhile, since he does it voluntarily, he correspondingly expects to be appreciated for that. But Margareth perceives this kind of “help” as something natural: if they both have jobs, both need some food, drink, clean clothes and house, then both have to be equally responsible for handling all that.
The second documentary, Afghan Star, directed by Havana Marking, is about “Afghan Star” music talent TV show in Afghanistan. Afghan people, who have been suffering of the severe wars and Taliban rules for decades, were not allowed to sing. Moreover they did not even have a chance to watch TV or listen to radio. With the end of Taliban rule Afghanis got an access to some of the broadcasting media, along with the simple rights to sing, dance and laugh. So, they perceived freedom as a possibility to sing and express their feelings in the combination of notes and words.
The “Afghan Star” became the most popular TV show in Afghanistan not only for the participants, but also hundred thousands of people across the whole country watching them. Afghanis enthusiastically voted for their beloved singers and sincerely believed that their voice would influence the results of voting. This was not, though, the only crucial point of the film. The young lady, who at some point received the least votes, stayed behind other competitors and had to leave the project (as it happens in “Super Star” and other similar programmes). According to the tradition of the project, before leaving the stage, she had to make a final performance in front of the audience. She was supposed to sing, but never to dance. And several simple dance elements she dared to make while singing were considered as a deadly sin. When she was asked of the reason of her impudent behavior, she guiltily said that had followed the feelings she had been full of at that moment.
For some of us it might be hard to believe that in the 21st century human happiness depends on the possibility to love or sing. And what is even harder to believe in is that in the closed societies there are very few people who dare to defend their universal right to be happy.
Both films revealed an absolutely simple truth to me: our liberty starts from easy words, sounds and feelings. We never realize it though. Otherwise, our everyday life would have a different value.

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3 Comments

Filed under Human Rights, People, Political, Society

3 responses to “Human Rights (where the liberty starts)

  1. Pingback: Human Rights (where the liberty starts) « Track of Train | Afghanistan Today

  2. Vardges Avetisyan

    I would like to make a point here…

    First of all, I really do think that men and women have equal rights and both should be treated the same way in society. HOWEVER, having equal rights does not mean to be the same. NEVER, men and women are totally different. From my point of view there is a bad tendency in 21st century: 99% of women confuse the meaning of having equal rights with men. They simply think that men and women are the same. The latter is so NOT true. When women artificially try to behave like men (thinking that they are trying to protect their rights) it kills all the natural and wonderful femininity they posses. This process is against all natural laws. I encourage women to really understand the difference between “Having equal rights as men” and “Behaving/Being the same like men”. I would also like to add that sometimes men also tend to behave artificially to prove that they are the MEN.
    We all are human beings so let us be natural and enjoy our own male/female nature.
    Let us sing and spread all our joy across the globe!

    Thank you for another interesting post.

    • thanks for the comment. and yes, sure it’s not the same, to be equal in rights means to be equal in rights and nothing else. you’re touching another issue, and i totally support your position about that.

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