Author Archives: Andreas Fricke

JOIN OUR 2016 ’14km Film and Discussion Series’ TEAM!

YOU CAN JOIN THE 2016 '14km Film and Discussion Series' TEAM! - You are interested in North Africa and the Middle East? - You like to volunteer in a young team? - You enjoy to bring people with different cultural backgrounds together? - You are interested in film and documentaries? - You are good in organising? - You can help with project administration, public relations or simply support events? - You like to prepare social, political or cultural topics for our open audience discussions, moderate them, and invite speakers for this purpose? If you answered one or more questions positively, or if you are simply interested, please join our project startup meeting on Monday, 29 February 2016, at 7 pm (19:00), at Caffeteria Buchhhandlung 32, Tucholskystr.32, 10117 Berlin Mitte. stands up for exchange and understanding between both neighbouring regions north and south of the Mediterranian Sea, in order to reduce the symbolic distance the Strait of Gibraltar (14km) sets. Since 2013 film and discussion events had been organised about current topics in North Africa or the Middle East. 14km Film and Discussion Series Feel free to contact us: Facebook Event

Migration, Flight… and Far More!

14km Film and Discussion Series - Looking Back on 2015

You can easily quantify the resounding success the 14km Film and Discussion Series had in 2015: we counted a total of 381 persons in our audiences, particulary encouraging was the increase in the share of people with personal migration background up to 23% (previous year 16%). The 14km Film Team was six times as large as in 2014, consisting of six volunteers. The maximum available budget (2,200 Euro) was around three times higher than in the year before. And, particularly striking: the number of events climbing by 100 % up to 8 full evening events - they lately took place in a short three weeks rhythm. The quality has been improved, too! This was due to our dedicated team, representing Europe and Northern Africa instead of Germany only. Composed by members originally from Germany, Tunisia and Spain we could hence formally live up to our slogan 14km - The shortest distance between North Africa and Europe. and include our inner diversity to our substantive work. Consequently "14km" became the heart of our series title, to point at perspectives of both parts of the Mediterranian to be equal parts of our Films and Discussions. We deliberately improved the film quality: in addition to indiependant documentary films we also screened more professionally made productions as well as feature movies for the first time, if they were suitable for the subsequent political debate. In the selection of topics, we considered previously not represented countries (Yemen, Sudan, Western Sahara) and devoted ourselves also to important transnational issues  (Amazigh, children, migration, pop music, women's rights). Already in the beginning of the year 2015 the region of Northern Africa and the Middle East stood in the spotlights of great general interest. This focus'es boost to extremes during the year proofs the high relevance and importance of our work. You can easily name Children in War and on Flight one of the most important European media topics of the year. We gave this issue a special focus, screening the cineastic dilicacy Turtles Can Fly: the film takes place at the beginning of US attacks on Saddam Hussein's Iraq in 2003 and displays the suffering of children in refugee camps. On one hand, those events happened at the beginning of a series of events unfolding huge impact on today's situation in Iraq and in Syria (reasons for the awakening of the "IS"). On the other hand, there recently shines some hope for a stable political system, especially in the Kurdish region in Northern Iraq, were the film was shot. Refugee camps also appeared to be part of our evening on Migration to Europe, the next central media issue of the year. The ever-increasing flow of refugees from Syria kept the entire European Union in suspense. With the movie 14 Kilometers we put our contrasting focus on the western part of the Mediterranian Sea and dealt with a second natural divide whose characteristics (refugee camps, traffickers, death) are the same: the sand seas of the Sahara deserts. With this, the second unstable country was discussed: Libya. Various motives for flight and migration became clear: lack of economic opportunities and individual fate. These are motives that go far beyond war and terror, and are highly topical in the European debates about immigration and crime in the beginning of 2016. For our series, we set ourselves the goal to communicate a wide range of informations, impressions and opinions within the single discussions and to do so also by a rich variety of event's topics. North Africa and the Middle East consist of far more than the well known crisises in Syria and Libya. Elsewere in this region there is war, terror and flight, too. Somewhat less in the European focus is Yemen, were currently a Shiite-Sunnite war takes place, a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and Iran. We apporached the culture and sociey of Yemen by the provocative viewpoint of an egocentric European adventurer in the film Expedition Yemen, and we intensiveley discussed stereotypes, cultural and societal questions and especially the role of women in Yemen. Other crisis spots are currently all but forgotten in Europe. The Darfur conflict in Sudan has hardly lost strength and sees no realistic solution approaching, as the lesson of our event told us, which included the screening of Darfur's Skeleton. The discussion between Sudanese' in the audience included vivid accounts, particularly a young men asking with tears in his eyes how he should rebuild the country, if no one dares to leave the houses due to people were arbritarily shot on a daily basis. This local drama barely finds attention since foreign reportings were effectively prevented. Little European attention is paid to another conflict: the independence movement of Western Sahara against Morocco. This conflict has been very peaceful, also testified by the documentary Life is Waiting. Nowadays activistists discuss out of their failure and frustation to be more militant, in order to eliminate their status as the "last colony of Africa". Three other very interesting topics had curtural and societaly backgrounds. Our evening about Amazigh (Berber) refered to the region of Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Libya. The focus of the film Azul was on the life of this indigenious minority in Tunisia, while the discussion concentrated on Morocco. It raises the question how to deal with this cultural heritage of ancestors: with new pride, or at least with shame? The two discussions following the yet unmentioned films were build up around the everyday culture in Northern Africa. The Source is set in the Amazigh' region. We discussed the situation of women's rights in North Africa in terms of tradition and modernity, questions of power, freedom and emancipation - and sexuality. Thus we approached in a sense the source of life! We already started to discuss these issues of women and men, provoking openness and cultural induced shame, during our event on Mahragan (festival music) in Egypt, within the broader topic of political pop music. The film Electro Chaabi led to the portrait of young (male) musicians in Cairo. As usual, we concluded our meeting with a comprehensive online report which also resumed additional information from the audience. In this case: two rare examples of Electro Chaabi made by female musicians. Our warmest thank you goes firstly to our loyal and engaged audience, whose active participation provide the spice to our event series. We thank the Landesstelle für Entwicklungszusammenarbeit (LEZ - Office of Development Corporation) - Federal State administration of Berlin, department for economy, technology and research - for their budgetary funds which made us realise our 14km Film and Discussion Series, and Mr. Walter Hättig and The North-South Bridges Foundation for the related and helpful support. Another thank you deserves the Filmrauschpalast volunteer team, which housed us on all eight evenings and made projections in digital and analogue (35mm) format possible on their cinema screen. On this occasion, we also thank the screening right distributors for the films shown. We like to take the opportunity to express gratefulness again to our invited guests, because without their inputs and contributions as experts (speakers) or witnesses, our public debates would not have been credible and authentic. My heartful thanks - last but not least - goes to my 14km Film Team. Carolin Bannorth, Silvia Limiñana, Khouloud Khalfallah, Houssein Ben Amor and Steffen Benzler - your cooperation made our dedicated project very interesting and succesful! In the name of the whole film team I express final thanks for the additional support of Susanne Kappe, Alex Odlum, Sarah Müller, Jana Vietze, Caroline Bunge and Helena Burgrova. Berlin, January 2016 Andreas Fricke (Project Manager) We express thanks for the support:        

The Role of Women in Northern Africa – Struggles Between Tradition and New Freedom

14km Film and Discussion Series

“Women’s rights should be at the top of the new list of priorities,“ said Pillay (UN High Commissioner for Human Rights) on 3 March 2011, as the wave of revolutions swept across North Africa. In the four years since the revolution began in Tunisia, much has changed for many North African countries. In addition to political upheavals, many discussions on societal development have emerged, with the role of women in society a central theme. Once upon a time… the film shows, the issue of women’s rights in North Africa has come to the fore. Radu Mihăileanu’s feature film, “The Source” takes on a fairy tale-like narrative style right from the opening credits: This story of a group of women in a village “somewhere between North Africa and the Middle East,” is “somewhere between reality and a fairy tale.” The first scene of the film shows the disunity of the village community in all its clarity. Women fetch water from the remote water hole, while men sit around drinking tea. The village celebrates the birth of a child, while Karima mourns the loss of her unborn child due to an accident incurred fetching water. Scarred by having lost a child of her own in an accident while fetching water, young Leila decides that either the men fetch the water for the community, or they are to build an aqueduct to bring water into the village. At first, Leila meets stiff resistance, not least from her own mother. But soon enough, she manages to convince her loving husband and some village elders of the merits of the plan. Im Laufe des Filmes werden das Leben und die Rolle der Frau genau wiedergegeben. Die Frauen im Dorf beschreiben ihre Zeit bis zum 14. Geburtstag „als schönste ihres Lebens“, da sie bis dahin frei leben konnten. Sie beschreiben die Tatsache, dass die Frauen zu der entfernten Quelle laufen, um Wasser für das Dorf zu holen und dabei immer wieder durch Unfälle ihr Ungeborenen verlieren, als Tradition. Vor allem malen die Frauen ihr Leid immer wieder in Liedern aus und beschreiben sich dabei als „Fußmatten“ und „Lastenträger für die Männer“. Throughout, the film offers a unique portrayal of women’s lives and roles. The women of the village fondly describe the time until their 14th birthday “as the most beautiful of their lives,” when they could live freely. Then the tradition of fetching water from the remote source, losing unborn children in accidents along the way, sets in. Women are left to use their songs describing themselves as “doormats” and “load carriers for the men” to paint over their grief and frustration. The women take to their struggle through creative means. Unable to work the fields due to the drought, men sit around drinking their tea, while the women take to the water source, arranging branches to construct a fountain and inscribing the slogan: “Your hearts are dry and thorny.” Their expression of frustration culminates with the performance of their songs of grief at a local thanksgiving festival. A newspaper seizes the chance to publish an article detailing the situation in the village. Quick to realise the strike in this village could spread further, or that female demands might increase, the government sets about building the necessary aqueduct immediately. With the water line constructed, the women’s self-esteem grows. At the same time, the men’s fears this could lead the women to an even greater desire of power remain unfounded in the film's end in which the women admit “the source of women is love – the source of women is man.” The film continually portrays the struggle between traditional and modern times, taking up many taboo topics in Arab society to describe the hard fought struggle for female recognition. After the film, a discussion featured: Hoda Salah (doctorate in political science (PhD title: “The Political Participation of Islamic Activists in Egypt), women’s rights activist, and lecturer of political education); and Eva Christine Schmidt (current doctoral student at the Berlin Graduate School of Muslim Cultures and Societies (PhD topic: Gender Politics in Transition: The Role of Feminist Actors in the Tunisian Transition). The discussants took on the themes of the film, applying them to the respective contexts in Egypt and Tunisia. Both speakers firstly described their overall impressions of the film. Attention was drawn to the film’s portrayal of women in villages, and contrasted against the role of women in cities – something quite different. It was importantly noted that the film did not involve Arab women, although it shared a similar concern for women struggling for their fundamental rights. Women in the city fight a different battle for their individual rights. The film tackles stereotypes, but in a different sense. For Hoda Salah, what is important is that “such films show women playing a strong role.” Another point of interest in this movie was its ability to grapple with multiple taboo topics in Arab society. Above all, dealing with the issue of sexuality is an exciting feature. The fact that Leila had made love before marriage was, for example, a key issue in the film. With love, her husband is able to forgive her. At the same time, concerns of marital rape cannot be escaped in the film. Close attention was paid to the role of women in Egypt and Tunisia, both before and after the revolution. Eva Christine Schmidt described the state’s dominant control before the revolution. Only a few small feminist organisations were able to exist then, mostly in the capital, such as the Association Tunisienne des Femmes Démocrates (ATFD) and the Union Nationale de la Femme Tunisienne. As society opened up following the revolution, a host of new feminist organisations were spawned across the country. Focus was placed on two major women’s movements – one with strong leftist tendencies and the other which promoted feminism in accordance with Islamic beliefs. It was interesting to note how the two organisations held contrasting views, making cooperation between them difficult. Hoda Salah described the role of women in Egypt in four phases, which all influenced the women’s movement as it is today. Egypt had one of the earliest women’s movements in the Arab world. A demonstration in Tahrir Square in 1933 following a conference in Italy saw women remove their headscarves – a strong show of freedom. And yet, today, the granddaughters of these pioneering women are back to wearing the headscarf, and refrain from simply adopting western traditions. Tensions have grown between these two approaches in Egypt. At the same time, those tensions are sometimes overstated: the struggle for rights can be described as an elitist struggle of the middle and upper classes – at least where individual rights are concerned. The basic fundamental rights of those women in the village in the film are a different matter. Priorities change when faced with such pressing real life issues. The audience offered some further perspectives on the role of women, particularly regaring their physical strength. The polarisation of society was highlighted. It was noted how men were deemed physically strong, while women were viewed as weaker – and how this view was intrinsic to the beliefs of the village. The importance of the revolutions to feminist activism was also noted. The idea that change need not necessarily be institutional was an important take away from the revolution. Rather than following leaders, young people could formulate and develop their own ideas together. A good example was the way flash mobs of Tunisian feminists joined together as the “Femen” activist group. That said, institutional struggles for feminism in Tunisia remain an important force. Unlike in Egypt, there are institutions and organisations in Tunisia that go out to the villages directly aiming to bring about changes in education and strengthen the independence of women. Furthermore, the role of men is an integral part of the struggle for women’s rights. While women are concerned with their own struggle for rights, it is important to also tackle the clear role of men as the financial centre of the family. Unemployed men suffer both social and familial humiliation. Trampling on men’s rights is not a sustainable solution – both sets of rights need to be considered and respected. Questions from the audience concluded the discussion, probing the discourse on women’s issues in the respective countries. The speakers addressed questions on the nature of this discourse. They cited examples of public demonstrations following the rape of woman at the hands of Tunisian police, and manifestations against Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, who had weakened the role of women in society. It was clear that such actions demonstrate the important political role of women in both countries. A final question suggested that more independent thinking from adolescents could serve as a catalyst for change. A major rethinking is needed to consider women not only as future housewives, but also as independent workers. Yet educational institutions tend to fail to instil such independent thoughts among the youth – uncritical rote learning and memorisation of facts is a staple in Egypt’s educational system. The internet and its possibilities for self-learning, however, offers an important opportunity to break with traditional education. Overall, the clear takeaway message was that of the different considerations of the role of women across society and between villages and towns. While the revolution in many ways helped to strengthen the role of women in society, the range of currents and understandings of this role continue to search for a common path. Youth are crucial to exploring and harmonising these different paths. Many thanks to the speakers and all the guests for coming and engaging in a fascinating discussion. A special thanks also goes to Hoda Salah and Eva Christine Schmidt for providing such interesting background information on the situation of women in Tunisia and Egypt. Event's Invitation with additional informations about "The Source" Further films about Women's Rights in our 14km Film Database   Event organisation: Carolin Bannorth and Andreas Fricke Moderation: Carolin Bannorth Text: Sarah Müller Text translation: Alex Odlum Photos: Jana Vietze Organisation: The volunteer 14km Film Team Project Management: Andreas Fricke The 14km Film and Discussion Series 2015 gets sponsorship by budgetary funds of the Federal State of Berlin – Office for Development Cooperation. Read more event reports and background information at the project's homepage. The events are dedicatet to a single country or specific topic, in order to give an artistic-documentary impression . The ensuing audience discussion aims to include further informations by an affected person living in Berlin and by an scientific expert, always aiming to make links to North-South relationships. We express thanks for the support:  

1. Interkulturelles Seminar am 30.01.2016 in Berlin

Ab Januar 2016 führt das Team von 14km e.V. - the shortest distance between North Africa and Europe interkulturelle Seminare durch. Ziel ist es, für künftige Auslandsaufenthalte in der Region Nordafrika und Naher Osten zu sensibilisieren. Dabei wollen wir unser Wissen und unsere Auslandserfahrungen in der Region Nordafrika und Naher Osten gern weitergeben und Euch auf die kulturellen Besonderheiten und Unterschiede in der Region vorbereiten. An dem ganztägigen, interaktiven Workshop möchten wir Euch durch Vorträge grundlegende Informationen vermitteln. Mit Hilfe verschiedener Methoden wollen wir zu einem lebendigen und erfahrungsorientierten Lernen anregen. Dabei sollen auch mögliche Vorurteile und Stereotype thematisiert bzw. reduziert werden. Kosten Das Seminar kostet 25 € inkl. der Bereitstellung von kleinen Snacks in der Mittagspause und Getränken. Für Schüler und Studenten gibt es eine Ermäßigung von 5 €. Termine Das erste Seminar wird am 30.01.2016 stattfinden. Weitere Termine werden folgen. Außerdem besteht die Möglichkeit ab einer interessierten Gruppe von 5 Personen individuelle Termine für ein Seminar mit uns zu vereinbaren. Interesse? Kontaktiert uns gern oder meldet Euch an unter: Homepage 14km Interkulturelles Seminar

“Ahlan wa sahlan – refugees welcome“

Multilaterale Jugendbegegnung

Durchführungszeitraum: Mai 2016 in Berlin Beteiligte Länder: Tunesien, Ägypten, Deutschland   Warum ist unser Projekt wichtig? Seit mehreren Jahren winden sich Syrien und Libyen in einem blutigen zivilen Krieg, der Millionen Menschen zur Flucht zwingt. Für viele Menschen auf der Flucht wird Europa und u.a. Deutschland zum Zielland. Auch Nordafrika gilt als unmittelbares Transfer/Zielland für hunderttausende Geflüchtete. So gibt es hunderttausende geflüchtete SyrerInnen in Ägypten und mehr als eine Million geflüchteten LibyerInnen in Tunesien. Die Migrationsströme stellen eine große Herausforderung für arabische und europäische Länder dar. Wie genau in anderen Ländern mit dieser Herausforderung umgegangen wird, wird in der Regel nicht thematisiert. Wissens- und Erfahrungsaustausch könnten aber gerade zwischen Nordafrika und Europa Verständnis erzeugen, neue Perspektiven in den Diskurs einbringen und Lösungsansätze aufzeigen. Deswegen möchten wir im Mai 2016 je fünf junge Menschen aus Ägypten, Tunesien und Deutschland in Berlin zusammenbringen und die Lage der Geflüchteten in den drei Ländern und die Möglichkeiten diese strukturell zu verbessern, zusammen thematisieren. Was ist unser Ziel? Wir möchten einen produktiven Erfahrungs- und Ideenaustausch unter Jugendlichen aus Ägypten, Tunesien und Deutschland initiieren und die Frage stellen: Was kann ich persönlich tun, um die Situation der Geflüchteten in meinem Heimatland zu verbessern? Wir möchten die Teilnehmenden ermuntern, selbst in diesem Bereich aktiv zu werden, sei es durch die Unterstützung von Einzelpersonen, Initiativen, Institutionen oder den Aufbau eines eigenen Projekts. Was können Sie machen? Wenn Sie unsere Arbeit unterstützen wollen, können Sie gern spenden. Wir stellen für Sie gern eine Spendenbescheinigung aus. Unsere Bankverbindung ist: Bank: GLS Gemeinschaftsbank IBAN: DE97 43060967 1159374500 BIC: GENO DE M 1 GLS Wir freuen uns auch über eine Unterstützung in anderer Form z. B. als ReferentIn. Wo erfahre ich mehr über das Projekt? Alle Ihre Fragen beantworten sehr gern unsere Projektkoordinatorinnen Helena Burgrova und Caroline Bunge.