Thursday, January 25, 2018

The #WATWB January Edition: No Space for Sexism — #TimesUp

Here it is, the first We Are The World blog event of the year—and my first post of 2018!

In the spirit of the #MeToo and #TimesUp momentum that saw the old year out and the new year in (and shows no sign of abating; a nod of appreciation, by the way, to Casey Affleck for declining to attend the Oscars this year—let alone hand out the statuettes), I thought I'd start off with a brief but potent story about female empowerment. What makes this story special for me is that it doesn't come from Europe or the U.S. This happened in Sri Lanka, of all places. It underlines that this fight against predatory behavior and sexism in general is a global thing, and I believe it's important to highlight these instances, especially when they're successful, because the only way real change will be effected is by keeping those voices coming, loud and clear. Sing it, sisters—and I'll join my voice to yours.

This is the billboard that sparked the controversy in Colombo (Sri Lanka's capital). Yes, I would've been offended by it. But I probably wouldn't have done much about it—aside from boycotting the gym advertised, certainly. If I'd been a member there, I'd have cancelled my subscription. I might even have suggested similar action to a friend or two, if I knew they went there, too. Yes, the gym would've gained a black mark in my book... But that would've been it.

And that's the core of the problem when it comes to sexism, isn't it?

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Perfetti Sconosciuti: Reviews from the Curaçao Film Festival #CIFFR

Thursday, April 6th, 2017, 16:15.

This one blew my mind in all the good ways. Four couples meet for dinner (the single guy's date stands him up, so it's seven instead of eight), all of them long-time friends, some even from childhood. The subject of secrets comes up, and someone says there are no secrets at this table. "We know each other too well." But someone else disagrees, and issues a challenge: everyone put your phone on the table, and during the dinner, any messages that come in will be shared or read aloud, and any calls will be answered on speaker. If there are no secrets, then it should be easy enough to do. Right?

I'm not a big fan of comedy, generally, but this one I found spectacular. Probably because it's serious subject matter cleverly disguised as comedy. And the Italian sense of humor lends itself particularly well to not just the subject matter itself but to the device of disguise. It's a brilliant take on these times of social media and communication technology, but doesn't stop there. How well do we know those closest to us?

Thursday, October 26, 2017

The #WATWB October Edition: Tackling the Impossible

Image source: @FamiliesSyria on Twitter

On October 11th, the Families for Freedom bus began its journey in London. The iconic double-decker, covered in photographs of Syrians who have been illegally detained, disappeared, and even murdered by the Assad regime, carries the families of these detainees, mostly (but not only) women, in a journey across Europe to call for the release, at the very least for information, of their loved ones. Their next stops will be Paris and Berlin, "wherever peace talks are being held", as their website states.

Their final destination, as the bus so proudly announces above the windshield, is Damascus. To "pick up" their loved ones. The sheer hope in that sign—it blows my mind.

And that's why I decided to use it for my WATWB post this month.

There are few things as hopeless as having someone you care about vanish into a corrupt, totalitarian system. In Latin America we're well versed in the subject—and we know, first-hand, how unfathomable that particular black hole is. We know, also, how distant any possibility of hope seems. And we know, all too well, the excruciating pain hope can bring when it comes any closer.

Image source:

And yet here they are, these women. Against all odds. Against the whole world. Holding their heads high. Holding on to a ragged shred of hope as tattered and worn as the once-favorite blankie of a grandchild long grown and gone.

We are women-led. We are peaceful. We are determined.

Can you imagine the courage that must take? I try, but I fail. It's staggering, isn't it? And that's why I find it so inspiring: if they can do it, if they can—after years of not knowing, of being turned away, of being silenced and threatened and ignored—still find a way to hold on to hope, then we all can. No matter the odds. No matter how impossible the goal may seem. No matter how many times you've failed. No matter who stands in your way, who tries to drown out your voice. No matter what.

Hopelessness is, quite simply, not an option. And the impossible, as they say, just takes a little bit longer.

This post is part of the We Are the World Blogfest, a monthly event created by Damyanti Biswas and Belinda Witzenhausen to spotlight stories of hope and light. This month I'm helping Belinda out as a co-host, along with extraordinary bloggers Shilpa Garg, Sylvia McGrath, and Mary Giese—please hop over to check out their WATWB posts when you get a chance; they're always amazing. And take a peek at the other WATWB participants for a dose of feel-good to last you a whole month. You'll be happy you did :)

Thank you so much for the visit!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Julieta: Film Reviews from the Curaçao Film Festival #ciffr

Julieta, Pedro Almodóvar, 2016
CIFFR: Thurs Apr 6, 2017

Almodóvar is a little like Quentin Tarantino for me. No, not in style. I mean in the sense that I either adore or abhor their films. No in-between, no middle grounds... Tarantino and Almodóvar, to me, are either geniuses or morons, depending on what film we're talking about. (To be fair, I do like many more Almodóvar films than I do Tarantino ones.)

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