Friday, July 28, 2006

Yacoubian Building a Hit in Tunisia

In an article titled "The Film The Yacoubian Building Attracts Great Interest at a Carthage Festival in Tunisia", Radio Sawa shows how the Egyptian film is turning heads. A quote, translated by me:

The Egyptian film The Yacoubian Building by director Marwan Hamed attracted a great interest Saturday night during the 41st installment of the Carthage Film Festival and the critics pondered a while on its dimensions and content.

The film was presented in a Roman amphitheatre in Carthage in front of about 12 thousand viewers who did not leave during the entire three hours despite the repeated interruption of video and sound.

Raouf Ben Omar, the director of the Carthage festival, praised the interest in the film in a statement for Agence France-Presse and said that the Carthage festival always searches for high-quality, important performances that avoid stereotypes.

He added that it is not logical that the film and the novel, which were featured in a cultural event in France, would remain unknown in Tunisia. Tunisian journalist Saber Samih Bin Amer journalist Saber Samih Bin Amer praised the work of the young director Marwan Hamed, considering him to be bold in addressing social and political topics with great professionalism.

He added that although the film foreshadows Hamed's future works, it includes shots that are reminiscent of Hollywood films. Bin Amer confirmed that The Yacoubian Building allowed viewers to identify with the deep characters played by the Egyptian actors, especially with actor Khaled al-Sawi, who played the role of a young homosexual (Radio Sawa uses "sexual deviant" here). He called on Tunisian filmmakers to watch the film to gain the benefits of this rich experience.

In The Yacoubian Building, Director Marawan Hamed draws the image of life in a district in the center of Cairo through bold language that addresses the issues of the homosexuality (Radio Sawa uses a neutral term here), liberation, corruption, the caste system, and torture without bias.
All in all, it's a good sign. A movie deals with difficult issues, and people respond well. Plus, the media doesn't use "luti". Only one question remains: when am I going to be able to see the movie?

Also, I haven't read any updates anywhere on what's going on with the inquest of the Egyptian parliament into the film. Maybe it was lost in beaurocracy?


Blogger m s said...

This movie caused a lot of argument in the Egyptian parliament to try to ban it, but this issue is now closed with a decision to keep the movie in the theaters (also a good sign!).

July 28, 2006 8:04 PM  
Blogger Samawel said...

I'm hoping the censors here in Dubai won't touch it... I've been waiting for a while to watch it.

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Blogger Jesús Lebrón said...


April 09, 2009

Brendan Fay
(917) 402-3134

Walter Armstrong
(212) 674-6168

Iraqi Murder Campaign of Gays Spurs Vigil, Rally In NY

Gay and Human Rights Groups To Demand Immediate Investigation and
Diplomatic Intervention from Pres. Obama, Sec. Clinton., Other Officials On ‘Sexual Cleansing’

(NYC) LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) and human rights groups, are increasingly alarmed about reports by the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, Reuters and the New York Times on the continuing harassment and murder of gay men, including 6 last week, and of the fate of an estimated 128 men on death row (5, and perhaps more, gay men on death row falsely convicted of other crimes). LGBT activists in Iraq estimate that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Organizers will hold a protest and vigil outside the Iraq Mission, 14 E. 79th Street in Manhattan, Friday, April 10, 2009 at 12 Noon.

Organizers of Friday’s protest point to the staggering number of gay men killed: over 400 since 2003, and over 65 since December. Men have been identified in and around Baghdad’s Shiite slum known as Sadr City with bullet-ridden bodies, some with broken arms and legs, and with the words “pervert” or “puppy” (a derogatory word used by residents in Sadr City to refer to gays) written on their chests. In a further act of intimidation, a café frequented by lgbt citizens of Sadr City has been firebombed.

Reports on the root cause of the murders range from religious decrees by clerics associated with Moktada al-Sadr (an influential anti-American cleric in Sadr City) who devote Friday prayer services to inveigh against homosexuality – to families and tribal groups repulsed by homosexuality who defend their killings as being perpetrated at the behest of the ‘democratic’ Iraqi government. Shiite and Sunni death squads, militias, and officials point to homosexuality as a ‘crime punishable by death’. The Iraqi government continues with its plans to execute men, some of them gay, in ‘batches of 20’. The men are detained without legal representation and verbally and physically forced into ‘confession’.

"These gross human-rights violations are not a series of isolated or sporadic acts of violence but the widespread practice of 'sexual cleansing' against the Iraqi gay community," states Walter Armstrong, an organizer of the vigil and rally Friday. "We are delivering a letter to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki demanding that he take immediate steps to publicly condemn this anti-gay terrorism and order his security forces to put an end to it. We also ask President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton to hold al-Malaki accountable for these violations of international law."

Brendan Fay, a co-organizer, is also urging immediate intervention by U.S. officials, namely President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton. “LGBT people are being harassed, threatened, detained, tortured, shot and maimed with no right to legal representation, all this with the cooperation of family, tribal leaders and state officials. We cannot afford to wait until GOP leaders lift their hold on President Obama’s nominee Christopher Hill to the post of Ambassador to Iraq. We merely need strong, diplomatic action from Obama, Secretary Clinton and anyone with the power and will to save the lives of our brothers and sisters in Iraq.”

Ali Hili, an exiled, self-identified gay Iraqi runs a London-based group called Iraqi-LGBT that is working to put a stop to the murders (and will also be organizing a rally and vigil in London). Iraqi-LGBT has posted a petition at its web site, Additionally, his group operates a series of safe houses to help LGBT Iraqis escape.

On Friday organizers will demand that the State Department help support the protection of targeted or threatened lgbt Iraqi’s with funds and other resources to expand the network of safe houses and the “underground railroad” that currently takes at-risk individuals out of the country. Additionally, Fay, Armstrong, Hili and Michael Petrelis, who helped form a similar rally in San Francisco on April 6th, ask that members of the lgbt and human rights communities contact their elected officials and advocacy organizations to demand change of ‘lax’ U.S. policy towards persecuted lgbt individuals worldwide, most pressingly in Iraq.

-- 30 --
*** posted by Jesús Lebrón,

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