I want to start collecting pictures of people telling me why they need Feminism in Arabic… if you want to participate then just write out this sentence and complete it and take a picuture and email it to me (shalabieh [@] or post it to the blog here 🙂

_______أحتاج النسوية

If you don’t know what I am talking about take a look at the previous post Who needs Feminism? 




I came across this post today ( and I would love to do an Arabic version.
Here is the video from the post, anyone in? 

This week I went to see the film everyone is talking about “Where Do We Go Now?” By Nadine Labaki. I was really excited and expected a good show. And a good show it was. It made me laugh, it made me cry and it made me upset! The story is one that if it doesn’t preoccupy every Lebanese person I met, it at least affects them in some way or form in their everyday life. That isn’t what upset me, my issue with the story is it’s reinforcement of some of the most ugly gender stereotypes. Stop here if you don’t want any spoilers.


The film depicts the village women as the gate keepers of peace, the ones that are conniving, calculating and  manipulative. It doesn’t matter that they are portrayed as such for a good reason. It matters that they are portrayed

Where do we go now Poster

Where do we go now Poster

as such. In the film they are seen more than once sitting together plotting and planning. And who do they manipulate? Who do they conspire against? The buffoons, the stupid, war mongering, blood lusting men. The men can’t who can’t think for themselves, are driven by machismo and testosterone to fight like this is the only solution. The men don’t think to question the news, they don’t think to talk about what

is happening. Instead they plot little attacks or pranks in the church or the

mosque that later escalate into standoffs, as if that is the only way the men can express themselves and their affiliation with their sect/ religion. They only time the men are shown to co

me together and talk is when they are planning attacks and strategizing about where to keep their weapons. And to add insult to injury, when the women’s tactics don’t work they bring in skinny, blonde, half-naked women to distract the men, thus appealing to their basest instincts, the distraction is bought to it pinnacle with the women drugging the men and making the skinny blonds dance for them as they hide all the arms.


These portrayals were done with such craftsmanship and artistry that you leave the film with a feeling of satisfaction that can easily makes you forget these stereotypes and the problems they present. I also feel (and I could be completely off base) that since sectarianism in Lebanon is at the heart of the film that these issues will be overlooked and take a backseat in the discussions around it. If I am wrong, and there are discussions about the gendered presentations within the film, please link me to the critiques and discussions or alternatively, start one in the comments section below.  I am disturbed by this representation and how it reduces both men and women to these ugly vignettes. I think that characters and the story could’ve been built without both lumping women and men into one of two camps, the complexities of the situation could’ve crossed the gender line and ultimately presented a more interesting, and maybe even a more realistic story.

This is being circulated around the web and came into my inbox. We need to be vocal we need to be visible we need to use logical rhetoric. I am reposting their email that calls all of us to action. View their work so far and see how you can help!





Dear friends,

We are a group of Arab women from Jordan who have come together in
response to the vicious attacks by Israel on Gaza. Our aim is to spread awareness across the globe on the atrocities and encourage all responsible citizens to act in the name of humanity. Help us give voice to those who have been silenced by doing the following: 

 1. Visit our YouTube links and rate us positively!

We need your views so we can become the first Arab youtube clip to get onto the most viewed page
The YouTube clips address the following:
On the Humanitarian Situation

On Israel’s Violations of Humanitarian Law

On the Media Spin

Our Call to Action


2. Forward this message to all your friends and encourage them to do the same! Make sure everyone you know watches these videos!

 3. Join our Facebook group and share our videos with your friends!

4.  Add our links on your website and/or blogs.

5.  View our Call to Action episode on You Tube on the 30th of January 2009 so that we may reach our goal of becoming the most viewed clip on YouTube so as to give the crisis in Gaza the exposure it desperately needs.


We need your support! Please help us! For more information, please
email at

In solidarity,
Voices for Palestine


Bits and Pieces. A Short from Jordan

These past few weeks I have been helping a friend work on one of her projects. I really enjoy running around and doing the random things that culminate in a purposeful film. This one was directed at an American audience and is meant to extend a hand and send a message from Jordan, it has been submitted to a film festival in the US.

I have had mixed responses from different friends who saw it. I know that I am interested in hearing what you have to say as is my friend… so leave a comment here or where ever you feel comfortable… I will write more later perhaps after you’ve seen it J

Enjoy 🙂


Captain Abu Raed Poster

Last weekend I went to see the Jordanian film Captain Abu Raed. I left the theater in a thoughtful mood. This film is set in Amman, with characters that are there from our everyday lives. If I were to sum it up in one sentence it would be the Jordanian dream. It talks of struggles, passions, lives, living, dying, and so much more. 

The movie I think is a strong social commentary on the world around us. By the world I mean Amman. It talks of abuse and child labor, it also talks of societal pressures. It shows us sides of Amman that some people are not exposed to. I heard and was surprised by some of the comments made by audience members that made me think how sheltered and ignorant some of our Ammanis are. The film’s portrayal of East and West Amman, the divide, the lifestyles, the attitudes was very poignant, and to me at least reinforced how we should work to remove those barriers. The portrayals were mostly positive, however some were not and I don’t think we should be ashamed or upset by this. This is our fabric and every thread counts. 

The film was funny in parts, and slow in others but the ending was sad and uplifting in one. The messages were many and all positive ones. I’ve heard that some people critiqued the film for not being factually correct, well it is a piece of fiction so it’s OK. And some of the inaccuracies are positive ones that should be presented as messages to the public, like girls and boys playing together in Eastern Amman, why can’t that be our reality?

If there was one thing I would have liked to see more of in the film, that would have been more character development for some of the secondary roles, through some stronger dialogue. But you know this was a film about Abu Raed, and Abu Raed as a character was written well and acted well. In his silence as well as in his lines Nadim Sawalha did a good job.

I do have one thing that ticked me off at the end of the movie and that was the commentary made by audience members as they left. The only comments they had about the movie was who funded it and how they are millionares now. These shallow, naïve comments shocked me and made me think was this the only thing they could take away from the film? Anyways it is not always my place to ask why, but I did want to say something!

I must say it was very hard writing this piece without spoiling the movie. I have much more to say, but go see the movie if you haven’t already, and maybe we can have that discussion offline or via email, without spoiling the movie for others. It is a JD 5 and a couple of hours well spent, if not for the entertainment value then for the support of the local, budding film industry.