We are very pleased to invite you to the following.
There will be the
screening of "Alem & Asrat" a film by Vanessa Bowles, about
domestic workers in Lebanon at Nasawiya Cafe. It starts from the
personal experience of the film maker, who like so many others in
Lebanon grew up cared for by various maids, Asrat being the current one
employed in her family's household. Most of these women come to the
Middle East from countries such as Ethiopia, looking to support their
families in their home countries. Once arrived, they have no formal
rights or regulated working conditions.
Alem Dechasa's story is one of a search for opportunity that ended in
violent and tragic loss. Her case rose to prominence after an anonymous
bystander took a video of Alem being beaten by her agent Ali Mahfouz in
front of the Ethiopian embassy in Beirut. The video went viral, causing
uproar both in Lebanon and in Beirut. Two days after the video was made
public, Alem committed suicide. What drove a mother of two to do this?
The film maker visited Alem and Asrat's families in Ethiopia to find
possible answers, encountering the pressures to succeed in their new
lives that these women face, the grief of Alem's family and a group of
activists working on awareness an raising funds to alleviate the
suffering of Alem's bereaved relatives. Back in Beirut, she interviews
Alem's agent, the perpetrator of the violent attack against her, who is
unrepentant. Through these encounters, the film shines light on a social
injustice that is still accepted unquestioningly by most in the Middle
Vanessa Bowles had lived her entire
life in Lebanon where she did her Bachelor's in Audio Visuals at
'Académie Libanaise des Beaux Arts' before going to London where she has
recently completed her Masters in Screen Documentary at Goldsmiths,
University of London.
She has just completed editing a short
campaign film which demands the release of Shaker Aamer the last
Londoner in Guantanamo; he has now been there for 10 years without
charge or trial. Vanessa hopes to pursue a career in film-making where
she can interact with different people and tell stories of humanitarian
and socio-political importance.
Date: Friday, January 4, 2012 at 7:00pm