Archive | November, 2011

5 Sure Tell Signs Your Dictator Is Just Not That Into You

22 Nov

1- He’s Cheating On You With Another Country
You’ve caught him sending gifts of say, 20,000 sheep, to the lovely country next door, whom you’ve always suspected he has a crush on. This is especially hurtful after you’ve boycotted meat because of high prices. You also suspect something bad is going on with a certain Asian country.

2- He Never Listens To You
He’s never there for you when you need him, even though he really has no where to go since Ocampo put him on lock down, so technically, he should have more time for you, but he doesn’t. He has never let you vote on any major or minor decision that affects your future. He has made it clear that your opinion does not matter, and not only that, that he will not tolerate any opinion of yours that conflicts with his.

3- He Hates Your Family
You’ve begged him to get to know your family members better, but he’s been at war with them since the relationship started. Finally, they decided to abandon you and him in a referendum in July 2011. And the zinger? They didn’t even ask you how you felt about it. The whole thing was traumatizing for you but you could swear you heard him mumble ‘fi siteen dahya’

4- He Keeps His Finances Separate
You have been together for over 20 years, however, he still keeps a separate bank account off shore and you are not allowed to even ask about it. He has seen you struggling with your finances, barely making ends meet, yet he refuses to chip in.

5- He Is Physically And Verbally Abusive
At first, you put up with his verbally abusive ways because it was generally directed towards others, sometimes you even felt like he was just trying to protect you. When he told others they are ‘under his shoe’ you questioned yourself but let it go. However, he started being verbally abusive towards you telling to you to lick your elbow and making so many vows (not of the happy matrimony kind) and there’s no stopping his threatening. To add insult to injury, or rather, injury to insult, he is physically abusive towards you whenever you disagree with him.

If your dictator exhibited one or more of the aforementioned signs, it’s time to give him the boot. Find someone who values you. You’re worth it.

Sudanese Film: Faisal Goes West

15 Nov

A while back, I saw the trailer for Machine Gun Preacher [insert massive rant here] and felt a sense of pity for the consistently appalling representation of Sudanese in both Arab and western films. Thankfully, I stumbled on a White-Texan-savior, without a klashinkov in hand, but with a strong message and a beacon of hope for Sudanese cinema in the form of an independent film depicting a Sudanese family’s adjustment to life in America called Faisal Goes West.

Bentley Brown, who has grown up in Chad and worked in Sudan, is the award-winning filmmaker behind Faisal Goes West, or as he is also known as “that khawaja that speaks better Arabic than me.” As an aficionado of independent films and all things Sudan, I was very excited to make a pledge to back the project financially but felt that it’s not enough, so I called up Bentley to see how I can help (Also, I wanted to talk to the khawaja that speaks better Arabic than me, but that’s secondary.)

There are two important points that Bentley clarified: Firstly, this is not just a film about Sudan, this is Sudanese cinema. In large part, the actors, artists, and producers involved in this film are Sudanese. Bentley stressed “Faisal Goes West is Sudanese cinema. Sure, it will be filmed outside of Sudan and away from the grips of the Sudanese government’s chokehold on cinematic expression, but it is a step, nonetheless, Sudanese encouraging one another (and anyone, really) to express themselves through film.” Secondly, this film revolves around the issue of identity, which is a major issue that affects Sudanese people socially and politically. As Bentley put it “in many ways, the story is a global one: family comes to America with high hopes, family hits a wall, family must rebuild in order to survive. Focusing on a coming-of-age character like Faisal offers a beautiful dive into issues of generational clashes, dignity, and identity–this last one is especially important to me, كخواجة متربي في تشاد . It is sad how easily we forget that people are people. Skin color, appearance, language, etc. are merely factors of a humanity that is in a rapid process of mixing and moving. In this sense, the most important issue that Faisal will address is that of identity. What does it mean for Faisal to be Sudanese? To be American? Not to mention the labels society places on him: “African,” “Arab,” “black”…and the list continues.”

Faisal Goes West is an important film, and I am thrilled that someone as talented, well-rounded, and driven as Bentley is leading this production which I am sure will garner international attention and will be, for the first time, a positive representation of Sudanese people in film. In his own words Bentley explains: “Documentaries largely reflect the international community’s interest in Sudan for mere political or feel-good humanitarian reasons–as if Sudan is a constant case study of suffering and people in need, and foreigners can be the ones to help. But I know Sudanese to be different–they are a people extremely diverse in language, background, politics, religion, and one aspect that is rarely conveyed is the sense of communal resilience present across Sudan and the Sudanese diaspora. This is what I want to convey through the characters in the film: a message of persevering, even when hardship catches you by surprise.”

Now that I’ve got you wrapped up in fluffy dreams about seeing a Sudanese film winning in Sundance, I need you to listen up and focus. Faisal Goes West needs your help to become a reality. Bentley is doing his part to bring about positive change for Sudanese people. Here’s what you could do:

– Make a financial pledge here in order to help the project reach its goal. The deadline is November 22nd, 2011.
-Talk about the film with your family, friends, online friends, and imaginary friends–basically everyone. Spread the word!
-Contact Bentley Brown if you have any talents that might be of use to the movie or if you have an important point you would like the movie to cover.
-Change your facebook/twitter profile photo to the movie poster (below) so you can get people asking about the film.

If you don’t do at least one of the above, it might mean Machine Gun Preacher is your favorite movie and you think George Clooney knows everything about ‘the Sudan.’

*Bentley Brown grew up in Ati, Chad, where his parents ran rural medical clinics. You can read more about him here.

UPDATE: The film got fully funded. This is happening. Thank you all for your support.