Bard College Berlin Presents
Monday, September 23, 2019

Real Talk: On Changing Gender Relations in Yemen and Its European Diaspora

Grüner Salon, Volksbühne, Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin

Panel Discussion with Hisham Almahdi, Adeeb Hadi and Altaf Merzah
Moderation: Christin Lüttich

Approaches to gender relations often change dramatically when one leaves their home and lives in the diaspora. The move often means coming to terms with new perspectives in the most private realm—love and sex, reproduction and family, marriage, and sexual identity—while at the same time still being affected by traditional society and family values. Individuals have to make choices that are still restrained and conflicted by their family networks. In exposing and discussing these conflicts it is crucial to leave stereotypes behind and create a conversation that is safe from racist and orientalist judgments.

This event aims to look at the case of gender relations in Yemen. The films and guest speakers discuss the strong influence of religion and tradition in the region, which always also depend on the political and economic forces at play. There is a golden rule in Yemen that "Men Should Provide," a rule that shapes a lot of other conventions and concepts, such as "Mahr" - the price of marrying a woman -, marriage, divorce, raising children and women's roles in the society. The organizers aim to address the deeper causes and consequences of Yemen’s conservative society's belief that any contact between the genders outside of marriage is haram (forbidden), and discuss both the changes in the last decades and possible solutions for the future. The event’s goal is not to attack the traditional models but rather to understand the reasons behind their effectiveness.

The event will open with the screening of two short documentary films that offer different interpretations of gender relations in Yemeni society: "Najmia - a Stranger in her Own City" (2005) by Khadijah Al Salami, and "The Voice of the Rainbow" (2018) by Tameem Amer. Then Christin Lüttich will have an in-depth conversation with three intellectuals, artists and students, two from Yemen and one from Iraq, about the films and their own journeys and experiences, navigating the conflicts and trying to live up to one's responsibilities. Adeeb Hadi, an Iraqi filmmaker and student at Bard College Berlin, will join their conversation and frame the two films in the discussion.

Real Talk is a new series at Grüner Salon that renders visible the political discourse of the young, resistance-oriented, democratic and activist Middle-Eastern diaspora in Berlin and provides space for its debates. This series aims to make evident the transnational realities and struggles between ‘here’ and ‘there’; ‘then’ and ‘now’, differences which Nationalism seeks to deny and erase, and which reveal themselves in the Diasporas. The talks serve as a platform to explore the diaspora’s own thoughts and reactions to these realities. The series in the Grüner Salon aims to create a space where Syrian, Afghan, Yemen, Iraqi and other experts in various discursive and artistic discipline can discuss and perform their work.

The series is a cooperation between Bard College Berlin, the Volksbühne Berlin and the German Council on Foreign Relations. It offers a mix of lectures, short-films, panel discussions and performances discussing themes such as the struggle for survival of the civil society in the Middle East; the re-claiming of political agency; disappeared and missing prisoners; the fate of women in the revolution; the political dimension of the (post-)traumatic; the experience of statelessness; and other topics related to the diaspora.

Date & time: Monday, September 23, 2019; from 7:00pm (doors open 6:30pm)
Venue: Grüner Salon, Volksbühne
Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin

Tickets: EUR 5 / 3; link to purchase>>

More information>>

Watch on YouTube:

Past events in this series:

December 10, 2019, Volksbühne
Real Talk: Couldn't They Be Allies? Political Diasporas and German Foreign/Cultural Policy

November 11, 2019, Volksbühne
Real Talk: Justice for Syria and Universal Jurisdiction in Germany - What Can be Done?

May 10, 2019, Volksbühne
Real Talk: On New Beginnings and Berlin’s Arab Exile Body

April 9, 2019, Volksbühne
Real Talk: Accommodating the Devil. The Syrian Civil Society’s Struggle for Survival

Photo credit: Mohammed Alamery

Contact information:  communications@berlin.bard.edu

Location: Grüner Salon, Volksbühne, Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz, Berlin

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