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Archive for the ‘Diaspora’ Category

Agadir – April 24-28, 2012

Founded by Nezha Drissi, the International Documentary Film Festival: FIDADOC is an exclusively dedicated to the genre of documentary films. Drissi’s desire was to develop the production of this genre in Morocco. The opening of the fourth edition, which took place in cinema Rialto in Agadir, began with a film in homage of the deceased Nezha Drissi whose initiative is carried on by her disciples. The festival is in partnership with 2M. The festival also includes programs for school children.

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Enfants de Regueb (Children of Ragueb) is a short film that introduces a new perspective to the aftermaths of the revolution in Tunisia, this time presented by the children of the country. These children present their opinions freely about the former president Ben Ali. The film shows how these children dislike Ben Ali and give mature-like answers, such as: “Ben Ali stole our money” “When I was young I loved Ben Ali, but now (giving the impression that they are old enough now to consider this issue while they are still at the age of about 12-13) I don’t like him.” The film-maker provokes them by asking the question: “Do you have money, did he steal your own money?” The film argues that these are their parent’s opinions which are repeated by their children.

IMG_9809The next film in the projection sequence is Jerome Le Maire’s film: Le Thé ou l’électricité?  (Tea or Electricity). It tackles the daily struggles of the inhabitants of the village of Ifri in the mountains. The film, or rather the characters in the film, gained many applauds. The film-maker follows the story of the development (introducing electricity) of a village. Electricity was seen as a blessing to the village, but once it was installed in their humble houses, problems occurred that made their lives rather complicated than more comfortable. The film was the winner of the prize.

The festival continued for 5 days, starting from April 24th to 28th. There were film directors, producers and other professionals from the cinema industry.

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The notion of ‘home’ is much more complex. We cannot talk about one singular ‘home’ in diaspora; what mainly characterizes diaspora is the multiplicity of ‘homes’ and the ‘multiple belongings’, as the following quote indicates:

· “The notion of diaspora can represent a multiple, plurilocal, constructed location of home, thus avoiding ideas of fixity, boundedness, and nostalgic exclusivity traditionally implied by the word home.” (Walters, Wendy. At Home in Diaspora. USA: University of Minnesota, 1923. P: intro xvi)

The link between diasporas and countries of origin is usually marked with ambivalence and psychological anxieties; basically because the diasporic subject is torn-between two different ‘homes’.

· “Th[e] scattering leads to a splitting in the sense of home. A fundamental ambivalence is embedded in the term diaspora: a dual ontology in which the diasporic subject is seen to look in two directions – towards a historical cultural identity on one hand, and the society of relocation on the other.” (Ed. Ashcroft, Griffiths, Tiffin. The post-colonial studies reader. London: Routledge, 1995. P 425)

‘Home’ and ‘abroad’ are mingled in diaspora, ‘home’ can be ‘abroad’ and vice versa; they are not necessarily fixed geographical points. There is a tension between “where are you at?” and “where are you from?” Sometimes, to feel ‘at home’ while they are in the ‘host country’, diaspora people create their own space. Chinatown is an example of a Chinese minority in London; a very important place for the Chinese population which creates a familiar space and makes them feel ‘home’. It is important in terms of creating a sense of belonging.

It is not uncommon to feel a kind of loss of home at home. As the title of Wendy Walters’s book At Home in Diaspora indicates. In this book she talks about her experience as a black American woman living in America which is supposedly to be her ‘home’, but she is always reminded that she is an African. In the introduction of her book she mentions Patricia Hill Collins, a black feminist, who writes of her own childhood:

· “I now see that I was searching for a location where I ‘belonged,’ a safe intellectual and political space that I could call ‘home.’ But how could I presume to find a home in a system that at best was predicted upon my alleged inferiority and, at worst, was dedicated to my removal? More important, why would I even want to?” (Walters, Wendy. At Home in Diaspora. USA: University of Minnesota, 1923. P: intro xviii)

Here we clearly see that the black American population is unwanted. They are looked down upon though they are American citizens. The perception of a state-sanctioned racism has been the reason that black writers continually ask in what sense the United States can be a home to people of color. The notion of ‘home’ in diaspora is based on inclusions as well as exclusions. As manifested in the following quotes:

· “The notion of home therefore is much more complex than approaches to diasporas premised on the power of nostalgia would want us believe. It ‘is intrinsically linked with the way in which the processes of inclusion or exclusion operate and are subjectively experienced under given circumstances. It relates to the complex political and personal struggles over the social regulation of ‘belonging’” (Tsagarousianou, Roza. “Rethinking the concept of diaspora: mobility, connectivity and communication in a globalised world”. P, 52)

Importantly, Stuart Hall reminds us that America itself begins as “the New World … [that] has to be understood as the place of many, continuous displacements… [I]t is the signifier of migration itself.” Vè Vè Clark says that “all cultures in the ‘New World’ are diasporic.” (Ibid. xix)  

For Gopinath, diaspora can “be seen as part of the nation itself.”

· “Diaspora suggests a dislocation from the nation-state or geographical location of origin and a relocation in one or more nation-states, territories, or countries.” (Briziel, Jana Evan, et al. Theorizing Diaspora: A Reader. Blackwell: 2003. P. 1)

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