The University Record, April 8, 2002

Film series spotlights human rights in regions of conflict

By Lesley Harding

A scene from ‘Behind Closed Doors’; a look at growing up in a region at war.
As the war on terrorism continues in Afghanistan and around the world, and the decades-old conflict in the Middle East escalates, Human Rights Watch is hoping its International Film Festival gives people better understanding of regions in conflict.

Scheduled April 14–16, the festival sponsored by the International Institute will show three films that explore the adverse ways in which conflict affects people’s lives.

“Behind Closed Doors” is a documentary that highlights the struggles of four “children of war,” and how they survived and moved on with their lives. This movie will be shown 6–8 p.m. April 14 in Room 140, Lorch Hall.

On April 15, the institute will host “Nazareth 2000.” This documentary is seen through the eyes of two gas station attendants in Nazareth. They take an oftentimes comical yet wise view of the political conditions in the Middle East. Show time is 6 p.m. in Room 140, Lorch Hall.

“Jung (War): In the Land of the Mujaheddin” helps give moviegoers a better understanding of life in Afghanistan under Taliban rule in 2000. This documentary tells the story of an Italian surgeon and war correspondent who set up a hospital to help victims of war, including those people injured by land mines. Their story tells of a region and people torn apart by decades of fighting forced to live under the harsh rule of the Taliban. This movie will be shown 6–8 p.m. April 16, in Room 140, Lorch Hall.

Michael Fahy, program associate at the Center for Middle Eastern and North African Studies says, “In the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, the issues raised in these films should compel people’s interest. These issues have existed before, but now have a new urgency.” Fahy and the International Institute hope filmgoers walk away with a broader perspective and deeper appreciation for the world at large.

Human Rights Watch (HRW) is the largest human rights organization based in the United States. HRW researchers conduct fact-finding investigations into human rights abuses around the world. The works featured in the HRW International Film Festival help put a human face on those affected by war and other injustices.