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A sequence of human rights films last week at the Human Rights Human Dignity International Film Festival Yangonย ย brought together my past life in Egypt and my current one in Burma.

A Myanmar film about a whistle campaign to prevent harassment against women in the Myanmar buses. The audience howled with laughter as men picked up whistles, desperate to also receive a free gift. One women said harassment was much better now, because of the whistle, we wondered?

“No” she replies, “because now I am old the men no longer want to harass me.”

“The men want to touch everyone”, says another woman , “so I am grateful for this campaign.”

The film seemed to go full circle as while in Egypt last year the grassroots campaign against sexual harassment by Harassmap and others was going strong. Myanmar has not had the same bad press as Egypt for its sexual harassment and violation of women’s rights, but there is an underlying problem here and dealing with sexual harassment will just be the first hurdle. (For more posts on sexual harassment see here and here).

The other film Back to the Square, brought us to the streets of Cairo themselves through the lens of Petr Lom. An in-depth and interesting documentary which explores the abuses of the Egyptian military authorities since 2011 through the stories of 5 different Egyptians. The film shows the continued corruption and abuse of authorities by the military and police through individual cases, highlighting current injustices but also the energy, defiance and humour which marks the Egyptian character.

Egypt might seem very far in distance and culture from the streets of Yangon, but the Burmese audience reacted audibly to the images of Egypt. They laughed out loud as the police officers spoke of the fairness of their system and gasped at the images of torture, manipulation and abuse. Whilst laughing as a police officer attempted to charm the camera with his version of good practice and justice, my neighbour excitedly whispered to me:

“It is just like our country.”

This moment highlighted the human nature of justice and the common understanding of abuse by authorities as wrong. Though they are worlds apart these people are tied by similar experiences and similar anger at their powerless in the face of such abuse. We so often debate the cultural nature of human rights, yet human moments like these remind us that justice its is broadest sense is something that we all hold strongly within us, whatever our cultural background.

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Heading back to Myanmar soon and thought I would share this picture taken a while ago of a woman cooking over an open fire Shan State in Burma. #burmamyanmar #shanstate #kalawinle #trekkingmyanmar #womenatwork #femalepreneur #eattheworld #traveldeeper #instatravel #tasteintravel #bcctravel #guardiantravelsnaps #forbestravelguide #jetjournal #girlswhoexplore #tourtheplanet #galloptravel #traditionalcooking #openfirecooking #shanstatemyanmar #blackandwhitephotography #instamyanmar #myanmartrip #visitburma #visitmyanmar #smoke #nikon5000 #lightandshadow #ipreview #throwbackthursday @preview.app
Out On The World my spoken word show is back for one night only. Join me for a journey to Nicaragua, Egypt and Burma. I have been rehearsing today and am excited to perform @lighthousebooks. If you are at the Edinburgh fringe come travel with me tomorrow at 8pm.
Been playing around with photo and video edits for a new video poem. This is my watermelon montage ๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ‰๐Ÿ‰๐Ÿ‰๐Ÿ™„ Music is Gaze by Yung Kartz. Available on Creative Commons. #lifeofanartist #calledtobecreative #artinprogress #creativelifehappylife #creativelife #livecreatively #doitfortheprocess #creativityfound #colorfullife #colorcrush #ihavethisthingwithcolor #crafttherainbow #dailydoseofcolor #creativestudio #creativityeveryday #creativecommunity #seekinspirecreate #designisinthedetails #delicious #ourfoodstories #foodoftheday #healthyeating #veganfoodlovers #inspiremyinstagram #nothingisordinary #videopoem #writersofinstagram #watermelon #videoediting #pink @preview.app
A photo of a lettuce on a rooftop in Egypt โ˜บ๐ŸŠ๐Ÿ›๐ŸŒฑ๐ŸŒ. Taken for an article I wrote in 2012 about community garden projects in Cairo after the revolution. It was one of my favourite pieces to write as the projects were so inspiring - people finding innovative ways to grow flowers and greens in the middle of the desert. ๐Ÿ’š
A shot from a while ago. Flower festival in Spello Italy. Walking on a carpet of petals ๐Ÿต๐ŸŒผ๐ŸŒน๐ŸŒบโš˜๐ŸŒป๐ŸŒท๐ŸŒธ๐Ÿ’ฎ
Excerpt from my first video poem. Full poem is in my IGTV above. Writing about Burma filmed in autumnal Switzerland. ๐Ÿ‚๐Ÿ€๐Ÿ๐ŸŒโค

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