Here are messages from FLASHPOINTERS supporting the human rights issues and the festival Add your message in the comment box below and become a FLASHPOINTER too
MAHESH BHATT, Filmmaker, Writer & Rights Activist, INDIA
“The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those who they oppress “– The Flash Point Human Rights film festival will hurl you into the hearts and the lives of those brave people who had the audacity to stand up alone against the tyranny of the oppressor. These films will ignite in you, a thirst for a fair world, which seems to have atrophied at the end of the first decade of the 21st century. These movies will shock you and wake you up to the new realities that we all must understand and counter. I give my wholehearted support to this festival, which tries to give us a taste of reality, in these times where everyone else around us is numbing us with illusions.
NANDITA DAS, Actor, Filmmaker & Social Activist, INDIA
It is quite disconcerting that South Asia is a major source and destination for child trafficking of all forms, where children are used for forced and bonded labour and children are sold for prostitution. It is usually children from lower economic strata who are victims of trafficking. While it is illiteracy, poverty and ignorance among the poor and underprivileged that is the prime reason; it is also the apathy of the government and the legal system that actually breeds it. If a change has to be made to end this human rights abuse, there has to be an outcry from the public, from every strata of society, from people of all walks of lives. The starting point of this could be very simple – just being informed and aware. A human rights film festival like FLASHPOINT makes us aware of the issues and if you are aware, you can possibly make a difference one day. I support and endorse FLASHPOINT Human Rights Film Festival for urging people to reflect, react and be flashpointers of change.
TACO RUIGHAVER, Director, Movies that Matter, NETHERLANDS
Movies that Matter is very proud that Flashpoint Human Rights Film Festival will screen the 8 documentary films of the A Matter of ACT-programme 2010. Movies that Matter is the international film-and debate festival in The Netherlands that presents seventy films about human rights and social justice in The Hague. A Matter of ACT is the main programme of Amnesty International at the Movies that Matter Festival in the Netherlands that is entirely dedicated to the work of human rights defenders. The eight impressive documentaries show how they campaign for justice and human rights, often paying a very high price for their work. These activists and/or their organizations play a crucial role in the worldwide protection and promotion of human rights. A Matter of ACT believes that films can engage viewers in a dialogue about human rights and the threats to human dignity. Using such a lens, A Matter of ACT aspires to raise awareness and fight human rights violations, both national and international.
We heartily congratulate Sridhar Rangayan from Solaris Pictures and Gargi Sen from Magic Lantern Foundation by organizing this festival. Sridhar was a jury member in the Netherlands of the A Matter of ACT-programme this year and he wanted to bring the remarkable films to India. And here you can see the extraordinary effort of his work: The Flashpoint Human Rights Film Festival 2010.
LUCA & GUSTAV
GUSTAV HOFFER, Filmmaker – Suddenly, Last Winter, ITALY
When Luca and I started to make our documentary, we never even immagined that one day it could be seen by people on the other side of the globe, even in India. We also never immagined, that with our film we would become activists. The activism came to us and we embraced it when we saw that with "Suddenly Last Winter" we could help this human rights cause. We started to make this film because we felt that the ongoing situation was not acceptable anymore and somebody needs to tell the story, and the best way to tell it, was through ourselfs - with humour and especially with love. Love seams to be a thread to some people. They fear that giving rights to people who are in love, who take care of each other, who protect themselfs, who are family, would undermine their status. Those people have to understand, that things have changed and its time for them to get over it. We have lots of admiration for all those people in your country who are so much engaged in the fight for our rights. thanks for what you are doing.
REBIYA KADEER, Human Rights Activist, Uyghur (nominated thrice for Nobel Peace Prize)
It is with great pleasure that I send you this message of solidarity and welcome as you attend the Flashpoint Human Rights Film Festival in India. Although I am unable to attend the festival myself, I strongly support the festival and its underlying message of giving a voice to the oppressed through film. Films are a powerful medium through which to tell the stories of people whose stories might otherwise never be told; films resonate with audiences in ways that stir emotions and build momentum for change. A recurring theme of the films showcased by the Flashpoint Human Rights Festival is the rights of women and children throughout the world; women’s rights and women’s voices are all too often suppressed. Despite this, women are often the ones who bravely speak out against human rights abuses and protest against oppression.
I am especially pleased that the film Ten Conditions of Love, which highlights the persecution of the Uyghur people, is being shown in India for the first time. As a vibrant democracy, India is playing host to films that may not see the light of day in other countries. Ten Conditions of Love is banned in China, because the Chinese regime has criminalized the Uyghur voice and branded Uyghurs a threat to the state. However, China’s restrictions on the film have extended beyond its own borders; Chinese officials have also attempted to stop the screening of the film in the democratic nations of Australia, New Zealand and Taiwan. What Chinese officials did not realize is that in pressuring democracies not to show the film, this only created more interest among audiences wishing to hear the story of the Uyghur people and why the Chinese government was attempting to stifle our voice.
It means a great deal that Ten Conditions of Love will be shown here in India, where diversity is encouraged and many different voices contribute to society. The struggle of the Uyghur people for freedom and justice in the face of tyranny has many parallels to other films that will be shown at the festival. My heart goes out to the Women in White, who have peacefully protested against political persecution carried out by Fidel Castro in Cuba; the women in Algeria, shown in Song for Amine, who campaign for the rights of the “disappeared”; and the Women in Shroud in Iran who protest peacefully against unthinkable forms of cruelty.
Uyghur women and children are today struggling against the weight of an authoritarian regime in China. My family is symbolic of the many thousands of families throughout East Turkestan who are suffering under China’s communist regime. Just as Chinese officials have imprisoned my sons and persecuted my relatives because of my international human rights advocacy, many mothers, wives and sisters throughout East Turkestan are mourning the imprisonment, torture and even execution of their loved ones for simply speaking out. If you are a Uyghur, you may be jailed simply for practicing your religion according to your beliefs, or for petitioning the authorities for the whereabouts of a family member who has been imprisoned. You may be tortured simply for asking for just compensation for land that has been stolen from you. Speaking out is not tolerated.
Instead of encouraging Uyghur women to participate in society, the Chinese government is preventing Uyghur women from contributing their valuable talents. After I began a movement in the 1990s that supported women in building businesses, helping their families and fighting against drugs and crime, we began to be successful in our efforts, but Chinese authorities soon put a stop to our initiative because we were not organized by the state.
Today, Uyghur mothers fear for their teenaged daughters, who are being forcibly sent thousands of miles away to eastern China to work in terrible conditions, and who may never come back home. They also fear for the future of their children who remain in schools in East Turkestan, as Chinese authorities have stripped away their right to learn in their native language and enforced a policy of Chinese-only instruction.
I ask you, the audience, to watch Ten Conditions of Love, and learn about the plight of the Uyghur people. You can help us to have a voice, and spread the word in India about our struggle. I hope that after watching this film, you will tell your friends and family about the Uyghurs; work with human rights groups to raise awareness about our issues; and contact your lawmakers to take action. In India, you have the freedom to speak out about the injustices taking place in East Turkestan, Iran, Algeria, and Cuba. After the screen goes dark and the lights come on, please remember us.
ALIM SEYTOFF, Director, Uyghur Human Rights Project, Washington, USA
Thank you very much for including Ms. Kadeer's "10 Conditions of Love" at your film festival. It means a lot to us. It is really great that the people in India will have an opportunity to see the terrible treatment of Uyghurs under China's brutal rule. This will help correct the misconception of some people have that China was somehow fighting Uyghur Muslim insurgents. In fact, the treatment of Uyghurs under the Chinese rule is not any different, if not worse, than the treatment of Indians under the British rule. It is both colonial occupation.
ALBERTO BOUGLEUX,Filmmaker - Song for Amine, SPAIN
A loved one disappearing is an unutterable and unbearable human tragedy everywhere, at any latitude, in any country in the world. But there is something even worse happening when your loved one disappears because of the action the State.
The State is the agency which first records your dates of birth and death, that is, your life as a matter of fact. State institutions are supposedly in power for the life of citizens to be safe. When a State kills its citizens, hides corpses and files and rejects any responsibility for those actions, something more than a murder or a disappearance is happening: it’s a deadly institutional short circuit, it’s an irreversible collapse of the social contract, it’s the end itself of the rule of law. While the rule of law is the only weapon against the threat of modern autocracies and fundamentalisms we can still rely upon.
Amine Amrouche, as many out of the thousands disappeared in Algeria in the ‘90, was not an Islamic fundamentalist. Many others were, many others were terrorists themselves. But this is not the real point: the true question at the heart of my film is whether the State, any State, anywhere, has the right to rule a policy of terror like the terrorists - no matters whose kind - it fights against. That’s why the story of Amine Amrouche and the thousands of disappearances operated by the Algerian state since 1992 is not an Algerian internal affair: it’s a wider testimony on the dangers, everywhere in the world, of making the “war on terror” a State religion.
This is also the reason why I’m so glad that Flashpoint HR Film festival decided to show my film to the Indian audience and to you in Mumbai this afternoon: I feel it as a true test for the universal human and political appeal of the film, that is all an independent documentary, as a poetic and engaged way to shed light on forgotten stories, may ever hope to achieve.
PAUL LEE, Filmmaker, Producer & Curator; CANADA
Congratulations to the FLASHPOINT Human Rights Film Festival for this year's inaugural edition. Human Rights Film Festivals offer important opportunities of media education and public engagement, to learn about and to discuss how we can all work together to build a more just and equitable society. I hope this year's FLASHPOINT Human Rights Film Festival will be the first of many more future editions, and that the festival venues and locales will eventually expand beyond Mumbai and New Delhi, to reach many communities across India. Sending my best wishes for a very successful and auspicious inaugural edition!!
ALBERTO ARCE, Filmmaker - To Shoot An Elephant, SPAIN
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