Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Difret - Fighting Patriarchy One Powerful Story at a Time

I must admit, I am at a low point right this minute; my body mind and soul are screaming exhaustion and its not even 10am.

Most nights, I toss and turn at flashes of ideas, pending things in my to-do list that now haunt and occupy my dreams. I sleep late and wake up early, almost guilty for 'wasting time' resting when there is so so much to do and so little time. It sounds ridiculous and unsustainable but I am afraid that thats the current situation.

I enjoy the work I do but as we all know it is not always easy. Also, new developments! I am so happy to be back in University doing part time night classes. Even at the tail end of a busy workday my brain is absorbing everything I can - I keep having to virtually pinch myself in class to remind myself that my 16 year hiatus of studies has finally ended! I am soo excited!

More and more, into my journey of embracing feminist principles, I am in awe of how much I do not know. I have been transitioning from a default shrugging my indifference at everything, to opening my eyes widely and looking at things more deeply and thoughtfully. I am increasingly opening my mind to new ideas, to listen better and to unlearn the relics of oppressive systems that were a noose round my neck that slowly tightened.

In this discovery, I see the pervasiveness of patriarchy and other forms of oppression. I am increasingly aware of power and privilege; mine and of others. The blast of 'awareness' is daunting and overwhelming and many times it stops me in my tracks on where to begin to challenge these systems designed to keep in place the binaries of 'haves' and 'have-nots.'

Some times, I am unsure about the little voice in my head that says change has to start with me - why me?! You see my soul, body and heart and brain is constantly weary with the endless hurdles that are designed to deflate the spirits of the hardiest of souls... And the constant angst and fight for audience, for space, for resources, for air to just effing breathe! And some times that leads us to fight with ourselves, with each other...sigh...what a dizzying, spinning cycle!

And as I am contemplating these fleeting heavy thoughts I see that Difret, a movie I have been dying to watch is finally available on Netflix! I know from the trailer and the synopsis it is a familiar tale of the challenges girls and women face as we are subjugated by some of our cultures, norms and traditions. But thats not the only motivation for watching this film, I happen to know of one of the many (wonderful) people who did quite a bit to get the film off the ground...

The film is a deeply personal and moving tale that candidly delves into marriage abductions, forced marriage, societal misogyny... Difret's story is so riveting you stick through it to the end! And that emotional journey this powerful story has taken me through today has restored me and I have drawn strength from reserves I did not even know I had.

I know that many times after a thankless task of trying to shift the systems and attitudes (mine and others) towards more rights-affirming world, I feel like fighting patriarchy is like literally slamming yourself constantly on a wall...whats the point right?


Be that as it may be, we may not come out of that fight unscathed but one day that wall will crack and; a crack for me is reason enough. So that is what the film Difret has inspired me to feel today, Hope. Thank you for that.

Difret is fiscally sponsored by Truth Aid, a registered 501(c)3 nonprofit organization. All donations made to Difret’s education campaign are 100% tax-deductible. Help us take the film on the road in Ethiopia by making a donation to our rural screening tour.

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