Will survivors of rape be given the right to abortion?
“I felt like there was something weighing down on my chest, preventing me from breathing. The feeling stayed with me until I gave birth.”
This is how Maram, who became pregnant at the age of 14 after she was raped by the man who guarded her apartment building, describes how she felt during pregnancy. “But when I woke up after delivery, I felt like the weight had gotten up and left,” says Maram.
Fearing her father’s, and her society’s, reaction, Maram didn’t tell her family or her relatives about the rape. Her sense of guilt and shame—in addition to her rapist’s threats—only reinforced the decision to remain silent. “My pregnancy began to show in the fifth month.
I didn’t know I was pregnant, but when my body started to change my step mother took me to the doctor,” says Maram. “All of a sudden his facial expression totally changed and he says ‘you’re pregnant,’” she says referring to the physician.
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Jimmy Vestvood, Iranian-American hero
The Iranian-American community of Los Angeles is caricatured as many things: showy and manicured as a Faberge egg, mired in stifling expectations and crass rivalries, politically inert, with no vision or sensibility higher than a nasal demand to be called Persian. The cliché holds firm in California, and perhaps, thanks to the artless “Shahs of Sunset”, all of America. Until now, no filmmaker or reality TV producer has mined the Iranians of Los Angeles for their genuinely rich comic, social and political potential.
The new film Jimmy Vestvood, the work of actor and comedian Maz Jobrani, finally turns that all around. Jamshid, quickly minted Jimmy upon arrival in Los Angeles, is an Iranian man who wins the green card lottery, and pitches up in California with his elderly mother, chasing Steve McQueen-infused dreams of working as a private investigator.
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Meet two Sahrawi activist filmmakers who dare to document human rights abuses
The Sahrawi refugee camps are mainly scattered tents and mud houses that stretch out in the vast Sahara desert in western Algeria. They were created when Morocco annexed Western Sahara in 1975, and the estimated 100 thousand people who live there today depend on humanitarian aid to meet basic needs like food, water, and clothing.
The Sahrawi people founded a state in 1976 called the Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, or SADR. It operates in exile in the camps and the Polisario-controlled part of Western Sahara. After agreeing to a UN-brokered ceasefire in 1991, Sahrawis have explored peaceful means to demand their right to self-determination. The peace agreement promised a referendum to allow Sahrawis to vote for independence, but that has yet to happen.
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