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International Day of the Woman

Sunday, March 7th,
at 3:00 pm sharp.

Movie and debate:

FREE ($2 donation welcome)
Co-sponsored by the Georgetown University National Resource Center on the Middle East and North Africa

Georgetown University,
Intercultural Center Auditorium,37th & O Sts. NW, Washington. DC
Contact: (301) 871-9135

March 8, Women's day.

By abdelaziz Rebatchi 

Under the joint sponsorship of the Algerian American Association of Greater Washington and the Institute of Middle East and North African Studies (correct if I am wrong), women's day was celebrated at the International auditorium, at Georgetown University through the screening of an Algerian movie called "Une femme pour mon fils." The event started by an introductory speech by Nadira Boumechal, President of the AAAGW who presented the movie and the director (MAY be, I came a little bit late, during your presentation, could you tell me briefly what you talked about, just specify the points, I will phrase it), followed immediately by the movie itself. The latter, according to the author of this article, exemplifies the conflict of generations as well as the influence of some traditions on Algerian society.

Specifically, the leading man, construction worker in France (specify his name), receives a letter from his parents requesting him to get married. Bending to their wishes, he reluctantly agrees. From the "leading lady" side (mention her name), she is "informed" that she has been "reserved" for someone from a "good family." Her mother could not hide her pride (as always), at the perspective of seeing her daughter getting married. The problem is that the bride-to-be was not consulted and expressed sorrow to the fact that she did not know him before. Reluctantly, she went alone with the very characteristic "enthusiasm" surrounding the preparation of a traditional Algerian wedding: the supputations such an event would generate, the Hammam (Turkish bath), make up, henna, and the nuptial night when for the first time she raised her eyes and "dared" to look at him. It was quite an emotional moment.

On the other hand the husband had another problem on his own, the need to find a job in Algeria. As soon as the wedding was over, his search intensified, in vain. He had to return to France alone without his new bride who begged him to take her with him; It was impossible, he could not afford it, due to "limited income." But there was this "dream" of him fantasizing taking her with him and sitting in a French "Bistrot" and chatting with her just like the French do. Was is a dream or a wish to break with the traditions? In the meantime, his bride is already under the tyrannic control of her mother-in-law. Pregnant and without her husband at her side, who would not even respond to her letters, preferring sending threats through his family members, she finally leaves her conjugal home, back to her parents'. The movie ends with the birth of her child. Sign of hope? Followed was quite an animated debate moderated by Blanca Madani from the Middle East Institute, and a member of the AAAGW. Considering the gloomy Sunday afternoon, it was not surprising to see a relatively small but diverse crowd.


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