• Mar 30, 2024 from 1:00pm to 2:30pm
  • Location: Teachers College, Columbia University: 525 W 120th St #91, New York, NY 10027
  • Latest Activity: Mar 12

Childhood Destroyed

Eleven year old Mariam works as a domestic to provide for her guardian, her unemployed Uncle Djimet, and his family. Mariam wakes up early each day to go to work while Djimet, his wife Isabelle and their children are still asleep. Mariam works as an all-purpose maid, housekeeper, cook and baby sitter for the Nadji family. With her many tasks, she is constantly under pressure from Nadji and his son Moussa, and must answer to the whims of his wife, and young children. One day, Mariam is arrested for having unwittingly thrown rubbish in a prohibited place. She is detained for five days in prison without her uncle or employer even inquiring of her whereabouts. "Childhood destroyed" denounces the living conditions of young girls in Chad in a delicate yet powerful way.


The Feminine Dilemma

Trigger Warning: Contains scenes of excision performed on screen. Viewer discretion is advised.

Images presented in Feminine Dilemma are almost unsustainable to watch. One witnesses the circumcision operation performed on two young girls as women surrounding them in a courtyard clap their hands, dance and sing "you will not cry or we will never forgive you". Following this harrowing sequence, the film presents a series of interviews with religious leaders, women group representatives, health workers, everyday people and the girls themselves and asks the question: why female circumcision? Should it be performed and how? And what are the consequences?

Following the making of this film, scandal broke and threats and attacks against the filmmaker followed. But once the dust settled, a debate started in Chad which allowed for open discussions of a topic that is still taboo in many parts of the world today. As for the filmmaker, Zara M. Yacoub, she will remain marked for life by her experiences making and defending this very courageous and disturbing documentary.



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