Sahraa Karimi

Reflections on Film, Gender and Politics in Afghanistan a Machteld De Metsenaere Lecture organised by RHEA, Crosstalks, Fatima Mernissi Chair and Kaaitheater

Reflections on Film, Gender and Politics in Afghanistan
Reflections on Film, Gender and Politics in Afghanistan


What role do film and art have in contexts of political and societal change? On Monday the 7th of March, Afghan director Sahraa Karimi will discuss this question during the Machteld De Metsenaere lecture. Sahraa Karimi has spent decades documenting the plight of Afghan women and turned the camera on herself when the Taliban returned and took over Kabul on August 15, 2021. In this lecture, she will discuss the experiences of artists in Afghanistan and the protection of their artistic freedom, incorporating her own life experiences, as she herself fled Afghanistan. Afterwards, Sahraa Karimi will be in conversation with Gie Goris and answer questions by the audience.

The Machteld De Metsenaere lecture is an annual lecture organised by RHEA in honour of prof. em. Machteld De Metsenaere. For years, Machteld De Metsenaere was a driving force behind the first Centre for Women's Studies (Centrum voor Vrouwenstudies) at the VUB, and later at RHEA. The Machteld De Metsenaere lecture takes place during the annual Genderweek.  


18.00 – Welcome by Prof. Gily Coene

18.10 – Lecture by Sahraa Karimi

19.10 – Conversation between Sahraa Karimi and Gie Goris

19.40 – Questions from the audience

Sahraa Karimi is an Afghan film director who has obtained a PhD in cinema and was the first woman to lead the national Afghan Film Organization. She has been a very prominent contributor in putting the Afghan film industry on the map. Her films, the latest being ‘Hava, Maryam, Ayeshe’, address the life experiences of women in Afghanistan discussing taboo subjects like domestic abuse, abortion, and pre-marital sex. In reaction to the recent developments in Afghanistan following the return of the Taliban, Karimi continues to struggle to protect the rights of Afghan filmmakers and other artists from Taliban oppression and violence, specifically from a female perspective. At the Venice film festival of September 2021, Karimi sounded the alarm and called for action within the international film community.

From 1990 until 2020, Gie Goris was active in global journalism. From 2002 until 2020, he was editor-in-chief of MO*, a magazine and website focused on global news. He is known for his expertise in the Kashmir-Pakistan-Afghanistan region and currently works as a freelance journalist. Besides his work as a journalist, he also was chairman of vzw Open Doek (currently MOOOV Film Festival) and chair of the board of Africalia (cultural cooperation with Africa).

Gily Coene is Professor at the Department of Ethics and Philosophy and the Department of Political Science at Brussels University. She is also director of the VUB Research Centre for Gender, Diversity and Intersectionality and member of the Research Centre for Ethics and Humanism.

This event will take place online via Microsoft Teams. Register for the event here!

This event is organized by RHEA, Crosstalks, Fatima Mernissi Chair and Kaaitheater.