Taxi Tehran screening in Manchester

”Taxi”a movie by Jafar Panahi the Iranian film maker is on the show in Home, Manchester from 12 November.

The movie won the Golden Bear at this year’s Berlin film festival. Jafar panahi, who is banned from travelling and making films in his own country, has made a triology composed of This is not a Film ( 2011) Closed Curtain ( 1013) and Taxi Tehran ( 2015)
He has said ‘I’m a filmmaker. I can’t do anything else but make films. Cinema is my expression and the meaning of my life. Nothing can prevent me from making films.’

read more about it here

watch the trailer

Syrian Refugee Crisis

I have seen recently a video of Benedict Cumberbatch, the famous British actor on Facebook talking about the refugee crisis, asking for people to reach out to them. He said no one puts children on a boat unless the water is safer than the land.
I adore what Benedict said. As a refugee I did not come to the UK in a boat. I cannot imagine floating on the cold water in the middle of the dark hoping to find a safe land. But I ask myself so often why would somebody want to leave their home? Why is the world so messed up? What do we need to do to stop the world becoming unsafe for all?
According to Amnesty 280,000 refugees and migrants entered the EU in 2014, and more than 819,218 have arrived by sea so far this year. Thousands of them are getting trapped along Fortress Europe’s fences, forced to walk for weeks and months, sleeping outside in the cold.*
We as individuals can help these people by donating money or getting involved voluntarily. But what can governments do? So far Germany has taken most responsibility by taking 800,000 asylum seekers this year. The UK has been more reticent. Since the Paris attacks, every country is worried about their security. While the war continues in Iraq and Syria, and with ISIS is becoming more active in Afghanistan, there look set to be more displaced people seeking refuge in the near future.

So what should be done? what governments specially great powers can do to stop this bloodshed in the Middle East?
Maybe they should sell fewer weapons. Maybe they should refrain from toppling dictators. More humane policies now are needed. It is time for us to stand up against whatever makes the world unsafe for us. Otherwise we will soon all find ourselves on leaking boats. Everybody needs a home. Nobody should come to the point where they prefer a boat to land.

watch the video here

Why is ISIS undefeatable?


Members of the Islam State of Iraq and Shaam (Isis) with senior commander Abu Waheeb

The Paris attacks and ISIS threats against EU states and the USA, are clear signs that the war against ISIS has entered a new stage.

People in Europe have started to feel fear. How did ISIS come into being? Where are its sources of power and who is supporting it? No one has a clear answer to these questions. But there is a history of disasters in the Middle East paving the way for extremist groups including ISIS to take over. It seems that they are ready to transmit the bloodshed in the Middle East to the West.

There is no doubt ISIS is one of the richest and most powerful terrorist organizations in the world. Its funding comes from various extortion schemes in the territories it controls including selling oil, donations from individuals in rich Arab countries and selling men and woman as slaves. Its strategy is based on terror and atrocity. They have ruined infrastructure wherever they have occupied and have killed thousands of civilians. However, after losing ground in Iraq and Syria, ISIS is trying to send its fighters to Europe. The Paris attacks which are said to have been the most complex plot against the west since 9/11, mark a shift in ISIS strategy. They are now projecting their terror further to motivate and inspire their members and exacting revenge for bombing attacks  by France.

Abdelhamid Abaaoud was planning a further terror attack on Paris, prosecutors believe Photograph: Dabiq/MEMRI’s Jihad and Terrorism Threat Monitor (JTTM)

It may be that ISIS stops its strategy of expansion in Iraq and Syria while to attempts to recruit more fighters so they can defend the territories they have  occupied more easily.

The danger is ISIS attacks in Europe may inspire would-be terrorists around the world and even if ISIS is defeated on the ground, the outcome could be that another terrorist group rises out of the its ruins.