Week 18/52

Weekly snapshots of family life in 2016

This past Saturday, I took advantage of the ongoing Montclair Film Festival and saw a moving documentary, Sonita, about a 14-year-old Afghan refugee in Iran who aspired to become a rapper.  Directed by Iranian filmmaker Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami, the movie follows Sonita as she deals with the hardships of refugee life in Iran while trying to pursue her dreams.  Her assimilation to the Iranian culture was disrupted by pressures  to follow the conventions of her Afghan Muslim upbringing.  The movie climaxes when Sonita’s mother visited her in Tehran from Afghanistan and pressures her to marry so that the family can get $9,000 (her child bride price) that will enable her brother to pay for his own wife.   Sonita rebels against her family and her strong stance against her situation and child brides in general led her to this create this heartbreaking video on youtube, which generated enough global attention that helped her obtain a scholarship and enabled her to leave Afghanistan and Iran.  While I respect various cultures and beliefs, I found it heartbreaking to see the struggles of young girls, barely out of childhood, who are resigned to their fate of marrying young and sold as child brides to help out their families.

Do check out Sonita’s film and youtube video when you get a chance.  I do hope to hear more about Sonita’s project and progress in the future.






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