“A fragile democracy is strengthened by expressing for all to see the deep dramas and sorrows and hopes that underlie its existence and that it is not by hiding the damage we have inflicted on ourselves that we will avoid its repetition.”
-Ariel Dorfman, Chile
On December 8, 2012, The Sari Soldiers, directed by Julie Bridgham, made its premiere on Nepal Television. The film and a live panel discussion among four ‘Sari Soldiers’ featured in the film were broadcast by Nepal Television in honor of International Human Rights Day. Both the film and discussion were re-broadcast on December 10, 2012 on NTV Plus.
Community groups in Nepal will also be encouraged to organize screenings of the film, and engage in discussions following the television screening and panel discussion. Human Rights organizations such as Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, and Advocacy Forum welcome the opportunity to raise the dialogue about human rights in Nepal, and will be supporting the project by providing speakers and other resources to participating schools.
“The project is a first for Nepal, and possibly for Asia,” says Bev Hoffman, from HRFFN. “Over 50% of the population of Nepal is under 30 years old. This is the future of the country, and this is why human rights education here is so important.” The Sari Soldiers Nepal Television Premiere is a component of HRFFN’s Shaking The Tree outreach project for schools which brings films and film-programming directly to students in Nepal. School administrators will be scheduling human rights education programming throughout the fall, and into 2013, according to Hoffman.
Some schools are even organizing their own Shaking The Tree mini human rights film festivals. The Sari Soldiers raises many important human rights issues regarding impunity, women’s rights and the caste system as Nepal continues an arduous transition to democracy.