Women of Cyprus-Youth of Cyprus (19.09.2009)

19 September, 2009, Nicosia Municipality Multifunctional Centre, Nicosia

Workshop centered around the documentary screening of “Women of Cyprus” by Vasiliki Katrivanou and Bushra Azzouz (co producer) organized by Soma Akriton with the participation of the HASDER youth.

Plot:

In the spring of 2004, Maria, a Greek Cypriot, and Zehra, a Turkish Cypriot, cross to opposite sides of the green line dividing Cyprus since the events of 1974 to visit the family homes they had not seen for thirty years. Thus begins the personal journey of these women as the film follows them through their pasts, haunted by conflict and pain, to their present search for reconciliation and common ground. On the eve of the U.N. referendum to reunite the divided island, many buried stories from the past surface. Rare archival footage adds context to the Cypriot conflict. The filmmaker brings together women from both sides of the island who share their fears, distrust and hopes. For some, this includes years of experience working together to bridge the divide between their communities. Candid interviews and revealing group discussions trace the women’s inspiring capacity for contact that transcends ethnic differences. As the referendum approaches, they must confront how to appease their hesitations, define safety, trust and learn to live with each other again. With heartbreaking honesty, insight and humor, the women define their concepts of home, community and relation to the land. For four years, the filmmaker returned to Cyprus to collaborate with the women in the film, to process the conflict with them and witness their determination to live together again. The film is emblematic of other regions of the world where populations suffer years of conflict and division and the need for peace remains urgent.

Born in Athens, Greece, Vassiliki Katrivanou works internationally (mainly in Greece, the US, Mexico, Palestine and Israel) as a therapist, educator and conflict resolution facilitator. Most recently, her work has been focused on women’s empowerment.  “Women of Cyprus” is her first documentary.


Reactions:

The documentary really moved the young Cypriots, and in a follow up discussion they agreed that the documentary was balanced between the different perspectives of the two communities. The documentary sent the message of mutual understanding but also the acceptance of disagreement. After the discussion, a workshop followed and the young Cypriots in small, mixed groups had the chance to get to know each other, to work together and to share feelings and emotions. For a lot of them this was their first time that they worked in a bi-communal activity. And it was a great experience. The youth proved once again that they can work together for a peaceful future.