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KARAMA HAS NO WALLS
KARAMA HAS NO WALLS
Directed by Sara Ishaq
2013, 26 minutes
Purchase: $250 | Classroom rental $125
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2014 Academy Award nominee for Best Documentary Short Subject, Karama Has No Walls is a gripping, eye-witness account of the tragic day that changed the course of the revolution in Yemen; when pro-government snipers opened fired on a peaceful gathering of protesters, sparking national outrage and ultimately leading to the end of 33 years of autocratic rule.

On March 18, 2011 – in the days following popular uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt – a peaceful assembly of protestors gathered in Yemen’s capital’s city of Sana’a to demand an end to the presidency of Ali Abdullah Saleh. After Friday prayers, as more people began to arrive, gunmen ascended rooftops surrounding the square and opened fire. 53 people were killed, hundreds were injured. It was one of the bloodiest days in Yemen’s modern history. It came be known as “Juma’at El-Karama” or the “Friday of Dignity.”

Instead of quelling the demonstrations however, masses of people flocked to the square in solidarity with their fellow citizens. Military officials defected and joined the protests; members of parliament resigned and announced their support for the revolution; entire tribes set aside their weapons, made amends with rival tribesmen and pitched up tents in the square, all in support of one cause: the liberation of Yemen from the shackles of a barbaric regime.

Incorporating remarkable footage from two cameramen who were there as events unfolded, Karama Has No Walls offers a dynamic, multifaceted perspective in telling the story of a single day that altered the path of a nation.




* Winner, Best Short Film, AlJazeera International Film Festival
* Winner, Best Short Documentary, United Nations Association Film Festival
* Winner, Outstanding Short Documentary, San Francisco Arab Film Festival
* Winner, Best Short Documentary, Edindocs Film Festival
* Official Selection, Middle Eastern Studies Association Film Festival
* Official Selection, One World International Human Rights Documentary Film Festival





“The most ambitious selection of [the Oscar Nominated Short Documentary] category, Sara Ishaq’s Karama Has No Walls ,is set in Change Square in Yemen’s capital, Sana, where a peaceful demonstration demanding the fall of the country’s autocratic ruler, Ali Abdullah Saleh, turned into a blood bath in which government snipers killed 53 protesters.” – Stephen Holden, The New York Times

"Both an elegy to the dead and an exploration of loss and protracted trauma. Above all, Karama Has No Walls is a paean to the strength of nonviolent resistance.[...] A snapshot of a protest movement at its most powerful, when differences (male, female, Southern, Northern, Sunni, Shia, old, young, secularist, Islamist) were put aside in the name of battling the shared injustices of poverty, unemployment, and corruption." - The New Yorker

“A terrifying, you-are-there assemblage of footage shot on the streets of Sanaa, Yemen, during the Arab Spring protests of 2011, Karama Has No Walls is an urgent, stereotype-exploding historical document.” – Salon

“This well-conceived and edited short is an eye-opener, a small window on a country whose people are now engaged in a national dialogue inspired, in part, by the Friday of Dignity.” – Film Journal

Recommended - Video Librarian

"If one only has 26 minutes to understand the tragedy of Yemen that has lasted for the past three years, one should watch Karama Has No Walls ." - Al-Monitor

"Ishaq weaves together the footage taken during the massacre with interviews of the families of those who were in the square as violence erupted. When it is easier to detach oneself from the violence happening in the footage in front of you, Ishaq uses the interviews connect the viewer with the human faces behind the revolution." - The American Arab Institute

"Ishaq managed to put together twenty-six of the most powerful minutes on the Yemeni uprisings during the Arab Spring in 2011." - Islamic Monthly

"Ishaq captures the bloody casualties, the heartbreaking retelling of identifying a dead child in a mosque strewn with bodies. Many have become desensitized to gruesome footage of unconscionable acts such as these, but seeing it humanized here makes this the most powerful and harrowing of all the shorts nominated."- Keeping It Reel

"A remarkable street-level portrayal of a historic clash between freedom and anti-freedom...Suitable for mature high school classes (warning: graphic violence) and for college courses in cultural anthropology, political anthropology, anthropology of violence/war, anthropology of Islam, anthropological film, and Arab studies, as well as general audiences."- Anthropology Review Database






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