Save Our Spring Talk Show

Suffering Grasses, The
Voertaal: English

When & where?

zaterdag 23 maart 2013 - 16:30

The Arab Spring is becoming quite a long season. On Saturday, March 23, the Movies that Matter Festival presents films, a talk show and live music focusing on the uprising in Syria and the aftermath of the Arab Spring in Tunisia.


The films in this programme are: Rouge Parole –about Tunisia,  The Reluctant Revolutionary – about Yemen and  The Suffering Grasses –about Syria.


Arabist Sophie Roborgh presents the talk show with:

  • Wael Aleji, a Syrian activist and member of the Democratic Independent Task Force (DITF) represented in the National Coalition for Syrian revolutionary and opposition forces;
  • Zonke Majodina, chairperson of the United Nations Committee of Human Rights,
  • Syrian-American rapper Omar Offendum, one of the artists behind the song #Jan25, a soundtrack of the revolution,
  • film director Elyes Baccar, who also organised the first Human Rights Film Festival in Tunis last year
  • Dutch MP Désirée Bonis who used to be the Dutch embassador in Damascus


Entrance free


Wael Aleji is a longtime Syrian activist, member of the Democratic Independent Task Force (DITF), represented in the National Coalition for Syrian revolutionary and opposition forces. He is the former spokesperson of the National Organisation for Human Rights in Syria, a member of the Syrian National Council (SNC) and the Europe Director of Syrian Christians for Democracy (NGO). He is also a Syrian-British medical doctor and psychologist.


Zonke Majodina is Member for South Africa and currently Chairperson of the United Nations Committee on Human Rights. She formerly served as Deputy Chairperson of the South African Human Rights Commission. She has been Rights of Refugees, Asylum-seekers and Migration Policy Commissioner for the Northern Cape and Free State. She began her career as a clinical psychologist at the University of Ghana Medical School, where she worked for 16 years. Before returning to South Africa, she took up a visiting fellowship at the Refugee Studies Centre at Oxford University. Upon return to South Africa, she worked as a senior lecturer at the Witwatersrand University Graduate School for Humanities and Social Sciences, where she was involved in setting up a new master's degree programme in forced migration. During this time she also served as a part-time commissioner for the SAHRC, focusing on refugees, asylum seekers and migration policy. She has presented and published many papers on topics of applied psychology, forced displacement, migration and human rights in general.


Omar Offendum is a Syrian-American Hip-Hop artist, one of the artists behind #Jan25, which became known as a soundtrack of the revolution.

He was born in Saudi Arabia, raised in Washington DC and living in Los Angeles. He has been featured on several major news outlets (Aljazeera / PBS / LA Times / Rolling Stone / VICE / NY Times / The European), toured the world to promote his ground-breaking music, helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for various humanitarian relief organizations, lectured at a number of prestigious academic institutions, and most recently been involved in creating several critically-acclaimed songs about the popular democratic uprisings throughout the Middle East & North Africa. He is currently hard at work on several new projects while touring to promote his solo release 'SyrianamericanA'.

Omar Offendum already performed twice in the Netherlands to gain publicity for the campaign Adopt a Revolution of IKV Pax Christi.


Désirée Bonis (1959) is vanaf 20 september 2012 lid van de Tweede Kamer voor de PvdA. Zij was directeur van de directie Sub-Sahara Afrika op het ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken. Van 2006-2010 was zij ambassadeur in Damascus, Syrië. Daarvoor werkte ze als diplomaat in Caïro, Egypte.


Elyes Baccar - Born in Tunis in 1971, Elyes Baccar is a graduate of the Conservatoire Libre du Cinéma Français in Paris. He directed several shorts, plays, and documentaries prior to his first feature, She & He (2006). He won the Al-Jazeera Documentary Film Festival’s award for Best Short for Pakistan 7.6. His feature documentary, Wailing Wall, won the Osian Film Festival’s Special Jury Award.

Elyes Baccar is executive director of the Human Screen Festival, the first human rights film festival in Tunesia. He says he was inspired to organise it after touring other human rights festivals with his film Rouge Parole. He said he wanted his festival to promote a “break with the tyranny and abuses of the past”.


Sophie Roborgh is a strategic analyst on the Middle East and Islamic world, specializing in social, political and security issues. She holds a BA and MA in Arabic and Islam, and an MSc in Theory and History of International Relations. She has worked with NGOs, thinktanks, and government institutions and has spent much time in the region, particularly in Egypt, Syria and Israel. In addition, she is a passionate debater, and winner of the Oxford Intervarsity (2007, English Second Language), one of the most prestigious debating tournaments in the world.