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Release: Immediate

UI student group plans screenings of films about injustice

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- A University of Iowa student group has scheduled screenings of four films about injustice and suffering in India and in Africa. The group, which calls itself International Alliance of People's Movements (IAPM), hopes to promote local awareness of the people's movements that are fighting injustices in the form of governmental, economic, or global exploitation of people who are poor, landless, or otherwise marginalized. The film screenings are designed to advance this effort.

The first film, "Narmada: A Valley Rises," will be shown Wednesday, April 29 at 5 p.m. in room 140 Schaeffer Hall. This award-winning documentary by Ali Kazimi chronicles the attempts of the Narmada Bachao Andolan, led by Medha Patkar and Baba Amte, to stop the construction of the Sardar Sarovar Dam Project on the Narmada River in Western India. The dam, if completed, is scheduled to submerge hundreds of villages and thousands of people's homes. The film depicts the struggle between a powerful people's movement and the Indian government, which insists on completing the dam.

The second screening will show three short films and will begin at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, May 6 in Room 106 Gilmore Hall. The films are:

"Ken Saro-Wiwa: An African Martyr" (23 minutes). Ken Saro-Wiwa, the celebrated Ogoni writer and political activist, was hanged in 1995 by the Nigerian military dictatorship. Saro-Wiwa had been campaigning for the rights of Nigeria's Ogoni people, who have suffered from decades of resource exploitation by foreign oil companies. This film features the only in-depth interview he gave before his death.

"Water, Water Everywhere" (30 minutes). The small nation of Lesotho, surrounded on all sides by South Africa, has but one major resource--water. The Lesotho Highlands Dam project seeks to tap this wealth, providing water for thirsty Johannesburg, and money and development for poverty-stricken Lesotho. Yet, those whose lives are most directly affected by the project have been largely left out of the decision-making process. This film brings together community and government leaders to discuss how all those concerned can benefit from this massive endeavor.

"The Survival Age--Tanzania" (30 minutes). Tanzania illustrates some of the problems of development and the environmental crisis. The economists featured are critical of Western ideas about progress. The film reflects on the failure of both socialism and capitalism in this country and explains the need to overcome the legacy of colonialism.

IAPM was formed this year after a visit to the UI by India's leading social and environmental activist Medha Patkar. The group was founded to support activities of both her India-based group (the National Alliance of People's Movements), and also of similar movements all over the world. For more information about the IAPM or these film screenings, contact Asmita Jayendra 353-4320.