When people write that there was not enough time for discussion and in fact, we had more than an hour for it, this means that the discussion was good. Indeed, this time was not enough for the FLEX Alumni to express their opinion on race, gender and homophobia issues in Georgian reality during the two-day seminar that took place in New Art Café.
We watched three films and talked about three respective issues. I choose films that are not too artsy but not too Hollywood either. All three films have very high rating on IMDB, though some were better than others.
The event was held at the New Art Café because 1. It was moderately priced 2. It did not look like a classroom. Originally I wanted to rent a small screening room in one of the movie theaters, but their prices are just unreal, and their customer service…well, you get the idea.
My favorite discussion was about racism/ ethnocentrism. Alumni touched deep issues, knowledge of the official language was brought up, immigration seemed a problem to some and nationality and national identity were examined. One of the alumni asked why do we even need a sense of nationality, which definitely charged the air with controversy.
Gender discussion was not what I expected. None of the themes of the film were touched, though one of the guest speakers just recently worked with UN on a study about violence towards women in Georgia and she could have talked about how relevant the film was to Georgian reality. In the end, girls felt frustrated, boys felt outnumbered, and we concluded that pregnant women should move away to the village and stay there for 9 months J
And finally, we did not discuss, but asked guest speaker about homophobia, which was very informative, but not too controversial. I am still wondering what happened to the voice of the audience, since the last two discussions were so heated.
The goal of the seminar was to let the audience see that there are many opinions on the matter and make them question their beliefs. I hope that at least some of the alumni (and the guest speakers and organizers) will research these topics more to come to a solid conclusion. After all, critical thinking means re-examining the established truths and arriving at one of your own!