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Khalid Ali: London Human Rights Watch Film Festival 9-18 March 2016

7 Mar, 16 | by Ayesha Ahmad

London Human Rights Watch Film Festival, 9-18 March 2016

Various venues across London

Over a period of 10 days, London will host the ‘Human Rights Watch Film Festival’ showing 20 feature and documentary films. The opening night will screen ‘Hooligan sparrow’, a documentary in Southern China following a group of activists campaigning to unravel the truth behind the rape of a group of young school girls. ‘Mustang’ the closing night film from Turkey tells a story of five sisters fighting their family and community to have control over their education and choice of future husbands. Women as fighters for political reform in the Arab world feature in the documentary ‘The trials of Spring shorts’.




‘Hooligan sparrow’ opening the London Human Rights Watch Film Festival, 10 March 2016

The history of gay rights in different parts of the world are seen in: ‘Larry Kramer in love and anger’ which chronicles his fights as a novelist and activist to push the AIDS agenda into public health policy in the USA, and ‘Inside the Chinese closet’ which portrays real stories of fake marriages between gay men and lesbian women trying to conform to their community’s social and religious rules that do not tolerate homosexuality.

The plight of international refugees is seen in ‘Mediterranea’, ‘Desperate journey’, ‘If the dead could speak’, ‘At home in the world’ and ‘The crossing’; telling heart-breaking real and fictionalised accounts of violations of humanity towards asylum seekers from Burkina Faso, Syria, Somalia, Eretria and Iraq.

If you are interested in films focusing on Palestinian/ Israeli issues, you might want to watch; ‘P. S. Jerusalem’ about a family trying to start their life in Jerusalem, or ‘The idol’ a fictionalised account of the story of Mohammad Assaf, Palestinian winner of ‘Arab Idol’ TV music competition.

British conflicts between the residents of Tottenham, London and the Metropolitan Police that followed the killing of Mark Duggan in 2011 are analysed in ‘The hard stop’.

The rise of fundamentalism is uncovered in ‘Among the believers’ a documentary filmed in a school in the Red Mosque in Pakistan.

Most of the films screening will be followed by Q and A discussion with the film-makers.




Related reviews


Address for correspondence

Dr Khalid Ali, Screening Room editor





Ayesha Ahmad: “Stories are all we have”- reflecting on ‘An Imperfect Offering’ by James Orbinski

21 Nov, 11 | by Ayesha Ahmad

In ‘An Imperfect Offering’, a memoir written by James Orbinski on his travelling tales as a doctor working and bearing witness in some of the world’s most death-ridden and hostile regions, he writes of a man he met in Afghanistan who once said to him:

No scars, no story, no life. Sometimes, the best story is the space between the words – a space that is a window onto a different way of seeing. And when there are no easy answers, stories are all we have”.



5 Jun, 10 | by Ayesha Ahmad


This piece is a reflection on an article from the New York Times this week. The story is told about a large family from Colombia, and their many relatives who have developed early onset Alzheimer’s disease. The case has been baffling doctors and scientists, both in Colombia and the United States.


MH’s Jane Austen Research Paper Universally Acknowledged

5 Dec, 09 | by Deborah Kirklin

The latest issue of Medical Humanities, published on December 1st, features an original paper in which KG White argues that tuberculosis, and not Addison’s Disease, may have killed Jane Austen, one of the world’s favourite authors. The popular appeal of stories about Austen was evidenced by the rapid take up of this story by the world’s press with newspaper and broadcast media keen to report this latest twist in the tale of an altogether remarkable women.


Human Identity in the Age of Bio-science: two gems from Radio 4

30 Dec, 08 | by Deborah Kirklin

As civilians in both Gaza and Israel spend another day living and dying in fear and surrounded by hate, Ali Abbas, a young man who as a child lost 16 members of his family and both his arms in the Iraq conflict,  tells reporter Hugh Sykes his story. Ali’s story reminds us of the human beings who make up the statistics. His dignity, fortitude, and good-humoured resilience are both humbling and hopeful.

Meanwhile, on Start the Week, Andrew Marr and guests explore human identity in the age of bio-science. A perfect medical humanities end to the year. Follow this link and click on ‘this week’s programme’ to listen in.

December 2008 issue of MH: what’s new?

3 Nov, 08 | by Deborah Kirklin

The next issue of MH, to be published in December, will be the first for the new editorial team and so represents a milestone of sorts in the history of the journal. Some of the planned developments will already be evident in this issue, including for instance both an art review and a music review. Others, such as film reviews, will feature for the first time in 2009. Book reviews are always popular and this issue features two that will be of interest to both medical educators and clinicians.

Regular readers may notice that educational research papers are no longer distinguished from other research papers but instead take equal place amongst the wide range of scholarly work featured in the journal. This represents a recognition by the team of the scholarly nature of educational research. It also reflects a desire to end the sometimes inconsistent way in which, in the past, educational papers were variously designated in the journal. more…

The high cost of going blind:patients allowed access to sight-saving drug

28 Aug, 08 | by Deborah Kirklin

This week there was good news for patients in England with an age-related eye condition that leads to blindness. This week, long after a new and effective drug treatment for a relatively common condition called wet macular degeneration became commercially available, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) ruled that it should be made available to NHS patients in England.

It’s easy to have the impression that most recent rulings from NICE have been negative, in the sense of declaring a new treatment insufficiently cost-effective to merit provision by the tax-funded National Health Service. So this positive ruling- allowing access to effective drugs- is to be welcomed. Nevertheless I found something rather disturbing in the tone of the media coverage of this news story and therein lies a medical humanities perspective. more…

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