Recording: Ethiopia Then and Now – Tamara Dawit and Special Guests

On Monday February 22, Cinema Politica hosted a special live-stream event with director Tamara Dawit (FINDING SALLY), Prof. Elleni Centime Zeleke (Columbia University, author of Ethiopia in Theory) and author Rebecca Fisseha (Daughters of Silence) in conversation with journalist Hannah Giorgis (The Atlantic). The event was followed by a special musical performance by JUNO-nominated South African-Canadian singer-songwriter Zaki Ibrahim.

This event was co-presented by Media Girlfriends.

Note on video: This conversation was close captioned live. Captions are available to be enabled.


In FINDING SALLY, Tamara Dawit revisits the historical events of Ethiopia’s Revolution in 1974, while she uncovers her family’s story and the disappearance of her revolutionary communist aunt. This conversation is inspired by her journey to retrace personal and political memory and generational loss and trauma.

Hosted by journalist Hannah Giorgis, the discussion also extends beyond the film focusing on the ways in which art and literature through a female lens can help unpack history and inform our understanding of present-day Ethiopia.

By unpacking family and national history, the discussion explored the responsibility of narrative construction in documentary film, literary writing, journalism, and historical scholarship. Also confronting class privilege in the documentation of history, the discussion emphasized the need to ask larger questions for Ethiopia to confront its decades-long legacy of violence: what myths are shaped about Ethiopian national identity, and how does diasporic identity relate to or perpetuate these myths? How does history told by women differ from a discourse that is bound up in patriarchy? And what are the threads of continuity that link Ethiopia’s present with the nation-state project that emerged out of Italy’s occupation and the Second World War?


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