May 22 2014
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Nada is no stranger to protest. She is five years old when her French mother takes her to visit her Egyptian father, a political activist with a passing resemblance to President Nasser, in prison. When he returns home five years later, a changed man, their little family begins to fracture and eventually Nada's mother moves back to Paris. Through her teenage years Nada is surrounded by the language of protest - 'anarchism', 'Trotskyism', 'communism' - and, one summer in Paris, she discovers the '68 movement and her first love. And how to slam doors in anger. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Through student sit-ins, imprisonments, passionate arguments, accidental alliances, fallen friends, joys and regrets, Nada's story grows into the story of Egypt's many celebrated activists such as Arwa and Siham. Moving, uplifting and deeply human, Radwa Ashour's masterpiece is the story of Egypt in the second half of the twentieth century and a paean to all those who choose a life of activism and quiet defiance.