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Fun in Post-Conflict Liyari

Khel Khel Mein (Playing at the Boundary) is a documentary by Dr. Nida Kirmani in which she explores the nature of fun in a feminist light. This is the story of three young girls from the area of Lyari in Karachi that is known for being one of the most conflict-ridden parts of the city. However, Lyari is also one of the oldest, most diverse, and vibrant parts of the city. All of the young girls featured in this documentary are pushing gender boundaries in their own unique ways and gaining mobility and freedom after the disastrous effects of conflict and gang wars in Lyari. Mehreen is a champion boxer. Zulekha teaches girls and young women how to cycle and takes them out for regular rides, and Sidu is an activist who challenges gender roles and binaries. All three are struggling to bring a change in their communities and in society in general and having fun in the process! Furthermore, they also talk about the effects of war on their lives and experiences as children and how it evolved them as adults.

You can watch the documentary here: https://vimeo.com/484175231 (password: playing)

There was also a virtual film screening and panel discussion event ‘Exploring Feminism and Fun through Film’ with Dr. Nida Kirmani and Dr. Shilpa Phadke, moderated by Dr. Kamran Asdar which you can access on the Facebook page of Saida Waheed Gender Initiative (LUMS). https://www.facebook.com/genderatlums/videos/952966668771903


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Great post, Zoha! It is truly inspiring to see this. I hope that governments are able across the globe, and in Pakistan in particular, are able to create safe spaces for gender and sexual minorities. In the absence of these spaces, these minorities will always be systemically unsafe despite instances where individual women and minorities are able to reclaim public spaces.

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Before watching this short film and reading Dr. Kirmani's article based on Lyari, I never thought that there could be a fun element in the daily lives and activities of people who live in conflict areas. So kudos to Dr. Kirmani for showing us this side of conflict affected people. I'm sure the journeys of all the girls in the film have been very difficult but I'm glad they channelized their anger and frustration in useful ways and challenged repressive gender norms and helped bring about a positive change.

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Thank you! I never knew this existed and will be sure to watch. Conflict-ridden zones are absolutely the most difficult areas for feminism to thrive (in my perspective - though I am open to opposing views) and for these girls to be able to do this is inspiring. I feel in conflict-ridden areas, women are often treated and "protected" so severely that it becomes a whole new form of punishment. This may be because they are often targeted more or seen as more vulnerable, which I think has to do with patriarchal honour resting on the shoulders of women. So again, for this to be done in a conflict-ridden area makes it even more of a feat.

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Thank you for sharing this! For those of you who do not know about Karachi being a hub of conflict for decades, residents of Karachi were caught up with several pressing issues during those testing times. Lyari was a prominent area of conflict between the Baloch residents and the local political authorities. It is inspiring to see these girls overcoming the obstacles despite living in a conflict ridden zone.

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