Verdi Requiem

Mayor Luigi de Magistris of Naples visited San Francisco for the signing of three agreements of cooperation linking Naples and San Francisco, as part of his Unite The Two Bays initiative. The three major areas of interest are human rights, science and research, and technology.


In attendance at the ceremonies were Italian Consul-General Mauro Battocchi; Michael Sweet, chair of the San Francisco Human Rights Commission; Dr. William De Grado of UCSF; Professor Angela Lombardi of UNINA; and California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano.

The day’s celebration will conclude with a joint performance of Giuseppe Verdi’s Requiem by the San Francisco Opera and Naples’ Teatro San Carlo at the War Memorial Opera House on Van Ness Avenue in San Francisco this evening.

Several young entrepreneurs and technology students will arrive from Naples to study at the Mind The Bridge Startup School.

Mayor de Magistris initiated civil unions in Naples and championed equal rights for all children born in Italy regardless of their parents’ origin. His city will host the Italian national LGBT pride celebration in 2014.

image & text copyright © 2013 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

Fall Film Season

The fall season of the San Francisco Film Society includes a couple of mini-festivals relevant to readers of this blog: French Cinema Now (7 – 10 November 2013) and New Italian Cinema (13 – 17 November 2013) both  at Landmark’s Clay Theatre, 2261 Fillmore Street (between Clay & Sacramento Streets), San Francisco.


I plan to see three titles from France: A Castle In Italy, Miss And The Doctors, and Rendezvous In Kiruna. And six from Italy: Balancing Act, Garibaldi’s Lovers, The Great Beauty, The Ideal City, Out Of The Blue, and There Will Come A Day.

For more information and tickets see the San Francisco Film Society.

copyright © 2013 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

Amazigh Identity

Tamazga, the ancient homeland of the indigenous Amazigh (Berber) peoples stretched from the Canary Islands to the western edge of Egypt and includes Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Mauritania.


The conquest of this large territory during Byzantine times by Arab armies already converted to Islam unified the area in terms of a single language and religion, obscuring Amazigh origins and ignoring their mother tongue and customs.

After the Ottoman Era many Amazighen were caught between the demands of French colonialism and Arab nationalism. Marginalized by rulers determined to establish a homogenous narrative by ignoring differences, the Amazighen risk cultural extinction.

The Berber Identity Movement And The Challenge To North African States by Bruce Maddy-Weitzman, University of Texas Press 2011 provides a brief history of the Amazighen before detailing the contemporary struggle for cultural and linguistic expression.

While the Amazigh language is now being taught in Morocco, the number of native speakers continues to decline. Leaders within the Amazigh identity movement are striving for a modern, secular approach that includes women, hoping this will improve chances for a better life in the future.

This book brings into perspective the complex and difficult, ongoing fight of the Amazighen for recognition.

copyright © 2013 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

Pity The Immigrant

Two of the narrative features that screened at the Arab Film Festival in San Francisco dealt with the immigrant experience. It’s About To Rain directed by Haider Rashid (Italy/Iraq/UAE/Kuwait) 2012 is about an Algerian family living in Italy that faces deportation. Said and his brother were both born in Florence but after their father is unemployed, the three are ordered to leave the country.


The Last Stop directed by Marcio Curi (Brazil/Lebanon) 2012 begins with the journey of two teenagers, Tarik and his brother, from Lebanon to Brazil. They travel by ship with other young people from the Middle East seeking a better life abroad. As the years pass, Tarik manages to live a fairly satisfying life. But half a century later, facing his impending death, he embarks on a journey to reconnect with his shipmates, especially Ali, who saved him from drowning.

The Last Stop screens again in Los Angeles 18 October 2013. The 17th annual Arab Film Festival resumes this coming weekend in Southern California, returning the following weekend to Oakland and Berkeley before concluding mid November in San Diego. For more information and tickets see the Arab Film Festival.

copyright © 2013 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

Arab Film Fest

The 17th annual Arab Film Festival opens at the Castro Theater in San Francisco Friday 11 October 2013 with When I Saw You (Palestine) 2012. The remaining screenings in San Francisco Saturday and Sunday will be at the Opera Plaza.


The festival moves to Los Angeles the following weekend with a full three-day schedule 18 to 20 October 2013. Screenings 25 to 27 October 2013 will be at the Shattuck Cinema in Berkeley. And the final four films will be shown at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego 16 to 17 November 2013.

For more information and tickets contact Arab Film Festival.

copyright © 2013 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved

Olive Branch

A downed Israeli pilot and a young Palestinian boy become unlikely traveling companions at the prelude of the 1982 war in Lebanon. Zaytoun directed by Eran Riklis (UK/Israel) 2012 deals with the harsh realities of the continuing conflict in the Middle East with compassion and a flickering glimmer of hope.


The word zaytoun means olive tree in Arabic and clarified for me the derivation of the Spanish word for olive, aceituna.

The film screens Saturday 12 October 2013 at the Sequoia and Sunday 13 October 2013 at the Rafael 2 during Mill Valley Film Festival. More information and tickets at the MVFF web site.

copyright © 2013 by N. A. Diaman, all rights reserved