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Filmmaker Hassan Fazili Flees Afghanistan in search of a Home where he can speak freely after Taliban threatened him with Death over one of his Movies

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In 2014, despite decades of conflict in Afghanistan, and several recent militant attacks, the country's capital was home to a vibrant youth scene of musicians, artists, athletes and activists. Hassan Fazili opened a cafe for artists and filmmakers, but threats from the Taliban forced him to shut it down. -VOA
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Filmmaker Hassan Fazili fled Afghanistan last year in search of a home where he could speak freely. After, the Taliban threatened him with death over one of his movies.

But Fazili, who moved to Serbia, will nevertheless be voiceless at a German film festival next week, when his work will be screened but he cannot attend because of his refugee status.

The Censored Women’s Film Festival, opening Monday in Berlin, plans to show his short fiction film, “Mr. Fazili’s Wife,” a 10-minute drama about a single mother who fights expectations that she will become a prostitute.

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It is a rarely expressed critique by an Afghan man on patriarchy in Afghanistan.

Women’s issues

Fazili, 37, said he began making movies about women’s rights a decade ago after marrying his wife, Fatima, who in Afghanistan’s conservative society had been prevented from going to school.

“I must do something to raise up this issue to the world,” he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation Friday from Belgrade, speaking Farsi through an interpreter.

He took up filmmaking and also taught his wife, who has become a filmmaker in her own right, he said. He opened Kabul’s Art Cafe and Restaurant, hoping to provide space for men and women to meet and discuss art and politics openly.

But in 2014, police and religious authorities began a crackdown that forced him to close the cafe. At the same time, the Taliban criticized his latest film, “Peace in Afghanistan,” and the death threats started.

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“I received phone calls saying that they will kill me making movies like this,” he said.

From Afghanistan to Serbia

While living in Afghanistan, Fazili said he was forced to turn down invitations to show his films in the United States and Britain because of visa restrictions.

He had hoped this time would be different.

“It was really important for me to be there, to know what people get from this movie,” he said.

Fazili is one of about 6,400 migrants from Syria, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan in Serbia, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

They have been stranded in the Balkan country since border closings prevent them from moving further into Europe. Film festival organizers said they have petitioned UNHCR to allow Fazili to make the trip.

“We are desperate for Hassan to come to Berlin and share his story,” said Paula Kewskin, a festival spokeswoman.

Serbian authorities could not be reached for comment.

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Not part of the conversation

But Fazili said he is resigned to missing the opportunity to present his work to an international audience. His regret is that now, freed from persecution and bent on making women’s rights heard, he still is not part of the conversation, he said.

“They might have questions about the movie and, as a director, I’m supposed to answer the questions,” he said. “But we can’t do much from here.” (VOA)

 

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Aadhaar Helpline Mystery: French Security Expert Tweets of doing a Full Disclosure Tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App

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Pichai met with senior Republicans on Friday to discuss their concerns, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said. Wikimedia Commons

Google’s admission that it had in 2014 inadvertently coded the 112 distress number and the UIDAI helpline number into its setup wizard for Android devices triggered another controversy on Saturday as India’s telecom regulator had only recommended the use of 112 as an emergency number in April 2015.

After a large section of smartphone users in India saw a toll-free helpline number of UIDAI saved in their phone-books by default, Google issued a statement, saying its “internal review revealed that in 2014, the then UIDAI helpline number and the 112 distress helpline number were inadvertently coded into the SetUp wizard of the Android release given to OEMs for use in India and has remained there since”.

Aadhaar Helpline Number Mystery: French security expert tweets of doing a full disclosure tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App, Image: Wikimedia Commons.

However, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended only in April 2015 that the number 112 be adopted as the single emergency number for the country.

According to Google, “since the numbers get listed on a user’s contact list, these get  transferred accordingly to the contacts on any new device”.

Google was yet to comment on the new development.

Meanwhile, French security expert that goes by the name of Elliot Alderson and has been at the core of the entire Aadhaar controversy, tweeted on Saturday: “I just found something interesting. I will probably do full disclosure tomorrow”.

“I’m digging into the code of the @Google SetupWizard app and I found that”.

“As far as I can see this object is not used in the current code, so there is no implications. This is just a poor coding practice in term of security,” he further tweeted.

On Friday, both the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as well as the telecom operators washed their hand of the issue.

While the telecom industry denied any role in the strange incident, the UIDAI said that he strange incident, the UIDAI said that some vested interests were trying to create “unwarranted confusion” in the public and clarified that it had not asked any manufacturer or telecom service provider to provide any such facility.

Twitter was abuzz with the new development after a huge uproar due to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R.S. Sharma’s open Aadhaar challenge to critics and hackers.

Ethical hackers exposed at least 14 personal details of the TRAI Chairman, including mobile numbers, home address, date of birth, PAN number and voter ID among others. (IANS)

Also Read: Why India Is Still Nowhere Near Securing Its Citizens’ Data?