Banned last year, Khon Kaen University approves human rights film screening

KHON KAEN – Last month, Khon Kaen University authorities approved a human rights event after deeming it “too sensitive” the year before. Organized by Amnesty International Thailand and a student group, the event included a screening of a movie about discrimination against albinos in Africa.

On September 13, a student group of the university’s social development program at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science held a screening of “White Shadow,” a film about discrimination against albino people in Malawi and Tanzania.

The event, “White Shadow: Write for Rights,” comprised a workshop on peacebuilding facilitated by Chuwech Dechdisarak from the Institute of Human Rights and Peace Studies at Mahidol University. The course educated students about various human rights topics.

Last year, university authorities had banned the event for the screening of the same film, which was deemed as “too sensitive.” But this year, the university approved the event after procedural requests were followed through.

Thanapruek Chamarat, a lecturer of a peace study course at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science, expressed pride that his students organized an event that contributes something positive to the society.

“When students recognize dignity of other human beings, recognize the approach of peaceful means, recognize the value of freedom and equality, I believe that is when our society moves into the right direction,” Thanapruek said.

Thanapruek Chamarat, a lecturer at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Science, encouraged his students to organize the event that was supported by Amnesty International Thailand.

Panadda Prasertsri, one of the student organizers, said she was glad that the event finally came through. Overcoming the obstacles in organizing the event was a valuable learning experience, she said.

White Shadow (2013), written and produced by Noaz Deshe in a German-Italian-Tanzanian production, revolves around the life of Alias, a teenage Tanzanian boy with albinism. Albinism is a congenital disorder that causes pigments in the skin, hair, and eyes to be completely or partially absent. Alias is on the run from a local shaman who is hunting for organs from Albinos for potions. The movie won awards at the Venice Film Festival and the San Francisco International Film Festival.

“White Shadow allows us to feel the pain of other human beings that we have never heard of,” says Atchariya Natantong, a student at the Faculty of Science, who came for the movie screening. “It was very depressing to watch, but at the same time it helps us to realize the importance of human rights, freedom and equality.”

Reporting by Atithep Chanted, a participant of the 2017 Isaan Record Journalism training.