Back To The Corner

I can’t remember my first dress. That’s because it was one of the first things that was squeezed over my fragile, newborn head. I do, however, remember the pleasure each acquisition of a new one brought me. I was hooked. Turning, and twirling to no end. I’ve had many dresses in my life; big ones, smalls one, short ones, talls one. As a kid, my mom said my motto was “the pouffier, the better”. Each year at Christmas my grandmother would present me with one. I called them my party dresses, for they were for special occasions (or, any spare moment I could throw one on with my party shoes– à  la Suri Cruise).

Not much thought went into wearing them; just excitement– which still fills me today upon sporting one. I recently packed up my belongings in preparation to move into a new apartment, and was astonished as to how many I indeed have.

Incidentally, my Pinterest bio states my enjoyment of the garment, but that is not why I am writing. This afternoon I sat in a dark theatre with many other Hot Doc-ers, and watched Back To The Square. The documentary film by Petr Lom about post-revolution Egypt features Salwa al-Husseini. Salwa protested during the uprising in Egypt and was apprehended. In a moment during the film, Salwa states her decision to no longer wear her hijab. She is seen later at a club in a dress. She seems overjoyed when announcing it is the only dress she has ever worn. Her reaction made me think about the simple act of putting on a dress for most on this side of the globe, and how impactful the process of choosing clothes can be. What does it mean to us? To others? How is it perceived by us, and others? What sentiments, or thoughts do the joint skirt and bodice provoke?

Mikail Nabil isn’t the first blogger I know of who has been arrested, but throughout the film as I played witness to the ongoing struggle of January 25’s Youth, I was reminded of my own blog. Mikail was imprisoned for 10 months, he refused to eat, he fought for his right to freedom of speech, something I, as a Canadian, exercise without the slightest apprehension:

It’s also something I do far less frequently, as of yet. I’ve felt I  haven’t had anything of significance worth sharing, (not that this posting is of enormous benefit/interest to you). Then at the very least, it’s nothing more then for my own musings, and to honour the fact that I could, and should.

Prior to the screening of Back To The Square, I sat and enjoyed my street meat on the corner of Bloor and Queens Park outside the ROM. Dozens of people were picketing to save documentary funding, and chanting “a cut to culture hurts us all”. While this present day protest nears not the severity of Egypt, I think it’s a battle worth fighting so we all may continue to be moved by the documentations made of the lives of others around the world.

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