March 2020, Covid-19 pandemic, Lisbon request
Please do not come on holiday to airbnbs in the Alfama during the covid-19 pandemic. Many of the area’s inhabitants, are in their seventies and eighties. The housing stock is old, condensed, badly ventilated and the elderly cannot distance themselves from the tourists by more than centimetres in the narrow pedestrian streets and shared common spaces of the houses. Portugal has a chronic infrastructure, with the lowest number of intensive care beds per capita in Europe, and a health minister who has continually issued inaccurate facts about the virus, leaving the country terrifyingly ill-prepared. The presence of tourists still vacationing inside the same buildings as vulnerable inhabitants in the Alfama, poses a risk. Please know, the airbnbs and short term rentals are not carrying out adequate cleaning protocols to protect tourists and the community (In my building, the rental agencies ‘Enjoy Lisbon’ and ‘Turisma.pt’ have failed, along with the owners of the units and airbnb itself, to respond to demands that they implement the mandated safety protocols, while their cleaning teams drag the same mops, buckets and products back and forth through the streets of Lisbon, from airbnb to airbnb potentially spreding the virus.) Only hotels can be relied upon to implement the government’s measures and put safety first. Many of the staff in the hotels are diligent and dedicated and will act on your behalf if you need emergency care, unlike airbnbs. There is an excellent, reasonably priced hotel (that I will not name in this context), minutes walk from the Miradouro das Portas do sol, which works on the basis of integrity and giving back to the community by supporting youth and children, and has fantastic staff. If you must travel, please support such places at this difficult time. Finally, please know that the airbnbs tend to be owned for investment purposes by Portuguese and foreign people who never step foot in the area and the “owners” marked on the listings are most often people working for rental agencies (In rare cases smaller units are owned by local inhabitants living in the same building or opposite, and if you would like to support them after the pandemic, this can be ascertained and insisted on by you).
Please let’s refuse greed and disregard for others and opt for lives, compassion, caring and community in the face of the pandemic
Keep well and strong and thank you for spreading the information where possible
All my very best wishes
Are you a river? (after a poem by Badr Shakir al-Sayyab) is close to completion:
It comprises two parts:
A graphic novel: Are you a river? – M’s story
The story of an Iraqi man, who Laura Waddington met in Jordan in 2006, who was mistakenly imprisoned and tortured under Saddam Hussein’s regime and later kidnapped, in error, after the US and British led invasion.
A book: Are you a river? – Iraqi Diary
About the months that Laura Waddington spent in Jordan with Iraqi refugees, and comprising excerpts of conversations and stories about the war and life under Saddam Hussein’s regime.
This project may potentially also be presented in exhibition and digital form.
Curent and upcoming exhibitions:
Transfert, Galeria Studio, Palace of Culture and Science, Warsaw, Poland (curated by Teodor Ajder, Natalia Andrzejewska, Tomasz Szerszen, Dorota Jarecka) September – November 2019
“Expanded Mediterranean”, curated by Tanja Vrvilo for the project “UNSEEN” created by the artist Karla Crncevic, gallery FLORA, Dubrovnik, Croatia, November 2019
Still, Border and CARGO
“Tres Cortos de Laura Waddington” in the cycle “Mujeres en La Resistencia/ Women of the Resistance” (Curated by Monica Delgado, Jose Sarmiento and Nicole Brenez) at Cámara Lúcida – IV Festival Internacional de Cine. Ecuador, Alianza Francesa de Cuenca, Ecuador, October 23 2019
Les Rencontres autour du Film Ethnographique de Grenoble, 23 édition, Cinémathèque de Grenoble, France, November 2019
Chroma: 20ème édition “Aux Ecrans du Reel: Festival de Films Documentaires”, Le Mans, France, November 2019
“Images Clandestines: Comment Raconter les Migrations” in “Images Migrantes – Rencontres cinema et migrations”, (organised by Réseau Traces) Lyon, France, 2019
Panorama: Tres Cortometrajes de Laura Waddington, by José Sarmiento HinojosaDesistfilm, Online Film Journal, 2019
Read Spanish version at Desist Film
#Crucial21DbW: Border by José Sarmiento Hinojosa, Crucial 21st Century Cinema #DirectedbyWomen, 2019