Wednesday, June 12, 2019

'Free Trip to Egypt' and #PledgeToListen Day of Unity tonight, an invitation on behalf of Coffee Party USA

As a director of Coffee Party USA, I invite my readers to participate in one of our partner events, the #PledgeToListen Day of Unity screening of the documentary "Free Trip to Egypt."  I'll let the film's creator Tarek Mounib explain.

I had an idea - to bring together two peoples of different cultures, try to connect in kindness instead of fear, and document the experience in a film. Joining forces with Adam Saleh, an American Muslim YouTube celebrity and comedian to lighten the trip, I set out across America searching for potential travelers with different backgrounds, beliefs and opinions. The group of daring, open-minded Americans who came to Egypt explored the real land, people, and ways of life beyond the media images. What happened on our journey exceeded even my greatest hopes for this project.

On June 12, I am excited to share this project with you! The film, Free Trip to Egypt, is a remarkable cinematic sojourn of revelation and self-discovery for the participants, the filmmakers, and the viewer alike.

The film will be shown in 500 Theaters across the United States on June 12th, 2019 and will be immediately followed by a live panel discussion streamed into the theater from Washington DC.

Find a theater near you!

But we don't want to stop there! The film created a desire to bring more listening to the world and #PledgeToListen was born.
Here's the #PledgeToListen.
I pledge to listen to you. Will you listen to me?

I pledge not to demonize anyone who holds certain opinions, views or beliefs, but instead will try to understand their reasons and their arguments and express my own views in return. That’s it.
Here's the trailer.

On June 12th, join us for a nationwide, one-day-only, screening of the film Free Trip to Egypt across 500 theatres in the United States and join the #PledgeToListen Day of Unity.
I close with this excerpt from a review in The Hollywood Reporter.
It should be eye-rollingly obvious to point out that, wherever one goes in the world, there are friendly, welcoming people to meet. Obvious, anyway, to people whose knowledge of the outside world doesn't come mostly from xenophobes. Gently observing how many of our fellow Americans are full of fear while trying, in its tiny way, to do something about that, Ingrid Serban's Free Trip to Egypt offers just that to a handful of travelers. Focusing on the warm connections these nervous Americans made while touching gingerly on moments of mild conflict, the doc is best suited to viewers like the people onscreen: men and women of goodwill who just need to meet some Arabs in person. How many such people will seek the film out is an open question, but a collection of celebrities including filmmakers, politicians and an ex-wife of Donald Trump have rallied behind a June 12 nationwide Fathom event to spread the word.

Tarek Mounib, who says he grew up as the only Muslim kid in Halifax, recalls having the idea for this project while working in Switzerland. That's nearly all we learn about a man described vaguely in press releases as an entrepreneur; judging from his early efforts to make the scheme a reality, consciousness-raising tourism is not his field of expertise.
To a person, Tarek's beneficiaries come home feeling changed by the experience. Unfortunately, he and Serban aren't so gauche as to ask if they've reevaluated any political stances as a result; the film is content with the unspoken assumption that this expanded awareness of shared humanity will make the world better. If only someone had the budget to send tens of millions of other frightened Westerners on similar trips.
Coffee Party USA and I don't have that budget, but we can suggest that people watch the film, which we also hope will make the world a better place.

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