Babies and The Struggle

OH, mother! Sarah Agha plays Lina in the 18th episode of the Ink Jockey podcast series, The End of the Line. Photograph courtesy sarahagha.com

WHEN YOU LIVE in an overtly political context, wherever in the world you are, the issue of having babies is coloured by The Struggle. Why? Is it because it’s another sensibility to march on your side? Another voice to sing to your tune? Perhaps. This is the focus of Lina, played by Sarah Agha, in episode 18 of The End of the Line.

She’s a young Palestinian filmmaker, doing what she was put on this planet to do. She’s reeling and shimmering after an opening night, in which her work has been beautifully hosted. And she’s telling her mother of the experience. And the circular pond rings of experiences around it. From the piles of delicacies and sweetmeats, to the pairing of art and food. But can her mother even hear her?

This is not clear, and the work rather takes the form of a letter written and read aloud, than a phone call: would you just carry on prattling about your own life, if you were uncertain of the success of the connection? Also, there are issues about child-making, childbirth and childrearing, as there are others about the beauty of Palestine, that beg development. Struggle politics is always very complex is that it is assumed that the context is understood and can remain unspoken. Up until now, none of the episodes in this podcast series touch so directly on politics, and unless you are part of the struggle, you’re not sure what the issue at hand is.

We’re not sure what Lina’s film is about. We know she’s proud of it, we know it’s her creative ‘baby’ in the truest sense of the word. But we know this refined young woman with fire in her belly is being pressurised to have children by her peers. And her response? It’s not as developed as that of the previous episodes.

Evocative of the 2020 Syrian film made by Waad al-Kateab For Sama which contemplates motherhood in a time of extreme politics, Lina is interesting and provocative, but not the top of the pile in this important and compelling podcast series.

Lina is a story written and directed by Mark Heywood. With production support by Lynne McConway and editing by Pocket Blockbuster, it features casting by Sydney Aldridge and music by Daisy Chute and Cerian of the Heard Collective; it is performed by Sarah Agha and it is the 18th in a series of podcasts produced by Ink Jockey collectively called The End of the Line.

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