The Land Speaks Arabic

Holy Land Studies: A Multidisciplinary Journal
Volume 7, Number 2, November 2008

Documentary Film Reviews
THE LAND SPEAKS ARABIC
Reviewed by Prof. Mazin Qumsiyeh

‘La Terre Parle Arab’ (2007). Director Maryse Gargour. Arabic, French, English audio with English subtitles, 61 minutes. Winner of several European awards (ASBU, Prix France 3 Medirerranee, Prix Memoire du Medirerranee).

This excellent documentary on one of the most pressing issues of our time brings
together rarely seen footage of Palestine before 1948 juxtaposed with historical research, eyewitness accounts, stunning choreography, moving testimonials, and historical documents.

We can state the fact that before the Zionist project began in Palestine it was more heavily populated than the United States of today. We can state that Palestine 20 years or even fifty years after the Zionist project was launched was still predominantly Arab. But it is one thing to state a fact and another to have seen it or lived it. The next best thing is to have a film that shows you a video of the era and pictures of the documents of the era. That is what this film does in a very professional, practical, and effective way. Continue reading

The Syrian Diary

A documentary about the human cost of the Syrian conflict and the scale of the devastation. No politics — only people telling their story.
Caution: previously unseen facts of brutality (18+).

  • Reporter Anastasiya Popova
  • Cameraman Michael Witkin
  • Director Evgeny Lebedev

Tears of Gaza – The Movie

Via: Occupied Palestine.

By Susan Abulhawa

Tears of Gaza

‘Tears of Gaza’ by Vibeke Lokkeberg is a documentary film that should be watched by every American, to see how Israel spends our taxes. Every European should watch it, to see the true face of Israel. It should be viewed by every Arab, to renew our resolve not to allow a racist nation to wipe Palestine and her children from the map and from history.

I had read the stories from Gaza after Israel’s so called “operation cast lead”. I had read the reports. I thought I had cried enough then not to cry again. But this film went to my heart, stirred everything up, made the tears fall and fall and here I am now, with a hollow, spooned out hole in my gut because bombs were dropped on sleeping children, helicopters rained the death and disfigurement of white phosphorous on terrified civilians huddling at a UN school for shelter… and no one is doing anything about it.Tears of Gaza lays bare the lies, the cover ups and Richard Goldstone’s moral flip flopping. It takes you into the heart of Gaza’s tormented landscape to show the truth behind craven and mendacious headlines with words that describe Israel’s slaughter as an “incursion” or “self defense”. This film shows us these truths through the luminous spirits of children. It is not to be missed!

I first heard of “Tears of Gaza”, or “Gaza Traer” as the original Norwegian title is called, when Bernard Henri-Levi launched an attack against Lokkeberg and me in major newspapers throughout Europe. She and I were in touch after that and I was finally just able to get hold of the film to watch it. It is a monumentally important work. It is beautiful and painful and honest and devastating.

Vibeke Lokkeberg gives us the names, faces, and stories of three ordinary Gaza children with extraordinary spirits. We first fall in love with Yehya, a 12-year-old boy who wants to become a doctor so he can heal people who are shot by Israelis. We see him on a small motorboat, lost in the magic of childhood as he is taught to steer the boat. His beautiful eyes and brilliant smile during these moments make his tears all the harder to bear when he talks about his beloved father. The losses that follow in his life are incomprehensible and overwhelming merely to hear about.

Until you meet Amira, 14 years old, and walk through her world.

Amira is beautiful. It’s the kind of beauty that holds an ineffable pain not often seen in the young. Her life, too, is marred by death and destruction and disfigurement of her body by ammunition. She tells us that she wants to become a lawyer so she can take the Israelis to court for the crimes they’ve committed. Then, recalling her father and brothers, she admits wishing she had just “gone with them”.

Like Amira, Rasmia is far beyond her 11 years. Arabic speakers might detect things about her that non-Arabic speakers will not. This is largely because of the translation; and this is my only criticism of the film. When Rasmia goes into what seems like a waking trance, her mother tells us in Arabic that she is “imagining”. The translation says “memorizing”, which doesn’t make sense and it distracts from an important subtlety. Her mother explains that she sometimes just “imagines” things from the attacks. I suspect that most psychologists witnessing those scenes and hearing her mother’s explanation would agree that she was experiencing flashbacks and exhibiting clear signs of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Another example where the wrong translation obscures important nuances is when Yehya is telling us about losing his father. He is, in fact, speaking in the third person: “when someone loses their father, it’s like they’ve lost the whole world” etc. But his words are translated as if in the first person: “when my father died, it’s like I lost the whole world.” The distinction might not seem important, until you realize that he cannot get the words out without breaking down when he speaks in the first person. It’s a faint distinction, but one that makes your heart break even more.
And we should all allow our hearts be broken over Gaza. It’s the least we can do. To hear these three children and ask others to hear them is the very least we can do. Vibeke Lokkeberg has given us a monumentally important record of what happened in December 2009 to January 2010; so no one can ever say “I didn’t know”.

Lest we forget, lest our tears dry or outrage subside, and lest our hearts heal before Palestine is free, I hope this film will be shown throughout the world, across university campuses, communities, organizations and living rooms. Take this not just as a review, but a call to action.

Susan Abulhawa is the author of Mornings in Jenin (Bloomsbury 2010) and the founder of Playgrounds for Palestine.

Source.

Deir Yassin Remembered

Via: Deir Yassin Remembered.

Early in the morning of April 9, 1948, commandos of the Irgun (headed by Menachem Begin) and the Stern Gang attacked Deir Yassin, a village with about 750 Palestinian residents. The village lay outside of the area to be assigned by the United Nations to the “Jewish State”; it had a peaceful reputation. But it was located on high ground in the corridor between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem. Deir Yassin was slated for occupation under Plan Dalet and the mainstream Jewish “defense” force, the Haganah, authorized the irregular terrorist forces of the Irgun and the Stern Gang to perform the takeover.

In all over 100 men, women, and children were systematically murdered. Fifty-three orphaned children were literally dumped along the wall of the Old City, where they were found by Miss Hind Husseini and brought behind the American Colony Hotel to her home, which was to become the Dar El-Tifl El-Arabi orphanage.

Part of the struggle for self-determination by Palestinians has been to tell the truth about Palestinians as victims of Zionism. For too long their history has been denied, and this denial has only served to further oppress and deliberately dehumanize Palestinians in the Israeli apartheid state, inside Gaza and West bank, occupied Palestine, and outside in their diaspora.

Some progress has been made. Westerners now realize that Palestinians, as a people, do exist. And they have come to acknowledge that during the creation of the state of Israel, thousands of Palestinians were killed and over 700,000 were driven or frightened from their homes and lands on which they had lived for centuries.

– Deir Yassin Remembered seeks similar progress on behalf of the victims of the Deir Yassin Massacre . . .

*****

Juliano Mer-Khamis Murdered in Jenin. Gilad Atzmon

Via: Gilad Atzmon.
Palestinian genius film maker,  actor and political activist Juliano Mer-Khamis, 53, was shot dead on Monday in Jenin refugee camp in the West Bank.

According to Jenin police chief Mohammed Tayyim,  Mer-Khamis was shot five times by Palestinian militants, but that police were still investigating the circumstances of his murder. I would wait to learn more about the tragic incident; as we know, the IDF trains special units that are operating disguised as Palestinians militants.

Mer-Khamis was well-known as an actor for his film and theater roles, both in Israel and abroad, and had made a name for himself as a director and a political activist, as well.

Mer-Khamis was affiliated with the local theater in Jenin, established by his mother in the 1980s. In 2006, Mer-Khamis opened the Freedom Theater in Jenin, along with Zakariya Zubeidi, the former military leader of the Al-Aqsa Martyr Brigades in that West Bank city.

Mer-Khamis’ mother, Arna Mer, was an Israeli Jewish activist for Palestinian rights. His father, Saliba Khamis, was a Christian Palestinian. Mer-Khamis was born and raised in Nazareth.

Watch Mer-Khamis’ monumental Arna’s Children:

The Zionist Story. (Full Documentary)

The Zionist Story, an independent film by Ronen Berelovich, is the story of ethnic cleansing, colonialism and apartheid to produce a demographically Jewish State.

Ronen successfully combines archival footage with commentary from himself and others such as Ilan Pappe, Terry Boullata, Alan Hart and Jeff Halper.

“I have recently finished an independent documentary, The Zionist Story, in which I aim to present not just the history of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, but also the core reason for it: the Zionist ideology, its goals (past and present) and its firm grip not only on Israeli society, but also, increasingly, on the perception of Middle East issues in Western democracies. Continue reading