Saturday, October 07, 2006

Occupation 101

A very powerful documentary that aims to reveal the truth on the situation in Israel today. The two makers of the movie Sufyan and Abdallah Omeish are two brilliant independent film makers who happen to be brothers and also happen to be very young. The project took 5 years and the idea started when they both went to Israel for a visit and witnessed the very disturbing reality of the occupation. The film gives a very valuable background for the Israeli Palestinian conflict aiming to clarify many misconceptions about the issue, which is due either to the manipulation of the corporate media or to mere ignorance of the historical facts leading to the current situation.

The documentary describes Palestine before the end of WWI where Muslims Christians and Jews peacefully coexisted. It reminds us of a time when Jews flourished in Arab land during a time of strong anti-semitism in Europe. It discussed the initial immigration of Jews to Palestine leading to 1948. Very powerful footage shows the massacres and the atrocities that led to the displacement of the Palestinians like the massacre of Deir Yassine and shows the subhuman conditions in which the Palestinians had to live as refugees to our day. It clarifies the illusion of the peace process in the Oslo years which incidentally were the years when the Jewish only settlements doubled. The illusion of the unilateral withdrawal from Gaza which led to the dismantling of only 2% of the settlements and left the people in Gaza in a large jail under complete economical and physical control. The film mostly reflects the reality of the occupation in Gaza and West bank today and draws a compelling comparison to Apartheid Africa using witnesses, footage and interviews with experts (Noam Chomsky, Amira Hass etc... ).

The strongest take home lesson was about the poverty and the humitialtion as well as the terrifying conditions that the Palestinians live in today as refugees on their own land. The land confiscation and the intimidation that aims to ethnically cleanse Israel towards the makingn of a Jewish only state. One study showed that Palestinian children (I think the figure was 80 % of) have completely lost the will to live. A heartbreaking interview with a 5 year old child (who is so outspoken and smart and would remind you of your own child) sheds the light on what these children go through. In her very simple words she describes her fear of the militants, her broken toys, the way her clothes smell like gas. The unemployement in Palestine had gone up to 70 % and most families have to live with 2 $ per day while the Israelis get US aid on an average of 500$/person a month. A footage also shows the discrepency of the economical situation in a Jewish settlement contrasted with a Palestinian ghetto next door.

A picture is worth a thousand word. I can not start to describe the feelings of absolute helplessness of a mother taking to the director about her fear to her child’s life. Her children’s fear to go to school thinking mom and dad would be dead by the time they go back home. The tears of a father telling us how he was humiliated in front of his children at a checkpoint. A mother describing her struggle with the IDF as they were demolishing her home and she ran to save her baby who was still in the house. Many many examples of christian and muslim families who live under the oppression of the israeli occupation.

A woman in the audience stood and told the directors that she feels so ashamed because she wasn’t aware of what is taking place in Israel. She was crying …
Go see the movie … the least we can do is to educate ourselves and people around us …


paris parfait said...

Thank you for the heads up! I can´t wait to see this film. It is hoped it will come to Paris.

M.G. said...

It is really reconforting to see at least some still care about what is happening in that forgotten part of the world..

Thank you for your post. I think without it I wouldn't have noticed this film is out ..

Ha Ana Za said...

thanks for the tip off mirvat! I'm part of a friends of palestine society here in the Uk and am always looking for new movies/ documentaries around the issue so if you have any more suggestions please let me know :)

Anonymous said...

mirvat do u have any idea if this movie is getting out in the arab world ,or links about when and where they might show it in countires like egypt or jordan? thanks in advance and many regards

Anonymous said...

just something that hit me while reading this review
concerning the poverty and extremely inhumane conditions the palestinans are going through now
demos and protests are rising in gaza because the teachers and employees haven't been paid their salaries for months as most of the donating countries are backing off and won't send any aids for the pals as punishement for voting hamas
why is it the US keeps talking about democarcy in the middle east,conveincing arabs that they have no interst other than promoting freedom in the region ,and once ppl do excerise this freedom and choose a representitive the US doesn't like ,their lives is turned into hell?
many arabs weren't exactly very fond of mr sharon ,those who hated him called him butcher and those who liked him called him a war criminal,but when the isrealis chose him as prime minister that choice was respected .why the pals choice isn't respected and dealt with the same?
democarcy for arabs is okay as long as their choices get advance approval from the superpowers first ;so much for freedom!!!

psamtani said...

mirvat do u have any idea if this movie is getting out in the arab world ,or links about when and where they might show it in countires like egypt or jordan? thanks in advance and many regards

The list of screenings is here:

Upcoming ones:
Vermont Oct 14th
Los Angeles Nov 10th (yahoo!)

psamtani said...

Clickable link:

Mr. N. said...

Will keep an eye out for it. Thanks Mirvat.

Haider Droubi said...

thank you for yr data..

will the world ever wake up and end the misery?,,,or arabs shall go on begging the world to save those children...?

hope to watch it,,in the middle east!!!!!!

Mirvat said...

the film will be screened in vermont and LA. the makers are these two brave young independent film makers who could need all the help they can get in terms of distribution and promotion. the movie will be on DVD eventually but all the people who wish for the movie to be screened in their country, you can go to the website and contact the directors directly.

inmotion said...

mirvat -

this is awesome.

I mean it made me tear up watching the trailer but its about time.

palo-girl said...

wow... sounds great:)