This Palestinian Life

Today, while reading Al Jazeera online I came through an article written by Adam Makary, ‘Gaza wears a face of misery’. In it he talks about Philip Rizk, a young Egyptian-German freelance journalist who lived and worked in Gaza from 2005 to 2007. During this time he filmed This Palestinian Life. Stories of Palestinian Nonviolent Resistance, a documentary highlighting Palestinian non-violent means of resistance against the Israeli occupation.

As Rizk’s says “Gaza wears a face of misery and the living conditions are unimaginable. Unless you visit, you wouldn’t be able to picture the kind of agony Gazans have to live through on a daily basis. They function with whatever is available.” In consequence, “At least 85 per cent of the people are dependent on food aid. If the amount of aid was reduced, they would starve.”

According to him, in Gaza “The line between the meaning of life and death becomes very thin. As a student, you can spend your whole life trying to do well in school, get good grades – but all that effort goes to waste because there is no future for the class valedictorian. Everyone alike is left completely powerless without hope and potential future. I’m even shocked at how well kids can even perform in these schools, considering how they live in a constant state of war.”

When asked about the role of the media, Rizk explains it tends not to report much on Gaza for two main reasons. On one side there’s a blackout of information due to the great control of Israel in what and who gets in or out the strip. On the other side, media organisations show a general lack of interest on Gaza: “To them, there’s nothing new about the situation when in fact, the story there is constantly unfolding, breaking news is Gaza’s middle name. But because this breaking news always holds the same kind of information, no one cares to report on it.”

This Palestinian Life. Stories of Palestinian Nonviolent Resistance is an interesting approach to the every day lives of Palestinians. The film, which follows an anthropological and ethnographic method, gives voice to Palestinian villagers and Bedouin scaping from “expert” interpretations of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and aims to explain how Palestinian life is being undermined by the pressure of Israeli occupation.

THIS PALESTINIAN LIFE is a film about people who perservere despite the odds stacked against them. The film documents specifically the aspects of perseverance or steadfastness of the Palestinian nonviolent struggle against Israeli occupation and the deliberate, ongoing, illegal annexation of Palestinian land.

An Arabic term used for everyday acts of nonviolent resistance is sumoud – steadfastness, perseverance. In the film, Egyptian activist and filmmaker, Philip Rizk, tells the stories of Palestinian villagers who attempt to remain steadfast, to persevere, in the face of settler violence, the injustice and duplicity of the Israeli government, and the ambivalence of the international community.

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