DUBAI — An awe-inspiring tale took the assembled Press by surprise at the gathering for the latest film to release at the Dubai International Film Festival.
Budrus, written and directed by Brazilian filmmaker Julia Bacha, is a documentary which captures months of protests at the proposed Israeli Separation Barrier that threatened to wipe out the West Bank village from where the film took its name.
The story begins with a focus on Ayed Morrar, a Palestinian community organiser, who puts together a peaceful protest, uniting Hamas and Fatah supporters as well as Israeli citizens around Budrus.
The protest, although unique in its set up, was moderately successful but had little effect on proceedings.
It was not until his highly motivated and determined daughter Iltezam came onboard and at the age of fifteen mobilised an entire women’s wing that the campaign was revitalised.
Bringing together not only people of different political persuasions, different nationalities but also the two genders in a country where conservative values are widespread and strictly adhered to the peaceful protest in Budrus became an example for all villages along the Barrier’s border to follow.
“The Press only covers violent protests and what politicians have to say,” Bacha told the media. “What this film and the organisation I work for try and do is bring out the different stories from Palestine — the silent and peaceful protest stories — and give them a voice.”
Bacha is a producer and media director with Just Vision, an organisation with the view to documenting and publicising those who are trying to put an end to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.
“Budrus is an international voice and call to take action and start changing the world view of the region.”
The film charts the origins and organisation of Morrar and his daughter’s protest, which culminated in 1500 people standing up to Israeli soldiers in a non-violent show of solidarity.
For the first time Israeli citizens crossed the Green Line to join those they felt were being wronged. Iltezam Morrar’s involvement started months earlier when she questioned why women were taking a back seat when problems in Palestine affect them equally.
“It’s not just a man’s problem,” she stated. “My mother and friends would always be talking about protests and one day I thought why don’t we just go too. My father was already a community organiser and very active so there would be no reason for him to prevent me.”
At first Iltezam and 10 of her friends went to a smaller meeting between Palestinian’s and Israeli soldiers elsewhere. She reported back to her friends who remained at school what she had seen and there was a mass interest.
By the time the Budrus protest came around she had a huge following of girls. Her father Ayed Morrar stated proudly, “Women make up fifty percent of our society so they should stand by us. Each village along the border has now taken the model of Budrus and used it in their own struggle. This has brought in media attention and hopefully people will see that peaceful protest is the most effective measure.”
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