In the Hands of Palestinian Women

Media as a form of resistance and change is on the rise in Palestine.

The Barbican in London
gave a film festival showing the works of leading Palestinian women filmmakers this past week.

The short documentaries showed the struggle that exists for women within Palestinian communities.

Masarat, for example, is a film of four shorts produced by Shashat that gives an intimate account of the daily hardships of women and how they are overcoming them.

One of the four shorts is called Pomegranate Seeds, a story about real life women, who out of fear remain silent while being physically or sexually abused by the men in their families.

Another is Far from Loneliness, which depicts the difficult lives of female farmers as they struggle to hold onto their lands in order to survive.  The other two shorts, Samia and First Love, have equally compelling subjects.

Beside the Masarat shorts, the festival showcased two other films.  138 Pounds in my Pocket is about a young teacher named Hind Al Husseini, who took in orphans after the Deir Yassin massacre.   Thorns and Silk are about women, who work with a true sense of pride in positions usually associated with men.

All the films have portrayed, in one form or another, the difficult lives that women in Palestine live, whether because of the occupation or due to the mistreatment of women in general.

Yet, these depictions of Palestinian women in their solitary and seemingly endless pain is not without signs of hope.

For one, this project seems a labour of love from the ever resistant movement for change and liberation.

It seems that once a Palestinian woman overcomes her own circumstance, she doesn’t just walk away from a world that must be sometimes filled with overwhelming and painful memories.

Instead, she returns to uplift other women and provide them with the sense of empowerment that was, at one time, denied them.

These films are the culmination of that uprising.  They seek to educate rather than entertain.  They promise hope.

The theatre at the Barbican was sadly not filled to capacity.  And there certainly wasn’t enough women of other cultures represented in the auditorium seats.

Yet there is no doubt that video media as a form of communication will continue to expand for Palestine, filming shots right through the immense walls that seek to hide the ugly truth of its occupation and male-dominated oppression.

If the fate of Palestine is left in the hands of its women, then they shall – indeed – overcome.

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