MMU Action Palestine Launches Film Screenings

Noorulann Shahid

MMU Action Palestine Society launched their weekly film screenings recently, and PULP went to the first screening. “Occupation 101: Voices of the silent majority” is an independent documentary film surrounding the truth behind the Israel-Palestine conflict. It has won eight international awards, including best documentary at the deadcenter film festival. It was written by Sufyan Omeish and Abdullah Omeish, and was produced by Triple Eye Productions in 2006.

The purpose of the film is to decode the little that is reported in the mainstream media concerning Palestine and to present the facts, supported by interviews, archives, and statistics. Although the media constantly present the conflict as an “Arab-Israeli” one, for centuries, Arab Muslims and Jews were co-operating and living peacefully as neighbours. The film contained an interview in which an orthodox Jew said that his grandparents were “like brothers” with the Muslims; they used to babysit each other’s children. It is evident that the root cause of the conflict is therefore not religion; one of the major root causes is in fact Zionism.

Zionism is a Jewish political movement that believes in a sovereign Jewish homeland; Israel being their promised land. Zionism was officially conceived in 1917, after WWI, when the British Foreign Secretary at the time, Arthur James Balfour wrote a letter to Baron Rothschild. The letter was approved by the cabinet and read:

“His Majesty’s government view with favour the establishment in Palestine of a national home for the Jewish people, and will use their best endeavours to facilitate the achievement of this object, it being clearly understood that nothing shall be done which may prejudice the civil and religious rights of existing non-Jewish communities in Palestine, or the rights and political status enjoyed by Jews in any other country.”

The letter is now coined the Balfour Declaration of 1917, and following on from this, Jews began to flock to Palestine, especially post-Nazi Germany. Palestine; a once-flourishing country booming with commerce and culture had to bear the brunt of the holocaust as Israeli settlements increased and Palestinians were forced out of their homes. The film contained interviews with many Palestinian families, and it was the interviews with the children that really caused the viewer to empathise with their dire situation. Nearly fifty per cent of Palestine’s population constitutes of children, who are either unable to obtain an education and fear for their lives as they cross checkpoints to go to school.

The film also outlined the tragic circumstances of the death of Rachel Corrie; and American student who’d been visiting Palestine. The USA has refused her parents’ request for an inquest into her death. She was trying to save the home of a Palestinian family; the father of whom was a doctor. She was tragically crushed by a tank despite her friends’ best efforts to inform the soldiers that she was trapped underneath.

Remember: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”- Desmond Tutu.

To find out about future screenings, search “MMU Action Palestine”.

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