mardi 27 octobre 2009

Gaza strip

J'aimerais partager avec vous un film documentaire que j’ai revu hier soir et qui - bien que l’ayant vu plusieurs fois - me bouleverse toujours autant et à vrai dire peut-être davantage encore aujourd’hui que la première fois que je l’ai visionné.

La réussite de ce documentaire est je crois de montrer la tragédie palestinienne à travers des gens ordinaires, des être humains comme vous et moi mais qui à la différence de nous tous vivent une vie « extraordinaire » ; évidemment j’utilise le terme « extraordinaire » non pas dans le sens positif du terme mais dans son acceptation première à savoir une vie qui « est en dehors de la vie ordinaire » avec le sentiment très profond et permanent pour moi que la vie des Palestiniens n’est en rien comparable à la vie des autres êtres humains sur terre… Je le dis avec beaucoup d’émotions et le sentiment cruel d’être spectatrice de cette tache infiniment sombre dans l’histoire des hommes sans que moi et tous les hommes de bonne volonté dans ce monde ne puissions y mettre un terme définitif.

Ce que je peux faire de mieux en tant que personne pour les Palestiniens c'est d'essayer de partager avec vous de l'information, des histoires vécues et racontées par ceux qui la vivent au quotidien parce qu’eux seuls sont en mesure d’exprimer ce que nous ne pouvons même pas soupçonner je crois de la difficulté à être nés Palestiniens.

En même temps, et malgré de défi permanent que représente la vie en Palestine occupée (et je ne sais pas si vous partagerez mon ressenti) il me semble qu’il y a quelque chose d’infiniment lumineux chez les Palestiniens… une lucidité permanente qui nous fait tellement défaut à nous tous si souvent ; il y a chez ces jeunes enfants une telle confrontation à la cruauté de la situation, à l’exposition permanente (et cela dès leur plus jeune âge) à la douleur de voir la guerre en permanence, de voir les leurs, tous les leurs disparaître soit sous les balles et les bombes de l’occupation sioniste criminelle, soit à cause des emprisonnements constants qu’ils semblent tous puiser jusqu’au tréfonds de l’âme humaine pour rester droits et debouts ; fiers aussi je crois…

J’imagine en fait que c’est cela qui m’impressionne chaque jour davantage chez les Palestiniens ; cette capacité à affronter la réalité aussi cruelle puisse t-elle être. Il n’y a pas d’échappatoire possible pour un Palestinien ; il faut résister à l’occupant encore et toujours, génération après génération ou bien cela signifierait que la Palestine risquerait de n’être plus … Et c’est cela l’absolu défi pour chacun d’entre eux ; sauver la Palestine en la libérant.

Au cours de la première vidéo l’enfant, héros de ce documentaire, dit une chose très remarquable dans sa simplicité mais tellement grande dans sa signification : « Ils (les sionistes) prennent toute notre terre, peut-on les laisser faire ? » Je crois que c’est la seule question qui pour moi vaut la peine d’être posée ; et c’est à chacun de nous d’y répondre en toute conscience. A partir d’une réponse d’honnête homme à cette question fondamentale je pense en effet qu’on peut comprendre toute l’histoire palestinienne de ces soixante dernières années et celle de tous ces héros presque toujours anonymes qui chaque jour l'ont écrite si admirablement.

Nelly LEBOUCHER pour le collectif Cheikh Yassine


About the Film

"GAZA STRIP was filmed during the first four months of 2001, a period that covers the election of Israeli prime minister Ariel Sharon and extends to the first major armed incursion into "Area A" by the Israeli military. It was my first trip to the Middle East; all of my previous international filmmaking experience took place in Russia. The idea to make a documentary about Palestinians inside the Gaza Strip was mainly a reaction to what I perceived as a lack of good media coverage of that area: it was difficult for me to find intimate material of the Palestinian struggle in the mainstream US media. More than anything, it was a desire to satisfy my own curiosity about what was really taking place inside the Occupied Territories that induced me to take matters into my own hands and produce the project.

At first it was daunting, to say the least. I didn't speak Arabic, I had no contacts on the ground. I had never even met a Palestinian in my life. The current intifada had been underway for five months and hundreds of people -- mostly Palestinian civilians -- had already been killed in the violence. After a number of dire warnings from Israelis about the likelihood of my being attacked by angry Palestinian mobs, it was with much trepidation that I crossed alone through the Erez Crossing checkpoint into the Gaza Strip one rainy day in January.

To my great relief, the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip turned out to be people like everyone else. It is the situation they find themselves in that is extraordinary: The Gaza Strip is essentially an open-air prison for Palestinian refugees, guarded on all sides by the Israeli military. Barely 28 miles long and 4 miles wide, it contains more than 1,200,000 Palestinians -- over one third of them living in squalid refugee camps built in 1948 to hold the people forced out of their homes by the creation of modern-day Israel. It is one of the most densely populated places on the planet. Nobody can pass through its borders without the permission of the Israeli soldiers. Like the West Bank, the Gaza Strip has been under Israeli military occupation since 1967. Most people living in the Gaza Strip have never known a single day of real freedom.

My plan was to find a main character to follow -- probably a stone-throwing kid or an ambulance driver -- who would be able to give a narration and framework to the events taking place. I knew from the start that I didn't want to write a narration for the film; I wanted the characters I filmed to speak for themselves and tell their own stories.

I found the film's principal voice in the person of Mohammed Hejazi, a 13-year-old paper boy in Gaza City. He was the first person I filmed inside the Gaza Strip. One afternoon early in my stay I walked out to Karni Crossing, a place in east Gaza where many children have been killed and wounded by Israeli soldiers while throwing stones at tanks, and the kids there pushed him in front of the camera as their spokesperson. It was no accident: Mohammed could talk the ears off a donkey, and he has a great deal to say. I followed him for several weeks, recording hours of interviews and verite material.

The situation in the Gaza Strip worsened noticeably during my stay. Sharon was elected prime minister and immediately began a campaign to demolish the infrastructure of the Palestinian Authority. I eventually branched out from Gaza City and moved to the refugee camp of Khan Younis in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, where things were made particularly tense by the proximity of a large Jewish settlement that virtually surrounds the western edge of the camp. Khan Younis came under constant attack from the Israeli military while I lived there -- particularly at night. The Israeli machine-gunners would usually start around 10 pm, firing into the city. Most of the time it seemed as if the IDF soldiers were shooting out of boredom. They would tap out little tunes with their armor-piercing ammunition, like fans clapping at a hockey match. Most nights, the bombardment would last until morning. Families living on the perimeter of the camp gradually evacuated their homes and moved in with relatives. After about a week in Khan Younis, I became accustomed to the Israeli gunfire and tank shells. I moved my bed to the balcony of the apartment I shared with two French journalists, letting the sound of the machine-guns lull me to sleep. A quiet night was a fitful night.

I fell into a routine of filming every day, all kinds of subjects. I filmed women in tents whose houses had been bulldozed. Children dodging machine-gun fire on their way home from school. Rock-throwing demonstrations. Patients suffering in the hospitals from a gas attack. An old couple in Rafah whose small villa was gradually being destroyed. A boy whose friend was blown up by an Israeli booby-trapped device. Palestinians circumventing a roadblock by driving along the beach. Assassinations carried out with Apache helicopters. Funerals. Lots of funerals. It ran together in my camera like a kaleidoscope of slow suffocation punctuated by moments of extreme terror. All in all, I filmed more than 75 hours of material. For every minute in the finished film there is an entire hour of material that I had to leave out.

My idea of a good documentary is a film that captures the most essential aspects of its subject, a film that shows rather than tells. I wanted to make a film that would convey not only the hard facts of life inside the Gaza Strip, but also the emotions, sensations and driving desires of the people I filmed. I made the film to fill a gap in our knowledge and a blind spot in our thinking about this conflict, but more than anything this film is an attempt to record the humanity of the people I met there, the thing that is impossible to tell in words."
Director / Producer, James Longley


Many of us judge the Israeli/Palestinian conflict from the outside looking in. This documentary gives us the opportunity to look at it from the inside. Looking at the issue from inside Gaza looking out at the world.

Just what is Gaza, who are its people and how do they live.

Part 1 of 9


Part 2 of 9


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Part 8 of 9


Part 9 of 9

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