Palestinian Rights/Human Rights

Al Jadid Staff

Occupation 101, Voices of the Silent Majority
By Sufyan Omesh and Abdallah Omesh
A Triple Eye Film, 2008 

The next time someone asks me “what was it like to live in Palestine?”  I will simply recommend the documentary “Occupation 101, Voices of the Silent Majority.”  Deserving winner of eight film festival awards, this impressive film begins by placing the Palestinian resistance into the broader context of the struggle for human rights and democracy.  The film opens with clips of political unrest from the civil rights movement that are familiar to many Americans, as well as footage from similar struggles in Northern Ireland, Algeria and South Africa, as it dismantles the prevalent myths surrounding the military and political occupation of Palestine.  Supplemented with charts, maps, news clips and chilling scenes of aggression shot in Gaza and the West Bank, “Occupation 101” provides the viewer with an intense, concise and thorough historical narrative.  Interviews with some of the most well-respected scholars such as Rashid Khalidi, Noam Chomsky and Phyllis Bennis, veterans of the State Department and the United Nations, Israeli human rights activists, Christian clergy, Rabbis, women’s organizations, and Amnesty International are reinforced with unquestionable scenes of despair and oppression that are, in the words of Alison Weir of If Americans Knew, “deeply disturbing.”

While the situation in Palestine has proven irresistible to film makers, few documentaries have been as authoritative and professional as “Occupation 101”. The film moves from the Balfour Declaration and the intifadas to more recent concerns over the issue of settlement construction, the home demolitions that cost the life of Rachel Corrie, and the effects of the “security” wall that stands at twice the height of the Berlin Wall.  The multitude of Israeli voices, including an Orthodox Jew who recounts a time when his grandmother baby-sat the children of Palestinian neighbors, and the Rabbi-educators who lament the propaganda within the Israeli education system and feel hostage to the machinations of the settlers, cannot fail to move even the staunchest Israeli supporter. The deleted scenes alone make this DVD worth the price.  “Occupation 101” will make formidable viewing for any religious group, peace organization, classroom, or as the charts and history demonstrate, any American taxpayer. 

This review appeared in Vol.16, No. 62, (2010).

Copyright © 2010 by Al Jadid

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