Reviews of Palestinian Days Films

The Palestinian Days film festival, Brisbane,

6pm Fri to Sunday, October 16-18, 2009
Schonell Theatre, University of QLD

Sponsored by Justice for Palestine and the Palestinian Association of QLD


by Pam Rosengren

Lemonade'  Director: Hicham Kayed Duration: 13 minutes Language: Arabic with English subtitles
‘Lemonade’ , a short film which came out of a storytelling workshop for the children of a refugee camp. Inspired by a girl who takes flowers from her grandmothers garden to the people in the camp every day, one of the boys began to make lemonade to sell in the camp. It is a simple yet profound story of transcending limitations. Although the other films at the festival are not really for a child audience, children feature prominently in the festival overall.
Arguably the masterpiece of the Palestinian Days film festival is “Since You Left” directed by Mohammad Bakri. It is a literary, performative reflection on the filming of “Jenin Jenin” and the events in the directors life subsequent to that. The film is structured around a soliloquy at the grave of Bakris former creative mentor. The philosophical conversation between Bakri and his Israeli lawyer, who donated his time to try to reverse the order banning “Jenin Jenin” had me wishing I could obtain a transcript of the movie. The film explains, but does not explain away.  This is particularly the case when unexpectedly a member of Bakris extended family becomes involved in terrorism. It documents the reaction of the family which might not be what you think.

Watani Habibi, My Beloved Homeland” is a documentary of Palestinian  protest music by John Mandelberg and Janice Abo Ganis. It ranges from traditional music with no political message other than that is is  Palestinian culture with its roots in antiquity, through traditional  works with a message strong enough to have the musician exiled, to  lyrical contemporary pieces and even Palestinian rap.
Singer Rim Banna says she is unable to take up arms in the struggle,  so uses her voice to convey it. As well as having an exceptional  voice, Rim has exceptional insight into the creative process and its  relationship to society. (She has a Facebook page.)
“Watani Habibi – My Beloved Homeland” will be screened at 6pm Sunday  18th at the Schonell Theatre, along with “The Iron Wall” which maps  both the history of this vision from its inception in 1923 (yes, 1923)  and the tortuous path of the wall which not only divides Palestinians  from Israelis, but divides Palestinians from their farmlands and water supply.  Although the other films at the festival are not really for a child audience, children feature prominently in the festival overall. One script, “Letter from Sarah”, was written by a twelve-year-old girl.

Another is the story of two young girls in different refugee camps who are brought together by a pen-pal program.
Director: James Longley Duration: 72 mins Language: Arabic with Englishsubtitles In “Gaza Strip”, children who are disconcertingly old beyond their years, with eloquence that transcends their semi-literate state, reflect on their daily lives and the impact of constant trauma.Written and directed: Juliano Mer Khamis and Danniel Danniel Duration: 84minutes Language: In English/Hebrew/Arabic with English subtitles Arguably the most confronting film of the festival, “Arna’s Children” is made largely from old footage. Arna was a Jewish woman who started a theatre project for Palestinian children in a refugee camp. Her son
filmed this over the years. We witness the situation of these children, and we learn what becomes of them. Some of the later footage from television news is, to say the least, chilling, as we realize that these are the people we have watched grow. The film then returns to some of the earliest footage, and in so doing, without the need for narration or explanation, makes an inescapably strong case for cessation of human rights abuses.

We had to classify most of these films as unsuitable for children to view. Yet children have to live through this, and suffer the consequences.

With a special thanks to Pam Rosengren for the film reviews above.


12 thoughts on “Reviews of Palestinian Days Films

  1. AFP article on CFMEU website says:

    Subject: AFP Feature on CFMEU site
    Date: Tue, 22 Sep 2009 10:11:28 +1000

    Click on link for Australians for Palestine article on CFMEU website:


    Seán Marshall

    National Research / Policy Officer

    CFMEU National Office

  2. Rich Siegel's song "In Palestine" says:

    Dear friends,

    Below are links to two parts of a You Tube video of the song “In Palestine”, written and performed by Rich Siegel. Rich is a friend of mine, a Jewish activist for Palestinian rights from New Jersey. He is a professional musician, singer, song writer, pianist and more. A few months ago he decided to write a song together with a fellow musician to express his pain and anger about what Israel is doing to the Palestinians. The result is in this You Tube video.

    I encourage you to watch. The song is great, professionally produced and performed, and it says what needs to be said. It’s really wonderful to see fellow activists using their particular talents creatively to send the message that needs to be sent. In the second part of the video Rich shares the experiences that led him to become an activist. Rich is on the board of Deir Yassin Remembered.

    Rich’s website address is available at the end of the second part of the video. People don’t have to pay him for downloading the audio version of the song from his website. But if they do, 20% of the proceeds will go to Palestinian children’s charities.

    Please pass these links to your own networks if you feel that it’s appropriate.



    You can watch the video on youtube in two parts:

    Part 1: [youtube=]

    Part 2: [youtube= ]

    Avigail Abarbanel
    BA(Hons), Grad. Dip. Psych/Couns, Cert. Gestalt Couns.

    MCAPACAR, PACFA Reg. ( )
    MBACP (Accred) ( ), MCOSCA (Accred) ( )
    UKRCP Reg. Ind. Counsellor/Psychotherapist

    1. Trapped by twitter says:

      New York man accused of using Twitter to direct protesters during G20 summit
      Elliott Madison arrested by FBI and charged with using social networking site to help demonstrators evade Pittsburgh police
      G20 Pittsburg protest
      G20 Pittsburgh protest
      About 5,000 protesters are estimated to have taken part in demonstrations in Pittsburgh during the G20 summit. Photograph: Brian Blanco/EPA

      A New York-based anarchist has been arrested by the FBI and charged with hindering prosecution after he allegedly used the social networking site Twitter to help protesters at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh evade the police…READ More …

  3. Justice for Palestine meeting
    Wednesday September 30
    TLC Building (2nd floor), 16 Peel St, South Brisbane

    Discussions will include:

    1. an update about the international Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign against Israel and discussion about plans for the campaign in Brisbane.

    2. planning for the Palestinian Days Film Festival

    Phone: 0400 720 757

  4. AFP Representative debates Zionists on Palestine says:


    Tomorrow is the big debate in Melbourne. Our public advocate for Palestine, Michael Shaik will be pitted against a formidable team arguing that the West should NOT engage with Hamas. Michael will be on a team with former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser and an expert in global terrorism Debra Smith arguing in the affirmative and their expert skills combined should make this debate an event definitely worth watching. Please join us tomorrow night at Monash University – see details below.

    Vice-Chancellor’s Public Debate
    Tuesday October 13, 2009, 6.30pm
    Centre One Lecture Theatre, Building 63,Monash University, Clayton

    “That the west should engage with Hamas: A solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict?”

    Also, in the last week, there has been a spate of news items and articles reacting to the Goldstone Report that found overwhelming evidence of Israeli war crimes during its 3 week assault on Gaza Dec 08 – Jan 09. You can read them all on our website in archives “Articles and Commentaries” and under

    The Palestinian President’s failure to endorse the report’s passage through the United Nations caused universal outrage and condemnation, especially amongst Palestinians and those supporting the Palestinian struggle for liberation. The latest AFP article on this fallout was posted this afternoon. It warns of an imminent catastrophe awaiting the Palestinian cause if the Palestinians and their supporters fail to act against Israel’s premeditated solution already set in motion. You can read it by clicking on the link

    – SK

    1. Media Response to Justice for Palestine campaign over Gaza & West Bank says:

      Have a look at what this young Isreali woman (below) says about the Gaza conflict on the front page of today’s AUSTRALIAN [25 September 2009].

      The article (attached) is clever.

      This report is designed to contradict the long awaited report on the war crimes committed in Gaza during the Israeli assault in January 2009. This front page article in the AUSTRALIAN is timed to coincide with the the Goldstone report that said ‘Gaza Acts (by the Isreali Defence Force) amounted to war crimes.

      The Murdoch Press is taking something from the current news cycle i.e. Role of Women in the ADF and then using the photo is making it a platform for denial of Israeli war crimes in Gaza.

      Read the last few sentences in the article:

      Melamed chose three years because she wanted a combat and paramedic role. New Picture (12)

      She estimates that of those she has treated, 70 per cent have been Palestinian and 30 per cent Israeli. She has sometimes treated Palestinian militants who have been injured during clashes with IDF troops.

      The Israeli army, along with its combatant Hamas, have spent recent weeks at the centre of controversy after a UN report accused them of war crimes and possible crimes against humanity during the Gaza war. Melamed rejects accusations of war crimes. “We know that the press and the world and everybody else is looking at us and checking what we do,” she says. “We don’t want to see people that are not involved getting hurt.”

      I think that there should be an organised response to these lies from someone who knows what the IDF is really like — preferably by a woman who has served in it and seen the war crimes being commited by the IDF in the West bank and Gaza.

      • Journalists should be questioned about their propaganda role and should be encouraged to challenge from within the Murdoch Press for putting propaganda out like this.
      • The union should be contacted and asked what their policy is on this. If they don’t have one, people who know about the IDF should be sent to address the union on these issues.
      • There should be no more advertisements placed in the Murdoch Press by Palestinian groups.
      Ian Curr
      September 2009

      See also
      Support Iraqi family shot by Australian soldier! ********************************************************************************************************************

      J4P rally

      · End the home demolitions in Jerusalem

      · Cut Australian ties with apartheid Israel

      · Recognise the right of return of Palestinian refugees

      Join with others to show your support for the Palestinians.

      Israel continues to pursue a policy of systematic cruelty and brutality towards the Palestinians: following the December/January invasion, Gaza is still in rubble and the West Bank is more fragmented than ever. Now, more than ever, Palestine needs our solidarity.

      For more information:

  5. JFP Meeting says:

    Hi all,

    A reminder that there will be a Justice for Palestine meeting tomorrow (Wednesday Oct 21), 6:30pm at the TLC Building (2nd floor), 16 Peel St, South Brisbane.

    The main focus will be a debrief about the film festival – it would be great if everyone could prepare some notes along the lines of the suggestion below from Ann. If anyone can’t make it to the meeting, but would like to send in their feedback, please email

    Also on the agenda will be organising for encore screening(s) of the films; preparation for the BDS planning meeting on October 28; the meeting with Izzat Abdulhadi on November 12 and fundraising for the Gaza Freedom March.

    in solidarity,

  6. Photos of the Festival says:

    Photos of the Festival by Carolyn Stubbin


    Ann-Kathy-and-Fay-at-the-ticket-‘booth’-at-the-Palestinian-Days-Film-Festival at the Schonell in Brisbane.

  7. Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign planning meeting says:

    Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign planning meeting

    This meeting will hear reports about the international Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions campaign and plan building support for the campaign in Brisbane. Discussions will include the campaigns against Caterpillar and L’Oréal and the campaign to build support amongst trade unions for the BDS.

    Wednesday October 28, 6:30pm
    TLC Building (2nd floor), 16 Peel St, South Brisbane

  8. "Justice for Palestine" film screenings: says:

    Following the success of the Palestinian Days Film Festival there will be a series of encore film screenings hosted by “Justice for Palestine” during November. All proceeds from these screenings will help fund a Brisbane representative on the Freedom March to Gaza.

    Sunday November 8, 2pm:
    QUT, Gardens Point, E block room 207(click here for a map of QUT Gardens Point).
    Entry by donation.

    Frontier of Hopes and Dreams

    Winner of 14 international awards. From Shatila camp in Lebanon to Dheisha camp in Palestine, this heart aching narrative is the story of two refugee girls and their extraordinary journey to the borders of exile separating them from their homeland and from each other. “A vivid and touching testimony to love and hope”- Pillar to Post- USA

    Jerusalem, East Side Story
    In 1948, the western part of the city fell under Israeli control; in 1967, the eastern part fell under Israeli occupation. Since then, Israel has pursued a policy of Judaizing the city, aiming to achieve “Jewish demographic superiority.” Part of this policy is to drive Palestinian Muslims and Christians out of the city; denying their presence, history, and ties to the land. The documentary exposes Israel’s policy to gain supremacy and hegemony over the city and its inhabitants. It also touches on the future of the city: Jerusalem is the key to peace; without Jerusalem, there is no peace for anyone.


    Wednesday November 18, 7pm:
    QUT, Gardens Point, M block room 303 (click here for a map of QUT Gardens Point).
    Entry by donation.

    The Iron Wall
    The Iron Wall documents the attempt to make the Israeli settlements a permanent fact on the ground. Settlements, the illegal apartheid wall and related infrastructures are impacting every aspect of life for all Palestinians from land confiscation, theft of natural resources, confiscation of the basic human rights, creation of an apartheid-like system, to the devastating impact on the future of the region and the prospect of the peace process. The film includes interviews with Palestinian and Israeli leaders, human rights activists and political analysts.


    Wednesday November 25, 7pm:
    QUT, Gardens Point, M block room 303 (click here for a map of QUT Gardens Point).
    Entry by donation.

    Jenin, Jenin
    The film includes testimony from Jenin residents after the Israeli occupation forces’ so-called “Defensive Wall” operation, when the city and camp were scenes of fierce fighting. The operation ended with Jenin flattened and scores of Palestinians dead. Palestinians as well as human rights groups accused Israel of committing war crimes in the April 2002 attack on the refugee camp. The film shows the extent to which the prolonged oppression and terror has affected the state of mind of the Palestinian inhabitants of Jenin.

  9. JFP meeting says:

    Hi all,

    There will be a Justice for Palestine meeting this Wednesday (December 2), 6:30pm at the TLC Building (2nd floor), 16 Peel St, South Brisbane.

    The agenda will include discussion about the Freedom March to Gaza and further discussion on the BDS campaign plans. This is the second last meeting scheduled for this year, so we should also start making some plans for early 2010.

    in solidarity,


    Fay Waddington (QLD) writes to The AGE re Australia welcoming Israeli war criminals 30Nov09

    Another shameful incident in Australia’s Parliament will take place this month. Soon we are to welcome Israel’s Silvan Shalom. A rather incongruous surname given it means Peace in Hebrew…READ MORE

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