Palestinian Diaries

Part of the Global Perspectives on War and Peace Collection. For this documentary, a group of videomakers trained three Palestinians to document their lives for a six-month period. These people speak of everyday hardships under Israeli rule and family and friends lost in the conflict.

0:00Copy video clip URL Intro scroll.

0:40Copy video clip URL “The story of my people is long, and full of pain and suffering.” The diaries start with shots of occupying soldiers, who the narrator explains have conquered their homeland.

1:13Copy video clip URL The narrator’s father rocks his grandson in a cradle. “I’m sure he is looking in my sons eyes for the hopes and dreams of a better future.”

1:50Copy video clip URL Opening titles. Videomakers: Nazeh Adel Darwazehh, Suher Ismael, and Abdel Salam Shihada.

2:25Copy video clip URL Abdel Salam Shihada. He talks about his search for someone to tell his story for him. He focuses on Um Ahmed, a woman who sings the stories of the town. She tells the story of Palestine’s occupation.

3:40Copy video clip URL Shihada’s childhood friend, Abdel Muti, describes living under military rule. Um Ahmed talks about police oppression.

6:10Copy video clip URL A group of children play marbles, and while walking to school, one of the boys talks about the negative effects of police rule on school attendance and performance.

7:05Copy video clip URL A group of Palestinian women march, shouting “We will die for Palestine.” The police attack a group of protesters. Shihada talks about the unity felt by the Palestinians while fighting the Israelis. A car, carrying wounded people to a makeshift hospital, is described as the only ambulance the Palestinians can use.

8:30Copy video clip URL One of Shihada’s friends, talks about being wounded by the Israelis.

9:30Copy video clip URL Nazeh Adel Darwazehh’s diary. He shows the streets at night after curfew, and introduces his father and mother. The soldiers gather outside their house. A group of men gather water for animals while announcements of curfew are made. A neighbor explains that many goats die because of the curfews, during which their owners cannot feed them.

12:02Copy video clip URL Another neighbor, Aboud, talks about being wanted by the Israeli authorities, and trying to live on the run from the soldiers.

13:30Copy video clip URL A boy talks about watching movies inside the house during the curfew, because conditions while traveling are so dangerous. He talks about an Indian film he saw called “The Good Brothers,” in which the brothers are reconciled at the end.

14:45Copy video clip URL Aboud talks about being afraid of the police, who would certainly kill him if they found him at night.

15:30Copy video clip URL The people of the neighborhood celebrate on the streets.

16:15Copy video clip URL People return home for curfew, and the Israeli soldiers force the Palestinians to take down Palestinian flags.

17:10Copy video clip URL Suher Ismael’s diary. Suher explains that it is the day of her engagement. The older men in the family talk about respecting the traditions of marriage in a time of cultural strain.

18:30Copy video clip URL Suher, who doesn’t remember her father or brother, who were both killed, talks to an elderly aunt about the family. She introduces her aunt’s estate and family. She explains that her aunt’s vineyard is being destroyed by an Israeli highway.

20:35Copy video clip URL Amneh, Suher’s aunt, talks about Suher’s father being deported.

22:22Copy video clip URL Suher’s family pray to Allah for her engagement.

22:59Copy video clip URL Abdel Salam Shihada’s diary. Um Ahmed, the old woman, searches through her belongings for memories of Abdel’s father. Shots of the town going about daily life.

24:20Copy video clip URL The family of Shihada’s friend, Abdel Muti, prepares his grandmother’s funeral.

26:20Copy video clip URL The morning after Abdel Muti’s arrest. His family talks about his arrest by the Israeli police. His wife and children wait for his return. Muti’s wife talks about her sadness over her husband’s arrest.

28:15Copy video clip URL A young man sings a song over shots of the police ambushing in the streets. An older woman talks about her son’s murder by the police. Members of the young man, Usamah’s, family talk about his murder at the hands of the police.

30:55Copy video clip URL Nazeh’s diary. The curfew is lifted, and the Palestinians can now move through the streets. Aboud, still hiding from police, talks about his daily routine. He talks about underground youth movements. “The army has orders to arrest or shoot any protesters.” The underground movement punishes one thief; they have taken over law authority since the Palestinians have no police forces.

33:20Copy video clip URL Aboud talks about his brothers’ involvement in the Palestinian army, and how two of his brothers were arrested.

34:20Copy video clip URL A riot begins and the Palestinians throw rocks at soldiers. One wounded man is loaded into one of the “ambulance” cars.

35:09Copy video clip URL Abdel Salam’s diary. Footage of the funerals of martyrs. Many women cry for the dead boy while chanting for their cause.

37:34Copy video clip URL Suher’s diary. Suher explains that her mother has not been the same since her father and brother were killed. She talks to her mother, Huda, about deciding to stay in Palestine while her husband and son were deported and chose to fight for the PLO. She explains, “he followed his ideals, not his emotions.” The women of the family bathe 3 small children in a bathtub. Huda talks about fearing for her children.

41:34Copy video clip URL The three young boys of the house look at photos of dead Israelis. One young boy talks about his older brother being killed in front of the younger brothers, and he begins to cry. Huda says, “I hate this life, this world. I hate the Israelis.”

44:10Copy video clip URL Suher introduces her sister-in-law Mazeh, who talks about the murder of her husband, and Suher’s brother. Her young son looks at a picture of his father.

48:39Copy video clip URL Nazeh’s diary. Nazeh talks about Palestinian support for Iraq during the Gulf War, since the Iraqis were bombing Tel Aviv. Aboud talks about prices going high while Iraqi missiles head to Tel Aviv. Curfew is imposed, and no Palestinians can be on the streets.

54:00Copy video clip URL Abdel Salam’s diary. In Rafah, people are allowed to leave their homes to buy food for two hours a week. For the rest of the war, forty-some days, they are forced to stay inside their houses. Abdel Salam’s family feels defeated that the Iraqis were beaten so quickly during the Gulf War.

56:25Copy video clip URL Abdel Salam says these films were “just a tiny glimpse of a long story. So much more must be told; so much more must be done. Who will tell when all of this must be over?”

57:08Copy video clip URL Epilogue. Aboud is still on the run. Abdel Muti is serving a three-year prison term. Haidar is paralyzed and has opened a book store in Rafah. Najib Farrah, Suher’s fiance, was arrested and held for 10 months. Suher and Najib are now married.

58:20Copy video clip URL End credits.

59:40Copy video clip URL End.



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