Nationwide Launch of Film on Palestinian-Israeli Nonviolent Movement Marks UN’s International Day of Peace
by Diane Morrow Thursday, September 23, 2010
A diverse audience of students, faculty, faith leaders, and community members responded positively to the Little Town of Bethlehem’s theme of using nonviolence to successfully address the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. They also liked that the film explored separate but overlapping narratives told through a Palestinian Christian, a Palestinian Muslim, and an Israeli Jew.
As part of the nationwide launch, the audience was given an opportunity to dialog with the film’s director as well as representatives from both sides of the conflict. Sami Awad, one of the film’s subjects commented on the audience response, “Students less familiar were clearly moved to learn more about the conflict and what they personally could do. Conversely, some who were growing weary after decades in the struggle for peace in the region were reenergized.”
Panelist Oded Na’aman connected the messages contained in Little Town of Bethlehem to his life, both as a former commander in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and today as a nonviolence proponent with Breaking the Silence. “It is a powerful film that reframes the ongoing Israeli/Palestinian conflict,” he said. “At the heart, we see it is a struggle between those who use violence to achieve their goals and those who insist on nonviolence. This movie encourages hope by telling the story of Israelis and Palestinians who are equally committed to the nonviolent struggle for equality.”
The film’s director Jim Hanon adds, “This was a friendly environment and for a premiere event, it was perfect. The room was full, the audience watched intently, and interacted honestly. It was a good beginning. Now, on to Brown University in Providence (Rhode Island).”
About the film.
Filmed on location in the West Bank, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem, Little Town of Bethlehem brings awareness to a growing nonviolent movement in the Middle East that rarely, if ever, makes international headlines.
Sami Awad is a Palestinian Christian whose grandfather was killed in Jerusalem in 1948. Today he is the executive director of Holy Land Trust, a non-profit organization that promotes Palestinian independence through peaceful means.
Yonatan Shapira is an Israeli Jew whose grandparents were Zionist settlers who witnessed the birth of the Israeli nation. Today he is an outspoken advocate for the nonviolent peace movement, both in his homeland and abroad.
Ahmad Al'Azzeh is a Palestinian Muslim who has lived his entire life in the Azzeh refugee camp in Bethlehem. Today, Ahmad heads the nonviolence program at Holy Land Trust, where he trains others in the methods of peaceful activism.
Little Town of Bethlehem was produced by EthnoGraphic Media (EGM), an educational non-profit organization exploring the critical issues of our time.
For more information visit www.littletownofbethlehem.org
Diane is the Vice President of Public Relations at The B&B Media Group/ The Barnabas Agency. Based in Dallas/Fort Worth, TX
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