In September 2000 the residents of Bourg Al Shamir, a Palestinian refugee camp in Lebannon, began a project called Across Borders to teach their young people computer skills and, more importantly to allow them to communicate with refugees in other camps in the Middle East and also with Palestinians around the globe.
The internet has been central to the conflict in the Middle East over the past 13 months, spreading news and also mobilising support around the world. Websites of organisations aligned to the opposing sides have aso been attacked by skilled computer hackers in the increasingly complex cyber war.
Irishman Enda Murray travelled to Israel and the Occupied territories to meet those involved in the issues.
He meets the children of Jalazon refugee camp outside Ramallah who struggle to continue their education against the need to earn money for their families through child labour. He meets Najee Odeh, the inspiring community leader from Dheisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem. Najee pursues his dream of putting the stories of the refugees online on their new camp website despite having been imprisoned 26 times by the Israelis and once by the Palestinian authority.
Australian born Adam Hanieh describes how the Israeli policy of creating Palestinian “bantustans” in which the residents are prevented from leaving is creating a flood of activity on the internet where communication knows no borders.
Arjan El Fassad talks through the “Electronic Intifada” which reaches a network of intellectuals and media professionals to dispel the media myths which exist about the Palestinian situation. The site is also used to mobilise activists for street demos in cities across the globe.
Sasha Evans of the Palestinian human rights organisation, LAW, explains how she has come to better understand the Israeli position through online forums which would be impossible in a face to face sitution.
Israeli media activists describe their ambitious plan for a joint website with their Palesinian counterparts which would provide a first in across border collaboration.
And in Australia, an innovative web project gives a chance for Australian Palestinians to create and exhibit art online in a new departure which could set a precedent for diasporic communities all over the world to follow. It’s a project which sets the internet apart as a space for creating, as well as reflecting, cultural identitiy.
Produced by Enda Murray
Executive Producer Brent Clough
Engineered by Steven Tilley.