Maymanah Farhat

Israel's latest attack on the poor

Residents of our village are leaving for fear of running out of food; water is scarce and there are only four small grocery stores for a population of about 15,000 people. This is common throughout the South, as most depend on the cities for commerce (cities they are now cut off from). My grandmother and aunt have left the safety of our family’s bomb shelter to stay in a village on the coast. What appalling choices they have been given — seeking refuge in a building with no bomb shelter, in closer proximity to Israeli war ships, or remaining in a village where food is running out. The death toll in Lebanon is now 150 civilians, with the number of injured rising to 350. 

The report from Dahiyeh: The shelling is getting worse

The shelling in Lebanon has gotten worse since Israel began attacking a couple of days ago. The roads, bridges and overpasses of the south have been bombed to the point where the entire area is debilitated. Villages are cut off from each other, and from main cities. The electrical plant in the south was bombed early on so hundreds of thousands of people have been without electricity during the hottest time of the year. The smallest of bridges (like the one that links our village, Arab Salim, and the main road) have been bombed. 

Film Review: "Kings and Extras": Digging for a Palestinian Image

Azza El Hassan’s documentary Kings and Extras: Digging for a Palestinian Image chronicles the director’s journey on the trail of the lost PLO film archive that went missing in Beirut in 1982. Through the narratives of individuals whose interviews El Hassan feels can assist her with locating the lost archive, the film touches on several aspects of contemporary Palestinian life. The engaging documentary was featured in this year’s Chicago Palestine Film Festival, adding yet another dimension to the chronicling of Palestinian history. 

Film Review: The Balata Film Collective: "Nour's Dream"

This year at the Chicago Palestine Film Festival, the Balata Film Collective presented their thirty-one minute documentary Nour’s Dream. Through a visual journey of Palestinian history, culture, heritage and resistance the film demonstrates the imperative need for the documentation of Palestinian lives. As the fictional main character, Nour narrates the documentary by informing the viewer of the significance of stones within past and present Palestinian society. 

Film Review: "Yasmine's Song"

Najwa Najjar’s short feature film, Yasmine’s Song, 2005, uses the story of Yasmine, a young Palestinian woman living in a small Palestinian village, to articulate the even greater difficulties Palestinians are facing as their land, villages, communities and families become increasingly divided by the wall. In her film, Najjar examines the stifling effects of the Israeli occupation on Palestinian life through the most universal subject, love. The narrative of the film revolves around the love story of Yasmine and Ziad (a young man from her village). 

"Three Arab Painters in New York" to open in New York City

Three Arab Painters in New York is an art exhibition that features the work of three leading New York-based Arab painters. Samia Halaby, Sumayyah Samaha and Athir Shayota have been contributing to contemporary American art for decades and have exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the United States. Varied in style, technique, medium, scale and artistic influence, the three present a glimpse into the diverse and complex nature of the Arab World’s art and visual culture. 

Film Review: "Bethlehem Bandolero"

Bethlehem Bandolero is a quirky six-minute short by Palestinian filmmaker Larissa Sansour. In the role of a “Mexican gunslinger” that could be straight out of a Spaghetti Western, Sansour’s performance captures the irrationality of Israel’s building of a twenty-five foot “security” wall as means of seeking “peace” with Palestinians. Sansour confronts the illogic of the situation with her own demonstration of absurdity in a witty but bizarre journey in her native Palestine where she takes on the wall in a High Noon-like duel, dressed in a pistol-toting getup that includes a large red sombrero and a black and white polka-dot bandana that covers her face. 

Film Review: "Last Supper (Abu Dis)"

Issa Freij and Nicolas Wadimoff’s documentary Last Supper (Abu Dis) examines a Palestinian village on the outskirts of Jerusalem that is slowly being enclosed by the Israeli apartheid wall. The twenty-six minute film exposes the violations of human rights that are resulting from the supposed “security” measurements the Israeli government has taken over the past six years. As the wall expands, Palestinians continue to be cut off from their communities, land, farms, families and social infrastructures. 

Film Review: The Chicago Palestine Film Festival's Evening of Shorts

Rina Khoury’s West…East, is a nine minute narrative film about the Palestinian catastrophe that is told through the journey of a blind woman and her son, amidst an ambiguous landscape. Enas Muthaffar’s East…West is a sixteen minute documentary film that chronicles her family’s expulsion from their home as the apartheid wall encroaches nearby and threatens to segregate them from their community. Both films were shown in conjunction with two short films by Annemarie Jacir, Some Crumbs for the Birds and An Explanation (and then burn the ashes)