Film review: 5 broken cameras

Hot Docs Trailers 2012: 5 BROKEN CAMERAS

 

4 March 2013. A World to Win News Service. 5 Broken Cameras, the first Palestinian documentary nominated for an Oscar, gives an overwhelming depiction of the injustice and brutality on a massive scale against the residents of a village called Bilin in the West Bank. Israeli settlers exude entitlement as they move into new apartments on the hilltops surrounding Bilin, settlements on land stolen from Belin farmers. Not only are Belin’s inhabitants viciously assaulted and oppressed but even the olive trees that are supposedly left to them are burned by brazen settlers or uprooted by the army using armoured construction machinery.

Starting in 2005 and filming over a period of five years with a succession of five cameras destroyed one after another by Israeli soldiers or settlers, Emad Burnat, a farmer turned amateur filmmaker, documented the protests against the land seizures by the Israeli government and the wall under construction that occupies and will separate them from their farmland. Despite great personal risk, he continued filming from a sense of moral obligation to his people and the desire to make the world aware of the struggle to save their land. In 2009 Burnat enlisted the aid of Israeli activist and filmmaker Guy Davidi to help make the film.

The film won many prizes worldwide, in Europe and in the U.S. at the Sundance Film Festival. That this documentary did not win an Oscar is not surprising in a climate where the reactionary feature film Argo received the award for the best picture of the year. Despite having an official invitation to attend the Academy Awards ceremony, when Emad Burnat, his wife and youngest son Gibreel landed in Los Angeles, they were detained and almost deported by U.S. immigration officials until filmmaker Michael Moore intervened and called in Academy lawyers. Continue reading

What is Israel Really Up to Gaza?

Smoke and fire from an Israeli bomb rises into the air above Gaza City

from Counterpunch by JOHN MEARSHEIMER

In response to a recent upsurge in tit for tat strikes between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza, Israel decided to ratchet up the violence even further by assassinating Hamas’s military chief, Ahmad Jabari. Hamas, which had been playing a minor role in these exchanges and even appears to have been interested in working out a long-term ceasefire, predictably responded by launching hundreds of rockets into Israel, a few even landing near Tel Aviv. Not surprisingly, the Israelis have threatened a wider conflict, to include a possible invasion of Gaza to topple Hamas and eliminate the rocket threat.

There is some chance that Operation ‘Pillar of Defence’, as the Israelis are calling their current campaign, might become a full-scale war. But even if it does, it will not put an end to Israel’s troubles in Gaza. After all, Israel launched a devastating war against Hamas in the winter of 2008-9 – Operation Cast Lead – and Hamas is still in power and still firing rockets at Israel. In the summer of 2006 Israel went to war against Hizbullah in order to eliminate its missiles and weaken its political position in Lebanon. That offensive failed as well: Hizbullah has far more missiles today than it had in 2006 and its influence in Lebanon is arguably greater than it was in 2006. Pillar of Defence is likely to share a similar fate.

Israel can use force against Hamas in three distinct ways. First, it can try to cripple the organisation by assassinating its leaders, as it did when it killed Jabari two days ago. Decapitation will not work, however, because there is no shortage of subordinates to replace the dead leaders, and sometimes the new ones are more capable and dangerous than their predecessors. The Israelis found this out in Lebanon in 1992 when they assassinated Hizbullah’s leader, Abbas Musawi, only to find that his replacement, Hassan Nasrallah, was an even more formidable adversary. Continue reading

Book Exposes Violent Role of Paramilitaries in Haiti

Paramilitaries destroyed the free school buses that had been operating in Cap Haitian under Aristide’s government. Credit: Judith Scherr, Cap Haitian, Haiti, August 2004.

By Judith Scherr, Inter Press Service

OAKLAND, California, Aug 16 2012 (IPS) – Haiti’s brutal army was disbanded in 1995, yet armed and uniformed paramilitaries, with no government affiliation, occupy former army bases today.

President Michel Martelly, who has promised to restore the army, has not called on police or U.N. troops to dislodge these ad-hoc soldiers.

Given the army’s history of violent opposition to democracy, Martelly’s plan to renew the army “can only lead to more suffering”, says Jeb Sprague in his forthcoming book “Paramilitarism and the Assault on Democracy in Haiti”, to be released mid August by Monthly Review Press.

The role of Haiti’s military and paramilitary forces has received too little academic and media attention, says Sprague, a doctoral candidate in sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He hopes his book will help to fill that gap.

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Sprague researched the book over more than six years, traveling numerous times to Haiti, procuring some 11,000 U.S. State Department documents through the Freedom of Information Act, interviewing more than 50 people, reading the Wikileaks’ files on Haiti, and studying secondary sources. Continue reading

Palestine: Btselem’s end of 2011 video


btselem on Jan 4, 2012

In 2011, volunteers in B’Tselem’s camera project filmed over 500 hours of footage in the West Bank.

There are two minutes we collected from it, in order to sum up the passing year.

UN to reduce its occupation force in Haiti

MINUSTAH has more than 8,700 soldiers and 3,500 police in the French-speaking Caribbean country. Its mandate expires October 15.

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti, Monday September 19, 2011 – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has announced plans to discuss with the Haitian government, the gradual reduction of MINUSTAH’s peacekeeping force in the country.

This follows violent protests about a sexual assault on an 18 year old resident, allegedly by five Uruguayan peacekeepers who left the country on Friday.

In a broadcast, Ban apologized for the incident, which he termed “totally unacceptable.”

While he praised MINUSTAH’s contribution to the country since 2004, he said he also understands the frustrations of the Haitian people. Continue reading

Stone pelters on bikes attack Kashmir police station

SRINAGAR: Over 300 motorcycle-borne stone pelters attacked a police station in this Jammu and Kashmir summer capital, injuring six policemen. Over 70 attackers were arrested and 10 bikes were seized during the clashes, which lasted for five hours, police said Sunday.

As Muslims throughout the Kashmir Valley prayed in mosques to observe ‘Shab-e-Qadr’ — the holiest night according to the Muslim calendar — the stone pelters attacked a police station Saturday night, trying to re-enact the unrest witnessed here last year.

As security forces were busy facilitating the smooth conduct of prayers at various mosques in the city, the men attacked the old city’s Nowhatta police station, a police statement said here. Continue reading

Kashmir police arrested in deadly misconduct cases

(AFP) – 8/7/11

SRINAGAR, India — Three policemen and an army officer have been arrested in Indian Kashmir as part of separate investigations into the death of a man in custody and an allegedly faked gunbattle, officials said Monday.

Last month, Nazim Rashid, a 28-year-old shopkeeper, died after being detained by counter-insurgency police in the northern town of Sopore in connection with an unsolved murder.

The cause of his death was not disclosed, but it resulted in a one-day strike across the Himalayan state and promises from chief minister Omar Abdullah of “swift and exemplary action”.

“Two policemen have been arrested and a few others are under the scanner,” a police officer told AFP on Monday on condition of anonymity, adding that the arrests were made at the weekend. Continue reading