Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Palestinians in Silent Film

One of the major debates in Israeli history is the concept of whether Zionism was the story of 'a people without a land and a land without a people', that Israel blossomed from a vacant dessert and only after the Zionist success did the Arab hordes commence their invasion, culminating in the 1948 war.  Of course, the Israeli 'New Historians' like Schlaim, Pappe, and even Morris (at least in the beginning of his career) have blown that story away in the legitimate academic realm for three decades, but the mythology persists in especially American points-of-view.
The clips above show a bustling Ottoman Palestine circa 1896, when French, English, and American film makers went abroad to colonial outposts to produce 'actuality' films, primordial documentary cinema.  It is obvious that the Nakba happened to modern film goers, that this was not a backward, savage people that took over the land.  With this in mind, perhaps our understanding of this film becomes much more vital to understanding current debates about the 'peace process'.

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