On a small inched, white brick wall, and a computer with an LCD in front, “Budrus” Julia Bacha’s documentary was screened last Thursday in the French Cultural Center. The screening started with a short speech delivered by the French chief of the Center, in which he welcomed the comers to the event, he briefly talked about the documentary. Under a starless, but full moon sky, and with some slow breeze, the inspiring story of this little village called “Budrus” was set to be told to Gaza.
Budrus is an agricultural village near RamAllah, with a population of estimated 1500 Palestinians. As Israel builds The Separation wall, this small village finds itself in an uphill battle to defend its farmland against confiscation and uprooting. Here emerge the protagonists of Budrus who live up to their duty in not just mobilizing the village to peacefully resist the soldiers and their bulldozers, but also in uniting the most divided people.
“Budrus” provides an insight to the genesis of the peaceful movement against the wall chronicling its promising start, its creative approaches, and its humbly victorious outcomes.
Ayed Morrar is the architect of the peaceful demonstration against the Wall. Mr, Ayed has a history full of arrests and fugitiveness, because of his political activism against the Occupation.
But Morrar explains the importance of non-violent resistance in one of the conferences, he organized. He says:” that Palestinians should think creatively, and these peaceful protests are good for us to bring attention to the ongoing situation in Budrus.”
Eltizam Morrar, is a 15 year old young lady, who shares her father the enthusiasm to defend the village. Yet women didn’t participate in the first protests, so the young lady challenges her father that women should be active in these protests. After all Palestinian women go hand in hand with men in the struggle against the occupation. As Burdrus’ women took a front seat in the confrontation, they were met with great force. Yet, these women were not deterred from actively participating in the demonstrations.
As the father and the daughter were successful in engaging women, the next step was to unite the divided.
Uniting the devided
The organizer of the movement, Ayed Morrar, says that his ideological difference with Hamas should never stand in the way of having the Islamic movement involved in the protests.
On his part, the Hamas member in Budrus emphasized that using the method of non-violent is crucial to save Budrus from a bleak future.
But the unity in struggle expanded to who Israelis joined the wave of non-violence protests. An Israeli peace activist Kobi Snitz and some Israelis join the Palestinians in Budrus to halt the uprooting and confiscation of the village.
Palestinians and Israelis virtually contact, and when they do it’s mostly with soldiers on checkpoints, and in prisons. But Budrus exceptionally brought these young Israelis against their own army.
The documentary doesn’t neglect the Israeli army narrative of the events. Doron Speilman, the then army spokesperson. A solider with a native American accent insists that the wall aims at “keeping the Israelis save”. He adds in a provocative remark that “the Palestinian lives are less fortunate than the death of Israelis”.
Budrus: sets the example
Budrus after 55 brave protests and steadfastness eventually could save 95% of the village’s lands, and set the scene for more similar protests in different areas facing the same threats as the this small village.
The Israeli military, however, deny that the decision to alter the route of the wall to an area closer to the international borders of 1967, comes as the as result of the popular peaceful resistance.
Three in one
“Budrus” is an inspiringly thought provoking piece. The Budrus case showed that unity is the key to prevail over the injustices in Palestine. Moreover, the village highlights the potentials of a mass mobilized protests that were not exclusive to Palestinians. It also included internationals and even Israelis.
Many question the vitality of the peaceful resistance as a whole to change facts on the ground. “Burdus” might have been an exceptional case, but no one can question that engaging the young and the old, women and men, Palestinians and non-Palestinian in the peaceful struggle against the occupation is a phenomena that the Israeli occupation fights and fears. So it is left for the audience to decide which option they support.
For more information about the documentary click here.