Wednesday March 25th marked the 7th day of the 9th annual Human Rights Film Festival sponsored by Ditshwanelo for the year 2009.
The festival, which is to end on the 3rd of April, has been airing touching documentaries from different countries/continents citing the many forms of human rights violations existing today.
Ditshwanelo, which has had the privilege of using the AV centre in Maruapula School, had also invited a number of influential officials to head discussions about the targeted violations in question at that particular day.
Amongst the officials were the Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation, Phandu Skelemani, Madoda Nasha from UNHCR, Zimbabwean human rights activists, the media and some Members of Parliament.
The theme for one of the most touching and heart-wrenching documentaries was: Human rights and the Middle East.
The aim of the theme-based documentaries on the particular day was to give viewers analyzed insights into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that has been raging for years.
The documentary, which was divided into two parts, looks at and points out the major human rights violations that resulted from Israel’s domination of the Palestine world.
The first part, which is 28 minutes long, is an insight into the life of a Palestinian citizen. It’s called: This Palestinian Life by Egyptian Journalist Philip Rizk.
It’s more of a historical content as to what really transpired, who the land truly belongs to, and the world’s input in the war-torn countries.
The main part of the theme is presented in the 90 minute ethnography called Occupation 101-voices of the silenced minority by Syfyan Omeish.
The film shows the behind the scenes horrors that took place inside places like the Gaza Strip and the West Bank where Palestinians were forced to live in congestion in order to make space for the Israeli settlers.
The film also looks at how Palestinian Christians were forced into exile even though they lived at a place where Jesus was said to have first set foot.
Although it might seem as if religion was the cause, it turns out Palestinian Muslims shared the same fate.
Small children are depicted as full of fear and nightmares because of the Israeli tanks that terrorize their homesteads day and night.
Viewers are also made to believe that children at these places are forced to grow up fast without play because every day is a struggle, even going to school is life threatening. One doesn’t know whether they will be able to make it back home.
A survey conducted in Palestine also revealed that since 1967, 18 000 Palestinian homes were demolished to make way for Israeli settlers.
Perhaps the most touching and angering moment of the film was the death of a young American woman who had wanted to see the truth about the Middle East for herself and share her experiences with the whole world.
The young lady had apparently offered her volunteering services to help an association formed in Palestine that invited observers worldwide to come and testify to the on-going human rights violations rife in Palestine.
The young lady had been struck dead by a demolition truck that was ordered to demolish a house of an innocent Palestinian doctor who lived with his family, She died trying to help them protest, but that was not before she could reveal the horrors she had seen to the world.
The films show how innocent Palestine children were shot and killed at peaceful demonstrations.
The Israeli soldiers had claimed the use of rubber bullets only for investigators to prove that the bullets were real steel covered by rubber.
The film also looks at how students could not reach university level.
The film uses sources such as the Washington Report on Middle East matters to prove some of its theories, of which one was that because of the war, 72% of Palestinians live in poverty.