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OBER 2007 guardianfeats@src.gla.ac.

uk FEATURES 11

r
think they are living for their future by sacrificing their children.
I think there’s something very deep and philosophical about this,
and that’s what I want to film when I go back.”
And Ke is adamant that he will return to Lebanon to produce
Timeline of the Palestinian struggle
a longer documentary, even if, as for his last project, the trip has Following the break-up of the Ottoman Empire during WWI, the Palestinian area was mandated to
to be funded with months of scrimping and long shifts working in British control. There was increased Jewish migration to the area, and the native Palestinians openly
a fast-food franchise. rebelled against British control. In 1947 the UN partitioned Palestine into two states, one Arab and
“I think the film I want to do would help the situation, and one Jewish, and in 1948 the state of Israel was established, occupying 77% of former Palestine. The
raise awareness. I’m trying to make it as un-politically charged
d as possible, because I don’t thing people connect to that. You see
Israeli authorities pursued a policy of expelling resident Arabs, and 750,000 out of the estimated
so many TV programmes about conflict and people being killed, 900,000 Palestinians became refugees. 60 years later, there are around 350,000 Palestinian refugees in
and you see bodies in the street, but you don’t know the people. Lebanon alone.
What I want is to bring people back to the origin, so they where A series of conflicts between the Palestine Liberation Organisation, the Israeli Defence Force and
e the whole population comes from. I want to focus on one person, other neighbouring security forces have had repurcussions throughout the Middle East, and have
n on one journey.
l “There is a man I’m focussing on, Mohammed Dakwar, now
meant that the displaced Palestinians eking out a living in Lebanese camps have faced a constant day
I in his seventies, who came to Lebanon when he was 11 years old to day struggle to find a secure and welcoming home.
s – travelling in a cargo box. He managed to send his son abroad
because he thinks it is a better future for him, but he wants to stay
n in Lebanon because it is close to his home. And from there he is
r collecting things – coins, articles, clothes, literature, even a bomb
l
d
s
“I saw the bombs. There
t
are militants in the street,
d
e
and everyone has guns."
y that Israel dropped on Palestine – he managed to get someone to
deliver that to him and he’s kept it.
s “When I was interviewing him he told me he went back to
e Palestine in the 1990s, when he was in his sixties [the Israelis only
t allow older people to go back in case they fight] and he went back
m for two weeks. He went back to his village, which has been razed
n, to ground zero, and he couldn’t find anyone there who knew the
e place, or any houses; it’s just empty ground. He spent two weeks
d searching, with his memories, fifty years after he left, and the last
w day before he had to go back to Lebanon, he went down the road
l and saw a tree and remembered he used to live near there. And
e he found a big stone, managed to lift it up, and found the well he
s used to drink from. He was crying. He told me the water was still
r there, he could still drink from it. He was in his sixties then, and
he hadn’t been there for fifty years.
g “And that’s what I want to show – the human side.”
s All screenhots copyright Ke Cai. Clockwise from top left: Guns are a casual part of life in Palestinian refugee communities; local
schoolchildren show their curiosity towards the documentary lens; many parents encourage their children to get involved in the
s To watch and rate Ke's film 'A Conversation and a Speech',
fighting; rooftop gunmen line the a parade route in southern Lebanon; the camera turns on Ke, visiting a Palestinian refugee family.
y please log on to: www.channel4.com/fourdocs/