Students react to documentary on Palestinian villager’s struggles

By Rana Khatib

“5 Broken Cameras,” a documentary filmed by Palestinian villager Emad Burnat and codirected by Israeli Guy Davidi, captures Burnat’s daily life struggles living under Israeli occupation. During filming, he goes through five cameras broken because of attacks that he faces as he films.

About 60 people from the UIC community watched the film at a February screening organized by Students for Justice in Palestine.

In the documentary, Burnat shows demonstrations, gas bombs and death in his village of Bil’in. Released in November 2011, the film has become more widely known recently because of its Academy Award nomination.

Many students who watched the film said it had a big impact on them.

“‘5 Broken Cameras’ shows that the only way to exist in Palestine is to resist the inequality and injustice that happens due to the occupation of Palestine and its people,” said Hanan Wuhush, president of Students for Justice in Palestine.

Event coordinator Nehal Hindi thought the film was a good way to document current events through the eyes of a Palestinian farmer.

“It’s a great depiction of Palestinians living under the Israeli occupation,” Hindi said.

The film created a personal connection for American-born Palestinians who knew about the occupation.

“It made what’s going on over there closer to me,” sophomore Talat Suleiman said. “It also was a realization that his story is very similar to many Palestinians back home.”

Though the film identifies the hardships and struggles of the Palestinians, it offers a positive outlook.

“With all of the negativity does come a silver lining,” senior Anthony Vega said. “The opposition to Israeli expansion isn’t made up of solely Palestinians; Americans, liberal Israelis, as well as activists and journalists from many other countries can be seen in the documentary alongside native Palestinians.”

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