The Research and Educational Project for Middle East and Islamic Studies

iJoint Research Project: Human Mobility and Human Security in the Eastern Mediterranean)

Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa Tokyo University of Foreign Studies

Conflict Victims in Cinema \ Narratives of Palestinians and Jews after 1990s \



Document revised as follows

As the dominant narratives are spread by victors of the conflicts, so the alternative truth is always missing from all accounts. In case of Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the history was mostly written and popularized from an Israeli perspective until recently. The Palestinian suffering brought about by the 1948 War, which they call it Nakba, is still almost unknown, little attention was paid, and rarely understood. After 60 years of continuous Nakba, including the recent invasion of Gaza strip, the situation didnft change so much. There have been several reports and projects which tried to transmit voices of the people, but the efforts havenft enjoyed enough attention across the world.

from the film "Refugees for Life"

The same power politics is also true about the Holocaust. The destruction of European Jewish community in the Second World War had been ignored during the war, and light was shed on it only after it was over. However, since the establishment of Israel, the story began to be written by a group of Jewish academics, and utilized to justify existence of the country. So, both the Holocaust and the war of 1948 are the events which are mainly described from an Israeli/Zionist perspective, and connected to each other by this common characteristic. Most of the stories on broadcast media follow this line, focus on the superficial scenes of violence, and pay attention to the fruitless diplomatic negotiation of the so-called Peace Process, ignoring the deep-seated injustices which prevent a just peace and long-term solution.

This situation notwithstanding, grassroots works by filmmakers has opened doors for the people to express themselves. They were given space to narrate, and their story began to be recorded as oral histories. Especially after 1990, many films about conflicts came to be filmed by non-residents, including Japanese filmmakers, and also by the residents who experience the conflict on daily basis. Those works describe daily lives and problems of ordinary people, letting them talk about trials, atrocities and massacres they experienced. Technical innovation in the field of video recording and editing, and its increased availability, made it much easier for the people to express themselves. The introduction of digital technologies has advanced the speed of transmission of media texts through the internet. Now people in distant places can have access to those narratives through visual media, either in documentaries, fiction films or online media.

In this series of sessions, we focus on the narratives of different dimensions of the conflict. The fact that the filmmakers themselves belong to the communities they cover, makes their works deeper and more meaningful for the Japanese audience. The question of onefs positionality, and the relationship between the artistsf ethnicity and the communal narrative they produce, is in constant need of careful consideration. The narratives in these films, point to the importance of storytelling by the victims of the conflict. It is important as a vehicle of charting social history, and also as a tool to problematise the egrand narrativesf by nationalists, as well as histories written by the victors. Conflict endangers people, but they survive and work out strategies of living, adapting and resisting their oppressors. Narratives construct an important part of their identity, and reproduce their lives in the conflict. Thus, there are many crucial lessons that we may learn from narratives of Conflict Victims in the cinema.

Workshop gPalestinian Identity in the Conflicth
Date: Jan. 30, 2009 (Fri.) @ Detailed Timetable

@Poster download

Venue: Tokyo University of Foreign Studies,
Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa Conference room 303

Lecturer: Hady Zaccak (Filmmaker, Lecturer at St. Joseph University)

Commentator: Haim Bresheeth (Professor at University of East London)

Cinemas: gRefugees for Lifeh (by Hady Zaccak), gState of Dangerh (by Haim Bresheeth)

Contents of the Lecture:

In this workshop, we discuss about identity building of the people who face conflict in their daily lives. Two stories of the films reflect different period and dimensions of the same conflict. In gRefugees for Lifeh, filmed in 200s, Palestinians spent their time in Lebanon or grown up in Germany talk about themselves. Their narratives let us think about inheritance and adaptation, for the generation grown up in conflict as given condition. In gState of Dangerh, stories from the first Intifada will be narrated and describe lives under intensified conflict. Influence which was brought about on their identity by this epochal event can be investigated.

Symposium g Holocaust and Nakba in the Cinemag

Date: Feb. 1, 2009 (Sun.) @ Detailed Timetable

@Poster download

Venue: Kyoto University, Yoshida-Minami Campus, Graduate School of Human and Environmental Studies Bdg. BF Lecture room

Lecturers: Haim Bresheeth (Professor at University of East London)

Commentator: Hady Zaccak (Filmmaker, Lecturer at St. Joseph University)
With Japanese translation, open for public guests Cinemas: gRefugees for Lifeh (by Hady Zaccak),
gState of Dangerh (by Haim Bresheeth) - For Optional Screening

Cooperation: Kyoto University, Graduate School of Human and Environmental Studies
Ritsumeikan University, Modernism Research Society

Contents of the Lecture:

In this session we focus on experiences of Palestinians during and since the Nakba, as distinct and also similar to Jews during the Holocaust ? Palestinian and Jewish tragedies are connected by the conflict ? and are shaping the attitudes and identities of both communities. The fact that Jews who have been the victims of European Fascism, have ended up inflicting similar tragedies on the Palestinians, is indeed a sad irony of history. What did they learn from their tragic experiences? Are they at all sensitive to the tragedy of the Nakba? By comparing these narratives, we are able to examine the ways both peoples responded to their tragedies, and how those have featured in the international political and cultural agenda.

Films of both guests will be screened before the symposium as optional session.

Symposium / Workshop gTwo States in Palestine: Too Little, Too Late g

Date: Feb. 3, 2009 (Tue.)@ Detailed Timetable

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Venue: Osaka University, Toyonaka campus, Machikaneyama-Kaikan

Lecturer: Haim Bresheeth (Professor at University of East London)

Cinema: gState of Dangerh (by Haim Bresheeth)

Cooperation: Osaka University Global COE Program, A Research Base for Conflict Studies in the Humanities

Contents of the Lecture:

In this workshop, the long-term political solutions proposed for resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, will be examined. There have been two main approaches for the political future of Palestine; they are the gTwo State Solutionh and the gOne State Solutionh, sometimes referred to as the Bi-National State. Both ideas were debated at the UN in 1947, and the majority of states, pressurized by the Western powers, chose the partition of Palestine between the two sides in the conflict. Israel, set up in 1948, has never agreed to allow a Palestinian state to exist, until the Oslo negotiations. We all know that the state promised to the Palestinians at Oslo, Washington and Madrid remains more elusive than ever, with Israel illegally confiscating more and more of Palestine, and making such a solution all but impossible. The so called peace-process has been totally unequal, what the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish called ethe relationship of a horse and a riderf hence unable to produce a just solution for both sides, being directed to reflect only the colonial interests of Israel. In this session, we will reconsider the two options in the light of current developments, and the likelihood of a solution in the near future, as referred to in the various films.

Lecture g Palestinian refugees in Diaspora ? New Generationg

Date: Feb. 4, 2009 (Wed.), from 13:10 to 14:40@ Detailed Timetable

@Poster download

Venue: Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, Lecture room 115

Lecturer: Hady Zaccak (Filmmaker, Lecturer at St. Joseph University)

Cinema: gRefugees for Lifeh (by Hady Zaccak)

Contents of the Lecture:

This lecture will be held among a series of lectures programmed by MEIS, for undergraduate students of Tokyo University of Foreign Studies. It will be the final class of gBasic Lectures for Middle Eastern Studiesh in this semester. In this lecture, the topic of the new generation of Palestinians in Diaspora will be delivered as a focal point. Born in prolonged life as refugees and transplanted in new conditions in Lebanon or Germany, Palestinians of the younger generation narrate their feeling and sense of belonging in this film. It will give us hint to think about their life put in the condition of inevitable Diaspora.

Profile of Lecturers

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