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Film Review: “Budrus”

Oct 17, 2010 — Film Festival

Budrus was not just another village in Palestine destined to be surrounded by the segregation wall — it became a turning point in non-violent Palestinian struggle.

Ayad, a main character in this documentary about resistance to the wall, held on tightly to his land, like the roots of the olive trees for which he was willing to sacrifice his life. His family, friends and others also firmly stood their ground, refusing to move even as bombs and bulldozers attempted to push them away. As it turned out, it was the unity of the Budrus villagers that prevented Israeli land-clearing equipment from cutting down their olive trees to build the wall.

This was a struggle that did not fear putting wives and mothers, daughters and children in its front lines. It was not afraid to use Israeli activists and other sympathizers from around the world to help surround and stop the Israeli Army. Using short, amateur films shot by several humanitarian groups during the earliest days of the protests, the documentary was also unafraid to expose the Israeli Army’s brutality. However, it sometimes seemed fearful of showing the vulnerability and self-imposed restraint of Ayad and others. In the film, Ayad asks: do suicide bombings really justify building a massive wall to isolate Palestinian villages?

While watching “Budrus” I wondered if there were any differences between the fears of Jasmin, a female Israeli Special Forces soldier shown trying to secure land for the wall, and the fears of a Palestinian mother, whose land was being taken, and whose son was being tortured? I don’t think so!

Along with these questions, “Budrus” ultimately gave me a beacon of hope — or perhaps a mirage of illumination. After all, nations such as Palestine and Israel make their own destinies. And, no matter how dark it gets for its people, there will always be a dawn.

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