Al Jazeera English Clips of Palestinians and Gaza on Youtube

14 Aug

 

“Raed has saved me from stone- throwers, wrestle angry men with machine guns and gotten me places far militants that insisted were off- limits, all without a by line or bullet proof vest.”

– George, news journalist for Al Jazeera’s program, “Witness – Fixer in Gaza”

“No Asylum for Palestinians in Canada” is a short 4 minute clip on Palestinians who seek political aslyum in Canada. While some of them such as Yusof, has been successful in his application, others such as Osama, have been rejected. According to the stateless Palestinians, the problem lies with the “inconsistent way the authorities process the refugee claims”. After 9/11, refugee advocate groups also claimed that the number of applications rejected rose dramatically. It appears, that the image of Canada, as a welcoming place for refugees may not be what it appears to be.

A more moving and inside look at Gaza by the same TV station is “Witness – Gaza Fixer Part One and Two” which follows the personal story of Raed Athramneh, known as a “fixer” – primarily an insider or local who helps foreign journalists by “looking out for their back” while they cover their news.

Raed, like many others, has been trapped in Gaza for over 17 years, with no permission to leave the strip. With unemployment at a record high, he is the sole breadwinner of the entire extended family. They live in Beit Hanoun, an area famous for men who are tough and hot-headed. During their filming of this documentary, the town came under attack by the Israeli government on November 5th, which resulted in the death of 18 of Raed’s family members and 40 being gravely injured.

The narrative is provided by photojournalist and filmmaker, George, who has covered news in Gaza for more than 25 years. Through an objective lens, the film somehow manages to delve into the personal. The early scenes where security to access Gaza is heavily curtailed, chaotic traffic and gunshots in Gaza is a confrontational shock to the ignorant audience who can sense that it is a place where peace is sorely lacking. Through Raed, we come to understand what it is like to live in Gaza, especially when his own family is attacked. As the man scours through the debris and rampage of his destroyed house, he muttered, ” There is no future in this life. What future?”, depicting the sense of helplessness felt by many Gazans, who have also lost their own close ones. In another heart-wrenching footage, Raed was visibly angry, ” What kind of peace can we have with these Nazis, these Zionists?”. The film tries to slip in lighter moments such as the scene where Raed’s cousin, Ahmad, joked about being found alive under the rubbles after a shelling. There is no comfort to however knowing that his own parents died before his own eyes.

Towards the end of the documentary, George, who was assigned to film an old British cemetery containing the graves of Allied solders, decided the story could wait. This was one of those few places in Gaza that looks so different from the city. Its green serene and well-paid maintenance is paid for by the British. As George puts it, “In a world of violence, where peace is so rare, this was a moment I wanted to last…”

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