A writer since a young age, the written word was always my favorite medium. Over the years I’ve written hundreds of pages of ethnographic notes, short stories and poems. However, moving images are some of the most powerful story telling mediums, so naturally I’ve started to produce video art and short advocacy videos.
“I am from Nabi Saleh”
I produced this video for one of my clients, World Vision, who sponsored a photography and advocacy course for children that I organized in Nabi Saleh in the summer of 2011.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/embed/Ofri0Bo5lF8]
By: Alis, Motaz and Issa
Song: “Twisted Nerve” – Kill Bill Soundtrack
This is the second draft of a video art piece that I made in the 12 hours bridging my last day as 24 and my first day as 25. It is a gift to my friends, family.
The photographs used for this stop-motion video were shot on an incomplete part of the Separation Wall in Bethlehem, 20 minutes from downtown Jerusalem. Sitting atop the highest mountain, next to the famous Everest Hotel, this location has some of the most beautiful, sweeping views of Bethlehem and Jerusalem.
My friend Motaz, who grew up in and lives in Bethlehem (Beit Jalla), showed me the site before the wall was constructed — it was a natural wonder where we could escape all occupations. Over the course of the last year, we spent many afternoons sitting on the olive terraces, breathing in the fresh air — finding peace in such a noisy place.
Like a new building that blocks your view, the birth of the wall was ugly, violent and threatened the natural beauty of the land. In response, sometimes I tried to push on the wall — as if I could make it move just a bit. Other times, I let go of the physical space and pretended to have a magic wand that could make it all disappear.
Both my imaginary and physical responses to the wall were insufficient — after I let the wall hurt me so terribly I had to change first how I felt about the wall, before I could change it.
There, in a dance with the wall and my friend, we found Little Red and together, we made beautiful memories.
“Child Abducted by Israeli Army”
This 3 minute video (Arabic, Hebrew, English sub-titles) is about the illegal abduction and torture of a fourteen year-old Palestinian boy from Nabi Saleh, a village in the occupied Palestinian territories.
Islam Saleh is fourteen years old. Initially, he was taken by Israeli soldiers to the settlement and Israeli military base by his house and tortured. Then, two weeks later (1/23/2011), in the middle of the night, a masked man entered his home and abducted him from his bed in collaboration with six Israeli soldiers. They did not provide his family with any documentation or information about why or where he was taken.
I started making the video because Islam’s case was incredibly personal to me and I didn’t want to be helpless. I shot the interview with him after he was tortured by the Israeli Army, two weeks before he was abducted and taken to Israeli military prison. The night after he was abducted, I worked with an editor to produce this short advocacy piece.
“Soldiers Dancing in Hebron – Tic Tok”
Last summer I saw a YouTube video of Israeli soldiers dancing in Hebron when it was just at 100 views. Thinking that the video would go viral, I captured it on my computer screen before it was removed. I then re-distributed the captured version, helping the video go viral. Here are some of the news outlets that used the version I captured.
- Jerusalem Post – “Soldiers Tic Tok video on YouTube” (July, 2010)
- Guardian – “Israeli soldiers face punishment for dancing while on patrol” (July, 2010)
- Telegraph – “Video of Israeli Soldiers Dancing Online” (July, 2010)
- The Associated Press – “Israeli troops filmed dancing on duty in West Bank” (July, 2010)
- Fox News – “Dance clip featuring Israeli soldiers on patrol is widely viewed; military not amused” (July, 2010)