Online Article Page


Israel-Palestine Photography Reveals Reality of Conflict
John Hopkins University

Palestinian-Israeli conflict, film
Rima Essa's film on Palestinian garbage workers evokes a sense of hopelessness.
by Laura Bitner

The abject poverty was evident when a boy too young to go to school was forced into long hours of manual labor simply to help his family get by. Another boy had to drop out of school to aid his family. His only response to his situation was, "I want to go to school; I have a good average."

After hearing the hopelessness of "the garbage people" and their lives, the documentary ended in silence. Not a single audience member moved or clapped. Later, freshman Sam Jockel described it, saying, "it was really powerful. I didn't really have a sense of what was going on until I saw the young boy at the garbage dump." After the documentary aired, both artists opened the panel up for questions. One woman, Larne Berk, voiced her willingness to aid in the situation, saying, "We have made human beings - loving, democratic, sensitive people - barbarians, and Arabs are not barbarians," and suggested a Marshall Plan-like arrangement could help.

Essa replied with, "there is no hope ... it's like making a profit on the conflict." She followed with, "I know when I come back I will deal with these things." Continuing, she said "I do not feel like an artist, that I'm making documentaries, because it's like a business-it's not like being an artist."

After much prompting from the audience, Essa did not change her opinion, Berk asked her "shall we try nothing?" in disbelief, to which Essa only nodded her head.

"I'm hopeless too, but I don't say it out loud, because then what?" Tsal asked after the event in response to Essa's unexpected comments.

"I don't really think she feels that way ... I don't know whether it's to charge us even more, I mean why cry if there is no hope?" Berk asked.

Senior Salmah Rizvi felt "it was a great event ... I think that there has to be more awareness on this campus, especially about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on either side."