Sunday, September 23, 2012, 2:00 – 5:00 p.m.
Location: The Little Theatre, 240 East Avenue Rochester NY ~ Tickets $8 from The Little box office
Film run time: 1:49 ~ Style: narrative ~ Languages: English, subtitles for the parts in Arabic and Hebrew ~ Format: video projection
Soraya, a Palestinian American from Brooklyn, travels to her grandfather’s homeland. While she could simply travel as an American citizen with a U.S. passport, she identifies so strongly with the Palestinian people that her interactions with Israelis cause continual problems for her. For instance, when asked her nationality and birthplace, she insists she is Palestinian, born in Palestine.
She encounters Palestinian hospitality, bureaucracy, and the complexity of life under the occupation. In one memorable scene, she is invited as a guest into her grandfather’s former home in Jaffa. Her host is a young Israeli peace activist who freely welcomes Soraya, but the visit eventually goes sour when Soraya discovers that she cannot accept the young Israeli’s hospitality. Rather, Soraya insists that it should be the other way around.
The film committee gave this film unanimous “thumbs up.”
Haneen Abuqalbeen is a Palestinian American who was born in Jordan. She traveled to the United States in the year 2000 and has lived there ever since. Haneen is a human rights activist with a keen focus on the Middle East; especially the Palestinian-Israeli conflict. She has organized events to raise awareness in the Tampa Bay community surrounding Middle East politics. Haneen has also founded the Arab Cultural Association and Students for Justice in Palestine at the University of South Florida.
Julia Hurley is a Palestinian rights and peace advocate. Following the September 11 attacks on the United States, which she witnessed from her hometown in New Jersey, Julia became a staunch conservative who was “afraid of Arabs” and supportive of Israel’s policy toward Palestinians. But, in the years that followed, her perspective completely changed. She dedicated herself to better understanding Palestine and the Middle East by speaking to Palestinians, studying their conditions while earning her Bachelor of Science in Diplomacy and International Relations at the John C. Whitehead School of Diplomacy at Seton Hall University, and visiting Palestine and Egypt, where she studied Arabic at the American University of Cairo. Julia has traveled to the West Bank three times since 2007. She went to Gaza for the first time in December 2009 bringing with her $17,000-worth of school supplies, clothes, medicine, and toys. Julia returned to Gaza in June 2011, living there for three months, volunteering with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), and writing about life in Gaza. Today, Julia advocates for Palestinian rights by speaking, writing, tweeting, and volunteering on various projects. She is also the Adopt a School Campaign Liaison for American Friends of UNRWA and serves on the board of the NJ Chapter of the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF). Julia has committed her life to seeking freedom and equality for Palestine, peace in the Middle East, and long-term security for the United States and the world.
Gloria Webster is a Palestinian-American born in Damascus, Syria, to two Palestinian parents. She moved to the United States with her family as a thirteen year old. Gloria has a degree in sociology from Lemoyne College, Syracuse NY and has been a strong supporter for a just solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.