Just prior to the Christmas holidays the CPGB-ML were pleased to host a showing of the documentary-film ‘Palestine: What Hope Peace?’ in Manchester with a live Q&A from the film’s creator Kerry-Anne Mendoza. There was a stall where people could pick up our latest Gaza leaflets as well as stickers, postcards, a copy of Harpal Brar’s excellent ‘Imperialism & War’ book and copies of the CPGB-ML pamphlet on George Habash, and one of our North West comrades provided an introduction to the event before handing over to Kerry-Anne to say a few words as this was a platform for her project.
We were very keen to show the film as the CPGB-ML has stood in solidarity with the Palestinian people since our inception and we have been consistent in our stance as a party unlike many of those groups who are only interested when Palestine makes the headlines! Kerry-Anne Mendoza is a talented and dedicated author, journalist, film maker and activist as those of you familiar with her work and as blogger of the Scriptonite Daily website will know. By travelling to us in Manchester Kerry-Anne gave us a rare and valuable insight into what is really happening in Palestine via both her own eyewitness experience and from first-hand interviews with the people of Gaza. This is the kind of truth that we will never get from the BBC with its shameful censorship and insidious campaign of disinformation and lies.
I’m pretty sure I’m preaching to the converted here as regards the mainstream media though! You only have to look at news coverage to see that it is the Israeli ‘victims’ who dominate the narrative while the numerous deaths of Palestinian civilians are pushed to one side or glossed over – Palestinians merely ‘die’ while Israeli’s are ‘murdered’.
A recent and pertinent example of this skewed reporting is when three Israeli teenagers were killed by an unspecified person(s). Yet despite the fact that the bodies had been found, Zionist leaders whipped up a media shitstorm sending mobs baying for blood and vengeance by reporting that the three teens were still ‘missing’. This, apart from being seen as some bizarre justification for burning alive 16-year old Mohammed Abu Khdeir, also provided an excuse for the ransacking of homes in the West Bank by occupation forces and the kidnapping of hundreds and killing of ten Palestinian people.
In ‘Palestine: What Hope Peace?’ Kerry-Anne provides us with a harrowing look at what the people of Palestine are facing day in and day out. Rather than relying on image upon image of maimed and bloodied corpses in the kind of sick, almost eroticised voyeurism and glorification of death that saturates online social networking sites, Kerry-Anne has opted to approach the situation from the point of view of a western outsider (herself!) and her reaction to what she is seeing. But she also combines this with the views of the people who live with this every day.
The images of the dead and death that are shown do not linger — in fact it is because they don’t linger that they are all the more real to us. Kerry-Anne told us that the reason she wanted to show herself as an outsider and how frightened and upset she was is because often the people she met in Gaza were so numb and so shell-shocked that the full impact of what is happening to them is almost lost. They are desensitised to a point, living under the constant threat of death, a barrage of bombs. Yet somehow they are maintaining a sense of normality even under conditions that worsen with each new attack. This is the most terrifying of all – that a community of people can live this life as though it were ‘normal’.
As well as the human element this film is set very firmly within the historical context and the history of this apartheid. Kerry-Anne spoke to us afterwards about the Israeli people who are ‘resisting’ the attacks, she said that most of these people who say they want ‘peace’ actually just want ‘quiet’ — they want no blood but are happy for the segregation, the walls and the oppression and racism to remain. People need to be aware that the Palestinians are not terrorists, they don’t have advanced weapons or an army — when Israel claims to be defending itself in actual fact what it is really defending is the illegal occupation of a country.
After the event Kerry-Anne had the chance to network with the various Palestinian campaign groups from the Manchester area and as a result another showing of the film is planned which will coincide with a tour of the film’s final cut with dates already scheduled for January and February 2015 – well worth seeing!
What we all need to bear in mind is that Palestine is not something far away that does not affect us, it is one part of a whole – every single issue is linked from Gaza, to the NHS and Bedroom Tax, Nato to fracking, fascists in the Ukraine to police brutality – these are all symptoms of the imperialist disease. This is why we have to stand in solidarity with the brave Palestinian people who are rising up against the imperialist occupiers. We need to stand against the minority of capitalists in power, those who care only for domination and maximising profit for themselves and to the detriment of the masses. We have to stop all parts of the imperialist war machine from functioning in whatever way we can be it by boycotting Israeli goods or mass action.