Rula Jebreal Issues Statement to Arab-American Community About Her Film ‘Miral’
In promoting the film, I have been shocked to discover how dehumanized and marginalized Palestinians are in the American media and in popular imagination. It was a heartbreaking realization; one that has compelled me to make my voice heard in any way possible, to add context and a human face to a discourse that is sorely lacking both. I believe our film Miral does that. But that’s not enough. The movie can only start a conversation. We need to make sure that the conversation that has already begun as a result of this film grows beyond Michigan, New York and California. We need to make sure that people in other parts of the US get to see Miral and begin their own conversations. For this to happen, we need people to go to the theaters and to tell their American friends and colleagues to go see this film.
Arab-Americans have always been incredibly generous in their support of the Palestinian cause. When few others would, our Arab-American brothers and sisters stood up to defend our rights and give voice to our narrative in the United States, even at great personal and professional risk to themselves. I hope they will once again demonstrate that gracious support by going out and buying a ticket to “Miral” and viewing it with an open mind. Only by demonstrating that there is an audience for such a story, will the film expand to more American cities and theaters and reach more and more people. Even before we opened the film in NY and LA, the conversations that started as a result of our UN premiere were breaking new ground in the US. The longer it stays in theaters the more articles and discussions will be formed around the current state of affairs in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
While I am elated by the spirit of freedom transforming the Arab world today, my joy is tempered by what is taking place in the city where I grew up, Jerusalem. Dar El Tifl is almost empty today as a result of Israeli restrictions on movement, and massive Wall in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Children from the West Bank and Gaza can no longer access Jerusalem, which was once the beating heart of Palestinian life. What will be the future of these orphans who are being denied the opportunities that I had? Without education and opportunity, I fear they will fall prey to those who would exploit them.
Despite my fears and concerns, I still feel hope. The sweeping changes of the past few months have exposed Americans to a side of the Arab people that has heretofore been largely hidden from them: their humanity and their desire to live in freedom and peace. Perhaps the younger generation of Palestinians who have taken to the streets this month, demanding democracy, equality, and human rights, will be heard, not only by their own leaders but also by Israelis and Americans. Perhaps they can learn from our successes and our mistakes, to forge a better future for all of us.
Rula Jebreal is an award Winning Journalist/ Screenplay Writer/Author who was born in 1973 in Haifa, Israel, and spent her early years living in East Jerusalem with her family.
[full story via: Arab Detroit]