Nida’ Mohammed (Mohammed’s Cry): Help Kickstart a Gaza Video Documentary – video

Truth does not matter for “Israel”. Buttons Do. To mute.

November 13, 2011 | Sabbah Report

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From Producer/Director Maurice Jacobsen:

I often wonder what draws Westerners to travel to Gaza. Is it anger at the incredible injustices being inflicted on the Gazan population and the need to witness these flagrant offenses first hand? Is it a desire to help document, for the record, this critical story? Is it a need for adventure, to go to a place nearly impossible to enter? Is it an innate desire to help people oppressed, much like the white freedom riders of the civil rights period?

Nida' Mohammed (Mohammed's Cry)For me it was most likely a combination of all the above, as I am sure it is for most who enter, or try to enter the territory. I spent thirteen months in Gaza in 2010 and 2011, and the time flew by in the blink of an eye. One has an ongoing visceral sense of being part of history, of being part of a story that can affect the entire planet.

The result of my time in Gaza was the production of a video documentary tour of Gaza titled Inshallah – the literally translation being “if Allah so wills it.” In Gaza, the use of this phrase is more parochial. It is the lingering knowledge that no one knows their future. Quite literally, fate is out of their hands.

And so it is with Mohammed Obied, the subject of my forthcoming documentary, called Mohammed’s Cry. We met Mohammed from the community of Izbet Abed Rabbo during production of Inshallah. During the 2009 Israeli invasion he lost his home, his farm, and all his livestock. His parents were targeted and killed by tank artillery shells.

Today he, his wife, his children and an extended family live in an opened shed put together from bits and pieces of his former home. He is preparing for a winter that is cold and wet in Gaza. It will be a difficult season.

A year ago Gazan filmmaker Lana Hijazi and I sat down and talked with Mohammed on-camera about his situation. He asked us a series of simple questions, questions that we could not answer. But they are questions that demand an answer. Not only for Mohammed, but for all who care about human rights and abuse of power by a dominate oppressor.

“Why did they do this to us? Why did they kill us? Why did they kill the animals?…The bodies of my mother and father were left on the road for five days. The Israelis killed the cows, all the animals died, Why?…What did we do to the Israelis to make them do this? We are not from Hamas or the resistance, and none of my brothers or their children are from Hamas or the resistance. We are farmers, peaceful farmers.”

And now the time has come to raise the funds needed to return to Gaza to begin unraveling the answers to Mohammed’s nida, his cry.

In Gaza, there have literally been billions of dollars pledged by the international community to rebuild, but there has been limited reconstruction of homes as building materials are not allowed entry into the territory by Israel. (Expensive, low quality cement and other materials get smuggled into Gaza from Egypt, but are not affordable to families like Mohammed’s.)

The United Nations and dozens of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are on the ground to give assistance. But this assistance also is mired in a bureaucratic and political brier patch that must be negotiated. And life for Mohammed and his neighbors goes on. There are mouths to feed, children to educate, and basic needs to be met.For Mohammed, he is on the “inside,” with absolutely no ability to move beyond the concrete and barbed wire that surround him.

Our film team’s search for answers to Mohammed’s questions will bring us to the United Nations Council on Human Rights in Geneva (where the archives of the Goldstone Commission are stored); to the U.S. Department of State in Washington, D.C.; to the United Nations in New York City; and then, armed with as many details as possible, to Israel. Here, with the help of human rights organizations, a journalist investigation will be undertaken. Interview requests will be put forward to policy makers, politicians and military personnel familiar with the events that took place at Mohammed’s home.

It will be a very difficult journey for all involved, logistically, emotionally, creatively, but a journey well worth taking. We hope you can help us in our efforts to find answers. We are beginning a funding campaign on the KickStarter website.

We thank you. But, most importantly, Mohammed thanks you.

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