I picked a story from www.creativenarrations.net entitled “Nablus, A City of Life and Death.” It was created by Mohammed Sawalha in conjunction with a number of Palestinian conflict resolution associations. It is being used with youth programs to try and bring together both Israeli and Palestinian children. It is a narrative about Palestinian occupation that is told by telling the story of a child’s death and what that has meant to his friends and community. The child himself is not the subject so much as what his death inspires others to do.
Technically it is very good. His voiceover is very clear and the background music is not too loud or intrusive. The music is Middle Eastern music so sets the tone for the region it is about. The cuts are not choppy and flow nicely. He uses two special effects when telling about the death of the child and walls splitting, when he talks about the end of the occupation. He uses a wealth of pictures of culture, the city, family, destruction and where military and civilian confines meet. A few of the pictures he uses twice and I did not realize it until my second viewing, but it does not make the story seem redundant and helps enhance to story in some instances.
Artistically, there is a great juxtaposition of the muted colors of the buildings and cities and the military versus the vibrant colors of the cultural clothing, the flag and the book bags of the children, which is an important symbol. Another symbol we see more than once are doves.
It is a compelling peace as it makes us question the senseless death of the child. No child should have to die walking home from school. It is compelling the way the students honor the child’s memory.
We do not get much political background information from the piece except that the Palestinians are occupied and they do not want to be. He only mentions the Israelis by name once and that is when he describes how the boy died. I think the story works as a tool to show unjust occupation as the child is killed. It works as a motivational tool as the people use his death as inspiration to continue to defy the occupation and carry on their lives. It is interesting as a peace tool as there are many confrontational images. I think this works more as a motivational tool to want to end the occupation but the images I did not find quite powerful enough to want to end the occupation in peaceful means. The one image of the blindfolded man comes close but not quite. Or perhaps this is just my desensitized American media position. Then again, no child should have to throw rocks at military tanks. Not quite sold on that point.
My road to this blog has been filled with twists and turns, certainty and uncertainty. I started my undergrad degree in 1993 and finally finished it in 2009 (I took a one shorter and one really long hiatus). It was an interesting ride that included residences in Santa Fe, New Mexico and San Diego, California, jobs in a bonsai nursery, jewelry industry and various administrative jobs. I always knew I wanted to get back to school but wasn’t quite sure how. So I wandered until I was laid off from a job in 2007 and knew it was time to get back to my dreams.
I study history because I seek truth. I am an MA student in the history program, hoping to go on to my PhD. My loves are learning and teaching and visual arts and writing. My dream is to make documentary films. I want to share the stories of yesterday and today with the masses. While it would be wonderful to be the next Ken Burns, I do not expect to make much money from documentaries. I thought being a professor would be the perfect job to support my art and also contribute to helping other’s achieve their academic goals with summers off and research grants available.
Sometimes we have moments when we realize why we were put on this earth. When I am running around the base photographing and connecting with the culture that once existed there, that is when I feel most alive. And I feel most fulfilled when I am helping others. I also hope to start an after-school program for disadvantaged kids to give them a little bit of hope and perhaps a brighter future.
I study 20th century wars and military society. I also look at civil rights and look at civil rights in military communities. I have an interest in combat motivation, POWs and how race affects the way we treat our “enemies.” I minored in Conflict Resolution so have an interest in Just War Theory and peaceful resistance. I also like 20th century Central and Eastern European history- full of war, genocide and nationalism. I really am a happy person!
I moved here from Massachusetts in August. I am still waiting for winter to start. I have been blessed with meeting so many wonderful people in the short period of time I’ve been here. I love music, films, photography, Ulysses by Tennyson, nature, tennis, superheros, cartoons, speedskating and the Olympics.