I Leave New York and They Will Come

I’m shamelessly publicizing a really cool film festival that I cannot attend (tears…everywhere…literally) because…I live in Cairo now. But if I were in New York (man, oh man, if were in New York), and if you’re reading this and YOU are in New York you should go check out the Other Israel Film Festival playing from November 8-15.

The festival celebrates Arab-Israelis and their life in Israel.

Twenty percent of Israel’s population is Arab. Muslim, Christian, Druze, and Bedouin, from different ethnic, religious, cultural and social backgrounds are defined collectively as Arab Citizens of Israel.

Through a week-long festival of award winning films, guest filmmakers, panel discussions, special gala event & receptions, photography exhibits, musical performances and much more, Other Israel will illuminate the lives of the Arab Citizens of Israel who are rarely seen outside the context of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

I’ve seen quite a few of the films they are playing, but the ones I haven’t seen look rad. What is profoundly moving about this is the fact that Israeli and Palestinian and Arab film makers and companies have come together to fund and support this event. Another little ray of hope, I think. And another note on the importance of media (I promise I’ll try to write about something else…)

And while I’m at it, I might as well promote a really cool event. I actually am a little misty eyed because I’ll be missing out on this:

Jackie Saloum graduated from NYU a few years ago and has since been working on a really, really badass documentary on the Arab resistance-hip-hop scene in Gaza and the West Bank (among other places). Here is the trailer, for your viewing pleasure. Also, DAM (Da Arab MCs) is finally able to come to New York and they are playing in Brooklyn on November 13. If you’re in New York and interested in going, let me know. I’ve got details and I hope other people flock to this, as I, unfortunately, cannot flock. Depressing, I know.

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2 comments for “I Leave New York and They Will Come

  1. Eurosabra
    November 5, 2007 at 5:18 pm

    DAM also appearing in Los Angeles @ the University of Southern California Nov. 17th through the auspices of http://www.levantinecenter.org.

    One of the things the video does not address is the fundamental ambivalence toward the Israeli state by Arab rappers in general and Israeli-Palestinian rappers like DAM in particular, leading to harsh words with Subliminal and a Tel Aviv-Lydda rap rivalry couched in explicitly nationalist terms. Given the problematics of Israeli-Palestinian citizenship, eliding the differences between Gaza/West Bank/Israeli-Palestinian rappers is perhaps not the most productive approach–the problems are not those of a ghettoized minority solely, but also that of an alternative nationalist vision, supported partly by armed resistance, a little of it carried out by Palestinian citizens of Israel. That renders the interviewer’s question “Because he’s speaking Arabic? He can’t speak his language?” especially disingenuous and snarky, given the lack of context, as if police harassment on the North American model were what was taking place. (When in fact Israel Police and Border Police can be especially brutal, so fobbing it off as “Walking While Arab” OBSCURES some violent practices of the state as well.)

  2. Eurosabra
    November 5, 2007 at 10:23 pm

    DAM plays @ the University of Southern California Sat. Nov 17th under the auspices of the Levantine Cultural Center, http://www.levantinecenter.org

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