Of Land and Bread is a series of vignettes about the daily life of Palestinians in the West Bank. It is a story of constant vulnerability where one's life is lived under the specter of state violence and the whims of settlers, and a camera is one's only defense.
In 2005, human rights organization B'Tselem established a video department, seeking to amplify the impact and power of their written reports on human rights violations in the Occupied Territories with visual documentation. Two years later, they launched the Camera Project, providing video cameras and training to Palestinian volunteers in the West Bank to document their own lives under Israeli occupation. Since the project launched, the real-time images taken by these amateur photographers have become a staple of B’Tselem’s reporting. Raw material captured by staff and volunteers over the past decade have been carefully catalogued into an extensively unique video archive. Of Land and Bread consists entirely of footage from this archive, showing first hand the lived experiences of Palestinians.
The film shows the regular injustices enacted upon Palestinians under occupation from uniformed soldiers and police, as well as from Israeli settlers who are acting under their protection. The Palestinians have neither political rights nor the right to protest, and lie on the receiving end of a project of dispossession of land, resources, and culture. Of Land and Bread challenges prevailing narratives regarding settlements and offers an opportunity for expression and empathy.
FILMMAKER'S STATEMENT: "Imagine: You get up at the crack of dawn. You climb onto the old tractor your grandpa started driving before you were even born. It's a special day -- the beginning of wheat-sowing season. Everything's perfect. The weather's just right and the whole family comes out tot celebrate. An hour goes by and all are happy. The sun is high in the sky when suddenly, it all changes. A stranger shows up and forces you to stop. He says your grandpa's land belongs to him. You try to prove that that's not true, but who's going to listen to you? After all, he says God gave him the land. The party's over and you blame yourself. How the hell could you wake up and forget about the occupation?
Imagine: It's been days since you told your kids a bedtime story. Tonight, you promise yourself, you won't forget because you're not as tired as usual -- you didn't ahve to wait three hours at a checkpoint to get to work. It's nighttime. The kids are tired, but you still snuggle up to tell them their favorite story. They're half asleep, but as usual, hang on until the very end. They fall asleep happily. You're tired too and lie dow. Just as you close your eyes, the front door slams open and you jump, startled. Soldiers burst in with rifles. Your children jolt awake and watch, petrified, as they ransack your home -- and leave. The kids can't go back to sleep and no stories will help them now. You blame yourself. How the hell could you fall asleep and forget about the occupation?
Imagine: Your big day is finally here. Congratulations! You're dead. Today, you're not just anyone. You don't lift a finger. You're washed and dressed in your best outfit, and you're all anyone talks about. They recall all your good ddeeds and tearfully kiss you goodbye. The funeral begins. It's a good turnout: neighbors and friends you haven't seen for years. They hoist you up on their soldiers and start walking. The warmth of the sun feels incredible. Today, you're not just anyone. Suddenly, everything stops. Water trickles in. Your shroud gets soaked and your beautiful clothes ruined. Your casket lands abruptly on the ground. Everyone takes off and you're all alone. The sharp stench of sewage seeps in. You know that smell. It's the Skunk they spray at demostrators. It's impossible to forget, and it's the last thing you'll ever smell. You blame yourself. How the hell could you die and forget about the occupation?
Now imagine: You cannot walk, even though your legs are fine. You cannot breathe, even though you have air.
Imagine you are a Palestinian."
— Ehab Tarabieh
Preview link available upon request. Contact [email protected] for more information