• The Iraqi and Syrian refugees using body-mapping to share their stories

    What does it mean to flee one’s country and undertake the dangerous journey to Europe? What does it mean to suddenly lose everything and be forced to live in a different country? A new home, new school, new friends and a totally new life? To what extent does it influence family lives and the family unit as such? These are questions that a new research project, based at the University of Birmingham and funded by the British Academy, is tackling. The focus is not only on the changes occurring within refugee families, but equally on the impact of the influx of refugees on the host society.

    We use art as a research method to allow Iraqi and Syrian women and men to express their thoughts and feelings, on both their refugee journey and their new lives in their host countries. Fleeing one’s country puts enormous pressure and stress on an individual, both emotionally and physically. Using the artistic technique of body mapping proved to be very useful in this project, as it allowed participants to embody the emotional and psychological pain caused by their refugee experiences through art. Holding a paint brush, painting and being taught by a renowned artist, in this instance Rachel Gadsden, were for the majority of the participants a new experience. It provided them with a feeling of pride, achievement and self-fulfilment, at a time when they needed it the most. But what are they painting? How are they expressing their experiences? How do they portray themselves? What do they say about their new lives? Do their own narratives confirm widespread notions of their ‘vulnerability’?

    Decades of displacement

    Saddam Hussein’s decades of authoritarian rule in Iraq, the continuous political instability caused by his fall in 2003 and the rise of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS) in 2014 has forced over three million Iraqis to flee their country since the 1980s. Since the outbreak of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Syrians have become one of the largest groups of refugees, with more than five million civilians forced to flee to neighbouring Middle Eastern countries and to Europe. Many Iraqi and Syrian refugees have headed to Europe directly and settled in countries such as Germany or the UK, others went through multi-local trajectories of displacement in so-called ‘transit countries’ such as Jordan.

    Syrian and Iraqi societies are to a significant extent tribal and patriarchal in nature, with familial or community-based social networks often serving to protect their members. However, these networks may be disrupted or disappear entirely during a migration process, leaving women and children in particular in extremely vulnerable situations, unprotected by their family networks. Women, as well as children, very often find themselves in the most subservient and marginal positions, making them vulnerable to abuse and violence, inflicted either by social and religious communities or the state. Human trafficking operations have played a central role in facilitating immigration. In such circumstances, human traffickers who bring migrants across borders abuse women and children and force them into sexually exploitive occupations, or subject them to physical and sexual abuse themselves. Tackling violence against women and girls is one of the UK government’s most important goals. The UK’s aid report in 2015 highlights explicitly the challenges the UK faces regarding the conflict in Iraq and Syria and the need to support peace and stability abroad, in order to secure social and political stability in the UK. The UK government is working extensively towards implementing the ‘No One Behind Promise’, which strives to achieve gender equality, prioritise the empowerment of girls and women and end violence against them, within war zones, such as in Syria and Iraq, and during migration processes in particular.

    Women are often limited to gender-specific narratives of female vulnerability within patriarchal social structures. Without neglecting the fact that women are more affected by and subject to sexual and gender-based violence, the over 150 women we talked and worked with in our projects so far have another story to tell. In our art workshops, these women used art and body-mapping to express their powerful stories of resilience, endurance and survival.

    Gender roles in a time of war and instability

    “I never worked with fabric, but I learnt how to produce the most amazing clothes for women’s engagement and wedding parties. I go around clothing shops in the city and try to sell them. Now I have my own network of buyers. I earn more money now than my husband used to earn. He passed away five years ago and left me with three children to feed. Yes, they call me sharmuta – a slut – because I go around male merchants in town to see whether they would buy my products. I don’t sleep with them. I only sell them my dresses. I don’t do anything wrong. Therefore, I will not stop. I cannot stop. I have children to feed. The problem is not me – the problem is their dirty thinking, only because I am a woman and a good-looking one too [laughing].”

    The young Iraqi widow above was not the only female refugee in Jordan, the UK or in Germany who struggles with social stigmatisations and sexual harassment, on the way to and from work as well as in the workplace. Women’s independence is very often violently attacked, verbally and physically, in order to control women’s lives, bodies and sexuality. Refugee women’s pending legal status, their socio-economic integration and the degree of their security within the host environment change long-held values on family structures and socio-cultural expectations on gender roles. They also influence women and men’s own understanding of their roles which, in most cases, represents a shift from their traditional gender roles within their families. Women and men’s roles in family and society inevitably change in time of war and forced migration and society needs to adapt to this development. In order to achieve sustainable change in society’s perception, both men and women need to be socialised and equipped to understand these societal changes. This does not solely apply to the refugee communities, but also to the host communities, who are also influenced by the presence of these newcomers.

    Through stitching fabric onto their body map paintings or adding pictures of the food they cook to sell on the canvases, women express their attempts to survive. Through art, women can portray how they see themselves: strong in enduring the hardship, without neglecting the challenges they face. “I want to show the world out there that we are not poor victims. One woman like us is better and stronger than 100 men,” as one Iraqi in Germany explains. Another Syrian in the UK emphasised women’s resilience, saying “wherever we fall we will land straight. I want to paint my head up for these politicians to know that nothing will bend us”.

    Women in our art workshops see the production of their artwork and the planned art exhibitions as an opportunity to provide a different narrative on Muslim refugee women. It provided them with a space to articulate the challenges they faced, during and after their refugee journey, but also to create a bridge between the refugee communities and the host community. The artwork produced in the workshops helped to facilitate community bonding, integration and above all, as one Syrian in Jordan explains, “a better understanding of what we really are”.
    #corps #cartographie #cartoexperiment #réfugiés #réfugiés_syriens #réfugiés_irakiens #asile #migrations #couture #femmes #genre #dessin
    ping @reka

    • Negotiating Relationships and Redefining Traditions: Syrian and Iraqi Women Refugees in Jordan
      Art workshops in Jordan April 2019

      Narratives of displacement is a research-based project of the University of Birmingham and funded by the British Academy, documenting the effects of the long and extensive conflict in Syria and the consequent process of significant temporary and permanent displacement of families, upon the marriages and the family-units of the many thousands of Syrian and Iraqi women affected, and now living as refugees, and as asylum-seekers, within several host nations, namely: Germany, UK and Jordan.

      The project is devised and directed by Dr Yafa Shanneik, and comprises at its core the collecting and collating of data, in several locations, in this instance within Jordan, by Shanneik, by means of a comprehensive and broad-reaching programme of interviews with women affected, personal testimony, that considers the sustainment of the marriage and the family unit, and those topics directly related to this, ranging from, the physical, and frequently arduous and perilous, journey from home to host country, to the shifting balance as to the family provider – affected in turn by, for example, skills and the availability of opportunity, psychological changes within individual family members, cultural differences within those host nations.

      Dr Shanneik is acutely conscious of the forced upheaval, the diaspora of no choosing, and the desire therefore, the longing, of those affected, to give voice to the emotional impact, simply to tell their own stories. And, for this reason she has enlisted the services of artist Dr Rachel Gadsden, who will, over an extended period, work with the interviewees, together with family members, mothers, sisters, children, to create mural-style artwork, using the body-mapping process as a starting-point, to depict not only the destruction they may have left behind, the harrowing passages and the significant demands imposed by the process of integration, but also, perhaps, the opportunities, both foreseen and unforeseen, of the new circumstances that they find themselves in.

      The artwork will serve an additional purpose: the opportunity for the testimony, the stories, to be presented to the outside world, a public voice in the form of an exhibition; and therefore, as a means of enhancing this experience, composer and musician Freddie Meyers has been commissioned to compose an original score integrates the Syrian and Iraqi narratives as part of a live art performance, that will sit alongside the exhibition of artworks, to provide an additional layer in terms of expressing the emotional response.

      The starting-point for this particular leg of the project is the one-time fortified town of Karak. Historically, Karak was always of importance, in its strategic location overlooking the easy trading route formed by the valley and the escarpment that is now the Kings Highway, running from north to south through the centre of the country. There will always have been a ‘stop-over’ here, and certainly in the time of the Nabateans, it would have been both a military base and one of many toll-gates, alongside of course Petra in the south, used to control the movement of frankincense, in particular, shipped and sold to Rome, that made the Nabateans so wealthy and enduring. Later, it was held by the Romans themselves, and later again the, Frankish, Crusaders, who used it as a means of protecting Jerusalem, until finally it was laid siege to and liberated by Saladin.

      This fascinating and colourful history is of great significance in terms of Narratives of Displacement, exemplifying as it does the history of the different forms of migration, movement, cross-cultural trade and interface that has been instrumental in forging the tolerant and diverse nature of modern Jordan.

      Since the conflict in Syria began it is understood that there are, conservatively, over a million Syrians currently taking refuge in Jordan, and the country therefore actively engages in seeking to understand the many and continuing pressures consequent to this, borne not only by the refugees themselves but by their hosts, and impinging upon the infrastructure and social and work environment, the better to accommodate the enormous influx.

      The project for five days has based itself at the Al Hassan Cultural Community centre, interestingly on the other side of the valley from, and having spectacular views of, the liberated fortress. Strategically this location is still of importance. Under the inspirational guidance of its director, Ouruba al Shamayle, the community centre houses an extensive library, research and study rooms, and also a brilliant 800 seat theatre and, used in conjunction with Karak University, attracts students hailing from every other part of the country, north and south.

      The immediate vicinity of the centre alone plays host to many hundreds of refugee families, and so over the juration of our stay the centre has witnessed a continuous visitation of the women and their families, attending for interview with Shanneik, and subsequently to interact in creating body-mapping paintings. The interviewing process has been successful and revealing in documenting individual narratives, and the participants have rendered their often-harrowing stories within a total so far of 7 narrative canvases.

      The venue has proved wholly appropriate for additional reasons. The centre plays host to the regular round-table forum of local community leaders, and consequently on Wednesday, Shanneik was given the opportunity to present to a near full complement of forum members including influential local tribal and community leaders. The talk generated considerable interest and discussion amongst the forum, who voiced their appreciation of the objectives, and offered continuing support.

      Subsequently the governor of Karak, Dr. Jamal Al Fayez, visited the centre to familiarize himself with the research, taking a short break for coffee and relaxed discussion about the project’s aims and objectives, and additionally contributing to the artwork underway, completing a part of the painted surface of one of the artworks, and also superimposing in charcoal some of the written word to be contained in the finished pieces.

      From Karak we journeyed north to Irbid where the weather took a turn for the worse. With the rain and the cold, we were conscious of how such conditions might affect our ability to link up with prospective artistic collaborators. The first workshop in Irbid brought together a group of both Syrian and Iraqi women and was hosted in a private home. A red plastic swing swaying in the sitting room, caught our attention. Our Iraqi host has 2 young children, a daughter, and a son who is autistic. The swing allows the son to continue to enjoy physical activity throughout the winter months – this winter, apparently, having been one of the longest. We painted two canvases; one that accommodated two Syrian sisters and our Iraqi host, and one created on traditional dark canvas and telling the stories of displacement of the four Iraqi women, designed in a circular pattern and evoking journeys and life’s force. After the women drew and painted, music filled the air as all the Iraqi women danced and sang traditional songs together. It was a joy for Yafa and Rachel to witness: art and music transports the mood, and the women let their feelings go, laughed, sang and danced together. Rachel recorded their ululation; to incorporate in the music and performance Freddie Meyers is composing.

      That night there was crashing thunder and flashes of lightning, so no surprise that our trip to Mafraq, further north, had to be postponed – flooding can be a hazard on these occasions as rainwater pours down from the mountains and fills up the dry wadis. So instead the project headed to a Palestinian refugee camp, to a society that supports orphaned children.

      Freddie and Tim were not able to join the workshop and so went off to film the surrounding area. Hearing the stories of migration is always a challenge, but as Yafa interviews the women a clear narrative emerges to guide the piecing together of the artwork. This time there were two Iraqi women and also two Syrian women. Despite living in the same building, the two Syrians had never before spoken to one another. One of the Iraqi women has been fantastically creative in her efforts to secure the lives of her children, taking whatever work she can to support her family, having been widowed five years ago. Adoption is rare in these communities so it was heartening to hear about the work of the society as it goes about raising funds to educate and support the young orphans. The psychological impact upon the women is invariably, but perhaps not always addressed or discussed, and the process of art and the interviews can be cathartic, allowing the women to be open and perhaps emotionally truthful about their predicament.

      The weather turned the following day, so Mafraq was back on the schedule. The project visited a centre that teaches basic skills to support and enable refugees to seek work. A group of five women who all had direct contact with the centre joined the workshop. The women were all from Homs, and its environs. One of the canvases tells of the many ways the refugees fled their homeland and made their way to Jordan, both north and south. The key factor that emerged was that all of the women wanted to hold hands in the painting. It is clear that they support one another. Yafa and Rachel had the opportunity to visit the temporary homes of three of the women. As is to be expected, living conditions can sometimes be difficult, with problems related to dampness, for example, lack of adequate heating, and overcrowding. Despite the challenges the women were making traditional food to sell in the market and doing whatever they could to make the daily conditions and circumstances for their families better.

      The final destination for the project was Amman, where the project was hosted at the Baqa’a Palestinian refugee camp. It was market day in Baqa’a so our journey into the camp was more a case of maneuvering around stallholders than following the road. Al Baqa’a camp was one of six “emergency” camps set up in 1968 to accommodate Palestine refugees and displaced people who left the West Bank and Gaza Strip as a result of the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Over 200,000 people live in the camp now; the community has welcomed recently many Syrian and Iraqi refugees.

      We were hosted by an organisation that also supports orphans, and they had brought together the group of Syrian women refugees and their children for our art workshop. 
Their husbands and fathers are all missing as a direct result of the Syrian conflict. We hear this narrative often, the bravery of each of the women as they share their stories and continue to support their families in the best possible way they can, is humbling. 
We will be creating a full narrative artwork, but these images say so much already.

      14-sketches13-blue-muralWe were additional joined in this workshop by Nicola Hope and Laura Hope, friends of Rachel’s. Nicola is at University studying Arabic and is currently attending Arabic classes as part of her degree process in Amman, and Laura, an Italian literature teacher was visiting her daughter. Additionally so as not to let the men miss out of the experience of the centre and the Baqa’a hospitality, the hosts took all of us on a tour of the camp after the workshop.

      Having listened to many harrowing and challenging stories of displacement during their time in Jordan, told by the Syrian and Iraqi refugee artistic collaborators, at the forefront of Yafa’s and Rachel’s mind is the fact that displacement is never a temporary predicament, it is a continuing one. The emotional scars are life long, and they have yet to meet a single refugee whose greatest hope is anything other than to safely return home.

      This was even more evident at Baqa’a Refugee Camp. Vulnerable individuals have a remarkable ability to survive, and ultimately they have no other choice other than to do just that.

  • Jordanie : le roi Abdallah II en état de grâce après ses positions contre Israël
    Par Jérôme Boruszewski - Publié le 18-04-2019

    Depuis quelques semaines en Jordanie, le roi Abdallah fait l’objet de manifestations de soutien très prononcées. Un peu partout dans le pays, les citoyens descendent dans les rues pour dire au monarque qu’ils approuvent sa politique sur la question palestinienne.

    Ces manifestations sont très nombreuses, comme mercredi 17 avril dans le nord et le centre du pays, vendredi dernier à Amman, ou début avril à Aqaba, à l’extrême sud de la Jordanie. En banlieue de la capitale, des milliers d’étudiants se sont également mobilisés à Irbid, la deuxième ville du pays.
    Ces manifestants apprécient notamment sa fermeté dans la gestion des tensions autour de la mosquée Al-Aqsa de Jérusalem. La Jordanie s’est opposée en effet à la fermeture des locaux de la porte de la Miséricorde décidée par la justice israélienne en février.

    A cette occasion, la Jordanie a rappelé que c’était elle qui administrait les lieux saints musulmans et chrétiens de Jérusalem et que la décision de la justice israélienne était donc illégale. Cette position a ravi une grande partie de la population jordanienne, dont la moitié environ est d’origine palestinienne.

  • Les Yéménites oubliés

    Parmi les quelque deux cent mille personnes qui ont fui le Yémen, quinze mille se trouvent en #Jordanie où elles bénéficient d’une aide dérisoire. La Chaîne du bonheur récolte ce jeudi des dons pour le Yémen.

    Dans la difficulté, ils se sont regroupés. A Amman, la capitale de la Jordanie, les réfugiés yéménites fréquentent les mêmes restaurants, les mêmes mosquées et les mêmes commerces. « Nous nous entraidons parce que nous sommes loin de chez nous. Ce restaurant nous nourrit gratuitement », se réjouit Tahar*, un Yéménite de 47 ans, assis sur les tapis élimés d’un établissement d’Al Baladiyah, un quartier nord d’Amman. Il a fui le Yémen en 2011. Il y est revenu à plusieurs reprises mais a finalement décidé de rester en Jordanie, loin de sa femme et de ses enfants. Ayant servi dans l’armée de son pays, Tahar craint d’être pris pour cible par les forces houthis s’il s’établissait à nouveau au Yémen.

    Environ 15’000 Yéménites ont été enregistrés par le Haut Commissariat aux réfugiés (HCR) en Jordanie, dont le tiers l’an dernier. Comme Tahar, la plupart sont des hommes venus seuls et ils vivent à Amman. Officiellement, beaucoup sont arrivés en Jordanie pour suivre un traitement médical ou faire du tourisme. Puis ils y sont restés afin d’obtenir le statut de réfugié. Chaque année, à l’approche de l’hiver, le HCR leur verse une aide financière. Douze mille cinq cents personnes en ont bénéficié l’an dernier. « Le montant se situe autour de 270 dinars [380 francs] et varie selon le nombre de personnes dans le foyer », détaille Mohammad, un autre réfugié assis à la même table que Tahar.
    Coûteux permis de travail

    Cette somme ne suffit pas à couvrir les besoins annuels d’un foyer dans un pays comme la Jordanie où les prix des produits de première nécessité et les loyers sont élevés. Les réfugiés yéménites doivent donc travailler. « Chaque fois que je trouve un emploi dans un restaurant, on me demande mon permis de travail. Et sans ce document, on m’engage rarement », regrette Mansour, 39 ans, un habitué du restaurant d’Al Baladiyah.

    En théorie, Tahar, Mohammad et Mansour peuvent obtenir un permis de travail. Mais dans les faits, le sésame leur est difficilement accessible puisqu’il coûte entre 500 et 600 dinars, soit 700 à 850 francs, selon le secteur d’activité. S’il parvenait à économiser, Mansour affirme qu’il enverrait le peu qu’il aurait réussi à épargner à sa famille restée au Yémen. Il ne verserait pas ce précieux pécule au Ministère jordanien du travail.

    Dans ces conditions, ces réfugiés n’ont d’autre choix que de vivre au crochet des autres et de travailler illégalement quand l’opportunité se présente. Mansour exerce occasionnellement dans des restaurants. « Je regarde alors souvent autour de moi pour vérifier que des contrôleurs du Ministère du travail ne sont pas dans les environs. Ils sont déjà venus sur mon lieu de travail et j’ai dû m’enfuir », se souvient-il. En cas d’interpellation, le Ministère assure qu’il n’expulse pas le travailleur yéménite – qu’il ait le statut de réfugié ou pas – et qu’il se contente d’un rappel à la loi à l’employeur, voire d’une amende si ce dernier récidive. Cela dissuade bien sûr les patrons d’engager des Yéménites. « Après une courte période d’activité, on me remercie, relate Mansour. La Jordanie donne en fait la priorité à ses ressortissants sur le marché du travail. »
    Syriens oui, Yéménites non

    Cette préférence nationale s’explique par le haut niveau de chômage. Officiellement, 19% de la population active est à la recherche d’un emploi en Jordanie. Mais cette mise à l’écart des Yéménites interroge, dans la mesure où d’autres réfugiés, bien plus nombreux, peuvent obtenir gratuitement un permis de travail. Plus d’un million de Syriens, soit 10% de la population en Jordanie, peuvent exercer librement dans différents secteurs d’activité, comme l’agriculture, l’hôtellerie et la construction. Pourquoi pas les Yéménites ? « Nous traitons les Syriens comme des réfugiés, pas les Yéménites, justifie Mohammad Alkhateeb, porte-parole du Ministère jordanien du travail. Officiellement, ils sont venus chez nous en visite, pas en tant que réfugiés. » La reconnaissance de leur statut par le HCR n’a pas infléchi la position gouvernementale à ce sujet.

    Le fonctionnaire reconnaît qu’ils ne sont pas traités à égalité avec les Syriens. « Peut-être que personne n’écoute leur voix parce qu’ils ne sont pas plus de 15’000 », se hasarde-t-il. Le gouvernement jordanien peut décider de rendre gratuit le permis de travail pour certains ressortissants. Interrogés sur leurs intentions, le bureau du premier ministre, Omar Razzaz, ainsi que le Ministère jordanien des affaires étrangères n’ont pas donné suite aux sollicitations du Courrier.
    Une politique internationale

    La précarité des Yéménites s’explique aussi par la politique discriminatoire des bailleurs de fonds qui financent l’aide humanitaire au Moyen-Orient. Beaucoup se détournent de la crise yéménite, qui a fait moins de réfugiés que le conflit syrien, et dont les victimes sont donc moins visibles. De fait, la presse internationale a longtemps ignoré la guerre au Yémen. De son côté, le HCR souhaite soutenir les réfugiés en Jordanie sans condition de nationalité.

    « Mais cette approche est de plus en plus difficile à tenir car nos financements sont souvent assignés à la crise syrienne, analyse Lilly Carlisle, porte-parole du HCR à Amman. Nous ne pouvons donc pas dépenser cet argent pour des populations qui ne sont pas syriennes. » Pour le moment, seul 1% des besoins du HCR pour les réfugiés non syriens de Jordanie est financé pour cette année, notamment grâce à des contributions des Pays-Bas.

    Sans emploi stable et sans perspective intéressante en Jordanie, beaucoup espèrent se réinstaller dans des pays tiers. Les offres d’accueil sont rarissimes. « En 2018, onze réfugiés yéménites de Jordanie sont partis vivre au Royaume-Uni, trois au Canada et un aux Pays-Bas », reprend Lilly Carlisle, qui regrette la priorité donnée sur ce dossier à certaines nationalités, et le préjudice subi par d’autres. Quatre mille cinq cents Syriens aujourd’hui établis en Jordanie devraient être relocalisés dans des pays développés en 2019.

    Reste l’éventualité du retour au pays, une option fort périlleuse, que considère Zohra. Cette grand-mère yéménite ne parvient plus à payer son loyer à Amman. Elle craint d’être expulsée. « Je vais mourir ici, se lamente-t-elle dans un sanglot. Alors autant rentrer dans mon pays. Et je mourrai là-bas. »
    #réfugiés_yéménites #discriminations #catégorisation #tri #réfugiés_syriens #asile #migrations #réfugiés #urban_refugees #réfugiés_urbains #Amman #travail

  • ‘Where are you from?’ Facing fines and bureaucracy, refugee children in Jordan go undocumented

    Located off the highway in the southern Amman suburbs, the Syrian embassy in Jordan almost looks like it’s made for long waits.

    It’s a quiet day outside, as a group of elderly Syrians wearing traditional keffiyeh scarves sit on a patch of grass next to the sand-colored building smoking cigarettes and passing the time.

    Aside from two flags attached to the roof of the embassy, the steel bars across the windows—shaped in classic Umayyad patterns—are one of the few hints of the otherwise rather anonymous building’s affiliation with Damascus.

    On the wall between the counters, a large bulletin board is plastered with instructions for various civil status procedures: births, marriages and identity cards. Flyers address the “brothers and sisters of the nation” waiting quietly outside.

    But not all Syrians feel welcome here.

    “I feel uncomfortable going to the embassy,” says Bassam al-Karmi, a Syrian refugee in Jordan originally from Deir e-Zor.

    “I can’t control my feelings and might start rambling on about politics and other things,” he explains, adding with a laugh, “I really can’t stand seeing the red [Syrian] flag, either.”

    If possible, al-Karmi says, he avoids approaching the embassy. But when he had his first daughter two years ago, there was no way around it. That’s where he needed to go to register her birth—at least if he wanted her to be recognized as a Syrian national.

    At last week’s international “Brussels III” donor conference, Jordan was commended for its efforts to provide Syrians with legal documentation. The civil status department of Jordan’s Ministry of Interior even maintains a presence in refugee camps, tasked with issuing official birth certificates.

    But acquiring Jordanian documents is only one part of the process. Having them authenticated by the Syrian authorities is a whole other story.

    According to several Syrian refugees in Jordan, bureaucratic procedures, lack of information and high costs are deterring them from registering their children’s births at the Syrian embassy—leaving thousands of Jordanian-born Syrian children without proof of nationality, and some potentially at risk of statelessness.

    When Ahmad Qablan’s second son was born in 2014, one year after the family’s arrival in Jordan, he went through all the procedures and paperwork that were required of him to register them first with the Jordanian authorities and then with the UN’s refugee agency, UNHCR.

    When his third son was born, he did the same.

    Even so, years later, neither of them have Syrian documents officially proving their nationality.

    A resident of a refugee camp some 70 kilometers east of the capital, Qablan would have to travel for two and a half hours each way to get Syrian birth certificates for his two sons—by submitting the papers at the Syrian embassy—only to come back again a week later to pick them up.

    But the biggest obstacle to registering, he says, is the fees involved with late registration.

    Even though, as a teacher, Qablan claims to have one of the highest salaries in the camp, the family is only just getting by, he says.

    “Why would I go spend that money at the embassy?”

    If a Syrian child is registered at the embassy later than three months after his or her birth, a $50 fine is added on top of the standard $75 registration fees. For a delay of more than a year, the fine goes up to $100.

    According to al-Karmi, those costs make families postpone the procedure. But the longer they wait, the more expensive it gets. As a result, he and others around him find themselves caught in a spiral of increasing costs.

    “You know the fees will increase,” he says, “but in the end people keep postponing and saying, ‘Maybe there’s another solution’.”

    According to a source from the Syrian embassy, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the press, some refugees even choose to send family members across the border to go through the procedures in Syria itself just to save on consular fees.

    Reports: ‘125,000’ Syrian refugee children born in Jordan

    Since the beginning of the Syrian uprising and ensuing conflict, more than 125,000 Syrian children are estimated to have been born on Jordainan soil, according to reports in Jordanian media. However, with many children going unregistered with the Jordanian government, an accurate number can be hard to find.

    UNHCR counts 107,268 children under the age of five in Jordan.

    Even though the Jordanian government has issued nearly 80,000 birth certificates to Syrian children born in Jordan since 2015, experts say that the vast majority of those remain unregistered with the Syrian embassy.

    One of the largest obstacles to registration, according to aid workers and Syrian refugees alike, is a lack of information about the procedures.

    A former Daraa resident, Qasem a-Nizami attempted to navigate registration after the birth of his now three-month-old daughter, but he wasn’t sure of where to start.

    According to a UN source speaking to Syria Direct on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the press, there is no coordination between UNHCR and the Syrian embassy.

    However, refugees can consult UNHCR about steps they need to take to register civil status procedures in Jordan.

    After asking around in his community and finally talking to the Jordanian Civil Status Department’s office in Zaatari camp, where he resides—sometimes receiving contradictory information—a-Nizami soon discovered that the procedures were much more complicated than he thought.

    To get a birth certificate at the Syrian embassy, refugees need to present the passport of the mother and father as well as a Jordanian birth certificate and marriage contract validated by the embassy.

    When a-Nizami got married in Syria, his town was under siege, and—like many other Syrians—the couple wasn’t able to access the government civil registries responsible for recording civil status events. Instead, the couple settled with a traditional Islamic marriage, involving a sheikh and witnesses.

    Today, a-Nizami has finally registered his marriage with the Jordanian authorities and is currently waiting to get the papers.

    “I can’t register my daughter until I’m finished with the trouble that I’m going through now,” he says.

    ‘Undocumented children’

    According to the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), having valid identity papers is crucial for refugees to access basic rights in a host country like Jordan, and children lacking a Jordanian birth certificate are particularly vulnerable to exploitation, trafficking and child marriage.

    “Undocumented children in Jordan cannot prove their identity, access justice and face difficulties in enjoying rights,” the NRC said in an email to Syria Direct.

    The worst case scenario is that some children end up stateless—and because of Syria’s patrilineal nationality laws, this is particularly a risk for female-headed households unable to prove the nationality of the father.

    But a lack of Syrian documents issued by the country’s embassy also has much more immediate consequences.

    Since the Jaber-Naseeb border crossing between Syria and Jordan reopened for traffic in October after a three-year closure, at least 12,842 Syrians have made the trip across the border, according to the UNHCR.

    Crossing the border, however, either requires a passport or an exit permit issued by the Syrian embassy in Jordan—neither of which can be obtained without Syrian identity documents.

    For years, experts have advocated that the lack of civil documentation could be one of the most significant barriers to the return of Syrian refugees, and as governments, UN bodies and humanitarian organizations increasingly grapple with the infinitely complex question of return, the issue of civil documentation is ever more pressing.

    Last week’s international “Brussels III” donor conference also underlined the need for affordable access to civil documentation for Syrians.

    ‘Cut from the tree of her father’

    While the vast majority of Syrians in neighboring countries surveyed by UNHCR earlier this month have a hope of returning to Syria some day, less than six percent expressed intentions to return within the next year.

    For al-Karmi, the hope of things changing in Syria was part of the reason why he kept postponing registration.

    “I was hoping that by the time we had our first child, maybe Assad would be gone,” he explains.

    And although he eventually registered his first-born daughter, the family’s youngest—who is nine months old—still only has Jordanian documents.

    “For the next child we also thought, ‘Bashar will be gone by then’,” al-Karmi says. “But that didn’t happen.”

    Now, he says, the family is doing what they can to make sure their daughters will grow up identifying with their Syrian roots.

    “She’s been cut from the tree of her father,” he says, explaining how they’ve turned to the internet as the only way of nurturing the children’s ties to family members spread out across the globe.

    “We are currently teaching her to remember the answer to, ‘Where are you from?’ and then responding, ‘I’m from Syria’,” he says.

    “This is the most we can do in exile.”

    But not everyone feels a need to raise their children to feel Syrian.

    Abu Abida al-Hourani, a 28-year-old resident of Jordan’s Zaatari camp, is not even interested in registering his two-and-a-half-year-old son at the Syrian embassy.

    “It’s better to belong to a country that will protect my son and make him feel safe and doesn’t deprive him of the most basic rights,” he explains.

    “How am I supposed to raise my son to feel like he belongs in a country full of killing, displacement and injustice?”
    #enfants #mineurs #enfance #Jordanie #réfugiés #réfugiés_syriens #asile #migrations #clandestinisation #certificats_de_naissance #bureaucratie #apatridie

  • New Iraqi citizenship law stirs controversy

    Dubai - As soon as the Iraqi parliament passed a bill to amend the Nationality Law last week, many Iraqis have taken to social media to express their anger.

    The new law states that any person who enters the country legally — and resides in it for a year legally — can get the Iraqi passport.

    Iraqis saw it as a new “disaster” for their country.

    Iraq, they said, had already suffered so much from the scourge of war and corruption.

    Some see it as a way to change the demography and population of Iraq.

    Others see that the Iraqi identity, which is already suffering from years of war, is being jeoprodised.

    Most of the comments on social media accuses the government of passing the law because of the Iranian influence.

    Le commentaire est écrit à Dubaï... Mais cet autre (, en arabe et depuis Amman, va dans le même sens .

    #irak #nationalité #croissant_chiite #iran

  • المسموح والممنوع بالمقاييس الامريكية للتجارة بين الاردن وسورية : حظر التبادل الإقتصادي في مجالات الطاقة والحديد والاسمنت والتعدين وضوء أخضر يسمح بالتعاون بين عمان ودمشق في مجال"الطعام والغذاء" - رأي اليوم

    _On voudrait à la rigueur que les réfugiés syriens rentrent chez eux, mais surtout pas que la Syrie se reconstruise... L’attaché commercial de l’ambassade des USA à Amman explique aux commerçants locaux qu’ils peuvent faire passer des marchandises alimentaires, mais pas de ressources énergétiques, ni de ciment, ni d’acier. (Cela fait un peu penser à Gaza.)

    #syrie #usa

  • De l’oud et des beats : des stars de l’électro palestinienne revisitent leur folklore
    By Clothilde Mraffko in RAMALLAH, Territoires palestiniens occupés (Cisjordanie)Middle East Eye édition française - Date de publication : Mercredi 27 février 2019

    Effleurant des doigts la table de mixage, Sarouna fait surgir de temps à autre un chant lancinant au milieu des basses. Avec d’autres grands noms de la scène électro palestinienne, elle crée des morceaux en piochant dans le folklore local.

    « On va faire vivre ce patrimoine, pour qu’on ne l’oublie pas »

    - Sama Abdulhadi, DJ

    Le projet est né dans la tête de Rashid Abdelhamid, un producteur de cinéma. Épaulé par Sama Abdulhadi, considérée comme la première femme DJ palestinienne, ils ont réuni dix artistes venus des territoires palestiniens occupés mais aussi de Haïfa, Londres, Paris ou Amman dans une villa à Ramallah, en Cisjordanie.

    De cette résidence d’artistes qui a duré deux semaines en 2018 est né un album de dix-huit chansons, intitulé Electrosteen, contraction entre « électro » et « Falesteen », Palestine en arabe.

    Chacun avec son univers musical, les artistes ont œuvré à partir de centaines de musiques traditionnelles palestiniennes enregistrées il y a une quinzaine d’années par le Centre des arts populaires, une organisation palestinienne basée à Ramallah.

    Au début, face à ces morceaux issus du riche folklore local, « on ne savait que faire, on ne voulait pas les abîmer », confie en riant Sarouna, cheveux coupés à la garçonne et sweat à capuche barré d’une inscription en arabe : « Fabriqué en Palestine ».

  • Amman, d’une crue à l’autre. Littérature et géographie | Rumor

    Les réseaux sociaux auxquels je suis connecté ont relayé les images spectaculaires d’une #crue qui a noyé la ville basse d’Amman jeudi 27 février, suscitant les habituelles dénonciations de l’incurie des autorités municipalités.

    Ces scènes de rues submergées d’eaux boueuses, et de l’amphithéatre romain transformée en piscine, ont réveillé en moi un souvenir littéraire dont la qualité poétique et dramatique n’a d’égale que sa valeur géographique. Il s’agit des souvenirs du jeune Abdel Rahman Mounif qui grandit dans cette ville dans les années 1940. Le chapitre IX de son récit Une ville dans la mémoire. #Amman (en arabe Sirat Amman), traduit par Eric Gautier dans une collection d’Actes Sud-Sindbad dirigée par Yves Gonzalès Quijano (@gonzo) propose une puissante évocation de la crue qui frappe la ville en 1943, après une fine présentation d’un paysage fluviatile aujourd’hui disparu.

  • Jérusalem : nouveau regain de tension autour de l’esplanade des Mosquées
    Par RFI Publié le 27-02-2019 - Avec notre correspondant à Jérusalem, Guilhem Delteil

    Le gouverneur palestinien de Jérusalem a été arrêté dans la nuit de mardi à mercredi. Cette fonction est essentiellement symbolique, Israël ayant annexé Jérusalem-Est. Mais Adnan Gheith est un haut responsable de l’Autorité palestinienne. Il est soupçonné d’être impliqué dans la réouverture d’un bâtiment situé sur l’esplanade des Mosquées. Il avait été fermé sur décision de la justice israélienne en 2003, mais rouvert par les Palestiniens vendredi dernier. Selon l’agence de presse officielle de l’Autorité palestinienne, plus de cent personnes ont été interpellées en une semaine par la police israélienne. La plupart ont été relâchées, mais ces incidents et arrestations soulignent un regain de tension autour de ce lieu saint pour les musulmans comme pour les juifs. (...)

    Contestant la fermeture du bâtiment, la fondation islamique qui gère l’esplanade des Mosquées a décidé d’y entrer une première fois le 14 février. L’intitiative a provoqué un mouvement populaire de soutien inatendu qui a surpris les autorités religieuses comme israéliennes, analyse Ofer Zalsberg.

    « Israël réagit trop tard. Israël, maintenant qu’il y a des musulmans tout le temps à l’intérieur, est obligé, si elle veut eviter cela, d’envoyer la police, d’utiliser la force », souligne l’expert.

    La droite israélienne exige du Premier ministre Benyamin Netanyahu qu’il ferme à nouveau les accès au site. Mais le chef du gouvernement est aussi sous pression de la Jordanie qui officiellement conserve le contrôle de l’esplanade. Amman réclame pour sa part que le bâtiment soit transformé en mosquée.

  • Old Palestinian photos & films hidden in IDF archive show different history than Israeli claims

    Palestinian photos and films seized by Israeli troops have been gathering dust in the army and Defense Ministry archives until Dr. Rona Sela, a curator and art historian, exposed them. The material presents an alternative to the Zionist history that denied the Palestinians’ existence here, she says.

    The initial reaction is one of incredulity: Why is this material stored in the Israel Defense Forces and Defense Ministry Archive? The first item is labeled, in Hebrew, “The History of Palestine from 1919,” the second, “Paintings by Children Who Go to School and Live in a Refugee Camp and Aspire to Return to Palestine.” The third is, “Depiction of the IDF’s Treatment and Harsh Handling of Palestinians in the Territories.”

    Of all places, these three reels of 16-mm film are housed in the central archive that documents Israel’s military-security activities. It’s situated in Tel Hashomer, near the army’s National Induction Center, outside Tel Aviv.

    IDF archive contains 2.7 million photos, 38,000 films

    The three items are barely a drop in an ocean of some 38,000 films, 2.7 million photographs, 96,000 audio recordings and 46,000 maps and aerial photos that have been gathered into the IDF Archive since 1948, by order of Israel’s first prime minister and defense minister, David Ben-Gurion. However, a closer perusal shows that this particular “drop in the ocean” is subversive, exceptional and highly significant.

    The footage in question is part of a collection – whose exact size and full details remain unknown – of “war booty films” seized by the IDF from Palestinian archives in raids over the years, though primarily in the 1982 Lebanon War.

    Recently, however, following a persistent, protracted legal battle, the films confiscated in Lebanon, which had been gathering dust for decades – instead of being screened in cinematheques or other venues in Israel – have been rescued from oblivion, along with numerous still photos. The individual responsible for this development is Dr. Rona Sela, a curator and researcher of visual history at Tel Aviv University.

    For nearly 20 years, Sela has been exploring Zionist and Palestinian visual memory. She has a number of important revelations and discoveries to her credit, which she has published in the form of books, catalogs and articles. Among the Hebrew-language titles are “Photography in Palestine/Eretz-Israel in the ‘30s and ‘40s” (2000) and “Made Public: Palestinian Photographs in Military Archives in Israel” (2009). In March, she published an article in the English-language periodical Social Semiotics on, “The Genealogy of Colonial Plunder and Erasure – Israel’s Control over Palestinian Archives.”

    Now Sela has made her first film, “Looted and Hidden: Palestinian Archives in Israel,” an English-language documentary that surveys the fate of Palestinian photographs and films that were “captured” and deposited in Israeli archives. It includes heretofore unseen segments from films seized by the IDF from Palestinian archives in Beirut. These documentary records, Sela says, “were erased from consciousness and history” for decades.

    Sela begins journey in 1998

    Getting access to the films was not easy, Sela explains. Her archival journey began in 1998, when she was researching Zionist propaganda films and photos that sought to portray the “new Jew” – muscular, proudly tilling the soil – in contradistinction, according to the Zionist perception, to the supposedly degenerate and loutish Palestinian Arab.

    “After spending a few years in the Central Zionist Archive in Jerusalem and in other Zionist archives, researching the history of Zionist photography and the construction of a visual propaganda apparatus supporting the Zionist idea, I started to look for Palestinian visual representation as well, in order to learn about the Palestinian narrative and trace its origins and influence,” she says.

    That task was far more complicated than anyone could have imagined. In some of the Zionist films and photos, Sela was able to discern, often incidentally, episodes from Palestinian history that had “infiltrated” them, as she puts it. For example, in Carmel Newsreels (weekly news footage screened at local cinemas) from 1951, showing the settlement of Jews in Jaffa, demolished and abandoned Arab homes are clearly visible.

    Subsequently, Sela spotted traces and remnants of a genuine Palestinian visual archive occasionally cropping up in Israeli archives. Those traces were not immediately apparent, more like an elusive treasure concealed here and there beneath layers of restrictions, erasures and revisions.

    Khalil Rassass, father of Palestinian photojournalism

    Thus, one day she noticed in the archive of the pre-state Haganah militia, stills bearing the stamp “Photo Rissas.” Digging deeper, she discovered the story of Chalil Rissas (Khalil Rassass, 1926-1974), one of the fathers of Palestinian photojournalism. He’s unknown to the general public, whether Palestinian or Israel, but according to Sela, he was a “daring, groundbreaking photographer” who, motivated by a sense of national consciousness, documented the pre-1948 Palestinian struggle.

    Subsequently she found hundreds of his photographs, accompanied by captions written by soldiers or Israeli archive staff who had tried to foist a Zionist narrative on them and disconnect them from their original context. The source of the photographs was a Jewish youth who received them from his father, an IDF officer who brought them back with him from the War of Independence as booty.

    The discovery was unprecedented. In contrast to the Zionist propaganda images that exalted the heroism of the Jewish troops and barely referred to the Palestinians, Rissas’ photographs were mainly of Palestinian fighters. Embodying a proud Palestinian stance, they focused on the national and military struggle and its outcome, including the Palestinians’ military training and deployment for battle.

    “I realized that I’d come across something significant, that I’d found a huge cache of works by one of the fathers of Palestinian photography, who had been the first to give visual expression to the Palestinian struggle,” Sela recalls. “But when I tried to learn more about Chalil Rissas, I understood that he was a forgotten photographer, that no one knew the first thing about him, either in Israel or elsewhere.”

    Sela thereupon decided to study the subject herself. In 1999, she tracked down Rissas’ brother, Wahib, who was working as a photographer of tourists on the Temple Mount / Haram a-Sharif in Jerusalem’s Old City. He told her the story of Chalil’s life. It turned out that he had accompanied Palestinian troops and leaders, visually documenting the battles fought by residents of the Jerusalem area during the 1948 War of Independence. “He was a young man who chose the camera as an instrument for changing people’s consciousness,” Sela says.

    Ali Za’arur, forgotten Palestinian photographer

    Around 2007, she discovered the archive of another forgotten Palestinian photographer, Ali Za’arur (1900-1972), from Azzariyeh, a village east of Jerusalem. About 400 of his photos were preserved in four albums. They also depicted scenes from the 1948 war, in which Za’arur accompanied the forces of Jordan’s Arab Legion and documented the battle for the Old City of Jerusalem. He photographed the dead, the ruins, the captives, the refugees and the events of the cease-fire.

    In the Six-Day War of 1967, Za’arur fled from his home for a short time. When he returned, he discovered that the photo albums had disappeared. A relative, it emerged, had given them to Jerusalem Mayor Teddy Kollek as a gift. Afterward, the Jerusalem Foundation donated them to the IDF Archive. In 2008, in an unprecedented act, the archive returned the albums to Za’arur’s family. The reason, Sela surmises, is that the albums were captured by the army in battle. In any event, this was, as far as is known, a unique case.

    Sela took heart from the discoveries she’d made, realizing that “with systematic work, it would be possible to uncover more Palestinian archives that ended up in Israeli hands.”

    That work was three-pronged: doing archival research to locate Palestinian photographs and films that had been incorporated into Israeli archives; holding meetings with the Palestinian photographers themselves, or members of their families; and tracking down Israeli soldiers who had taken part in “seizing these visual spoils” and in bringing them to Israel.

    In the course of her research Sela met some fascinating individuals, among them Khadijeh Habashneh, a Jordan-based Palestinian filmmaker who headed the archive and cinematheque of the Palestinian Cinema Institute. That institution, which existed from the end of the 1960s until the early ‘80s, initially in Jordan and afterward in Lebanon, was founded by three pioneering Palestinian filmmakers – Sulafa Jadallah, Hani Jawhariyyeh and Mustafa Abu Ali (Habashneh’s husband) – who sought to document their people’s way of life and national struggle. Following the events of Black September in 1970, when the Jordanian army and the Palestine Liberation Organization fought a bloody internecine war, the filmmakers moved to Lebanon and reestablished the PCI in Beirut.

    Meeting with Habashneh in Amman in 2013, Sela heard the story of the Palestinian archives that disappeared, a story she included in her new documentary. “Where to begin, when so much material was destroyed, when a life project falls apart?” Habashneh said to Sela. “I can still see these young people, pioneers, bold, imbued with ideals, revolutionaries, who created pictures and films and documented the Palestinian revolution that the world doesn’t want to see. They refused to be faceless and to be without an identity.”

    The archive established by Habashneh contained forgotten works that documented the Palestinians’ suffering in refugee camps, the resistance to Israel and battles against the IDF, as well as everyday life. The archive contained the films and the raw materials of the PCI filmmakers, but also collected other early Palestinian films, from both before and after 1948.

    Spirit of liberation

    This activity reflects “a spirit of liberation and revolt and the days of the revolution,” Habashneh says in Sela’s film, referring to the early years of the Palestinian national movement. That spirit was captured in underground photographs and with a minimal budget, on film that was developed in people’s kitchens, screened in tents in refugee camps and distributed abroad. Women, children, fighters, intellectuals and cultural figures, and events of historic importance were documented, Habashneh related. “As far as is known, this was the first official Palestinian visual archive,” Sela notes.

    In her conversation with Sela, Habashneh nostalgically recalled other, better times, when the Palestinian films were screened in a Beirut cinematheque, alongside other works with a “revolutionary spirit,” from Cuba, Chile, Vietnam and elsewhere. “We were in contact with filmmakers from other countries, who saw the camera as an instrument in the hands of the revolution and the people’s struggle,” she recalled.

    “Interesting cultural cooperation developed there, centering around revolutionary cinema,” Sela points out, adding, “Beirut was alive with an unprecedented, groundbreaking cultural flowering that was absolutely astonishing in terms of its visual significance.”

    IDF confiscates film archive

    But in 1982, after the IDF entered Beirut, that archive disappeared and was never seen again. The same fate befell two films made by Habashneh herself, one about children, the other about women. In Sela’s documentary, Habashneh wonders aloud about the circumstances in which the amazing collection disappeared. “Is our fate to live a life without a past? Without a visual history?” she asks. Since then, she has managed to reconstruct a small part of the archive. Some of the films turned up in the United States, where they had been sent to be developed. Copies of a few others remained in movie theaters in various countries where they were screened. Now in her seventies, Habashneh continues to pursue her mission, even though, as she told Sela during an early conversation, “the fate of the archive remains a puzzle.”

    What Habashneh wasn’t able to accomplish beginning in 1982 as part of a worldwide quest, Sela managed to do over the course of a few years of research in Israel. She began by locating a former IDF soldier who told her about the day on which several trucks arrived at the building in Beirut that housed a number of Palestinian archives and began to empty it out. That testimony, supported by a photograph, was crucial for Sela, as it corroborated the rumors and stories about the Palestinian archives having been taken to Israel.

    The same soldier added that he had been gripped by fear when he saw, among the photos that were confiscated from the archive, some that documented Israeli soldiers in the territories. He himself appeared in one of them. “They marked us,” he said to Sela.

    Soldiers loot Nashashibi photos & possessions, take photo from corpse

    Another former soldier told Sela about an unusual photo album that was taken (or looted, depending on one’s point of view) from the home of the prominent Nashashibi family in Jerusalem, in 1948. The soldier added that his father, who had served as an IDF officer in the War of Independence, entered a photography studio and made off with its archive, while other soldiers were busy looting pianos and other expensive objects from the Nashashibis. Another ex-soldier testified to having taken a photo from the corpse of an Arab. Over time, all these images found their way to archives in Israel, in particular the IDF Archive.

    Sela discovers IDF archive

    In 2000, Sela, buoyed by her early finds, requested permission from that archive to examine the visual materials that had been seized by the army in the 1980s. The initial response was denial: The material was not in Israel’s hands, she was told.

    “But I knew what I was looking for, because I had soldiers’ testimonies,” she says now, adding that when she persisted in her request, she encountered “difficulties, various restrictions and the torpedoing of the possibility of perusing the material.”

    The breakthrough came when she enlisted the aid of attorneys Michael Sfard and Shlomi Zacharia, in 2008. To begin with, they received word, confirmed by the Defense Ministry’s legal adviser, that various spoils taken in Beirut were now part of the IDF Archive. However, Sela was subsequently informed that “the PLO’s photography archive,” as the Defense Ministry referred in general to photographic materials taken from the Palestinians, is “archival material on matters of foreign affairs and security, and as such is ‘restricted material’ as defined in Par. 7(a) of the Archives Regulations.”

    Then, one day in 2010, Sela received a fax informing her that Palestinian films had been found in the IDF Archive, without elaboration, and inviting her to view them. “There were a few dozen segments from films, and I was astonished by what I saw,” she says. “At first I was shown only a very limited amount of footage, but it was indicative of the whole. On the basis of my experience, I understood that there was more.”

    A few more years of what Sela terms “endless nagging, conversations and correspondence” passed, which resulted in her being permitted to view dozens of segments of additional films, including some that apparently came from Habashneh’s archive. Sela also discovered another Palestinian archive that had been seized by the IDF. Established under the aegis of the PLO’s Cultural Arts Section, its director in the 1970s was the Lod-born painter and historian Ismail Shammout (1930-2006).

    One of the works in that collection is Shammout’s own film “The Urgent Call,” whose theme song was written and performed by the Palestinian singer Zainab Shathat in English, accompanying herself on the guitar. “The film was thought to be lost until I found it in the IDF Archive,” says Sela, who describes “The Urgent Call” as “a cry about the condition of Palestine, its sons and its daughters.”

    Viewing it takes one back in time to the late 1960s and early ‘70s, when the cinema of the Palestinian struggle briefly connected with other international revolutionary film movements.

    Legendary French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard

    For example, in 1969 and 1970 Jean-Luc Godard, the legendary filmmaker of the French New Wave in cinema, visited Jordan and Lebanon several times with the Dziga Vertov Group of French filmmakers (named after the Soviet pioneer documentarian of the 1920s and ‘30s), who included filmmaker Jean-Pierre Gorin, who worked with Godard in his “radical” period. They came to shoot footage in refugee camps and in fedayeen bases for Godard’s film “Until Victory.” Habashneh told Sela that she and others had met Godard, assisted him and were of course influenced by his work. [Ed. note: Godard’s work on Palestine caused him to be accused of antisemitism by the Washington Post’s Richard Cohen and others. “In Hollywood there is no greater sin,” the Guardian reported.]

    Along with “The Urgent Call” – excerpts from which are included in her “Looted and Hidden” documentary – Sela also found another Shammout work in the IDF Archive. Titled “Memories and Fire,” it chronicles 20th-century Palestinian history, “from the days depicting the idyllic life in Palestine, via the documentation of refugeehood, to the documentation of the organizing and the resistance. To use the terms of the Palestinian cinema scholar and filmmaker George Khleifi, the aggressive fighter took the place of the ill-fated refugee,” she adds.

    Sela also found footage by the Iraqi director Kais al-Zubaidi, who worked for a time in the PLO’s Cultural Arts Section. His films from that period include “Away from Home” (1969) and “The Visit” (1970); in 2006 he published an anthology, “Palestine in the Cinema,” a history of the subject, which mentions some 800 films that deal with Palestine or the Palestinian people. [Ed. note: unfortunately it appears this book has never been translated into English.]

    IDF seals the archive for decades

    Some of the Palestinian movies in the IDF Archive bear their original titles. However, in many other cases this archival material was re-cataloged to suit the Israeli perspective, so that Palestinian “fighters” became “gangs” or “terrorists,” for example. In one case, a film of Palestinians undergoing arms training is listed as “Terrorist camp in Kuwait: Distribution of uniforms, girls crawling with weapons, terrorists marching with weapons in the hills, instruction in laying mines and in arms.”

    Sela: “These films and stills, though not made by Jewish/Israeli filmmakers or military units – which is the central criterion for depositing materials in the Israeli army archive – were transferred to the IDF Archive and subordinated to the rules of the State of Israel. The archive immediately sealed them for many decades and cataloged them according to its terminology – which is Zionist, Jewish and Israeli – and not according to the original Palestinian terminology. I saw places where the word ‘terrorists’ was written on photographs taken by Palestinians. But after all, they do not call themselves as such. It’s part of terminological camouflaging, which subordinated their creative work to the colonial process in which the occupier controls the material that’s captured.”

    Hidden Palestinian history

    Sela’s discoveries, which are of international importance, are not only a research, documentation and academic achievement: They also constitute a breakthrough in regard to the chronicling of Palestinian history. “Palestinian visual historiography lacks many chapters,” she observes. “Many photographs and archives were destroyed, were lost, taken as spoils or plundered in the various wars and in the course of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.”

    From her point of view, the systematic collecting of Palestinian visual materials in the IDF Archive “makes it possible to write an alternative history that counteracts the content created by the army and the military archive, which is impelled by ideological and political considerations.” In the material she found in the army archive, she sees “images that depict the history of the Palestinian people and its long-term ties to this soil and this place, which present an alternative to the Zionist history that denied the Palestinians’ existence here, as well as their culture and history and the protracted tragedy they endured and their national struggle of many years.”

    The result is an intriguing paradox, such as one often finds by digging deep into an archive. The extensive information that Sela found in the IDF Archive makes it possible to reconstruct elements of the pre-1948 existence of the Palestinians and to help fill in the holes of the Palestinian narrative up until the 1980s. In other words, even if Israel’s intention was to hide these items and to control the Palestinians’ historical treasures, its actions actually abet the process of preservation, and will go on doing so in the future.

    Earlier groundbreaking discovery – confiscated Palestinians books & libraries

    Sela’s research on visual archival materials was preceded by another groundbreaking study – dealing with the written word – conducted by Dr. Gish Amit, an expert on the cultural aspects of Zionism at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Amit chronicled the fate of Palestinian books and libraries that, like the photographs and films Sela found, ended up in Israeli archives – including in the National Library in Jerusalem.

    In his 2014 book, “Ex-Libris: Chronicles of Theft, Preservation, and Appropriating at the Jewish National Library” (Hebrew), Amit trenchantly analyzes the foredoomed failure of any attempt to conceal and control the history of others. According to him, “an archive remembers its forgettings and erasures,” “documents injustice, and thus makes it possible to trace its paths” and “paves a way for forgotten histories which may, one day, convict the owners” of the documents.

    However, Amit also sees the complexity of this story and presents another side of it. Describing the operation in which the Palestinian books were collected by Israeli soldiers and National Library personnel during the War of Independence, he raises the possibility that this was actually an act involving rescue, preservation and accessibility: “On the one hand, the books were collected and not burned or left in the abandoned houses in the Arab neighborhoods that had been emptied of their inhabitants. Had they not been collected their fate would have been sealed — not a trace of them would remain,” he writes, adding, that the National Library “protected the books from the war, the looting and the destruction, and from illegal trade in manuscripts.”

    According to the National Library, it is holding about 6,500 Palestinian books and manuscripts, which were taken from private homes whose owners left in 1948. The entire collection is cataloged and accessible to the general public, but is held under the responsibility of the Custodian of Absentees’ Property in the Finance Ministry. Accordingly, there is no intention, in the near future, of trying to locate the owners and returning the items.

    Israeli control over history

    Sela views the existence of these spoils of war in Israel as a direct expression of the occupation, which she defines, beyond Israel’s physical presence in the territories, as “the control of history, the writing of culture and the shaping of identity.” In her view, “Israel’s rule over the Palestinians is not only geographic but extends also to culture and consciousness. Israel wants to erase this history from the public consciousness, but it is not being successful, because the force of the resistance is stronger. Furthermore, its attempts to erase Palestinian history adversely affect Israel itself in the end.”

    At this point, Sela resorts to a charged comparison, to illustrate how visual materials contribute to the creation of personal and collective identity. “As the daughter of Holocaust survivors,” she says, “I grew up in a home without photographic historical memory. Nothing. My history starts only with the meeting of my parents, in 1953. It’s only from then that we have photos. Before that – nothing.

    “I know what it feels like when you have no idea what your grandmother or grandfather looked like, or your father’s childhood,” she continues. “This is all the more true of the history of a whole people. The construction of identity by means of visual materials is very meaningful. Many researchers have addressed this topic. The fact is that Zionist bodies made and are continuing to make extensive and rational use of [such materials too] over a period that spans decades.”

    Sela admits that there is still much to be done, but as far as she’s concerned, once a crack appeared in the wall, there was no turning back. “There is a great deal of material, including hundreds of films, that I haven’t yet got to,” she notes. “This is an amazing treasure, which contains information about the cultural, educational, rural and urban life of the Palestinian people throughout the 20th century – an erased narrative that needs to be restored to the history books,” she adds.

    Asked what she thinks should be done with the material, she asserts, “Of course it has to be returned. Just as Israel is constantly fighting to retrieve what the Nazis looted from Jews in the Holocaust. The historical story is different, but by the same criterion, practice what you preach. These are cultural and historical materials of the Palestinian people.”

    The fact that these items are being held by Israel “creates a large hole in Palestinian research and knowledge,” Sela avers. “It’s a hole for which Israel is responsible. This material does not belong to us. It has to be returned to its owners. Afterward, if we view it intelligently, we too can come to know and understand highly meaningful chapters in Palestinian history and in our own history. I think that the first and basic stage in the process of conciliation is to know the history of the Other and also your own history of controlling the Other.”

    Defense Ministry response

    A spokesperson for the Defense Ministry, which was asked to comment on the holdings in the IDF Archive, the archive contains 642 “war booty films,” most of which deal with refugees and were produced by the UNRWA (the United Nations refugee relief agency) in the 1960s and 1970s. The ministry also noted that 158 films that were seized by the IDF in the 1982 Lebanon War are listed in orderly fashion in the reading-room catalog and are available for perusal by the general public, including Arab citizens and Palestinians.

    As for the Palestinian photographs that were confiscated, the Defense Ministry stated that there is no orderly record of them. There are 127 files of photographs and negatives in the archive, each of which contains dozens of photographs, probably taken between the 1960s and the 1980s, on a variety of subjects, including visits of foreign delegations to PLO personnel, tours of PLO delegations abroad, Palestinian art and heritage, art objects, traditional attire and Palestinian folklore, factories and workshops, demonstrations, mass parades and rallies held by the PLO, portraits of Arab personalities and PLO symbols.

    The statement adds that a few months ago, crates were located that were stamped by their original owners, “PLO/Department of Information and National Guidance and Department of Information and Culture,” during the evacuation of the archive’s storerooms in the Tzrifin base.
    #historicisation #Israël #Palestine #photographie #films #archive #histoire #Khalil_Rassass #Ali_Za’arur
    ping @reka @sinehebdo @albertocampiphoto

  • Défier le racisme : le calvaire d’une musicienne palestinienne à l’aéroport Ben Gourion
    14 janvier 2019 – Nai Barghouti – Source : Mondoweiss
    Traduction : SF pour l’Agence Media Palestine

    Une des caractéristiques les plus dangereuses des régimes d’oppression coloniale est qu’ils font en sorte d’occuper l’esprit des opprimés et pas seulement leur terre.

    Nous sommes arrivées à l’aéroport et j’essayais de convaincre ma mère de ne pas attendre que j’en aie fini avec le contrôle déshumanisant de « sécurité », comme elle le fait toujours. Alors que j’aime toujours voir son visage à distance, derrière l’épaisse vitre, faisant un signe de la main rassurant, je déteste vraiment la voir en colère mais impuissante face aux agents racistes de la sécurité d’Israël essayant de m’humilier juste pour ce que je suis – une Palestinienne. Je l’ai suppliée de partir, mais elle a insisté : « Je ne peux vraiment pas te laisser dans cet endroit horrible. On ne sait jamais ce qui va arriver ». Elle avait raison !

    Mon nom arabe sur mon passeport a immédiatement trahi mon identité, une invite à leur traitement « royal ». Lorsque l’officière de sécurité m’a demandé si je parlais hébreu et que j’ai dit non, elle a été visiblement fâchée. Lorsqu’elle m’a demandé ce que je faisais à Amsterdam et que j’ai répondu que j’étudiais le jazz, elle n’a pu contenir plus longtemps ses ondes racistes. Comment pouvais-je aussi brutalement démolir son stéréotype sectaire des « femmes arabes » ? Elle m’a dit que je devais passer par une « fouille au corps » intrusive.

    Je l’ai aussitôt accusée de racisme, de profilage racial et de vouloir se venger de moi pour ce que je suis et ce que je fais. Elle a hurlé en retour qu’elle faisait son travail. Je lui ai rappelé que de nombreux crimes innommables ont été perpétrés dans l’histoire sous ce prétexte immoral.

    Elle a pris sa revanche en prétendant que mon ordinateur portable ne satisfaisait pas au contrôle de sécurité et que donc je ne pouvais le prendre dans l’avion. Cela, en dépit du fait qu’elle m’avait demandé de l’ouvrir et de l’allumer, ce que j’avais fait sans problème. Elle me dit qu’ils me l’enverraient pas la poste à mon adresse d’Amsterdam. J’ai ri à son effronterie et j’ai énergiquement refusé. Je sais d’expérience, et de celles d’autres Palestiniens, que laisser son ordinateur aux mains des services de sécurité de l’aéroport Ben Gourion signifie qu’il sera invariablement piraté, abîmé ou « perdu ».

    Je lui ai dit que je ne pouvais pas voyager sans mon ordinateur étant donné qu’il contient toutes mes notes de musique et de cours et que sans lui je ne peux assister à aucun de mes cours.

    Son superviseur a soutenu sa décision vindicative, aussi ai-je été contrainte de rater mon avion. J’ai pris mon ordinateur et me suis rendue là où ma mère attendait, inquiète. Elle m’a accueillie en me prenant dans se bras le plus tendrement et en versant quelques larmes, puis elle a dit : « Ne t’en fais pas, nous allons trouver une solution. Je suis si fière de toi ! ».

    Le lendemain, elle m’a conduite à la frontière terrestre avec la Jordanie. Après une nuit délicieuse en famille à Amman, à profiter des célèbres tourtes épinards-fromage blanc de ma grand-tante, j’ai pris l’avion à l’aéroport accueillant d’Amman et je suis arrivée en toute sécurité à Amsterdam, munie de mon ordinateur, en toute dignité. (...)

    #frontières #BenGourion #Israel

  • Le Drian : « Si le Président Bachar el-Assad est candidat, il sera candidat » - Sputnik France

    Presque un cas d’école. Un même discours de Le Drian sur la #syrie, quatre titres...

    "Si le Président Bachar el-Assad est candidat,il sera candidat." Paris ne s’oppose pas à la participation de Bachar el-Assad aux élections en Syrie, peut-on déduire de la déclaration faite lors d’une conférence de presse par le chef de la diplomatie Jean-Yves Le Drian. (Sputnik New : )

    Syrie : la guerre contre Daech n’est pas achevée. Le chef de la diplomatie française Jean-Yves Le Drian a réaffirmé ce dimanche à Amman que la guerre contre le groupe Etat islamique (EI) n’était pas achevée en Syrie ajoutant que ceux qui pensent que les jihadistes ont été vaincus "se trompent". (Le Figaor :

    La France ne quittera la Syrie qu’après "l’éradication de Daech"
    Contrairement aux États-Unis, la France va poursuivre "inlassablement" son engagement, a averti Jean-Yves Le Drian. (HuffPost :

    C’est mois qui GRAISSE ;-)

    Mais aucun des trois ne reprend la chose la plus importante pour une partie de la presse arabe (Abdelbari Atouane dans Rai al-yom en l’occurrence, qui en fait même le titre de son édito : ; "Le deal du siècle [le possible accord US/Israël/Saoudiens] n’est plus d’actualité."

  • Chronique du cinéma palestinien : la renaissance d’un cinéma sans État
    Lou Mamalet, Middle East Eye, le 3 novembre 2018

    Quand il s’agit de définir les contours du cinéma palestinien, la réponse n’est jamais évidente. Il est en effet complexe de délimiter les frontières d’un art sans État. Le cinéma palestinien est un territoire fragmenté qui s’ancre dans différents espaces temporels et géographiques, conséquence d’un passé intrinsèquement lié à l’exil et à la dispersion.

    Malgré les difficultés économiques de cette industrie en quête permanente de financement, elle continue de porter à l’écran ceux que l’on a essayé de rendre invisibles, notamment à travers une nouvelle vague de jeunes réalisateurs, tels Rakan Mayasi ou Muayad Alayan , qui se sont fait remarquer lors de festivals de films internationaux.

    Début du XIX e siècle : premiers pas du cinéma palestinien

    Les prémices du cinéma palestinien remontent au début du XX e siècle, à l’occasion d’une visite du roi d’Arabie saoudite Ibn Saoud en Palestine en 1935. Accompagné par le mufti de Jérusalem Amin al-Husseini, son périple est immortalisé par Ibrahim Hassan Sirhan, réalisateur palestinien autodidacte, qui filme l’événement avec un appareil de fortune acheté à Tel Aviv.

    Sirhan s’associe plus tard à Jamal al-Asphar, un autre réalisateur palestinien, avec qui il filme The Realized Dreams (« les rêves réalisés »), un documentaire de 45 minutes sur les orphelins palestiniens.

    Considérés comme les pères fondateurs du cinéma palestinien, Sirhan et Asphar sont les premiers autochtones à faire des films en Palestine ; les premières images du pays avaient jusqu’alors été tournées par les frères Lumières ou d’autres sociétés européennes empreintes d’une forte dimension orientaliste, se contentant de dépeindre des sujets folkloriques et traditionnels.

    Dix ans plus tard, Ibrahim Hassan Sirhan ouvre le premier studio de production cinématographique en Palestine avec Ahmad al-Kalini, un compatriote ayant étudié le cinéma au Caire. Le duo produira plusieurs longs métrages, dont aucune trace ne demeure de nos jours, comme la majeure partie des réalisations de cette époque.

    La déclaration Balfour en 1917 et la création de l’État d’Israël trente ans plus tard dessinent cependant un autre destin pour le cinéma palestinien. En 1948, plus de 700 000 Palestiniens sont forcés à l’exil lors de la Nakba (« catastrophe »), assénant un coup dur à la production cinématographique palestinienne. Le peuple est traumatisé et doit faire face à une nouvelle situation, ne laissant derrière lui presqu’aucun document. C’est le commencement d’une longue période de silence cinématographique de plus de deux décennies.

    Fin des années 1960, début des années 1970 : le cinéma de la révolution

    Ce mutisme prend fin en 1968, après la défaite arabe de la guerre des Six Jours (la Naksa) et ses conséquences politiques : l’occupation israélienne de la Cisjordanie, de Jérusalem-Est et de Gaza.

    Cette tragédie renforce le statut de l’Organisation de libération de la Palestine (OLP) et d’autres institutions palestiniennes, qui sont alors perçues comme les derniers symboles d’espoir et de résistance arabe. Sous leurs auspices, un nouveau cinéma militant apparaît afin de documenter la lutte palestinienne et la vie des réfugiés dans les camps.

    Certains réalisateurs palestiniens ayant étudié à l’étranger rejoignent ainsi les rangs de l’OLP à Amman, puis à Beyrouth. Parmi eux, Sulafa Jadallah Mirsal, une jeune photographe palestinienne qui a étudié au Caire. Dans sa cuisine, elle monte une unité photographique avec des équipements basiques et se focalise sur les photographies des martyrs de guerre.

    En 1968, son travail est transféré à Amman où se situe le siège du Fatah, principal parti de l’OLP dirigé par Yasser Arafat, et pour la première fois, un département de photographie est créé.

    Elle est très rapidement rejointe par deux réalisateurs palestiniens : Mustafa Abu Ali , qui a par ailleurs travaillé avec Jean-Luc Godard sur son film Ici et ailleurs (1974), et Hani Jawharieh, avec qui elle mettra en place la première Unité du film palestinien (PFU).

    Ils sortent en 1969 No to a Peace Solution (« Non à une solution de paix »), un film de vingt minutes qui documente les manifestations de civils contre la solution de paix proposée par le secrétaire d’État américain de l’époque William Rogers.

    Suite au conflit entre l’OLP et le roi Hussein de Jordanie qui débouche, en 1970, sur les événements de Septembre noir , l’organisation de Yasser Arafat doit quitter la Jordanie et se relocalise au Liban. Durant cette période, plus de 60 documentaires sont tournés malgré les difficultés économiques et le début de la guerre civile libanaise, comme With our Souls and our Blood (« avec nos âmes et notre sang »), qui narre les massacres de septembre 1970.

    On assiste alors à l’accélération d’une prise de conscience de l’importance du cinéma et des images comme outil politique dans la promotion des idéaux révolutionnaires de la cause palestinienne.

    En 1974, est ainsi produit par Mustafa Abu Ali They Do Not Exist (« ils n’existent pas »), un documentaire dépeignant la vie des Palestiniens dans un camp de réfugiés du Sud-Liban et dont le titre est inspiré des déclarations négationnistes de Golda Meir (Première ministre israélienne de l’époque) au sujet des Palestiniens.

    Comme l’explique à Middle East Eye Hanna Atallah, réalisateur palestinien et directeur de FilmLab Palestine , une association qui supporte l’industrie cinématographique palestinienne, « Il s’agissait de construire un récit-réponse à celui des Israéliens, de trouver une alternative au discours selon lequel la Palestine était une terre sans habitants uniquement peuplée de bédouins. Les Israéliens ont vite compris qu’écrire l’histoire était un instrument politique, chose que les Palestiniens n’avaient pas réalisée jusqu’alors ».

    Un outil politique qui nécessite de centraliser les œuvres réalisées, ce à quoi s’attèle Mustafa Abu Ali en créant l’Archive du film palestinien en vue de réunir les efforts des réalisateurs palestiniens du monde entier et de préserver l’identité palestinienne en donnant une certaine reconnaissance à son cinéma.

    Cette archive contient une vaste quantité de documents sur le siège de Beyrouth, les batailles des fédayins, mais aussi des interviews de politiciens et d’intellectuels. Malheureusement, elle disparaîtra lors de l’invasion du Liban par Israël en 1982.

    Des efforts seront toutefois déployés par plusieurs réalisateurs – comme Monica Maurer, cinéaste allemande ayant autrefois opéré au sein de l’Unité du film palestinien de l’OLP, et l’artiste palestinienne Emily Jacir – afin de restaurer et digitaliser les rushes de cette période, à l’instar de ceux de Tel al-Zaatar , un film sur le siège du camp de réfugiés palestiniens du même nom à Beyrouth par les milices chrétiennes, initialement filmé par le cinéaste libanais Jean Khalil Chamoun et le Palestinien Mustafa Abu Ali.

    Une période également documentée dans Off Frame a.k.a. Revolution Until Victory (2016) de Mohanad Yaqubi, cinéaste palestinien et fondateur de Idiom , une société de production basée à Ramallah. Après un long travail de recherche dans le monde entier, Yaqubi est parvenu à exhumer des images d’archives inédites montrant le travail de cinéastes militants durant les années 60-70, un résultat qui réfléchit aussi sur la lutte palestinienne dans sa représentation d’elle-même et la réappropriation de son récit à travers l’établissement de l’Unité du film palestinien.

    1980-1990 : cinéma indépendant et réalisme social

    Les années 1980-1990 sont particulièrement difficiles pour les Palestiniens. Face à la persistance de l’occupation israélienne et à l’échec des tentatives de paix, les nouvelles générations commencent à perdre espoir en l’avenir. La crise économique, le chômage et l’augmentation des colonies dans les territoires occupés sont autant de facteurs qui précipitent l’éclatement de la première Intifada , le 9 décembre 1987.

    Un tournant politique qui marque aussi l’avènement d’une nouvelle génération de réalisateurs palestiniens ayant étudié à l’étranger. D’un cinéma de la révolution, principalement militant et documentaire, on passe alors au récit de la vie sous occupation et de la résistance.

    Parmi eux, Michel Khleifi , qui revient dans sa ville natale de Nazareth, en Galilée, après avoir passé dix ans en Belgique. Il produit son premier long métrage, Fertile Memory (mémoire fertile), en 1980, une fiction empruntant au documentaire qui raconte l’histoire de deux femmes palestiniennes dont l’une est forcée de travailler dans une entreprise de textile israélienne après avoir vu sa terre expropriée par Israël.

    Cette nouvelle vague est également représentée par les œuvres de Mai Masri , une réalisatrice palestinienne qui a grandi à Beyrouth et étudié à San Francisco. Dans Wild Flowers : Women of South Lebanon (1987), réalisé avec Jean Khalil Chamoun, elle filme la vie de femmes libanaises résistant durant l’occupation militaire israélienne du Sud Liban.

    Après les accords d’Oslo en 1993, on assiste à une certaine désillusion de la société palestinienne, qui se ressent à l’écran. Le cinéma s’éloigne de l’esprit révolutionnaire des années 1970 et de la nostalgie des années 1980 pour migrer vers un réalisme social traitant des problèmes que rencontrent les Palestiniens dans leur vie quotidienne.

    Comme le souligne Hanna Atallah, « Il n’est plus question de la vision romanesque et fantasmée de la Palestine perdue, avec ses champs d’orangers et d’oliviers. On parle du quotidien, des check-points et du mur ».

    Une situation tragique souvent tournée au ridicule par les réalisateurs, à l’instar d’Elia Suleiman, qui se met toujours en scène dans ses films comme observateur passif du délitement de l’identité palestinienne.

    Avec Chronique d’une disparition (1996), il dresse un portrait caustique de la réalité palestinienne sous occupation, entre anecdotes personnelles et discours politique sur Israël. Dans Intervention divine (2002), il raconte les déboires d’un couple de Palestiniens qui, pour se voir, l’un vivant à Jérusalem-Est et l’autre à Ramallah, doit se donner rendez-vous dans un terrain vague proche du check-point.

    Des difficultés de l’occupation aussi décrites par Rashid Masharawi. Qu’il s’agisse de Couvre-feu , description de celui imposé à son village de la bande de Gaza pendant 40 jours en 1993 (film qui lui fait gagner le prix UNESCO au festival de Cannes 1993), de L’Attente , qui suit Ahmad, un réalisateur faisant passer des auditions dans différents camps de réfugiés du Proche-Orient afin de constituer la troupe du futur théâtre palestinien (2006), ou de L’Anniversaire de Leïla (2008), qui raconte les obstacles d’un juge forcé de devenir chauffeur de taxi, le réalisateur évoque la douleur d’un peuple qui doit subir un état d’apartheid.

    Des années 2000 à nos jours : nouvelle vague et changement de récit

    Depuis les années 2000, si la politique reste en toile de fond des films palestiniens, elle n’est plus nécessairement au cœur du sujet, faisant place à des fictions au ton décalé et aux intrigues inattendues.

    De nouveaux thèmes sont abordés par de jeunes réalisateurs qui explorent la complexité de la réalité palestinienne, tels les écarts de perception entre les Palestiniens restés sur place et ceux revenus après avoir commencé une nouvelle vie à l’étranger ou encore les différences intergénérationnelles.

    C’est le cas de Wajib – L’invitation au mariage d’Annemarie Jacir (2017) , un long métrage qui illustre avec humour et tendresse la situation palestinienne à travers le regard de deux générations. Alors que le fils reproche au père d’inviter un ami juif, qu’il suspecte de travailler pour les services de renseignement israéliens, au mariage de sa sœur, le père en veut à son fils d’être en couple avec la fille d’un membre de l’OLP à qui il reproche de ne pas se soucier du sort des Palestiniens.

    Autre exemple, Love, Theft and Other Entanglements (« Amours, larcins et autres complications », 2015) des frères Muayad et Rami Musa Alayan, une fable absurde aux allures de western qui met en scène les aventures au milieu des milices palestiniennes et des services d’intelligence israéliens d’un petit magouilleur palestinien qui espère pouvoir se payer un visa de sortie du pays en volant une voiture appartenant à un Israélien et qui se retrouve enfermé dans le coffre de la voiture volée avec le soldat israélien qu’il a kidnappé.

    Des œuvres qui n’hésitent donc pas à utiliser l’humour et le symbolisme pour dénoncer le quotidien tragique des Palestiniens sous occupation, à l’instar de The Wanted 18 (« les dix-huit fugitives »), film d’animation intégrant des images d’archives qui raconte l’histoire vraie de Palestiniens du village de Beit Sahour, en Cisjordanie, tentant de maintenir clandestinement une industrie de vaches laitières pendant la première Intifada. Réalisé par Amer Shomali et Paul Cowan, le film a reçu le prix du meilleur documentaire au Festival du film d’Abou Dabi.

    Les courts-métrages ne font pas exception à la règle. En témoigne Farawaleh (« fraises »), la dernière création de la jeune réalisatrice palestinienne Aida Kaadan, lauréate du festival Palest’In & Out 2018, qui décrit l’épopée de Samir, responsable d’un magasin de chaussures à Ramallah qui n’a jamais vu la mer et qui décide, pour accomplir son rêve, de traverser la frontière israélienne parmi des ouvriers du bâtiment palestiniens.

    Un autre court-métrage, réalisé par le cinéaste Rakan Mayasi, raconte pour sa part l’histoire d’un couple palestinien qui, pour faire un enfant, décide de sortir clandestinement du sperme de la prison israélienne où l’époux purge sa peine. Bonboné (« bonbon ») a cumulé les prix de festivals (notamment meilleur scénario au Festival du court-métrage méditerranéen de Tanger , meilleur film au Twin Cities Arab Film Festival ).

    Bien que jamais très loin, la politique est devenue le personnage secondaire de ces nouvelles fictions qui font la part belle aux Palestiniens et à leur histoire, laquelle n’est plus cantonnée à une simple quête identitaire. The Reports on Sarah and Saleem , de Muayad Alayan, présenté au Festival des cinémas arabes de l’Institut du monde arabe en juillet dernier, retrace ainsi une histoire d’adultère banale entre une juive israélienne et un livreur palestinien, qui se transforme en affaire politique.

    Un changement de paradigme dans les intrigues regretté par certains, qui y voient une perte des valeurs propres à la cause palestinienne, comme l’explique à MEE Mohanad Yaqubi.

    « Le cinéma palestinien doit rester militant et engagé dans son essence. Avant, les réalisateurs parlaient un langage commun : celui du droit au retour. Aujourd’hui, l’identité palestinienne est dissoute et perd en force, alors que faire partie du peuple palestinien, c’est appartenir à une lutte pour l’auto-indépendance, que le cinéma doit soutenir », estime-t-il.

    Une mission pour l’avenir de cette industrie qui a su se renouveler sur la forme et sur le fond, malgré une situation politique stagnante....

    #Palestine #Cinéma

  • تطبيعُ دينيٌّ؟ السعوديّة تمنع حُجّاج الداخل الفلسطينيّ من الحّج والعمرة بجوازات سفرٍ أردنيّةٍ مؤقتةٍ فهل سيكون الدخول للمملكة بالجواز الإسرائيليّ؟ | رأي اليوم

    A rebours de ce qu’on pourrait attendre, la normalisation par la religion. Depuis 40 ans, les Palestiniens « de l’intérieur » (notamment) peuvent faire le pèlerinage grâce à un « passeport temporaire » accordé pour l’occasion par les Jordaniens. Ils peuvent ainsi partir de l’aéroport Ben Gourion, transitent à Amman et vont ensuite vers les lieux saints. L’Arabie saoudite vient de mettre un terme au système en cours. Prélude, se demandent certains, à une autorisation de vols directs depuis Israël ? Dilemme pour les Palestiniens pieux et nationalistes : faire passer en premier la fidélité aux principes politiques ou à ceux de la foi ?...

    #arabie_saoudite #palestine #pèlerinage

  • Muqata’a: ‘Our music is a way to disrupt, to be a glitch in the system’ | Music | The Guardian

    erview by Kieran Yates
    The Palestinian rapper on the power of Ramallah’s dance culture documented in a new film, Palestine Underground

    (...) Muqata’a is locally known as the “godfather” of the underground hip-hop scene in Ramallah, a city in the West Bank, Palestine. A former member of the acclaimed collective Ramallah Underground, he plies a brand of experimental hip-hop – based on sampling and looping the sounds of his city – that has been heralded for influencing a new generation of Palestinian musicians. His family are Palestinian refugees who moved between Nicosia, Cyprus and Amman, Jordan, and eventually came back to Ramallah. Muqata’a features in a new documentary, Palestine Underground, which follows members of the growing subterranean dance culture as they put on DIY parties across the region. It’s released online on 30 October via Boiler Room.

    “Muqata’a” means to disrupt, or boycott. How does your music reflect that?
    I sample classical Arabic music in my records. When our land is being taken away, our culture is muted. So it’s a way to try and disrupt that – being a glitch in the system is very important. When your heritage is being attacked by the state, you have to find ways of being remembered, so I sample a lot. A lot of the Arabic music or old records in my grandparents’ homes in Jaffa and Safed, for example, were taken when their house was confiscated. So this is a way to bring those sounds back. I have to find a lot of these vinyls abroad now – the UK, France or Greece. If I’m very lucky I might see them in a second-hand shop here, but it’s rare. One of my current favourites is Al Henna by Layla Nathmi.

    #palestine #musique

  • La Jordanie revient sur deux annexes du traité de paix avec Israël
    LE MONDE | 21.10.2018 à 16h20 • Mis à jour le 22.10.2018 à 07h53 | Par Piotr Smolar (Jérusalem, correspondant)

    L’affaire dépasse largement deux confettis de terres agricoles. Le roi Abdallah II de Jordanie a suscité la stupéfaction dans les cercles du pouvoir israélien, dimanche 21 octobre, en annonçant qu’il refusait de reconduire deux annexes du traité de paix liant ces pays voisins.

    Depuis sa signature, en 1994, le traité prévoyait que ces terres frontalières – la zone Baqoura-Naharayim et la zone Al-Ghamr-Zofar –, sous souveraineté jordanienne, seraient mises gratuitement à la disposition des fermiers israéliens pour une période de vingt-cinq ans. Un an avant la fin de l’échéance, comme il en a le droit, le roi Abdallah II affirme donc qu’il ne veut pas renouveler ce dispositif.
    Un signal envoyé à Israël

    De façon inhabituelle, le souverain a justifié sa position sur Twitter, en soulignant sa volonté de « prendre toutes les décisions au service de la Jordanie et des Jordaniens ». Une façon, analyse-t-on du côté israélien, d’inscrire ce retournement dans la politique intérieure du pays. Près de 80 députés jordaniens avaient appelé à ne pas renouveler ce régime spécial accordé aux deux confettis de terres. Il en allait, pour eux, de la dignité et de la souveraineté du royaume. De nombreux experts et des voix dans la société civile s’étaient emparés du sujet, ces derniers mois.

    « Le roi a dû passer outre des votes répétés au Parlement, ce qui l’a fait apparaître comme un défenseur d’Israël, souligne Ofer Zalzberg, analyste pour l’International Crisis Group. Ce geste lui permet d’envoyer un signal en faisant payer un prix aux Israéliens pour l’éloignement de la solution à deux Etats et leur comportement unilatéral sur le lieu saint de l’esplanade des Mosquées. Il a plus de latitude pour agir ainsi depuis qu’il n’est plus obligé de se coordonner étroitement avec les Israéliens pour soutenir les rebelles au sud de la Syrie, car Damas a repris cette zone. »

    Israël s’enorgueillit des relations étroites, notamment sécuritaires, qu’il a nouées avec l’Egypte et la Jordanie, après la conclusion d’un traité de paix avec chacun d’entre eux. L’Etat hébreu en fait même un modèle à suivre, dans le rapprochement esquissé en coulisses avec d’autres pays du bloc sunnite dit « modéré ».
    « Cet accord [de paix] dans sa totalité constitue un bien cher pour nos deux pays », a réagi très prudemment Benyamin Nétanyahou, dimanche, lors d’une cérémonie à la mémoire de l’ancien premier ministre Yitzhak Rabin. Les officiels israéliens comptent maintenant sur l’année à venir, pendant laquelle les annexes s’appliquent encore, pour trouver un arrangement avec Amman. « On comprend le désarroi dans lequel se trouve le roi sur le plan intérieur, on ne l’accable pas », dit un haut fonctionnaire israélien. En juin, des manifestations de masse contre des mesures d’austérité fiscale avaient fait tomber le premier ministre jordanien. (...)

  • Inquiétude pour des réfugiés syriens à la frontière jordanienne

    Des milliers de #réfugiés_syriens du camp de #Roukbane, à la frontière entre la Syrie et la #Jordanie, ne reçoivent plus de #ravitaillement depuis plus d’une semaine, s’inquiètent jeudi les organisations humanitaires. Côté syrien, l’armée de Bachar el-Assad qui a chassé les insurgés de la région a coupé les voies d’accès au camp pour mettre fin à la #contrebande. Côté jordanien, les autorités bloquent depuis le début de l’année les livraisons de l’aide internationale à Roukbane, qui abrite environ 50.000 réfugiés, en majorité des femmes et des enfants.

    « Il y a plus d’une semaine, le régime syrien a bloqué les routes vers le camp, où n’arrivent plus que de très petites quantités de vivres de contrebande », a expliqué à Reuters l’un des responsables du camp, Abou Abdallah. « La situation est explosive en raison de la #faim et des #maladies (...) La #famine menace », a-t-il ajouté. Les Jordaniens, pour leur part, estiment qu’ils n’ont plus à se charger de l’aide aux réfugiés puisque les forces gouvernementales syriennes ont repris le contrôle des environs du camp.

    Les agences des Nations unies exhortent Amman à autoriser de nouveau le passage de l’aide internationale. Le directeur régional de l’Unicef, Geert Cappelaere, a dit craindre pour la vie de milliers d’enfants à l’approche de l’hiver. Ces dernières quarante-huit heures, deux enfants sont morts à Roukbane, a-t-il ajouté. Une femme est également morte dans le camp cette semaine.
    #Camp_de_réfugiés #frontières

  • Can Islamist moderates remake the politics of the Muslim world? -

    By Taylor Luck Correspondent

    Alaa Faroukh insists he is the future. After nearly a decade in the Muslim Brotherhood, he says that he has finally found harmony between his faith and politics, not as a hardcore Islamist, but as a “Muslim democrat.”

    “We respect and include minorities, we fight for women’s rights, we respect different points of view, we are democratic both in our homes and in our politics – that is how we honor our faith,” Mr. Faroukh says.

    The jovial psychologist with a toothy smile, who can quote Freud as easily as he can recite the Quran, is speaking from his airy Amman clinic, located one floor below the headquarters of the Jordanian Muslim Brotherhood, the very movement he left.

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    “The time of divisive politics of older Islamists is over, and everyone in my generation agrees,” says the 30-something Faroukh. “The era of political Islam is dead.”

    Faroukh is symbolic of a shift sweeping through parts of the Arab world. From Tunisia to Egypt to Jordan, many Islamist activists and some established Islamic organizations are adopting a more progressive and moderate tone in their approach to politics and governing. They are reaching out to minorities and secular Muslims while doing away with decades-old political goals to impose their interpretation of Islam on society.

    Taylor Luck
    “The time of divisive politics of older Islamists is over, and everyone in my generation agrees. The era of political Islam is dead,” says Alaa Faroukh, a young Jordanian who left the Muslim Brotherhood for a moderate political party.
    Part of the move is simple pragmatism. After watching the Muslim Brotherhood – with its call for sharia (Islamic law) and failure to reach out to minorities and secular Muslims – get routed in Egypt, and the defeat of other political Islamic groups across the Arab world, many Islamic activists believe taking a more moderate stance is the only way to gain and hold power. Yet others, including many young Muslims, believe a deeper ideological shift is under way in which Islamist organizations are increasingly recognizing the importance of religious tolerance and political pluralism in modern societies. 

    Think you know the Greater Middle East? Take our geography quiz.
    While Islamist movements remain the largest and most potent political movement in the region, a widespread adoption of democratic principles by their followers could transform the discourse in a region where politics are often bound to identity and are bitterly polarized.

    “We believe that young Jordanians and young Arabs in general see that the future is not in partisan politics, but in cooperation, understanding, and putting the country above petty party politics,” says Rheil Gharaibeh, the moderate former head of the Jordanian Brotherhood’s politburo who has formed his own political party.

    Is this the beginning of a fundamental shift in the politics of the Middle East or just an expedient move by a few activists?


    Many Islamist groups say their move to the center is a natural step in multiparty politics, but this obscures how far their positions have truly shifted in a short time.

    Some 20 years ago, the manifesto of the Muslim Brotherhood – the Sunni Islamic political group with affiliates across the Arab world – called for the implementation of sharia and gender segregation at universities, and commonly employed slogans such as “Islam is the solution.”

    In 2011, the Arab Spring uprisings swept these Islamist movements into power or installed them as the leading political force from the Arab Gulf to Morocco, sparking fears of an Islamization of Arab societies.

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    But instead of rolling back women’s rights, the Tunisian Islamist party Ennahda pushed through gender equality laws and helped write the most progressive, gender-equal constitution in the Arab world. The Moroccan Justice and Development Party (PJD) has played down its Islamic rhetoric, abandoning talk of Islamic identity and sharia and instead speaking about democratic reform and human rights. And the Brotherhood in Jordan traded in its slogan “Islam is the solution” for “the people demand reform” and “popular sovereignty for all.”

    The past few years have seen an even more dramatic shift to the center. Not only have Islamist movements dropped calls for using sharia as a main source of law, but they nearly all now advocate for a “civil state”­ – a secular nation where the law, rather than holy scriptures or the word of God, is sovereign.

    Muhammad Hamed/Reuters
    Supporters of the National Alliance for Reform rally in Amman, Jordan, in 2016. They have rebranded themselves as a national rather than an Islamic movement.
    In Morocco and Jordan, Islamist groups separated their religious activities – preaching, charitable activities, and dawa (spreading the good word of God) – from their political branches. In 2016, Ennahda members in Tunisia went one step further and essentially eliminated their religious activities altogether, rebranding themselves as “Muslim democrats.”

    Islamist moderates say this shift away from religious activities to a greater focus on party politics is a natural step in line with what President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has done with his Justice and Development Party in Turkey, or even, they hope, with the Christian democrats in Europe: to become movements inspired by faith, not governing through faith.

    “While we are a Muslim country, we are aware that we do not have one interpretation of religion and we will not impose one interpretation of faith over others,” says Mehrezia Labidi, a member of the Tunisian Parliament and Ennahda party leader. “As Muslim democrats we are guided by Islamic values, but we are bound by the Constitution, the will of the people, and the rule of law for all.”

    Experts say this shift is a natural evolution for movements that are taking part in the decisionmaking process for the first time after decades in the opposition.

    “As the opposition, you can refuse, you can criticize, you can obstruct,” says Rachid Mouqtadir, professor of political science at Hassan II University in Casablanca, Morocco, and an expert in Islamist movements. “But when you are in a coalition with other parties and trying to govern, the parameters change, your approach changes, and as a result your ideology changes.”

    The trend has even gone beyond the borders of the Arab world. The Malaysian Islamic Youth Movement (ABIM), founded in 1971 by Malaysian university students inspired by the Brotherhood and now one of the strongest civil society groups in the country, is also shedding the “Islamist” label.

    In addition to running schools and hospitals, ABIM now hosts interfaith concerts, partners on projects with Christians and Buddhists, and even reaches out to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender activists in its campaign for social justice.

    “We are in the age of post-political Islam,” says Ahmad Fahmi Mohd Samsudin, ABIM vice president, from the movement’s headquarters in a leafy Kuala Lumpur suburb. “That means when we say we stand for Islam, we stand for social justice and equality for all – no matter their faith or background.”


    • David contre Goliath, les nouvelles figures héroïques (2/4)
      Ahed Tamimi : l’adolescente contre l’occupation

      Ahed Tamimi représente la jeunesse engagée et militante. Au travers de l’affront contre un militaire israélien, c’est 50 ans d’occupation et d’humiliation qui sont dénoncés. Quand le jour viendra où l’histoire de cette lutte sera racontée,Tamimi sera surement perçue comme David qui a giflé Goliath.

      Jean-Paul Chagnollaud
      professeur émérite des universités, président de l’IREMMO (Institut de Recherche et d’Études Méditerranée Moyen-Orient)
      Stéphanie Latte Abdallah
      Historienne, politologue, chercheuse à l’Institut de recherches et d’études sur le monde arabe et musulman (IREMAM-CNRS) à Aix-en-Provence

    • France
      [Exclusif] Ahed Tamimi : « Nous n’en pouvons plus de l’occupation »
      Par Cyril Fourneris • Dernière MAJ : 21/09/2018

      La jeune Palestinienne Ahed Tamimi, qui a fait huit mois de prison pour avoir giflé deux soldats israéliens, est en tournée en Europe. Euronews a rencontré l’activiste de 17 ans à l’occasion d’un meeting organisé jeudi près de Grenoble (France).

      « J’appelle les jeunes européens à faire pression sur leurs gouvernements respectifs pour qu’ils interviennent en faveur de la question palestinienne. Qu’ils voient ce qui se passe réellement sur le terrain et qu’ils le fassent savoir sur les réseaux sociaux. J’appelle aussi au boycott d’Israël », a déclaré l’adolescente.

      « Nous étions très mal traités en prison, les gardiens étaient racistes envers nous. Ils diminuaient nos rations alimentaires et ne nous donnaient pas les choses essentielles dont nous avions besoin. Nous les filles étions à court de serviettes hygiéniques. C’était une souffrance physique et psychologique », dénonce Ahed Tamimi, qui assure n’être liée à aucun parti politique.

      « J’appelle les partis politiques palestiniens à s’unir pour l’intérêt national et non pour leurs intérêts personnels. En tant que nouvelle génération, nous n’en pouvons plus de l’occupation. Nous ne voulons pas que les générations suivantes vivent dans les même conditions. Nous devons nous unir pour nous débarrasser de l’occupation et récupérer nos terres », poursuit-la militante, invitée par l’Association France Palestine Solidarité (AFPS).

      La famille d’Ahed Tamimi a eu beaucoup de mal à quitter les territoires palestiniens assure l’association, qui évoque une traversée « toujours très humiliante » de la frontière jordanienne pour rejoindre l’aéroport d’Amman, les Palestiniens ne pouvant pas emprunter celui de Tel-Aviv.

  • Heat: the next big inequality issue | Cities | The Guardian

    But air conditioning will remain out of reach for many, even as it increasingly becomes a necessity. In 2014, Public Health England raised concerns that “the distribution of cooling systems may reflect socioeconomic inequalities unless they are heavily subsidised,” adding that rising fuel costs could further exacerbate this. And when we need to use less energy and cool the planet, not just our homes and offices, relying upon air conditioning is not a viable long-term plan – and certainly not for everyone.

    ‘In Cairo everything is suffocating’

    Most of the research into heatwaves and public health has focused on western countries; Benmarhnia says more studies have been done on the city of Phoenix, Arizona, than the entire continent of Africa. But the problem is global, and especially pronounced across urban slums such as the ashwiyyat in Cairo, where temperatures during the city’s five-month-long summers have peaked at 46C (115F).

    Traditionally Egyptians built low buildings close together, forming dense networks of shaded alleyways where people could keep cool during summer. But the rapid construction of high-rises and decreasing green spaces have made one of the fastest-growing cities in the world increasingly stifling. Subsidy cuts have brought about a rise of 18-42% in electricity costs, affecting many poor residents’ options for cooling down.

    Um Hamad, 41, works as a cleaner and lives with his family in a small flat in Musturad in the city’s north. Though he considers them lucky to live on the relatively cool first floor, “in Cairo everything is suffocating”, he says. Hamad use fans and water to keep cool inside, but the water bill is becoming expensive . “There’s always that trick of sleeping on the floor, and we wear cotton clothes ,” he says. “The temperatures are harder to deal with for women who wear the hijab, so I always tell my daughters to wear only two layers and to wear bright colours.”

    In a tight-knit cluster of urban dwellings in Giza, to Cairo’s south, Yassin Al-Ouqba, 42, a train maintenance worker, lives in a house built from a mixture of bricks and mud-bricks. In August, he says, it becomes “like an oven”. “I have a fan and I place it in front of a plate of ice so that it spreads cold air throughout the room. I spread cold water all over the sheets.”

    Compounding the threat posed by the changing climate is the refugee crisis. The two are intimately linked, with extreme weather events often a factor in social, political and economic instability. A paper published in the journal Science in December found that if greenhouse gas emissions were not meaningfully reduced global asylum applications would increase by almost 200% by the end of the century.

    On a plain north of Amman, some 80,000 Syrians live in the Za’atari refugee camp, a semi-permanent urban settlement set up six years ago and now considered Jordan’s fourth-largest city. Hamda Al-Marzouq, 27, arrived three years ago, fleeing airstrikes on her neighbourhood in the outskirts of Damascus.

    Her husband had gone missing during the war, and she was desperate to save her young son and extended family. Eight of them now live in a prefabricated shelter, essentially a large metal box, which Al-Marzouq says turns into an oven during the summer.

    It’s suffocating. We soak the towels and try to breathe through them

    Hamda Al-Marzouq, Za’atari camp resident
    “It’s a desert area, and we’re suffering,” she says by phone from the camp. “We have different ways of coping. We wake in the early morning and soak the floor with water. Then we sprinkle water on ourselves.” There is no daytime electricity, so fans are useless. When power does arrive at night, the desert has already cooled.

    Many days, her family will wait until the evening to walk outside, wrapping wet towels around their heads. But the biggest problem are sandstorms, which can arrive violently during the summer months and engulf the camp for days. “We have to close the caravan windows,” she says, adding the room then gets hotter. “It’s suffocating. We soak the towels and try to breathe through them.”

    Al-Marzouq’s five-year-old son suffers respiratory problems and keeps getting infections, while asthma is rife across the camp.

    Water has also been an issue, with demand in northern Jordan – one of the most water-scarce countries in the world – surging following the refugee arrivals. A Unicef-led operation will see all households connected to a water network by October, which Al-Marzouq says has been a significant help.

    “We used to collect water with jerry cans and had to carry it for long distances. Now, with the water network being operational, things are much easier. We don’t have to fight in a long queue to get our share of water. Now there is equity.”

    #climat #Amman #Le_Caire #réfugiés

  • Le responsable des droits de l’homme de l’ONU s’en va avec ses principes intacts mais peu d’amis
    Middle East Eye | James Reinl | 7 août 2018

    NEW YORK, États-Unis – Le prince jordanien Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, Haut-Commissaire des Nations unies aux droits de l’homme, quittera son poste à l’ONU plus tard ce mois-ci après avoir renoncé au raffinement diplomatique en couvrant de honte les gouvernements occidentaux et les alliés à qui ils vendent des armes.

    Il a formulé une mise en garde contre les « xénophobes, [les] populistes et [les] racistes » qui engrangent des suffrages et qui mettent en péril la démocratie occidentale. L’attaque éclair menée contre l’immigration par le président américain Donald Trump est « une opération de maltraitance d’enfants parrainée par l’État », tandis que le dirigeant philippin Rodrigo Duterte « a besoin d’un psychiatre », a déclaré Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein.

    En décembre dernier, le ras-le-bol des puissances hégémoniques au sein de l’ONU – les États-Unis, la Grande-Bretagne, la France, la Russie et la Chine – vis-à-vis d’al-Hussein était manifeste. Au lieu de retenir ses coups et de « plier un genou en signe de supplication », selon ses propres mots, il a décidé de se retirer fin août.

    Si ses querelles avec les grandes puissances sont bien documentées, on en sait moins sur ses frictions avec la Jordanie, sa patrie, où suite à ses critiques contre la guerre menée au Yémen par le poids lourd régional saoudien, le diplomate de 54 ans est devenu persona non grata.

    La chute s’est avérée spectaculaire pour ce prince hachémite qui était l’émissaire d’Amman à Washington et à l’ONU avant de devenir Haut-Commissaire aux droits de l’homme et la personnalité arabe la plus haut placée dans l’organigramme onusien depuis que l’égyptien Boutros Boutros-Ghali avait dirigé l’institution dans les années 1990.
    Si les critiques d’al-Hussein contre la colonisation israélienne et la « maison de sang cruelle » de l’État islamique ont été accueillies favorablement de Casablanca à Mascate, celles qu’il a formulées au sein de la fraternité des membres de la Ligue arabe ont été jugées inadmissibles.

    « Il aurait pu recevoir des nominations à des postes haut placés de la part de puissants pays du Moyen-Orient et même être nommé ultérieurement pour le poste de secrétaire général des Nations unies », a déclaré Smith à MEE. « Mais il a renoncé à cela en adoptant une position guidée par ses principes. »

    Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein descend d’une famille royale arabe, a servi dans la police du désert jordanienne et était une étoile montante du corps diplomatique de son pays. Toutefois, le prince, qui est né d’une mère suédoise et a reçu une éducation britannique, n’a jamais été totalement à l’aise dans l’autosatisfaction qui caractérise les processus de négociation au Moyen-Orient. (...)

    • L’ex-présidente chilienne pressentie comme chef des droits de l’Homme de l’ONU
      Publié le 08 août 2018 à 13h38 | Mis à jour à 13h48

      Le secrétaire général des Nations unies, Antonio Guterres, devrait nommer l’ancienne présidente du Chili Michelle Bachelet à la tête du Haut-Commissariat aux droits de l’Homme, ont indiqué mercredi des diplomates.

      Elle succéderait au Jordanien Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, critique acerbe du président Donald Trump, en poste depuis septembre 2014.

      Mme Bachelet a été la première femme à diriger son pays, élue à deux reprises. À 66 ans, celle qui a été détenue et torturée par la police politique du dictateur Augusto Pinochet en 1975 fait partie des personnalités politiques les plus populaires du Chili.

  • Jordan releases memorandum about violations against Al-Aqsa
    July 22, 2018 5:15 P.M. (Updated: July 22, 2018 5:19 P.M.)

    AMMAN (Ma’an) —Jordanian Minister of State for Media Affairs, Jumana Ghneimat, condemned in the strongest terms the ongoing Israeli violations and provocations against Al-Aqsa Mosque/ Al Haram al-Sharif, especially the provocative incursions of extremists and settlers that took place today into the courtyards of the holy site.

    Ghneimat, who is also the Government Spokesperson, said according to “Official News Agency Petra” "those condemned and rejected" practices, which are conducted under protection of the Israeli police, violate the sanctity of this holy place, provoke sentiments of worshipers and Muslims all over the world, and constitute a violation of Israel’s obligations as an occupying power under int’l and int’l humanitarian laws.

    The minister affirmed those practices also breach all int’l norms and charters, which stress the need to respect the places of worship for all religions. (...)

  • Israel Preparing to Annex West Bank says UN Expert
    IMEMC News - July 1, 2018 12:34 AM

    Israel is in the process of enacting laws that would allow it to formally annex parts of the occupied West Bank, in serious violation of international law, a United Nations expert said on Friday, according to WAFA.

    UN Special Rapporteur on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territory, Michael Lynk, said, after a fact-finding tour of the region, that he was gravely alarmed about the deterioration of human rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), saying that reports received during his visit to the region, this week, painted the most dispiriting picture yet, of the situation on the ground.

    “After years of creeping Israeli de facto annexation of the large swathes of the West Bank through settlement expansion, the creation of closed military zones and other measures, Israel appears to be getting closer to enacting legislation that will formally annex parts of the West Bank,” he said. “This would amount to a profound violation of international law, and the impact of ongoing settlement expansion on human rights must not be ignored.”

    Lynk travelled to Amman, Jordan, this week, where he met with Palestinian civil society, government officials and UN representatives, after Israel prevented him from entering the OPT. His mission was to collect information for his next report, to be presented to the 73rd session of the General Assembly, in October of 2018.

    “This is my third mission to the region since I assumed the mandate in May 2016, and the reports I received this week have painted the bleakest picture yet of the human rights situation in the OPT,” he said.

    “Palestinians in the West Bank face daily indignities, as they pass through Israeli checkpoints, face night raids of their homes, and are unable to build or expand their homes or work to develop their communities due to the complex system which makes building permits nearly impossible to obtain from the Israeli authorities,” the Special Rapporteur said. (...)

  • Palestine : en manque de fonds, l’UNRWA pourrait devoir fermer 700 écoles
    Par RFI Publié le 26-06-2018 – Avec notre correspondante à New York,Marie Bourreau

    L’agence d’aide aux réfugiés palestiniens de l’ONU (UNRWA, en anglais) fait toujours face à une situation financière dramatique et menace d’arrêter certains de ses services dès le mois d’août. L’agence onusienne cherche toujours 250 millions de dollars de toute urgence pour combler la réduction drastique de la contribution américaine. Une conférence des donateurs, qui s’est tenue lundi 25 juin au siège de l’organisation à New York, n’a pas permis de combler ce déficit et a exposé un peu plus la fatigue des pays donateurs.

    Pas de bilan chiffré à l’issue de cette troisième conférence pour recueillir des fonds pour l’Office de secours et de travaux des Nations unies pour les réfugiés de Palestine dans le Proche-Orient (UNRWA). Le résultat est médiocre et très loin des 250 millions de dollars (214,49 millions d’euros) que l’agence onusienne estime nécessaires pour poursuivre ses services essentiels.

    Seule la Belgique a promis un nouvel apport de 4 millions d’euros et le Mexique une participation de 500 000 dollars (environ 428 980 euros). À titre de comparaison, 200 millions de dollars (environ 171,59 millions d’euros) avaient été promis en mars et en mai 2018, lors des conférences de Rome et d’Amman, grâce notamment à l’Arabie Saoudite, au Qatar et aux Émirats arabes unis.