Wednesday, June 29, 2016

See her film!

I believe in looking past my own culture to “the other side of the story.” Not long ago, I attended Bard’s first Palestinian Film Festival.  A small group of students gathered first to listen to a Palestinian American poet, Suheir Hammad.   Suheir combined the parlance of Brooklyn (where she was born in 1973 and grew up) with the ardent cries of her grandparents, refugees from Palestine.  With hip-hop beat in her spoken-word pieces, she brought in her family, her community, Palestinian women. “I grew up with a sense of loss,” she says “that you can work generations to build something and suddenly lose it all.”  

Suheir’s passionate voice rises out of her Muslim tradition, her Palestinian heritage, her Brooklyn upbringing.  The title of one of her books “Born Palestinian, Born Black” says it all. The students were enthralled with Suheir’s voice. From her poetry “Drops of this Story,” to the film in which she stars “Salt of This Sea” (to be shown this Friday night at 7 as part of the Palestinian film series at Kingston’s UU), Suheir challenges over and over again the dominant history that attempts to erase her culture.  She brings home to us “Do not fear what has blown up.  If you must, fear the unexploded.”   Watch her TED talk!  Listen to her!  Read her poetry!  See her film!  

Jane Toby
Catskill

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