This evening I went to a showing of Budrus, an extraordinary documentary by filmmaker Julia Bacha. It was being presented as part of the Leeds International Film Festival, now in its 25th year, and a beacon of culture when I moved to Leeds 21 years ago already desperately missing the cosmopolitan film world of Paris cinema.
Budrus shows the efforts of a small Palestinian village to peacefully resist the building of the security fence through their ancient olive groves and cemetery. In the course of their non-violent protests, men, women and children, Fatah and Hamas supporters, Israeli peace activists and other supporters from overseas come together to stand alongside each other to prevent the soldiers and bulldozers building the fence. It is a testament to common humanity and the power of courageous non-violent protest.
This is not Julia Bacha’s first film on this subject, and I hope it is not her last. The power of seeing people come together from across a divide cannot be underestimated. As further testament to what may be achieved, it is worth watching this video clip of Bacha delivering a talk through the TED lectures programme I have mentioned from time to time. It is inspiring and moving.