Israëlische steden verbieden documentaire Geert van Kesteren

Israëlische steden verbieden documentaire Geert van Kesteren

Afgelopen zondag liep fotograaf/filmer Geert van Kesteren tegen een flinke teleurstelling aan: zijn documentaire Shivering in Gaza mocht op last van de burgemeester niet worden vertoond in de Israëlische steden Sderot en Be’er Sheva. Volgens de burgemeester van Sedrot is er in de film sprake van anti-Israël-propaganda. Van Kesteren is verbijsterd: ‘Mijn film gaat over traumatische gevolgen van de oorlog voor individuën. En trauma’s kunnen geen grenzen.’

Een poging om de film te vertonen in Beer She’eva werd maandag verboden. Sderot ligt in de Negev-woestijn, vlak tegen de Gaza-strook aan. Be’er Sheva ligt eveneens in de Negev, aan de kant van de Westelijke Jordaanoever.

Vorige week woensdag is de film wel vertoond in Tel Aviv. De vertoningen in Sderot en Be’er Sheva waren georganiseerd door Amnesty International. De bedoeling was dat na afloop het publiek zou spreken met Van Kesteren en met de man die hij volgt in de film, de Nederlandse trauma-expert Jan Andreae.

Andreae werkt de afgelopen jaren met hulpverleners in Gaza om hen te leren omgaan met de gevolgen van angst, rouw en trauma. Eerder zette hij zijn methode van verwerking in met Zuid-Afrikaanse, Joegoslavische, Israëlische en Palestijnse trauma-slachtoffers.

Na de vertoning in Tel Aviv trokken extreem-rechtse Israëli’s fel van leer tegen de documentaire. Ze publiceerden onder meer de telefoonnummers van de burgemeesters van de Negev-gemeenten met een oproep om hen te bedelven onder sms-oproepen verdere vertoningen te verbieden.

In de Israëlische krant Haaretz zegt directeur Haya Noah van het Negev Coexistence Forum: ‘Als arabieren en joden niet over trauma’s kunnen praten, waar laten de autoriteiten ons dan wel over praten? Ik denk dat de gemeenten bang zijn, we leven in een toestand met veel angst. Ik ben teleurgesteld, ik had niet verwacht dat de burgemeester van Be’er Sheva het zover zou laten komen.’

Directeur Yonathan Gher van Amnesty International Israël noemt het onaanvaardbaar dat lokale autoriteiten optreden als censors in hun steden.

Van Kesteren: ‘Ik ben erg teleurgesteld dat we de film niet kunnen vertonen aan mensen in het zuiden van Israël, die zelf zo geleden hebben onder de oorlog. De burgemeester van Sderot zegt dat wij in de film verwijten zouden maken aan Israël. Maar in de film wordt niemand iets verweten. Er wordt niet eens gesproken over de staat Israël.’

Haaretz: Bowing to right-wingers, city halls cancel Gaza film screenings

Uit de Engelse toelichting van Geert van Kesteren:

Dutch film “Shivering in Gaza” presented in Israel and Gaza drags you into the mind of people suffering from war

“We have so few chances to see what is happening on the other side” said a women in the Tel Aviv Cinematheque Wednesday 8th of July. Exactly a year after the last war in Gaza started, the film “Shivering in Gaza” was presented. Yesterday, after the screening in the Press House in Gaza City, a journalist said that she first expected to see a film with ruins, blood and dead bodies. “But this film is completely different. It is about the braveness of men who share their fears and take responsibility as fathers”.

The film was welcomed by the audience in both Tel Aviv and Gaza as painting a picture beyond violence or blame. It deals with a universal theme: about ordinary people who are affected by trauma inflicted during war and offers a first step to recovery.

Due to pressure of the mayor of Sderot viewing is cancelled

After it was welcomed in Tel Aviv and Gaza, the viewing of the film created unrest in Israel as the mayor of Sderot pressured the Cinematheque not to screen the film planned for Sunday 12th of July. The Dutch makers of the film are disappointed because they perceived the screening in Sderot as an opportunity for a dialog and an act of reaching out to the people of Sderot.

Geert van Kesteren, photographer and filmmaker stated: “I am fascinated by the human angle of looking at trauma. It does not recognize boundaries. In that light the film is not about the Israeli-Palestine conflict. It reaches out to all of us. It could have been made in any conflict situation. I want to invite the mayor and the people of Sderot to take the opportunity to watch the film with us. You must know that I am very much aware of the fact that the people in Sderot are greatly suffering from the last years’ war.”

What is the film all about?

Van Kesteren entered Gaza 56 days after the attacks on Gaza ceased, portraying the Dutch trauma specialist Jan Andreae in the sessions he did with the health workers of a local NGO working in Gaza. Van Kesteren wanted to find out how a kind-hearted professional from the west provide could bring relief and healing.

And according to the Palestinian relief workers portrayed in the film, Jan Andreae surely offers a way of relief towards healing. According to Wael Abu Rezeq, a doctor and manager of the NGO working with disabled people: “I recognize the importance of paying attention to our own grief and trauma from the war first before you can support others.” It makes you think of the oxygen mask in an airplane: the adult should take it first before the child does.

The film touched the inner feelings of both the audience in Tel Aviv as well as in Gaza. The people in Israel said it was too short and that they wanted to see more of “the other side”(there was double other side). The trauma-expert Jan Andreae added: “The essence of trauma is that it needs attention. It is important to bring human interest into the conversation. Only then you can build bridges”. People in Gaza, men and women expressed the importance of addressing the trauma here and in Israel.

Background

Jan Andreae has been working for the last 20 years with people who suffer from trauma in the Netherlands, former Yugoslavia, Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. In recent years, most of his work is aimed at medical staff in Gaza, before and after the last war. In his treatments, he studies how people van live a meaningful life with the trauma they’ve been through and in spite of the destruction, the hate, and the grief.

“While working in South Africa, the former Yugoslavian states and Gaza, I’ve seen how overlooked people’s deep trauma could be. If no treatment is given, the war lingers on even after the ceasefire – but inside the victims’ minds” Andrea explains.

The film’s director, Geert van Kesteren, is an award-winning photojournalist working in Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza. In his photography he documents people’s motivation, their opinions and their worldviews. He had won prestigious photography awards, among them an Infinity Award and a World Press Photo award.

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