GAZA doc – SOLDIERS of MOHAMMED


Hamas Election Rally

ready for viewing and download

3 May 2005, Beit Lahia, Gaza Strip. The first local elections took place in the Gaza Strip the following day. Pierre and myself were the only foreigners in a crowd of 8’000 people we had run into by pure chance. I was shooting this historical footage right beside Hanijeh and in the midst of many top Hamas leaders for a full two hours, moving without restrictions on the podium and in the crowd, with no Police or body gards present, a rally that reminded me of a toxic cocktail of fireworks, disco and deep seated religious belief, based on territorial loss.

This toxic mix of loss of land which drives the ordinary Palestinian combined with a global religious struggle that does not battle to create an independent state seems to be the overwhelming driver no compensation money or other wellmeaning compromise can stop. The right to return to their lost land in Israel as an overriding collective goal and a global religious struggle that drives the radical clerus unite a diverse population that are divided between themselves like no other I have met. Actually, the painfull loss of territory looked like the glue for the powerful radical Islamists that provided cover and protection from disintegration from within.

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