But Mohammad worked wonders

Dear family and friends,
you remember HUMUS for HAMAS? The only film that exists about the first local election in the Palestine Territories, the election rally in Beit Lahia and the elections in Rafah the following day. It marked the beginning of the rise of HAMAS and at the same time the demise of Yassir Arafat’s FATAH movement. HAMAS, at that time, was just better organized,  winning the hearts of the people with popular welfare programs. There was an authentic urge in the Gaza Strip, to do away with the all pervasive corruption and cronyism of the powerful few that took over after Arafat’s death. The people in the Gaza Strip were enthused to be able to vote for an alternative. For a minute or two, let’s say for some long weeks, the main enemy had ceased to be on the other side of the border. It all had turned into a vote for a better future instead of more of the same. Suddenly, the enemy was within the system. For the very first time, people had a choice without guns, they could promote change by putting their finger in red ink. For many Palestinians it was just mind boggling – as it was for me too – that change could come with a fingerprint. Men and women of all ages, handycapped and disabled, so many went to register and vote. HUMUS for HAMAS captured  that moment when people decided that red ink on their finger was better than blood. I was there with my camera, shooting from morning to evening. And because four eyes see more than two, I hired a

Mohammad worked Wonders

young Palestinian as a second cameraman from a local TV Station in Gaza City to come with me.

Some weeks ago, as I prepared my bag to go to Greece, I had an email on my desk, inviting me to present HUMUS for HAMAS at the 11th MOQAVEMAT Intenational Film Festival in Tehran from 20-24 September 2010. Time was short, just one day before my departure, Mohammad, the director from the Festival told me to send them a DVD copy to Tehran immediatly and gave me the code for DHL whose courier picked it up some hours later at their expense. To get a visum for Iran is no easy matter these days. But when you sit in a small fisher village in the East of the Peloponnes with only one old passport foto and unable to sign the visa application it looks remote.On top of it they told me it takes at least 3 weeks to get the required visum number from the Foreign Ministry in Tehran and I had only one week left.



But Mohammad worked wonders, within a few days he mailed me the code with which I had to apply  for the visum in Bern, Switzerland. A couple of  thousand km away from Bern and my visum I contacted Riahi Travel in Zurich and asked if Mr. Riahi could work another wonder. Well he said, times were short of wonders but he would do his very best. I scanned my old and crumpled passport foto with my iPhone 4 and mailed it to him. I guess, I don’t have to continue, Mohammad, Mr Riahi and the Iranian Embassy worked many more wonders… and I’m on my flight to the 11th MOQAVEMAT Film Festival in Tehran as an invited filmmaker with HUMUS for HAMAS.

PALESTINE / Haider Abdelshafi – last interview

Haider Abdelshafi 1919-2007. His last Interview at his office in Gaza City, a Palestinian Portrait by Jürg Da Vaz and Spiegel Online, Deutsche Handelsblatt and Weltwoche correspondent Pierre Heumann.

“Peace not in my Lifetime“

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