By Daoud Kuttab
When the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences met for the 86th Oscars, Palestinian filmmaker Annemarie Jacir hosted an all-night party in Amman, hoping Hany Abu-Assad’s “Omar” would win the trophy for best foreign film. “We are burning the midnight candle and crossing our fingers,” she told Al-Monitor before the results were known in the very early hours of March 3. Jacir’s late-night party echoed a similar party she held eight years ago in Ramallah when another Abu-Assad film, “Paradise Now,” was also up for an Oscar.
“Omar” did not win the award, which went to the Italian film “The Great Beauty.” Jacir, whose latest film “When I Saw You” has been well-received around the world, insists that “the fact that Hany made it this far and that Palestine was represented despite attempts to keep Palestinian voices out of the mainstream is a major achievement.”
Saed Andoni of Dar Films wasn’t surprised that “Omar” did not win an Oscar. Speaking to Al-Monitor from his studio in Ramallah before the results were known, Andoni predicted that the Palestinian film would not make it. “These prizes are political,” he argued, stressing that being nominated is an “important win for Palestinian cinema that has been forcing itself on all festivals.” Andoni, who’s in the final phase of producing “The Wanted 18,” a co-production with France and Canada to be released in June, highlighted the economic side of the cinema business. “The importance of ‘Omar’ is that it was produced almost exclusively by private Palestinian funding.” Continue Reading »
By Daoud Kuttab
The Israeli Foreign Ministry was quick to reply to the Christmas message of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. They were angry that Abbas, who attended Christmas Mass in the Church of Nativity with High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Catherine Ashton, laid claim to the birth of Jesus.
Abbas followed many other Palestinians in saying that Jesus, born in Bethlehem, was Palestinian. Israelis, who refused a request by a Palestinian Israeli parliamentarian to have a Christmas tree at the entrance of the Knesset, angrily refuted the Palestinian claim. The spokesman of the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Yigal Palmor, called Abbas’ claim “rewriting Christian history,” petitioning the Palestinian president to read the Gospels.
Figuring out who Jesus was depends on how you categorize identity. For Palestinians, anyone who was born (or whose ancestors were born) on the geographic areas between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea is Palestinian. While many nationalities have lived in historic Palestine, including Canaanites, Jabusites, Romans, Israelites, Ummayads and others, the term Palestinian is used in an all-encompassing way.
While Israeli officials mocked Abbas and said he “needs a hug from Santa,” they didn’t lay “Jewish” claim, even though Jesus was historically and Biblically known to have been born to a Jewish family. Continue Reading »
Methodist Voices that Prevailed
May 3, 2012
In describing the trial of Jesus before Pilate, Luke the Evangelist brilliantly described the mood of the crowd when he wrote, “But with loud shouts they insistently demanded that he be crucified, and their shouts prevailed.” (Luke 23:23 NIV)
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By Daoud Kuttab
Whatever is going to emerge of the new Arab leadership, in the form of ideology, there is little doubt that Islamists will have a prominent role in Arab politics. As it stands now, this new Islamic power will be moderate and accommodating other opinions. Whether this tolerance of other points of view will last is too early to tell.
Islamists of some form have emerged as front-runners in the first Tunisian elections, they are a major power in the Libyan revolution, are expected to do well in the upcoming Egyptian elections and are among the leading force in the Syrian revolt. Continue Reading »
dear Mr. Bauer,
I noticed in your reply to Mr. Wright in the NY times that you make two false pieces of information. For the record I wish to set the record straight.
1. You state in reference to Ramat Shlomo that ” Palestinians have never had any intention of taking control of until the Obama administration raised it as an issue.” This is totally false and totally untrue. Ever since 1967 Palestinians have and continue to insist on having control of East Jerusalem which obviously includes the controversial settlement of Ramat Shlomo. Obama has had nothing to do with the consistent Palestinian demand. Continue Reading »
to the editor of the NY times
It is nice to read Ethan Bronner’s positive piece “Signs of Hope emerges in West Bank” (NYT July 17). However, Bronner makes a mistake in the order of things. He states ” For the first time since the second Palestinian uprising broke out in late 2000, leading to terrorist bombings and fierce Israeli countermeasures.” The intifada was a protest to the decades old foreign military occupation. This protest was met with fierce Israeli measures which led to further Palestinian bombings. The intifada were put down harshly but causing many civilian (including children) fatalities. But unlike the Iranian government harsh response, the world didn’t oppose the israelis.
Mideast suspicion of US foreign policy fertile grounds for rumors
By Daoud Kuttab
Initially it seemed like a true story. A blogger reports on a lecture given by an advisor to the republican presidential nominee making outrageously radical statements. It should have raised some eyebrows but it didn’t. The blog starts by the name of the writer and the story quoting Carnegie endowment fellow Robert Magen’s talk at New York University and saying that the republican presumptive nominee plans to declare the Kingdom of Jordan as the Palestinian state. The report was so cleverly written that it included a supposed Jordanian student of Palestinian origin complaining during the lecture that was supposedly attended by thousands of student and faculty. Continue Reading »
Local community radio breaks Arab sound barrier Sun, 12-11-2006
By Dale Gavlak, The Associated Press
AMMAN, November 12 — The breathless caller was desperate, with nowhere else to turn: “Help me get a bedouin and his camels and sheep out of my street,” he pleaded. “The herd nearly attacked two neighborhood boys.”
Another caller wanted help rescuing his three Lebanese nephews stranded on the Syrian border because they did not have the proper papers. Continue Reading »
Jordanian lower house sues Radio Al-Balad for “insulting” chamber
LENGTH: 405 words
Text of report in English by privately-owned Jordan Times newspaper on 5 March
[Report by Mohammad Ghazal: "Radio Al Balad banned from broadcasting Lower House sessions"]
AMMAN -The Lower House has filed a lawsuit against Radio Al Balad, formerly Ammannet, and banned it from broadcasting its sessions for allegedly insulting the chamber of deputies, House Secretary General Fayez Shawabkeh said.
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