Arna Ashraf
Ashraf Abu-elhaje, an actor (1996) in the theatre of Jenin refugee-camp. Ashraf leads a large group of fighters in the battle of Jenin 2002. Ashraf was killed by a rocket fired from a helicopter.

Last night I sat through the screening of a documentary called "Arna's Children". Arna was a Jewish woman, who moved to Jenin refugee camp in Palestine and there created a center for children. The screening was organized by the 'Palestine Solidarity Campaign' to mark the 60th Anniversary of Al-Nakba - the Palestinians "day of Catastrophe" when the state of Israel was illegally established on their land. The film is the work of Juliano Mer-Khamis, Arna's son and an actor. Through the creative arts and games, Arna tried to help the Palestinian children of the camp express their feelings of anger, frustration and helplessness as they see their houses demolished by Israeli tanks, their people murdered by Israeli soldiers.

Juliano created a theatre group as part of Arna's center for children which helped give a voice and meaning to the lives of Palestine's children. It also allowed them to dream of a better future. But living in Jenin camp, under the occupation and brutal oppression by the IDF, we follow their lives to see that they did not become actors, painters, teachers, doctors, whatever it was they dreamed of. Many grew up to become resistance fighters, two of them killed by the Israeli army during fights, one during a "suicide attack".

Arna Mer Khamis at the theatre she built together with her son Julliano in Jenin refugee-camp.

Though Jewish, Juliano was considered a friend by the Palestinians of Jenin, and they allowed him and his camera into their homes, their streets, their lives, their resistance fighting headquarters. They allowed him to ask them "difficult" questions. He was able to film the tanks entering the streets of Jenin at night. Here at SOTT, we have published hundreds of articles showing the destruction and death brought by IDF tanks, but it was only after watching this film that I realized just how monstrously huge and heavy the tanks are, and how much noise they make. Even so, in the film we see little Palestinian children running after the iron monsters to throw stones at them.

I left the theater feeling feverish. I only "knew" these people for 85 minutes, yet their conditions of life and death pained me greatly. There is no adequate way to describe the conditions under which millions of Palestinians live and die in the occupied territories for 60 years now. It is simply brutal and inhuman, and fully condoned by most Western "democratic" leaders.

One scene from the film shows a boy saying he wants to become an actor, the next scene, years later, shows his dead body wrapped in a white cover: Ashraf who died during the terrible battle of Jenin.

Alaa at the age of 12 (1992) is sitting on the ruins of his home which was blown up by the Israeli army as part of the policy of collective punishment.

We watch a ten year old boy painting a demolished house with a Palestinian flag on top;

Alaa man
Alaa few hours after a failed assassination on him by the Israeli army.

Next we see him fight as the leader of a resistance group: Alaa, who died during a battle.

Yosef boy
Yosef on the stage in a role of a prince in the 'Fairy Girl' play by the Palestinian writer Gasan Kanafani.

Another boy is performing on stage, next he is a young man reading his goodbye letter before his "suicide attack".

Yosef man
Yosef reads his own 'will' in front of a video camera before embarking on a suicide mission. Near him is his friend Nidal who also took part in the operation. Please note that this was a "suicide mission" only insomuch as there was little chance that Yousef would survive his assault on an IDF position.

A month before his death, Yousef held a 9 year old girl in his arms as he carried her to the hospital. The wounds from the tank shell fired at her school's building were too much for her little body. She died in his arms.

When I got home I did a search and found the site where you can order a dvd of the film, where there I read this line:
The film tells the story of a Palestinian theatre group that was established by Arna Mer Khamis in Jenin and shows suicide attackers in their childhood.
The above is read as if Palestinians are born suicide attackers! The film shows children being children, whose living conditions give them no choice as to what they will become! No one is born a suicide attacker! Not one of those children dreamed of becoming a "suicide attacker". Along with the corpses, the creativity, the intelligence, the possibilities, the potentials of so many children were also buried, and continue to be buried every day by the occupation of their land, their homes, their very lives. And that is a loss for the whole world.

Unfortunately - and here I am not suggesting that the creators of the site and film were anything but sincerely devoted to helping the Palestinian cause - the comment about "suicide attackers in their childhood" shows just how deep the Israeli and US propaganda goes. It is possible that certain Palestinians were, or attempted to become, "suicide bombers", but here at SOTT we will always reject the idea that any real Palestinian resistance group leaders ever proposed, or at least considered for any significant length of time, what has long since shown itself to be a futile and counterproductive tactic. The same applies in Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere else that the US/Israeli war of terror is being waged. The labeling of Muslims as "suicide bombers" is a horribly effective ploy that pushes the traditional war time dehumanisation of the enemy to new and insidious depths. It takes the bogus "terrorist" epithet and adds a diabolical twist: "not only do these people have no regard for the lives of innocent civilians, they don't even care for their own lives! So for what righteous cause can they be fighting?!"

The outrageous claim that depicts Muslims as "suicide bombers" is surpassed only by the poisonous propaganda that Jews are a "chosen people". Yesterday, having spent most of his ill-begotten time in office in the service of the first lie, President Bush, on the second last day of his official Middle East tour, gave official voice and recognition to the second lie by telling Israelis that they were a "chosen people" and that "god promised them their homeland". What "god" is this that cheer-leads the ongoing victimization of an innocent people'; what "god" revels in the shooting dead of 9 year-old school-girls and the destruction of their homes? Evidently it is "Yahweh", the Jewish god, that Bush recognizes as his lord and master, which is rather fitting because "Yahweh" seems to be as fictitious as the notion of his "chosen people".

In short, I highly recommend the documentary "Arna's children" because it tears down the ZioCon lies, twists and propaganda about the Palestinian people and their 60 year-long fight for freedom and justice. Arna, a Jewish woman, stood by them, and Juliano her son told us the story of a few people from Jenin camp. Yet so many more stories remain untold, buried daily by the lies of the Israeli and American governments and the mainstream media, and by the apathy of rest of the world.

And while though the Jewish myth of Masada is simply more lies, Juliano used it to eloquently portray the real heroism and sacrifice of the Palestinian people in his article Masada Buried In Jenin:
In the battle of Jenin the Palestinian People put up the mountain of Masada. The Jewish myth of heroism and sacrifice was buried under mountains of bodies of Palestinian Freedom Fighters, killed by Israeli soldiers in the alleys of the Refugee Camp of Jenin. Generations will climb these mountains up to the camp in respect and in memory of the Fighters.