Sarah Irving

I do things with words, mainly English and Arabic

New review: ‘A World Not Ours’

ReOrient, 5th August 2013

Bassem – or ‘Abu Iyad’, as he is so called – is Fleifel’s best friend, nicknamed after the Fatah military commander assassinated by Israeli commandos in Tunis in 1991. Abu Iyad comes from the same generation as Fleifel; that is, of young men who grew up in the wake of the ‘glory days’ of the Palestinian resistance. The difference between the two, of course, is that Fleifel speaks several languages, and has lived abroad and become and international filmmaker in London, where he now resides. When we meet Abu Iyad, we learn that he has never left Lebanon, and rarely even sets foot outside the Ein el-Hilweh camp. As a local Fatah officer and member of the camp’s security forces, he seems to spend most of his time either patrolling the streets or sitting in the local Fatah office smoking and watching television. However, while his character may seem somewhat bland at first glance, Abu Iyad is in fact the most striking and ‘difficult’ character in the film, presenting a full-on challenge to anyone romanticising or idealising Palestinian refugees. Like thousands of other young men like him, he has little to live for: he can’t afford to marry, his days are largely aimless, and he is profoundly disillusioned. He doesn’t, however, blame Israel for this; for him, Israel is now a distant, abstract enemy that evokes few real feelings.

The full article is here.

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