‘Five Broken Cameras’ brings focus to Israeli and Palestinian conflict

“Five Broken Cameras” was shown to a dozen Cosumnes River College students in a small classroom on Feb. 21.

The film is a part of CRC’s Global Films series and provided viewers with the harsh reality between Palestinian and Israeli relations.

“The series has been happening for several years and each year it has a different focus on a different area of the world,” said English professor Linda Sneed, who hosted the event. “I found this film so powerful and so moving. It’s so beautiful and so well-crafted.”

Emad Burnat, a Palestinian farmer and director of the film, decided to begin filming when his fourth son Gibreel was born in 2005. During this time, Israeli settlers had begun construction of a separation fence through the Palestinian farmland.

The construction would take away a significant portion of the land that the Palestinians had lived on for thousands of years.

According to the film, The Palestinians believe in nonviolent protests and held weekly demonstrations in protest of the construction. The Israeli police would use force to break up these demonstrations, often violently.

Burnat took the opportunity to begin filming these events. Over the course of five years Burnat went through five cameras, each one either being shot or otherwise destroyed by the Israeli military, hence the name of the film.

“It showed a very different story of nonviolent resistance of the Palestinians,” said 20-year-old economics major Nawal Hassouneh. “Media always shows a more violent side. It gave it a human perspective.”

Throughout the film viewers watch the growth of Gibreel and witness the child growing up in a conflict that often results in friends and family being killed for trying to keep their own land.

Burnat does an excellent job of showing the brutality of the Israeli military while also showing the resilience of the Palestinians in their nonviolent protests.

“They are just doing what they feel they need to do in order to survive,” Sneed said.

Having concussion grenades, tear gas and rifle bullets fired at him, Burnat refuses to stop filming until his camera breaks, after  which he does what he can to get a new one.

Burnat’s perseverance in his filming has paid off as “Five Broken Cameras” was nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary feature at the 85th Academy Awards in 2011.

When the film ended, Sneed led a short discussion between the students talking about the resilience of the Palestinians, the effects of social media on global issues and human rights.

“I’m always up to support the cause,” said Arecha Siddiqui, 20, nutrition major. “It’s important for us to stand up for human rights no matter what the case is or where people are being hurt.”