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The quiet undoing of the Zionist noise | Middle East



As the world’s attention was captured by the news of Israel planning to “annex” yet a bit more of Palestine and add it to what they have already stolen, I received an email from Nizar Hassan, the pre-eminent Palestinian documentary filmmaker. He wrote to me about his latest film, My Grandfather’s Path, and included a link to the director’s cut. It was a blessing.

They say choose your enemies carefully for you would end up like them. The same goes for those opposing Zionist settler colonialists. If you are too incensed and angered by their daily dose of claptrap, the vulgarity of their armed robbery of Palestine, you would soon become like them and forget yourself and what beautiful ideas, ideals, and aspirations once animated your highest dreams. Never fall into that trap.

For decades, aspects of Palestinian and world cinema, art, poetry, fiction, and drama have done for me precisely that: saved me from that trap. They have constantly reminded me what all our politics are about – a moment of poetic salvation from it all. Nizar Hassan’s new documentary is one such work – in a moment of dejection over Israel’s encroachment on Palestinian rights and the world’s complicity, it has put Palestine in perspective.

The film is mercifully long, beautifully paced and patient, a masterfully crafted work of art – a Palestinian’s epic ode to his homeland. A shorter version of My Grandfather’s Path has been broadcast on Al Jazeera Arabic in three parts, but it must be seen in its entirety, in one go. It is a pilgrimage that must not be interrupted.

A patient filmmaker

Nizar Hassan was born in 1960 and raised in the village of Mashad, near Nazareth, where he has lived with his family. He studied anthropology at Haifa University and after graduating worked in TV.

Starting in 1990, he turned to cinema. In 1994, he produced Independence, in which he pokes his Palestinian interlocutors about what they think of the bizarre Israeli notion of their “independence”. They have stolen another people’s homeland and call the act “independence”! Hassan dwells on that absurdity.

In his next film, Jasmine (1996), Hassan engaged Palestinians on the question of gender relations in Palestinian society in the aftermath of a murder of a Palestinian girl by her brother.

Seven years later, Hassan directed the powerful film Invasion (also known as 13 Days in Jenin Camp, 2003) shot soon after the Jenin massacre of 2002, in which the Israeli army bulldozed through a refugee camp, killing scores of Palestinians. The film goes beyond simply documenting the horror of the events in Jenin to confront its perpetrators. It follows the narrative of an Israeli bulldozer driver who took part in the carnage and his reactions as he watches footage of the destruction and suffering of Palestinians he caused.

Apart from these films, Hassan’s body of work spans a number of other films documenting aspects of Palestinians’ lives under Israeli occupation: Myth (1998), Cut (2000), Challenge (2002), Abu Khalil Grove (2006), South (2008).

Hassan has been featured in film festivals in the Arab world, Europe, and North America. I have included his works in film festivals I have helped organise in the US, Argentina and Palestine. In the rich and diversified archive of Palestinian cinema, Hassan is a major figure with a serious body of work.

Remembering a Palestinian grandfather

So I knew Hassan’s documentary filmmaking quite well when I sat to watch his most recent work. But the power of the new film is something entirely different. It is not provocative, combative, or argumentative – quite the contrary.

My Grandfather’s Path comes from such a deep and rooted confidence in a man’s sense of his own homeland, it is as if the whole world, not just “Israel”, disappears, as the middle-aged director walking with a backpack becomes the epicentre of the film’s universe.

With a determined stride along his grandfather’s path, his reassuring voiceover, and his two-person crew following him, Hassan reclaims the magnificent landscape of Palestine as if there were no Zionist project interrupting that peaceful dream his film interprets.

Watching the film, I was reminded of the poetic peace and confidence of Iranian poet Sohrab Sepehri in one of his signature poems, Mosafer (Traveller), where he alludes to his journey in Palestine:

Oh, all you olive trees of Palestine:

Address all the abundance of your shades to me:
To this lonesome traveller
Having just returned
From the vicinity of Mount Sinai

Feverish with
The heat of the Divine Word –

To be sure, Hassan has told this story in a different way before. In his Abou Khalil Grove, he follows the fate of a Palestinian family from the Ottoman period to the emergence of Israel. In the same vein, in My Grandfather’s Path, the palpable story is tracing the filmmaker’s own roots in his homeland way before the arrival of Zionism on the colonial map of the region.

But what we see in this film is much more than just this objective history. We are in the presence of a master filmmaker in full command of his craft. In a masterstroke, which in the director’s own bold and brilliant cut runs for more than three and a half hours, he undoes Zionism with poise, patience, a backpack, and a saintly solace.

My Grandfather’s Path is a walk through the physical and temporal landscape of Palestine by one solitary Palestinian in the company of a sound engineer and a cinematographer. He crosses paths with a few friends, but constant remain the voice and vista of Nizar Hassan himself and his backpack, walking his homeland inch by inch while telling us the story of his grandfather.

The film is an epic narrative, quietly more eloquent than the proudest of Mahmoud Darwish’s epic poetry. Hassan here no longer feels compelled to prove anything. He has bypassed Israel and delivered to the world an ode to the rooted beauty and proud longevity of his homeland.

The self-defeating project of Zionism

Watching Hassan’s film as the Palestinians’ continued dispossession unfolds apace, a peculiar truth comes forward.

Palestinians do not have the military might to fight for every inch of their homeland, but they have something more powerful than machine guns, tanks and fighter jets or the occupied territories of US politics. They have something far stronger than all those nefarious forces put together: They thrive in the power of their storytelling, and they are full of stories – humane, real, worldly, truthful, enduring, awe-inspiring.

In effect, we have two parallel tracks that have historically unfolded for the world to see: one – the continued colonisation of the entirety of Palestine by a European settler colony, and the other – Palestinian artists, poets, novelists, and filmmakers like Hassan overriding and dismantling that project of colonial thievery.

Israelis have thrived on stealing inch after inch of Palestine and incorporating it into their settler-colonial garrison state. But inside their garrisons and their captured imagination, they have Palestinians telling themselves and the world their stories. Israelis have no stories to tell, except the abuse of the Biblical texts to justify their exclusive domination over Palestine; they are left with the naked brutality of the Zionist project.

Against that brutal history of disposition, all a Palestinian has to do is to pack a backpack, grab hold of a camera and a sound recorder and start walking and talking about his or her grandfather or grandmother. That is all. In the face of these stories, Zionism, with all its military might and massive propaganda machinery, disappears into oblivion – as if it never happened, as if it is not happening.  

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance. 

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Charles Mbire gains $1.2 million as stake in MTN Uganda rises above $51 million



Ugandan businessman and MTN Uganda Chairman Charles Mbire has seen the market value of his stake in MTN Uganda surge above $51 million in just two days, as the share price in the leading teleco company increased by a single digit.

The single-digit bump in the share price caused the market value of Mbire’s stake to gain UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million) in less than two days.

The million-dollar increase in the value of his stake came after Uganda’s largest telecom company delivered the country’s largest-ever IPO through the listing of 22.4 billion ordinary shares on the Uganda Securities Exchange (USE).

Upon completing the largest IPO in Uganda’s history, MTN Uganda raised a record UGX535 billion ($150.4 million) from the applications that it received for a total of 2.9 billion shares, including incentive shares.

As of press time, Dec. 7, shares in the company were trading at UGX204.95 ($0.0574), down six basis points from their opening price this morning.

Data gathered by Billionaires.Africa revealed that since the telecom company registered its shares on the Ugandan bourse on Mon., Dec. 6, its share price has increased by 2.5 percent from UGX200 ($0.056) to UGX204.95 ($0.0574) as of the time of writing, as retail investors sustained buying interest long after the public offering.

The increase in the company’s share price caused the market value of Mbire’s 3.98-percent stake to rise from UGX178.45 billion ($49.96 million) to UGX182.86 billion ($51.2 million).

In less than two days, his stake gained more than UGX4.42 billion ($1.24 million).

In a statement after the successful listing of MTN Uganda’s shares, Mbire said the IPO shows the confidence that Ugandans and other investors have in the company, its brand and strategic intent.

“We commend all the regulators for their support in our work to become a USE-listed company and to comply in a timely manner with the listing provisions of the national telecommunications operators’ license,” he said.

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350 million (debt free).

Steady but sure-MBIRE who is the biggest investor on Ugandas Stock exchange with stocks valued at more than $55 million is laughing all the way to the bank after MTN declared the latest dividend payout.He has steadily grown his business empire which is believed to be more that $350. ( debt free).

He is into communications-revenue assurance-cement-distribution-oil services-real estate-oil exploration and logistics.

Source: Billionaires Africa

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2-year-old dies at Arua hospital as nurse demands Shs 210,000 bribe




A two-year-old child died at Arua Regional Referral hospital after a nurse, Paul Wamala demanded a bribe amounting to Shs 210,000 before carrying out an operation. 

The incident happened on Saturday, after Aron Nabil, a two-year-old child was referred to the hospital for an operation after he was diagnosed with intestinal obstruction, a medical emergency caused by a blockage that keeps food or liquid from passing through the small intestine or large intestine.

According to the relatives of the child, Wamala allegedly asked them to initially give him Shs 30,000 to buy medicines to commence the procedure. He however returned shortly asking for an additional Shs 180,000 from the relatives.

Emily Adiru, a resident of Osu cell, in Bazar Ward, Central Division, and a relative of the child says although they paid money to Wamala, he abandoned the child without carrying out the operation. According to Adiru, Wamala later refunded Shs 200,000 through mobile money, after she threatened to report him to the police.

“They told us this boy needs an operation which was supposed to be done in the morning on Sunday at around 7 am. They took him inside there, some doctor came from the theatre, he called one of us and said, we should pay Shs 70,000 for buying medicine to start the operation. We paid the Shs 30,000 [but] after paying the Shs 30,000, after some minutes, the same man came and opened the door and called us again, and told us we should pay another Shs 100,000. We also paid the Shs 100,000 and we thought it is finished. We were outside there waiting for our patient to come out [but] then this man came back again and said we should pay another Shs 80,000,” said Adiru.

Although the operation was later carried out after a 7-hour delay, the child didn’t make it, and relatives attribute the death to negligence. Miria Ahmed, a concerned resident wonders why such incidents have persisted at the facility which is supposed to service the citizens.

“Is the problem the hospital, is it the management or it is the human resource that is the problem in the hospital? A small child like this you demand Shs 210,000 for the operation? Well, if the money was taken and the operation is done, I would say anything bad but this money was taken and the small boy was abandoned in the theatre,” she said. 

When contacted Wamala refused to comment on the allegations. Dr Gilbert Aniku, the acting hospital director says that the hospital will issue an official statement later since consultations about the matter are ongoing.

Arua City resident district commissioner, Alice Akello has condemned the actions of the nurse saying she has ordered his arrest so as to set an example to the rest. The case has been reported to Arua regional referral hospital police post under SD reference No:05/30/05/2022.

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Mexican president’s Mayan Train dealt new legal setback | Tourism News




Activists say the planned tourist train will harm the wildlife and natural features of the Yucatan Peninsula.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has been dealt the latest setback to an ambitious plan to create a tourist train to connect the country’s southern Yucatan Peninsula.

On Monday, a judge indefinitely suspended construction on a portion of the project, known as the Mayan Train, saying the plans currently do not comply “with the proceedings of the environmental impact evaluation”.

The ruling follows a legal challenge by activists who said they were concerned the 60km (37 mile) portion of the train that would connect the resorts of Playa del Carmen and Tulum would adversely affect the area’s wildlife, as well as its caves and water-filled sinkholes known as cenotes.

The original plan for the disputed section was for an overpass over a highway, but the route was modified early this year to go through jungle at ground level.

The federal judge cited the “imminent danger” of causing “irreversible damage” to ecosystems, according to one of the plaintiffs, the non-governmental group Defending the Right to a Healthy Environment. In a statement, the group said that authorities had failed to carry out the necessary environmental impact studies before starting construction of the section.

Lopez Obrador had announced the ambitious project in 2018, with construction beginning in 2020. The roughly 1,500km (930 mile) cargo and passenger rail loop was presented as a cornerstone of a wider plan to develop the poorer states and remote towns throughout the about 181,000sq km (70,000sq mile) Yucatan Peninsula.

The railway is set to connect Caribbean beach resorts with Mayan archaeological ruins, with authorities aiming to complete the project by the end of 2023. The plan is estimated to cost about $16bn.

The project has split communities across the region, with some welcoming the economic development and connectivity it would bring. Others, including some local Indigenous communities, have challenged the project, saying it could not only disrupt the migratory routes of endangered species, including jaguars, tapirs and ocelots, but could also potentially damage centuries-old Mayan archaeological sites.

The National Fund for the Promotion of Tourism, the government agency overseeing the project, has said that it expects to “overcome” the latest challenge and that work should continue after an environmental impact statement is finalised. It said the Environment Ministry was currently reviewing its environmental application for the project.

For his part, Lopez Obrador has insisted the railway will not have a significant environmental effect and has accused activists of being infiltrated by “impostors”.

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