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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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Attorney General William Byaruhanga Beats Up Journalists Over Protests



There was drama in Kololo Sunday 4th August afternoon when Attorney General William Byaruhanga abruptly stopped his Land cruiser along KololoTerrace descended and rained blows on two photo journalists from unidentified media houses.
The jouralists took off in awe. The Attorney was neither expected in the area nor were his furious actions.

Byaruhanga proceeded in rage to pluck off posters in every spot they had been pinned along Kololo Terrace.

The journalists had been taking pictures of posters of Byaruhanga , Masembe and Karim Hirji which had been pinned in many spots in Kololo, lugogo bypass and Naguru.
The posters portray the trio as evil and heartless greedy men suppressing orphans of the late Hirji wife Ziba Charm.
The brawl in Karim family seems to have taken on a new twist with the public starting to sympathise with the late Charm orphans.
Civil society groups and individuals have joined the campaign to seek justice for Karim’s step children.

Social media has been dominated in the past weeks with stories to the effect that city tycoon Hirji was helped by William Byaruhanga and Timothy Masembe to forge his late wife’s will and subsequently converted all her properties and Bank accounts in Uganda and London

Some have called for a peaceful demonstration while others have printed posters denouncing Karim and his lawyers Masembe Timothy of MMAKS and William Byaruhanga.
The public awaits direction from President Museveni and the Speaker of Parliament following a petition to both high offices by Karims srep children led by a one Linda Birungi.

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Appeals court delays release of Ghislaine Maxwell deposition | News




An appeals court in the United States on Friday temporarily delayed the release of a 2016 deposition about Ghislaine Maxwell’s sex life, after she argued it could destroy her ability to get a fair trial against criminal charges she aided the late financier Jeffrey Epstein’s sexual abuse of girls.

The 2nd US Circuit Court of Appeals issued the order after last-ditch scrambles by Maxwell to keep potentially embarrassing information, which her lawyer said could make it “difficult if not impossible” to find an impartial jury, out of the public eye.

Maxwell’s appeal will be heard on an expedited basis, with oral argument scheduled for September 22.

Her deposition had been taken in April 2016 for a now-settled civil defamation lawsuit against the British socialite by Virginia Giuffre, who had accused Epstein of having kept her as a “sex slave” with Maxwell’s assistance.

Dozens of other documents from that case were released late on Thursday, after the presiding judge concluded that the public had a right to see them.

The release of Maxwell’s deposition had been scheduled for Monday, pending the outcome of the appeal.

Maxwell, 58, has pleaded not guilty to helping Epstein recruit and eventually abuse three girls from 1994 to 1997, and committing perjury by denying her involvement under oath.

She was arrested on July 2 and has been held in a Brooklyn jail after a judge denied bail, calling her a flight risk. Maxwell’s trial is scheduled for next July.

Epstein was found hanged at age 66 last August in a Manhattan jail, while awaiting trial on sex trafficking charges for abusing women and girls in Manhattan and Florida from 2002 to 2005. He had also pleaded not guilty.

In seeking to keep Maxwell’s deposition sealed, her lawyers said in court papers on Thursday she had been promised confidentiality by Giuffre’s lawyers and the presiding judge at the time, through an agreed-upon protective order, before answering many personal, sensitive and “allegedly incriminatory” questions about her dealings with Epstein.

They said further that Maxwell was blindsided when prosecutors quoted from the deposition in her indictment, and accusing Giuffre of leaking the deposition to the government.

In a court filing on Friday, Giuffre’s lawyers called Maxwell’s appeal “frivolous, and a transparent attempt to further delay the release of documents to which the public has a clear and unequivocal right to access”.

The lawyers also called the allegation Giuffre leaked the deposition “completely and utterly false”.

Friday’s order also covers a second deposition by an unnamed Epstein accuser that Maxwell also wanted to be kept under seal. Other documents from Giuffre’s lawsuit that quote or disclose information from the depositions also remain sealed.

Among the documents released on Thursday were a few emails between Epstein and Maxwell dated January 2015, including one where Epstein told Maxwell that she had done “nothing wrong”.

Lawyers for Maxwell said on July 10 in a court filing requesting bail in her criminal case that she had not been in contact with Epstein for “more than a decade”.

Maxwell is now battling prosecutors in her criminal case about the scope of a protective order intended to protect her right to a fair trial while ensuring the privacy of her accusers.

Reuters news agency

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US: House Democrats subpoena Pompeo for documents on Hunter Biden | News




The Democratic chairman of the US House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee has issued a subpoena to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanding documents he provided to Senate Republicans investigating the son of Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. 

A Republican-led Senate committee has been gathering information related to Hunter Biden, son of the former vice president who is set to be Republican President Donald Trump’s opponent in the November election.

Committee Chairman Eliot Engel said Friday he had issued the subpoena as part an investigation into Pompeo’s “apparent use of Department of State resources to advance a political smear of former Vice President Joe Biden”.

The subpoena also asks for internal department emails about responding to Congress.

The committee says Pompeo had delivered more than 16,000 pages of records to the Senate but refused to send the same materials to the Democrat-led House.

“I want to see the full record of what the department has sent to the Senate and I want the American people to see it too,” the House committee’s chairman, Representative Eliot Engel, said in a statement. 

The younger Biden is a former board member of the Ukrainian energy company Burisma, which was thrust into the global spotlight last year in a House impeachment inquiry into whether Trump improperly pressured Ukraine’s leader into opening an investigation into the Bidens.

Trump made the request of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on a July 2019 phone call that was later revealed by a whistle-blower’s complaint. 

The House impeached Trump in December for pressuring the Ukrainian government to announce an investigation while withholding military aid to the country. The Senate acquitted him in February.

There is no evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens, and Hunter Biden has denied using his influence with his father to aid Burisma.

Democrats have criticised Senate Republicans for continuing to probe the allegations against Biden, saying it amplifies Russian propaganda. 

Foreign interference

House and Senate Democratic leaders sent a letter to FBI Director Christopher Wray last month saying they are concerned that Congress appears to be the target of a “concerted foreign interference campaign to influence the 2020 presidential election, which seeks to launder and amplify disinformation in order to influence congressional activity, public debate, and the presidential election in November”. 

The letter, which did not specifically mention the probe into Hunter Biden, but included a classified addendum that reportedly did, asked Wray for an all-members, classified briefing on the possible targeting of Congress before the August recess. 

Wray has not yet offered the requested briefing, but legislators did receive a classified briefing early Friday on general election security. Leaving that meeting, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she is concerned “the American people should be better informed”.

The new efforts by Democrats come as the nation’s intelligence agencies, congressional intelligence committees and Joe Biden have all warned of renewed election interference by Russia this year. Trump himself has been loath to discuss the subject or acknowledge that Russia tried to sow discord in the 2016 contest by hacking Democratic accounts and pushing out inflammatory content on social media.

Still, his administration has warned that Russia and other countries will likely try again.

In a statement last week, William Evanina, the government’s chief counterintelligence official, said adversaries such as China, Russia and Iran are seeking to compromise US private communications and infrastructure in campaigns. It also warned of disinformation campaigns on social media.

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