What is peace? Is it a dream? Is it possible to achieve peace in a world where the air is “too angry to breathe?” Peeling The Onion (TRT 90 min.) asks this question as it gives an in-depth view of Middle East history from 1914 - 2014. International representatives, historians, and scholars explain the many layers of international laws, policies, religion, and world events that have shaped the region known as “The Holy Land,” and created a complex community rich in potential and steeped in tragedy. It is the people of these communities that are most effected by these consequences. Six individual “chapters,” Peeling Jordan, Peeling Palestine, Peeling Israel, Peeling Lebanon, Peeling Egypt, and Peeling Syria (TRT 30 min. each) construct a collage the illustrates how these elements have impacted the lives of residents in the region.
Peeling Jordan (TRT 30 min.) Formerly Trans-Jordan (1921-1946), 75% of Jordan’s population has Palestinian heritage. Its geographic area was once part of “historic Palestine.” As its current population grows, compounded with a flood of refugees pouring over its desert borders, how can the country maintain stability and solve its water shortages?
Peeling Palestine (TRT 30 min.) More than 65 years have passed since the event Palestinians refer to as Nakba (1949) displaced 170,000 Palestinians from their homes. Each generation the number of Palestine refugees grows exponentially. This is largely due to the Palestinians’ failure to negotiate a peaceful solution to their situation and the definition of a “Palestine refugee.” Why, in 65 years have Palestinians failed to successfully create a Palestinian State and develop a solid government they respect and trust? The now politically splintered government must find a way to bring unity and make decisions that future generations will be able to accept. Who are the Palestinian children and what might their futures entail?
Peeling Israel (TRT 30 min.) Although the prospect of peace seems viable, it has eluded Israelis since their War of Independence (1947-1949). Recognized as a State by the United Nations in 1949, Israel has been at war with one or more of its neighboring countries for over six decades. As the last survivors of the Holocaust pass and new generations shape the country, how might they change their future so they can enjoy the security they seek?
Peeling Lebanon (TRT 30 min.) Holding a clear glass of cool water, so simple and desirable, Wajdi Mouawad compares it to pre-civil-war Lebanon. He then drops the glass, which shatters and clearly can never be restored. This is his example of Lebanon after war ravaged his native country. During and after colonization by France (1924-1946), Lebanon enjoyed the title “Paris of the Orient.” It’s strategic location allowed residents to benefit from a tax-free life, grace of the many merchants and travelers that passed through its ports, until civil war (1975-1990) and occupation by Syria (1976 – 2005) brought the country to its knees. How might Lebanon benefit from peace?
Peeling Syria (TRT 30 min.) Prior Syria’s civil war (2011- present) now raging in this divided country, Bashar Ja'afari, current Permanent Representative of the Syrian Arab Republic to the United Nations presented Syria’s position that, “No refugee should remain a refugee his entire life.” As millions of Syrian refugees pour over the borders of Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan, threatening the stability of these countries, does Syria hold this same conviction?
Peeling Egypt (TRT 30 min.) From 1948-1967 Gaza was under Egyptian military rule. After the Six Days and Yom Kippur Wars Gaza fell under Israeli rule, along with the Sinai Peninsula. In 1979 Anwar Sadat signed a peace agreement with Israel and the two countries have cooperated since. How might peace in the region enable Egypt’s new government provide for its new generations?
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NYWIFT programs, screenings and events are supported, in part, by grants from New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
Last updated: Apr. 30, 2014