Occupation 101: Voices of the Silenced Majority

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Occupation 101: Voices of the Silenced Majority

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Occupation 101: Voices of the Silenced Majority
Directed by Sufyan Omeish & Abdallah Omeish

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A new documentary from filmmakers Abdallah and Sufyan Omeish, is compelling and thought-provoking in its treatment of the current and historical root causes of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Occupation 101 dispels many of the myths surrounding this complex conflict by providing an extensive and detailed analysis of the social, economic and political realities of the region.

Unlike many documentaries dealing with this particular issue, the filmmakers are not trying to persuade you. They resist the temptation to present their opinions as the only correct views. Many books and documentaries dealing with the Palestinian/Israeli conflict give the impression that they are even-handed and balanced, however, they interview only those experts that agree with their originally stated premise often ignoring evidence that may provide information to the contrary.

The filmmakers are Libyan and live in the United States with no particular stated goal other than to give an accurate view of the occupation and the delivery of relevant facts associated with the conflict. They don�t allow their views to dominate the film and that is what makes Occupation 101 unique.

There are usually attempts to censor those who deviate from the accepted view of the conflict attempting to silence those who disagree with the decidedly slanted coverage of the conflict broadcasted through the lenses of the controlled media outlets.

In Occupation 101, the roots of the conflict are explained through interviews with leading Middle East scholars, peace activists, journalists, religious leaders and humanitarian workers with first hand knowledge, such as author Ilan Pappe, professor Noam Chomsky, journalist Allison Weir and author Rashid Khalidi just to name a few.

Occupation 101 deals with the first wave of Jewish immigration from Europe in the 1880's and the beginnings of the Zionist movement with Theodore Herzl. It is interesting to note that Herzl died before ever witnessing the establishment of his concept and dream of a homeland for European Jews.

The film accurately documents key points in the conflict such as the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, The Six Day War of 1967, The First Intifada beginning in 1987, the Oslo Accords of 1993 and the Al-Aqsa Intifada of 2000. Additionally, the film deals with the Zionist expansionism of the Israeli settlers, the Separation Wall, and the truth about the Israeli �withdrawal� from Gaza . Included are aspects of life under the oppressive Israeli military rule, the central role of the United States in the conflict and the major obstacles preventing the establishment of long-term peace in the region. There are also emotional testimonies from those who are the voiceless victims � the children.

�We felt we needed to bridge the gap in making Americans understand,� said Abdallah Omeish, who produced and directed the film. �The most integral thing in making this film is that we as Americans are the number one supporters of Israel yet we don�t know much about Israel and the situations that are happening on the ground. We give so much money every year to a situation we don�t know much about. We are supporting an illegal occupation, so we feel that it�s only fair for Americans to know the truth so they can make their own decisions instead of having people make decisions for them,� he added.

Although some Jewish organizations have attempted to have the film banned from independent film festivals, Occupation 101 has already won eight awards in various film festivals across the country.

Omeish believes that one of the reasons for the film�s success is that it focuses specifically on the conflict, not the religious or nationalistic overtones of those immersed within it.

�It is not (just) a religious or a nationalistic conflict, it is a human issue and it resonates with people who have suffered in the civil rights movement. When you are treating people unjustly it�s going to create a sense of instability in the region, so this is what�s happening,� said Mr. Omeish. �The Palestinians are basically asking for basic rights. We say here in the United States �No taxation without representation� and there was a whole war about that, and over there Palestinians are paying taxes but have no representation and they are expecting them to stay quiet. No human being on earth being treated unjustly is going to stay quiet. This is why it so important that we humanize the issue.�

The feature presentation is 1 hour and 30 minutes in length with a bonus DVD containing additional research information on international law, archival news footage and information regarding little known aspects of the conflict such as the Israeli destruction of the Jenin refugee camp. It can be viewed in English and in Arabic with English subtitles.

As more become aware of the deliberate deceptions of those who have plunged the world into global conflict, the voices of dissent are growing louder. This impressive documentary is a must see for those interested in gaining a deeper understanding of current global realities.

For more information about the film, to view trailers or to purchase your copy, visit www.occupation101.com. Special rates are available for high schools, activists and student organizations that would like to host screenings or are interested in selling copies for fundraising purposes.

(Ashahed M. Muhammad is an author, researcher and the Executive Director of the Truth Establishment Institute. )

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