UC Observer logo
UCObserver on SoundCloud UCObserver on YouTube UCObserver on Facebook UCObserver on Twitter UCObserver's RSS Feeds
Courtesy of Hot Docs

Budrus

Ordinary Israelis and Palestinians collaborate for peace

By Alanna Mitchell

Directed by Julia Bacha
(Just Vision)
www.justvision.org/budrus


Named after a tiny Palestinian village and the peaceful resistance movement born there, Budrus is an antidote to the stories about terrorism and death in the Middle East that we hear so often.

By turns dispassionate and fierce, awkward and profound, tense and triumphant, it makes a powerful case that the way forward is through ordinary Palestinians and Israelis banding together and eschewing violence. But perhaps that point of view isn’t surprising. Budrus was produced by Just Vision, a charity set up to tell stories of peaceful rebellion in the Middle East.

The narrative begins in 2003 when the military shows up on the outskirts of Budrus, a dusty village of 1,500 olive growers in the occupied territories of the West Bank, to build the infamous wall, also known as the “separation barrier.” The villagers realize that the path of the wall will cut them off from 300 acres of farmland, kill 3,000 olive trees and bisect the cemetery. It will also segregate the people of Budrus and five other villages from the rest of Palestine, making them prisoners in their own land. 

Enter Ayed Morrar, a self-effacing civil servant in the Palestinian government who has little faith in the political factions but immense amounts of it in his neighbours. Morrar helps organize 55 increasingly vocal but peaceful demonstrations at the bulldozers and the barrier, eventually drawing attention from peace-seeking Israeli citizens who cross the border to join the protest.

Because it is pieced together from rough, on-the-frontlines footage and low-key, professionally produced interviews, Budrus makes you feel as though you are a witness to history. We watch the story unfold, holding our breath. It’s not clear how the increasingly frustrated Israeli military will respond to the villagers.

The genius of the film is its focus on Morrar’s quiet determination and decency. One off-note is the underdeveloped subtext that victory stems from his reluctant approval to let village women join in the protests. It seems patched onto the larger elegance of the story.

More than anything, Budrus is a metaphor. If one parched village can do this, so can the whole region. 


Readers’ advisory: The discussion below is moderated by The UC Observer and facilitated by Intense Debate (ID), an online commentary system. The Observer reserves the right to edit or reject any comment it deems to be inappropriate. Approved comments may be further edited for length, clarity and accuracy, and published in the print edition of the magazine. Please note: readers do not need to sign up with ID to post their comments on ucobserver.org. We require only your user name and e-mail address. Your comments will be posted from Monday to Friday between 9:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Join the discussion today!

Environment

Song leader, police and gate blockers in front of the Kinder Morgan gates. Photo by Kimiko Karpoff

A Kinder Morgan protest in photos and song

by Kimiko Karpoff

A faith leader reflects on protesting the pipeline with the Water Protectors from the Tsleil-Waututh nation.

Promotional Image

Editorials

The United Church Observer's editor and publisher, Jocelyn Bell. Photo: Lindsay Palmer

Observations: #MeToo

by Jocelyn Bell

Our hope is that by giving voice to these #MeToo stories, a new conversation about sexual misconduct can begin.

Promotional Image

Video

ObserverDocs: Playing by Heart

by Observer Staff

United Church music director Kara Shaw was born prematurely, became almost totally blind and was later diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder. Today, the 28-year-old showcases her unique musical ability, performing piano on local and national stages.

Promotional Image

Society

June 2018

Why some women of colour are hesitant to say #MeToo

by Jacky Habib

Three women share their stories in the hope of creating safe spaces they never had.

Environment

May 2018

A Kinder Morgan protest in photos and song

by Kimiko Karpoff

On April 28, 2018, faith leaders from many traditions, including the United Church, stood in solidarity with Water Protectors from the Tsleil-Waututh nation to protest the Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion in Burnaby, B.C.. Kimiko Karpoff captured the day in pictures.

Faith

June 2018

After 93 years, this will be the United Church's last General Council meeting

by Mike Milne

When the United Church meets in July, top priorities will be a streamlined governance structure and Indigenous ministries.

Justice

June 2018

#MeToo in the United Church

by Trisha Elliott

9 women share their stories of harassment and sexual assault in the United Church.

Columns

May 2018

On grief and the healing power of gardening

by Paul Fraumeni

A writer reflects on how growing tomatoes is helping him find peace while dealing with the loss of loved ones, including his son.

Editorials

June 2018

Observations: #MeToo

by Jocelyn Bell

Our hope is that by giving voice to these #MeToo stories, a new conversation about sexual misconduct can begin.

Promotional Image