Palestinian decries ‘ethnic cleansing’ after winning film award

Occupied Palestine (The Inside Palestine)- A Palestinian actress who won best leading actress at an Israeli film awards ceremony said it was difficult to celebrate due the “ongoing ethnic cleansing” of Palestinians.

Juna Suleiman stars in Let It Be Morning, a film directed by Israeli director Eran Kolirin, which won an Ophir Award for best film and has been submitted for consideration for one of five Best International Feature Oscar nominations.

“Under normal circumstances, I would’ve felt happiness and gratitude for the award, but unfortunately, that’s impossible when there are active efforts to erase Palestinian identity and the collective pain that I drag along with me and that exist in every role I play,” she said in her statement.

“Separating my role and my identity is a cynical and violent step built on ongoing colonialist traditions of erasing historic identities and ethnic cleansing that leave me no room for happiness but rather anger and frustration.”

“This anger and frustration are the basis of the same experience that ‘Let It Be Morning’ brings to the screen,” she added.

She also expressed gratitude to Kolirin for his “sensitivity and understanding” which she said made her first acting experience so special.

Based on a novel by journalist, screenwriter and author Sayed Kashua, the movie narrates the story of Sami, a Palestinian citizen of Israel who revisits his hometown with his family to attend his brother’s wedding. Following the wedding, Sami, his wife, and his son encounter Israeli soldiers who force them to stay in the village, and Sami is soon imprisoned and besieged in his hometown, with no knowledge of why or for how long.

The award comes after the cast boycotted the Cannes Film Festival in July, after explaining in a collective statement on social media that they will be taking a political act of absence in protest of Israel’s cultural erasure of the Palestinians.

Source: Middle East Monitor

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