Saturday, March 22, 2014

5 Broken Cameras

by Drew Martin
I recently broke one of my cameras lenses. It was a stupid mistake: I dropped it while I was trying to take a backup shot of an installation at a museum with my smartphone. A new lens was really expensive so I got a used one for half the price at a camera shop that I like in New Jersey. The trip was an intermission from my watching 5 Broken Cameras today, which is an eye-opening documentary by Emad Burnat about the abuses endured by the Palestinians.

It feels silly to mention my lens when the cameras of the self-taught, journalistic Burnat are shot at by Israeli soldiers and smashed by Israeli settlers. The film cycles through peaceful protests by Burnat and his fellow Palestinians to the illegal settlements of the Israelis, which are met with all-out Israeli military actions and other retaliations, such as torching the olive trees that Burnat and his friends harvest on their land for sustenance.

The Palestinians shout "We want peace" and the Israeli civilians shout back "We are going to sue you!" and then the Israeli soldiers shoot at the Palestinians, including women and children. Burnat mentions the death of one child only 11 years old, who was shot near his home by an Israeli army sniper.

I was always shocked by the images of Palestinians who had thrown a few stones at heavily armed vehicles raiding their villages, being shot at in return by Israelis soldiers but this film is so personal that it is even more enraging. One of the most kind-hearted of Burnat's friends, named Phil (pictured here in the yellow shirt) is shot dead by an Israeli soldier even though he was on Palestinian soil, unarmed, and two barricades away from the soldier.