The Writer and the Flautist

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A 30-minute documentary centred on human-rights lawyer and popular writer, Raja Shehadeh, Orwell Prize 2008. The idyllic West Bank landscape in spring is contrasted with the devastating consequences of the Palestinian-Israeli ideological divide.

The film opens with a re-enactment of Raja’s encounter with an armed settler described in his novel Palestinian Walks. The discussion which follows reflects the total contradiction between the two ideologies and the apparent hopelessness of ever finding common ground between them. We see the countryside around Bethlehem brutally transacted by the separation wall and irrevocably damaged by illegal settlements.

We meet Ashraf Affore, a young musician and composer from Ramallah who taught himself to play the Nye, a type of flute known since Babylonian times. His delicate musical laments underscore the images of a divided land.

In the hills near the Dead Sea we meet Eid of the Hathaleen Bedouin tribe chased from its ancestral territory in Negev Desert and now fighting for survival in the arid hills near Hebron. His elder cousin, keeper of the tribe’s oral history, recites a poem appealing for justice and for peace.

The film ends with Raja’s clear analysis of the present political stalemate as he offers a glimpse of a possible future resolution.

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