Shabnam Kulsoom reviews Farha, the film about the Palestinian Nakba currently streaming on Netflix which has outraged Israeli officials.
We have all probably found ourselves stuck in a problematic situation, but for most of us here in the West we have never been faced with the inevitable reality that one day an invading illegal entity will force itself violently upon a people that initially offered them sanctuary and safe-haven.
Yet one day that same entity would overtake us, village by village, by means that can only be described as inhumane, vicious and indiscriminate in its violence towards men, women, children and newborn infants.
Farha is a Jordanian film and a rare portrayal on a Western entertainment platform of the events of the Nakba, when Zionist military forces expelled at least 750,000 Palestinians from their homes and captured 78 percent of historic Palestine.
The events of the Nakba would lead to the dispossession of the Palestinian people and the creation of millions of refugees who are still unable to return to their homeland.
A young girl whose dreams are dashed
Farha is about a young Palestinian girl who dreams of a life of education, but her father Abu Farha (the mayor) is troubled with anxiety and fears for her safety and that of his village, for an impending threat in the form of Zionist soldiers is making its way north after taking villages in the south, killing and displacing thousands of Palestinians, young and old.
As the threat approaches the mayor’s village and soldiers blast instructions from speakers to advise Palestinians to leave immediately or be killed, Abu Farha directs his daughter to leave with a family member. But only minutes into the chaotic escape, Farha exits the car in order to stay with her father.
This is the beginning of a catastrophic chain of events that leaves Farha alone locked away in a small pantry within the confines of her house while her father bravely heads out to face the invading forces.
Being completely alone in a dark pantry except for a few streams of light, a hole in the wall and a lantern that eventually runs out of fuel, and with some dried and preserved produce for nourishment, Farha knows that this solitary confinement, albeit temporary and for her own safety, cannot last and she attempts to break out.
Her hopes of escape are raised when a family enter her house and a pregnant woman, aided by her husband, gives birth in the courtyard. The soldiers can be heard approaching and the husband directs his wife and newborn and young daughters to hide in one of the rooms.
Farha makes her presence known to Abu Mohammad and he attempts to help without success. But even more unfortunate for Farha is that she is about to witness a massacre through the cracks of the pantry door, and most likely her final communication with her father Abu Farha who has been captured.
One of the most harrowing scenes is the attempted murder of the newborn, but the soldier cannot bring himself to stamp on the baby, so instead covers his face with a Star of David handkerchief with the end result of suffocation. The most traumatising sound for Farha is the baby’s cries, knowing there is absolutely nothing she can do for him while she is locked away in the pantry.
This film is based on Palestinian testimony and puts you directly in the shoes of a witness to the Nakba – disaster that has had catastrophic consequences all over the globe.
It is gut-wrenching to imagine that such atrocities have affected countless Palestinians and their stories have been erased in order to facilitate an illegal, apartheid, racist state that enjoys impunity in its violence right up until today.
And this impunity comes with the assistance of the mainstream media and many governments of countries which attempt to teach us what it means to be democratic, yet cannot keep their own houses in any type of order.
Please watch this film and lend your support in raising awareness about it. You will momentarily imagine yourself in the shoes of the storyteller, only this is not a story and neither does it have a fairytale ending. This is the reality of the unprecedented levels of evil that humans, when given power, are truly capable of inflicting upon others.
May Allah SWT hold to account all those responsible for aiding the facilitation of such unprecedented levels of oppression and grant freedom and the right of self-determination to the people of Palestine.
You can watch Farha on Netflix.