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August 16, 2012

They Do Not Exist – Film by Mustafa Abu Ali


Mustafa Abu Ali “They Do Not Exist” – (1974). (Full Segment).

“In the late 1960s, a group of young Arab women and men devoted to the struggle for Palestinian freedom chose to contribute to the resistance through filmmaking, recording their lives, hopes, and their fight for justice. Working in both fiction and documentary, they strived to tell the stories of Palestine and to create a new kind of cinema.

These filmmakers included founders Mustafa Abu Ali, Sulafa Jadallah, and Hani Jawhariya. Others were Khadija Abu Ali, Ismael Shammout, Rafiq Hijjar, Nabiha Lutfi, Fuad Zentut, Jean Chamoun and Samir Nimr. Most were refugees, exiled from their homes in Palestine. And additionally there were fellow Arabs who stood in solidarity with them, devoting their work to a just cause. Their films screened across the Arab world and internationally but never in Palestine. None of the filmmakers were allowed into Palestine, or what became known as Israel, let alone their celluloid prints.”
Annemarie Jacir, The Electronic Intifada:

“Salvaged from the ruins of Beirut after 1982, Abu Ali’s early film has only recently been made available. Shooting under extraordinary conditions, the director, who worked with Godard on his Ici et Ailleurs (Here and Elsewhere), and founded the PLO’s film division, covers conditions in Lebanon’s refugee camps, the effects of Israeli bombardments, and the lives of guerrillas in training camps. They Do Not Exist is a stylistically unique work which demonstrates the intersection between the political and the aesthetic.

Now recognised as a cornerstone in the development of Palestinian cinema, the film only received its Palestine premiere in 2003, when a group of Palestinian artists “smuggled” the director to a makeshift cinema in his hometown of Jerusalem (into which Israel bars his entry). Abu Ali, who saw his film for the first time in 20 years at this clandestine event noted: “We used to say ‘Art for the Struggle’, now it’s ‘Struggle for the Art'”
Palestine Film Foundation:

Mustafa Abu Ali, who died July 2009. Considered the founding father of Palestinian Cinema, Abu Ali created the PLO’s Film Division.

Improved Copy – Source:

A Syrian voice

MUndas from Walls

Why do you think those soldiers did not defect earlier ? Antoine, As you may have understood from mgb’s translation, those soldiers did not defect. They were caught while they were still with the regime. In a way, I sympathize with them. It is not easy to defect. Everyone of us should feel lucky we were not put in their position. I have come across relatives of killed soldiers by the mukhabarat because they refused to shoot at protesters.

I have met someone recently whose relative was killed along with seven other soldiers because they refused or were not cooperating and shooting at civilians. The kid called his mother one time crying while his mother was begging him not to shoot at anyone. The kid told his mom “mama, my superior مقدم already threatened me”. A few days later, he was shot dead along with his friends, and his family was begging to get his dead body back.

My answer to your question is, if they defect where do they go? I believe defections will get easier from this point on because the whole country is in an upheaval.  We all understand the effects of a totalitarian, criminal regime on a society and its members. Everyone is politicized now. Everyone has chosen sides by now. A broader way of phrasing your question is “how could someone defend or support this criminal regime after what’s happened?” who in the history of mankind bombed his own cities? And i think that the scum of the scum are those living outside the country and defending the regime. It takes a Phd to answer these questions.

To answer your other question “Btw why do you find physical abuse against regime soldiers and shabbiha to be disturbing”  As someone who lived outside Syria longer than I have lived inside, I say it is much easier for those living outside to rationalize events. It is also good to have voices calling for human rights etc… But as someone currently living in Syria, I’m more radicalized than I ever thought I would ever be. As an example, I, and everyone I know, were thrilled to hear the bombing of the Syrian Ikhbaria TV station. I am a firm believer in the freedom of the press.

That channel was anything but a mukhabarat branch. I would’ve felt bad if they ever allowed free press in Syria. I didn’t mind seeing the execution of the Berri gang in Aleppo. Realistically, these things will happen. But compared to what the criminal regime has done, it was nothing. We have lived the regime’s atrocities for the past year and half. Again, I don’t mind the voices calling for human rights. But who can rationalize with victims, the widows, the orphans, and the displaced?. We live this misery every single moment in Syria. I say that because when I travel outside Syria, I get distracted and get my mind off the misery even if it’s for a few hours a day.

On a positive note, I will say again that I had never been more proud as a Syrian than I have been since the start of the revolution. As hard as it tried, the criminal regime was not able to destroy every Syrian. There’s a huge segment of the society that is caring and supporting the distressed. You will not believe how Syrians are looking out for each other. That’s what sustained the revolution. I believe the revolution has passed its mid point, so the happy ending is near. I am sooooo proud to be Syrian. When this is over I’m going to buy the new Syrian flag and hang it outside my home. I never owned a flag before.


The treatment of the Syrian refugees by neighboring countries is appalling. It has improved somewhat recently. But up to about three weeks ago, seeing some families being turned back, especially those from restive areas, makes you cry. it seems like Jordan wants to get paid, Lebanon is not an independent  country, and neither is Iraq.
I get annoyed when I see people criticize Turkey. Turkey has done more for the revolution than any other country in the world. They hosted the opposition and refugees. Some people want Turkey to fight our war, thus displaying ignorance about democracies. Unlike ASSad and his likes, in a democacy, you have to convince the 50% that didn’t vote for you why it’s in their national interest to wage a war.

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