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Seen TV’s Inaugural Film Fest Unveils ‘Ahmad Alive’

by Thaabit Kamaar

South Africa – Over the past weekend, Seen TV held its inaugural film festival across multiple provinces in South Africa, spotlighting the premiere of the documentary film “Ahmad Alive”.” Like many Palestinians with different hopes and dreams, Ahmad initially aspired to be a vlogger, showcasing Gaza’s beauty, people, destinations, and culture.

However, in the wake of Israel’s devastating war on the enclave, he, like numerous others, felt compelled to take on the responsibility of revealing the harsh realities on the ground, armed only with his smartphone.

Yusuf Omar, co-founder of Seen TV, criticised the mainstream media for their biased coverage of the Gaza genocide, as well as the Israeli government’s policy of restricting international journalists from accessing the area.

As a result, civilian and citizen journalism in Gaza has become indispensable in documenting and reporting on war crimes, famine, and the deliberate targeting of social institutions currently unfolding by the Israeli forces.

“Traditional media held a monopoly on the ability to tell stories. You needed big broadcast cameras and satellites and all that kind of stuff. However, the mobile phone has completely destroyed that right. The old maxim was that if the pen is mightier than the sword, I believe a mobile phone is our atomic agent of change. It’s through the mobile device that Ahmed has been able to show us his life.”

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The Power and Effects of Storytelling Through the Palestinian Lens

The art of storytelling has always wielded profound influence in facilitating positive changes. A compelling narrative possesses the remarkable capacity to surpass national boundaries, stirring empathy and sparking meaningful actions.

Through the lenses of their cameras, we are transported into the lives of Palestinians, igniting a declaration of unwavering solidarity. This truth resonates vividly in the multitude of Palestinian rallies, marches, and protests staged across the globe.

Furthermore, the courageous sharing of Palestinian stories, whether through daily updates or interviews with media outlets committed to truthful portrayal, serves as a potent antidote to the dehumanisation perpetuated by Western media. Rather than reducing innocent individuals to mere statistics or stereotypes, these portrayals offer a poignant affirmation of their humanity.

In reclaiming their narratives, Palestinians assert their dignity and resilience in the face of occupation, apartheid, and an oppressive regime. Despite their pain, their determination for liberty and freedom remains unwavering.

As Omar aptly articulates, disseminating firsthand Palestinian narratives through diverse mediums carries the hopeful prospect of changing hearts and minds globally. This effort seeks to inspire solidarity and catalyse political change, promoting a world were governments and individuals champion justice in occupied Palestine and throughout humanity.

“If you look at what a lot of traditional media have done, they’ve really lost the human narrative. They talk in big numbers: 30 ,000 people have been killed, and you see big shots of rubble, but you forget that they are humans. They frame Palestinians as being so different to you. Then you get into a documentary like Ahmad Alive and realise that he’s just like any other young person … I think that is the power of this [film]. When you get these first-person accounts, you move beyond the statistics and move to the human narrative. If we get that right, what we do is we create more empathy, and we create more understanding.”

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