Schools that we visited were the ”problematic ones” in critical zones where the Israeli army has control. That morning I went to a school on a border between the Palestinian and Israeli neighborhoods, which is why the streets around it were full of soldiers. Kids and teachers show their teeth from time to time, soldiers get even more pissed off, and the vicious circle never stops.
Today's smoldering anti-Asian sentiment is bred on distrust and disgust with so-called ''wet markets'' and unhygienic conditions that life in China and the Far East is usually associated with but covered up by the mystic authoritarian communist government. Even though scientists are trying to find the exact cause of the problem, these attempts are covered with blankets of media's created repulsion with Chinese ''culture'', supported by already mentioned videos and rumors.
The sound of morning adhan, a call for prayer from the local mosque, blended so graciously with the first rays of the sun that illuminated the room through the dark curtain cracks and a window cage. It was only 5 am and my Palestinian family was already awake, preparing to leave the house. The scent of cigarette and cardamom coffee from the kitchen gently overwhelmed the room. ''Yalla, Lidija, we go?''
Hebron (Arabic: al-Khalil), a Palestinian city on the West Bank south. City of concrete, rocks and poor land. Palestinians from other cities think of it as gloomy and are often surprised to hear a foreigner went there. ''Why would anyone do that?''. Its residents (Khalilis) are of few words and even the sweetest ones are wrapped up in a rough peasant accent. You won't find it in cities like Bethlehem or Jerusalem. Khalili mentality is the same, difficult, at least at first sight.
Memoirs tell about mosques, public wells, hamams, schools and thousands of little shops, workshops and wooden cabinets behind fortifications of Bazaar. It opened up every morning with the sound of azan and shopping was something you did by casually negotiating over a cup of Turkish coffee or tea. This, however, changed once Western ideas came to the East, along with wide avenues, modern infrastructure and new facilities in the city. The bazaar look has changed forever.
Caramel was directed by Nadine Labaki from Lebanon. She dedicated the movie to women and their everyday life in Beirut. The plot is presented through the lives and dreams of employees and customers of a local beauty salon. A movie about women, female friendship and warmth of human relationships below the chaos and clashes.
Yesterday's historical and archeological features became a nuisance. Neighborly communities have been replaced by window cages, shopping centers and metal detectors. Places that used to be public became private and commercial spots. The spectacular illusion hides the community divided between ‘us’ and ‘them’. No-go zones of the poor were suppressed by the no-go zones of the rich. All in the name of ”modern age”. And Roma, where are they today?
As long as activism is a field to play for celebrities like Bono Vox, who are not fighting against capitalism, but its ''side effects'', and as long as they fit within the frames of anxious provincial taste (nice gestures, stylish clothes, civilized manners), the media will gladly accept and Emma Watson, Beyonce, Cynthia Nixon, Jane Fonda, Meryl Streep, Eva Longoria, Alicia Keys… But, the same rules are not applied to Pamela, whose political views are immediately discredited by downplaying her persona as ''a bimbo''. The Left - that is, like always, never satisfied with anything – welcomed her with mocking nicknames (''comrade Pamela''). Apparently you can not take Pamela seriously since she is a starlet.
In the current militaristic framework of „us vs. them“ and War On Terror that dominates the political discourse and media, humor is the main weapon that boosts the discourse in which Islam can't tolerate our humor and satire, and therefore, can't tolerate our freedom. On the other side, more and more Muslim (but also non-Muslim) comedians and public people use that same humor as a diverse strategy to expose stereotypes and make them visible and laughable.