Film Roadmap to Apartheid opens eyes to unnoticed issues regarding human rights in Israel
On March 4, the inspiring and award-winning documentary Roadmap to Apartheid was screened at the Rotunda in the Wheelock Student Center, co-sponsored by the Tacoma chapter of Jewish Voice for Peace and Justice and Service in Tacoma.
Promoting awareness for Palestinians facing constant discrimination and abuse in Israel, the documentary was an eye-opener for many students unfamiliar with issues like the apartheid in South Africa and, now, Israel.
Catching only glimpses of the life that many Palestinians on the West Bank and Gaza Strip live, students were given the opportunity to form their own opinions on the subject at hand.
Freshman Senator and member of JuST, an active social justice club on campus, Alissa Hartnig chose to screen the film because “of the human rights aspects of the issue that often go unnoticed by students that tend to neglect problems that they feel do not pertain to them.”
She emphasized that the movie was “just one side of the conflict in Israel and in no way was meant to pressure or persuade students to this side of the issue.”
Hartnig added that “this film is not everything Israel has to offer and not everything Palestine has to offer. The point was to create an awareness that would allow for students to conduct more research and gain a better understanding of the seemingly foreign issue.”
Narrated by Alice Walker, author of The Color Purple, Roadmap to Apartheid began with the defining of the word “apartheid” and making fact-based comparisons with the apartheid implemented in South Africa and the one that Palestinians today feel they are living in. The concept of apartheid is defined as “a separation of populations which one group institutionally dominates the other.”
The story of the 65-year-old woman who became a suicide bomber to “save her grandchildren” was one that stood out among the graphic collection of scenes depicting Israeli soldiers breaking the arms of Palestinian men with stones and families grieving deaths caused by air strikes or Israeli cruelty.
It is important, however, to remember that people on the same side do not always agree. Not all Jewish people in Israel feel the need to oppress and annex the Palestinian population and not all Israeli soldiers are corrupt and power-driven.
In watching this film, the audience can relate these issues of oppression to a vicious cycle of enslavement and persecution of other races in the world. Jewish people were abused, treated as inferior and stuffed into concentration camps.
After migrating into large pockets of Israel that were previously occupied by Palestinians, the Jewish community had the one goal of surviving in a safe environment. The uprooting of the Palestinians raises the question of whether or not America should be providing arms to Israel.
Freshman Le Nguyen commented on the film, saying, “It gave me a really different outlook on the fighting in Israel because of the way the media portrays the subject, showing only footage of violent missiles being pointed at each other with no real explanation for the reason why.
“The film really helped me see the big picture in providing a different side to the argument and makes me think about the amount of support our country provides Israel in their war.”
The documentary displays the hard life of hundreds of Palestinians that are deprived of basic rights, such as the right to drive on vital roadways, the right to enter parts of the city and the right to their own property.
The ultimate goal for the future is clear for millions of Palestinians who believe in ending apartheid in Israel and becoming a democratic country that has rid itself of prejudice and corruption.
For more information on the film Roadmap to Apartheid and the issuse behind it please vist www.roadmaptoapartheid.org.