I went to visit Balata refugee camp on the edge of Nablus recently. It's poor, run down and crowded. The alley ways are so thin you wonder how the soldiers get round them with their explosives to blow up the houses there, as they often do. Bullet holes are everywhere and posters of Shaheed (martyrs) are plenty.
The night before there was another invasion, and they told me that every night it is the same: No ceasefire here. Assassinations and arrests continue as before, though there are less daily invasions and shootings during the day that characterized Nablus, and Balata camp in particular, throughout the intifada.
I met with some volunteers from the Balata Film Collective, who showed me some of their films and explained the projects they have going on in a camp badly in need of some creative outlets for the 20,000 plus refugees living there.
They too have opened up a means for Palestinians in the Balata Ghetto to express themselves to the world, through their website and their films. As they put it themselves:
Film is an important means of both resistance and communication. The Balata Film Collective was initiated to enable young Palestinians from Balata to break their isolation, challenge their oppression and represent their lives to the world.Check them out: They have a young team of journalists making films and writing articles, and they also have a women's centre with an internet cafe. This is one project we look forward to seeing more of.
The Balata film production collective films, edits and produces movies in Arabic and English. Films produced will include shorts uploaded to the internet and full-length movies distributed on DVD and VHS. Interesting footage will be made available on a server for other filmmakers across the world.
Let us know of similar projects to Balata Camp Net and similar sites to Bethlehem Bloggers. It's important for us to stay in touch with each other, and support each others work.