WSW: Grassroots Organizers Give Hope In "Drylands"

Apr 6, 2016

A Palestinian child with his face decorated and other children hold up signs during a celebration for Palestinian Child Day, in the West Bank town of Salfit, Tuesday, April 5, 2016. Arabic in signs reads, "I am a Palestinian child, with my right to live like other children of the world, give me my rights, the children of Palestine."
Credit Majdi Mohammed, Associated Press / AP

The problems faced in the Middle East are big and complex. But documentary film maker Helene Klodawsky says community organizers are doing what they can to restore hope. 

Klodawsky says she was looking for a different way to examine conflict in the Middle East. Grassroots in Drylands goes into neighborhoods in different parts of the Middle East. The community organizers she met included Nuha Dweikat Shaer.

The two women will speak at Western Michigan University on Thursday April 14th beginning at 6:30. After a screening of Grassroots in Drylands, Klodawsky and Shaer will discuss the film. It’s part of the Center for the Humanities Reimagining Community Series

Shaer says Klodawsky worked to get the trust of the subjects in her film. But Shaer says the film maker showed that she was concerned about their safety, and “worked together as a team.” Klodawsky says the film required a lot of discussion between her and those whose stories she wanted to tell. But she says in the end it made for a better documentary.

Klodawsky says that winning little battles for things like transportation and education in poorer parts of the Middle East, give people hope for larger victories. Shaer says hard work in communities does a “little bit a day” to help bring about more change.