“From Palestine” echoes from Oscars to the World
By Ray Hanania
In 1978, I remembered the passion and the excitement when actress Vanessa Redgrave stood up powerfully to confront the “Zionist bullies” she denounced from the Oscar stage who protested against her solely because she had the courage to support the production of a Documentary about “The Palestinians” that everyone in the world was trying to ignore. Click here to read my remembrance of that rare but memorable event in pro-Arab television.
Anti-Arab racist Paddy Chayefsky used his moment at the podium to bully Redgrave for standing up to the bullies outside the Academy Awards who engaged in racist hatred.
But Redgrave stood firm. 1978. It was 36 years ago. This year, the Oscars saw three films about the Arab World grace its lists of honored finalists. Just being a finalist makes all three of the nominations winners.
Omar. Karama Has No Walls. The Square. (Click here to read my overview of the three films published earlier today.)
Each one deserved to win but the competition is always great. But the evening was a winner for the Palestinians and their fight against Israel’s efforts to obliterate their existence. The announcers, in introducing the nominations for Best Foreign Language Film identified Omar as being “From Palestine.”
It may not seem much but in 1978, just saying the word “Palestine” could get you fired from a job, expelled from a college or denounced as an “anti-Semite.” Colleges in America refused to allow students to create “Palestine Clubs” and we were forced by such institutions as Northern Illinois University and the University of Illinois to instead organize under a more generic banner as “The Organization of Arab Students.” Meanwhile, Israel Clubs supported by funding, politicians and university leaders derided us as they celebrated their own victories and their hatreds, too.
Palestine does exist and nothing Israel can do will make it go away. Israel exists only because Palestine exists. And without Palestine, there can be no Israel.
Hearing the words from hosts Ewan McGregor and Viola Davis are a part of a great history.
Omar did not win. But the Palestinians did win and they will win. And I am proud of that, as proud today as I was watching Vanessa Redgrave standup to Paddy Chayefsky and the hoodlums of the Jewish Defense League terrorists that Academy Awards night in 1978.
Let the cry continue around the world: “From Palestine.” Yes, “From Palestine.”
(Ray Hanania is an award winning former Chicago City Hall reporter and political columnist. He is the managing editor of The Arab Daily News online www.TheArabDailyNews.com.)