This is the story of five ordinary women who were born in 1948; five women, Israeli and Palestinian, born in the same year but irreconcilably divided by historical events.
The creation of the state of Israel in May 1948 is referred to by Palestinians as Al-Nakba, the Catastrophe.
The five characters in this film, two Israeli and three Palestinian women, were all born in 1948. But few events in history have determined such sharply contrasting outcomes as the founding of Israel has, for people who might otherwise have had much in common.
For Rena Rejev, an Israeli of Ukrainian origin who lives in Rishon LeZion, there is the joy of being born on May 14, ‘Independence Day’.
"At school, for friends and relatives, I was the one and only 'independence girl'," she says, and feels that the day's celebratory flags and fireworks also mark her birthday. "Independence Day has become a part of me," she says.
By contrast, Latifa Yousef, a Palestinian living in Cairo, finds difficulty expressing how she feels on her birthday in August, a reminder that her country was "violated". "The occupation is closely linked to my life and it just increases my pain," she says.
Madlen Abergel Vanunu, an Israeli of Moroccan origin, has a strong conviction "that God only brought her into the world once the state of Israel had been founded."
But Fayrouz Arafa, who was born in Gaza on October 8, 1948, recalls: "I was a refugee. We were poor, hungry and lived in a tent. It haunts me."
Equally, for Khadija Zoraiqi, a Palestinian living in the Occupied West Bank, her birthday makes her sons' imprisonment in Israeli jail harder to bear, and signifies for her that the Nakba continues today. "Every birthday I feel this catastrophe twice over," she says.
These are the dramatic human stories of life after 1948, made all the more powerful through the intimate, interspersed interviews with these five women. The film explores how 67 years on, starkly contrasting narratives persist, with very little, if any, common ground between them.
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ANAS AL DAOUD
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY
NAJATI AL SULOH
COMMISSIONING SENIOR PRODUCER
REVERSIONED BY AL JAZEERA WORLD TO ENGLISH – 2015
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