“Nothing scares the army more than nonviolent opposition.” In the Palestinian village of Budrus, ten months of nonviolent demonstrations wear down efforts by the Israeli military to build a security wall through their community. The documentary film “Budrus” provides a window into the courage and effectiveness of a closely knit community plying the best weapon available. Wendy Hartley says, “The army only has violence and weapons. They don’t know what to do about nonviolent opposition. It puts them in a bad light, thanks to modern technology.” Wendy Hartley will lead a Q and A after the March 27, 7:30pm showing of “Budrus” at the Nevada Theatre.
Local Palestinian leaders foment peace against the Israeli military. They organize and unite across factions. The movement gains traction when the women of the community join the demonstrations and rally in the faces of the soldiers occupying Palestinian territory. The movement accelerates when Palestinian citizens are joined in the olive fields by supporters from other countries. (The military uproot olive trees, the local livelihood, to build the wall.) The movement gains poignancy when many of those supporters standing in Palestinian fields are Israelis who share in the vision and the commitment to peace.
One young Palestinian woman probably represents the spirit of the film best. She learns to hope and dream from her activist father. She learns that one person can overcome fear and stop a bulldozer. She learns the difference between Israeli soldiers and Israeli people.
Her father knows about struggling for decades. Her father knows what does not work and what can hope to work. Her father knows how to lead from the midst of his community.
We need more examples of waging peace. The film “Budrus” provides an absorbing field example of a small success in one of the foremost hot zones in our violence-driven world. The Nevada Theatre showing, March 27, benefits the Nevada County Peace Center. ------ from a conversation between Chuck Jaffee and Wendy Hartley -----
Wendy Hartley, a local member of a Palestine-Israel Working Group, has recently returned from Palestine. She will lead a Q & A at the Nevada Theatre after the 3/27, 7:30pm showing of “Budrus.”
CJ: What is one of the most satisfying moments you have experienced in your direct involvement in Palestine?
WH: [For instance] I have been to the “Tent of Nations” twice. I was there supporting Palestinian Christians.” They hugged me and expressed such appreciation knowing that I had been there before and had come back. [The “Tent of Nations”: about 100 acres near Bethlehem; a place of legal battles over ownership; a place for promoting “understanding and tolerance … and true belonging …”]
CJ: How do vulnerable and violated activists restrain themselves from crossing a threshold toward committing violence?
WH: They can because they are part of a group, and the group is committed to nonviolence. They know the power of it. They’ve had training in it. They know how to respond to the army. And whatever is done to them, they know they are doing the right thing.
CJ: Why would a resident of Comforttown, USA, choose, of all things, a mired and intractable activism such as trying to instill peace between Israel and Palestine?
WH: I can only speak for myself. As an American, I resent that my tax dollars support what Israel is doing. As a Jew, I resent that Israel has ripped off my heritage. They don't add to my security or do what I would ever want done. So many [activists jump into other causes]; they don’t need me as much as people whose every breath is a testimony to nonviolence. I’m happiest when I’m surrounded by such people and I’m committed to them. I believe in nonviolent persistence. I have confidence that eventually the change will come.
CJ: What's your favorite thing about the film "Budrus"?
WH: Early in the film, one of the organizers says that the [people in Budrus] have a choice: they can act the way they traditionally have and just accept their fate, or they can do something about it.