Support for Palestine at IFFK

Posted on December 16, 2009

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Open Forum on ‘Cine, Truth and Resistance’, organised as part of the ongoing 14th International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK 2009) heard a proposal for a formal boycott of Israel in major events such as film festivals as a mark of solidarity with the Palestinian cause.

Setting the ball rolling, Tom Hickey, a British academic and a leading member of the international campaign for an academic and cultural boycott of Israel, said that being one of the leading centres of progressive activism, Kerala should take the lead in declaring the boycott.

Kerala should take the cue from film maker Ken Loach, who refused to allow screening of his film at the Edinburgh International Film Festival till an Israeli entry was withdrawn, he pointed out.

In a message read out at the Open Forum by researcher Ian McDonald, Culture Minister M.A. Baby said it was ‘high time strands of a trans-continental movement’ for the liberation of Palestine was strengthened. “Hopefully one day, not too far from today, Palestinians will succeed much like the victory in the fight against apartheid in South Africa,” he said.

Describing the Palestinian struggle as one for ‘justice, peace and the right of self-determination,’ Mr. Baby said the struggle was part of a long fight against oppression, segregation and dispossession.

The plight of the Palestinian refugees is one of the most explosive aspects of their existence on the planet, he noted. “Here in Kerala, and more widely in India, a relentless fight against injustice, exploitation and underdevelopment is on. We cannot separate the struggle at home from the struggles for similar causes elsewhere and turn away the appeals for help from more helpless people,” the Minister said.

Film makers Prasanna Vithanage and Saeed Mirza and writer Beatriz Florez Silva participated in the deliberations.

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