Peace: the personal and political

The religion department recently sponsored a film series to prepare students for the Thompson Lecture featuring Mazin Qumsiyeh on Oct. 25.

It has been three years since the last Thompson Lecture, which honors the memory of Dr. Joseph Thompson, a Concordia College graduate who worked with the Lutheran World Federation for the victims of war in the Middle East.

The films shown were “The Lemon Tree,” “Miral,” and “Roadmap to Apartheid.”

“The Lemon Tree” illustrates a true story about a Palestinian woman who takes care of a lemon tree, but is told by the Israeli government the tree must be cut down, causing conflict between the Palestinian women and the government.

“Miral” is based off of a semi-autobiographical book of the same title by Rula Jebreal. In it, a Palestinian girl tells her story, which involves growing up in the war zone of the Israeli-Arab conflict.

“Roadmap to Apartheid” is a documentary that looks at why Palestinians see themselves as living in apartheid today.

“The reward is when people are touched by the film,” said Stewart Herman, associate professor of religion.

The films were shown on three separate Wednesdays prior to Mazin Qumsiyeh’s lecture on Oct. 25.

Qumsiyeh currently teaches at Birzeit University, Bethlehem University, and in the Al-Quds University-Bard College Honors Program.

Qumsiyeh discussed the relevance of the Middle East conflict for the American people, and emphasized his nonviolent fight for Palestinian human rights.

“[The] purpose of the lecture is to inform about the Palestinian-Israeli issue,” said religion professor Dr. Ahmed Afzaal. “Especially the views that don’t get enough attention in the media.”

Professor Herman said he hoped students would learn from the film series and the lecture.

“Students will get a vivid sense of the difficult situation on the Palestinian people [and] how challenging it is to make peace on a personal level and on a political level” said Herman.

All of the films are available in the library for those who missed the religion department’s showings.

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