"When a nation-wide uprising breaks out in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, a young woman in Gaza must make a choice between love, family, and freedom. Undaunted, she embraces all three, joining a clandestine network of women in a movement that forces the world to recognize the Palestinian right to self-determination for the first time. Naila and the Uprising chronicles the remarkable journey of Naila Ayesh and a fierce community of women at the frontlines, whose stories weave through the most vibrant, nonviolent mobilization in Palestinian history, the First Intifada in the late 1980s.
Using animation, intimate interviews, and exclusive archival footage, this film makes visible the courageous women activists who have remained on the margins of history. While most images of the First Intifada paint an incomplete picture of stone-throwing young men front and center, this film tells the story that history overlooked -- of an unbending, nonviolent women’s movement at the head of Palestine’s struggle for freedom.
While the First Intifada provides the backdrop for Naila and the Uprising, its lessons transcend that particular time and place. Through the experience of countless women engaged at all levels of society, we learn what is possible when women take the lead in struggles for rights and justice -- from a movement’s inception to peace talks -- and what we lose when they are stripped of their roles. We also witness the tremendous power of nonviolent organizing: women’s committees, drawing on all the hallmarks of civil resistance, were able to mobilize hundreds of thousands through massive street rallies, mobile health clinics, underground schools and concerted boycott campaigns, sustaining the uprising while generating indigenous self-suffciency. In Naila and the Uprising we see how women-led civil resistance can stir the masses, put pressure on power-holders, and affect real structural change."
Naila and the Uprising is the most recent work of award-winning filmmaker Julia Bacha. The screening of the film was followed by a Q&A with filmmaker Julia Bacha and Amal Amireh, Associate Professor of English and Middle East Studies at George Mason University.
The Event was sponsored by Film and Video Studies, Film and Media Studies, Middle East and Islamic Studies, Ali Vural Ak Center, Global Affairs and Global Programs, Cultural Studies, DKA at GMU, University Life, and Women and Gender Studies. For more information please contact Cynthia Fuchs firstname.lastname@example.org.