By Jamal Saidi
By Jamal Saidi
Morocco World News
Meknes, Morocco, February 6, 2013
A documentary film presented in the 14th national film festival in Tangier has sparked controversy. The film entitled “Tinghir-Jerusalem: Echoes From the Mellah” is perceived by its opponents as a promotion of pro-Zionist claims.
During the discussion following the presentation of the film on Tuesday, a journalist of Attajdid considered the film as a recognition of the Zionist allegations. He said that Moroccan Jews did not leave Morocco because of hatred or due to conspiracy from the part of the national movement. He continued that the Jews left Morocco as a response to Balfour’s promise to make Palestine a national home for the Jews.
Last week, several political and human rights organizations, mainly of Islamic and leftist orientation, issued a statement in which they regarded the film as “ a form of normalization of relations with the Zionist state through conveying some messages that go hand in hand with the Zionist claims such as “ the promised land” and “ war of liberation and independence”, in reference to what is known for the Palestinians as the day of Nakba or the catastrophe and the subsequent occupation of Palestine. These allegations, the statement continued, reflect an attempt to distort historical facts. Furthermore, the aforementioned organizations called for the withdrawal of the film from the festival, and for an apology to the Moroccan people.
Kamal Hachkar, the director of the documentary film, rejected his opponents’ stance on the ground that the film should be seen from an artistic view point, stressing that it deals with a historical story which has nothing to do with the Palestinian Israeli conflict. In the same regard, a number of activists of the Amazigh movement were reported to have demonstrated in front of Roxy cinema in Tangier, pointing to those who reject the film as enemies of creativity and promoters of hatred.
The story of the film revolves around a young man who lived almost his entire life in France. He thought all Amazigh of Morocco were Muslims. He learned later that many of them were Jews and that both Muslims and Jews lived side by side, in an atmosphere of harmony and tolerance. The man, who is the director himself, visited Tinghir, 466 kilometrs away from Casablanca, to look for the Jews who lived the area. He then moved to Jerusalem where he met some of them. He met the elders who told their stories and memories. He also encountered young people of Tinghir origin, and realized they have same desire of rediscovering the forgotten part of their identity.
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