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Microcosm: Galilee Under a Lens

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Galilee under a Lens

Ziad Elkhoury


When it comes to the characters of Michael Khleifi's 1987 Wedding in Galilee it seems an issue of gradual realization rather than immediate recognition. As the movie progresses there is a sense of having met such people before. But it is not a similarity, whether true or imagined, to a real life acquaintance that results in such empathy to some of the characters, its is an understanding of the idea that animates these characters, it is a familiarity with the groups of people these characters are built around and created to represent.

There are at least nine such archetypes covering all the generations of Galilee, but what they represent is meant to transcend one Palestinian village, indeed Galilee is no longer one village, it is the whole of Palestine and it's inhabitants are no longer mere individuals they are the voices of entire generations within a war torn nation. Some are variations of each other, while others, even within the same generation, stand in stark contrast to one another. Beginning with those of the oldest generation we see the grandfather and grandmother representing the obsolete and the senile. They are ghosts, ancient remnants of a Palestinian past that has long disappeared and has no bearing on the events of the present. Mokhtar AbuAdel and his brother Khamis are the representatives of the second generation. These are the men who remember Palestine as it was and now stand amongst the ruins of what it has become. Khamis is the voice of nationalistic pride and honor; he will not bend to the Israelis let alone break. But he is also the voice of reason and moderation; he wishes the Israelis dead but will not risk the lives of his innocent countrymen to do it. The mokhtar is inherently much more complex. AbuAdel is so steeped in symbolism that such a quick description will not do him justice. He lacks none of Khamis's pride and honor, but it is deep within him, only when he is provoked does it flare to the surface. He is uncertainty, he is loss, but above all he is overwhelming sadness. His words to Hassan roughly translated are: "Why is it that every time I come to you to tell you my story you are asleep my son? Of what do you dream? Are your dreams like mine?" He is the deep sorrow of every Palestinian father that does not know what the future holds for his children. He has seen his legacy, the birthright of his children, ravaged and plundered before his eyes. He is the voice of a generation that know they are the last of what once was, with them dies the memory of a free Palestine, and their children will grow not knowing their people, not knowing their fathers, and ultimately not knowing themselves.

Adel Samia Ziad and Suad, like the generation they represent are the most tragic. Born into a country their fathers have made a war zone they had no choice but to inherit a war not of their



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