- A Documentary by Katie Barlow
What drives a young, well-educated Westerner to volunteer as a “peace activist” in the Middle East?
Caiomhe Butterly is one of a growing number of volunteers who risk their own safety to intervene in the long-running and bloody conflict between Israel and Palestine. Several internationals, including her, have now been injured. Some have died.
In this film, she describes witnessing the aftermath of the attack on Jenin in April 2002. The film follows her work, the main emphasis being “the accompaniment of communities at risk”. Despite being threatened, shot in the leg and deported later that year, she is determined to go back.
In the interim, she brings her story back to her native Ireland at public meetings, receives a Time Magazine “European Hero Award”, and travels to post-war Iraq to visit the Palestinian refugee camps. She arrives back in Jenin, shortly before a young woman from that community,Hanadi Jaradat, blows herself up in a suicide bombing in Haifa.
Activists such as Butterly are usually stereotyped as lunatics, meddlers or saints. This film offers an insight into a brave, honest, determined yet self-critical woman who takes direct action to the limit, with no quest for glory. She also serves as a conduit into the everyday lives of Palestinians,who are also usually presented to the viewer in a one-dimensional way, as fighters or victims, heroes or fanatics. The film gives us a rare chance to see what she calls “the spaces of beauty and joy” created by a people under occupation.
'An astonishing piece of work, a wonderful film, quite unlike anything I've seen'
'...a passionate indictment of the Israeli military in the Jenin refugee camp...this is raw, urgent movie-making'
'Katie Barlow’s film VISIT PALESTINE is both a devastating account of daily life for Palestinians and a fine portrait of a brave and selfless Irish woman who lives with them. No-one talks politics yet it is a deeply political film. You are left with a burning anger on behalf of those who bear the occupation of their land and appalling military oppression with such fortitude. Israel, the U.S. and their apologists stand indicted and, on this evidence, convicted'
Short listed for a Grierson Award for Best New Comer, 2005
Shortlisted for a Rory Peck Award for documentary feature 2005.
Watch or Download the Visit Palestine Trailer