Palestinian filmmaker Annemarie Jacir led a rally at the Cannes Film Festival yesterday to show solidarity with the 60 people killed in the Gaza protests, on the same day as the opening of the United States embassy in Jerusalem.
And Lebanese actress Manal Issa held up a makeshift sign that read 'Stop The Attack on Gaza' at the high-profile premiere of Solo: A Star Wars Story.
Jacir told the assembled crowd at the rally: “Today, we stand here in solidarity with the people who have lost their lives and loved ones. I want everyone to hold hands and show that we have a human connection with each other and resist being dehumanised and silenced.”
Joining Jacir on the ‘Stand In Solidarity’ at the Palestinian Pavilion were her fellow Un Certain Regard jury members, Hollywood actor Benicio Del Toro, Russian director Kantemir Balagov, French actress Virginie Ledoyan and Telluride Film Festival artistic director Julie Huntsinger.
“This morning I woke up really angry,” Jacir explained. “When I walked into the jury meeting I expressed my anger and said that we would do this protest that was being planned at the Palestinian Pavilion, and all my fellow jury members said that they would join me in this action.”
Also in attendance in the crowd of 200 at the stand-in were Arab filmmakers Raed Andoni, Rashid Masharawi, Mohamed Jabali, Hannay Atallah, Laila Abbas, Nehad Khedar, Rami Younis, May Odeh, as well as Lena Boukhari, head of the cinema department of the Palestinian Ministry of Culture, and Mohanad Yaqubi, curator of public programme at the Palestine Film Institute.
The attendees linked hands and stood in silence for a minute to commemorate the dead.
It is the first year that there has been a Palestinian Pavilion at the Cannes Film Festival, and Dr Ihab Bseiso, the Palestinian Minister of Culture, said: “While we are representing Palestine for the first time at the Cannes Film Festival, we have received the bad news coming out of Palestine that unfortunately more than 60 people have lost their lives since yesterday. While we are talking about stories, we have more than 60 stories that need to be investigated in Gaza.”
Actor Mohamed Bakri condemned the Israeli attacks on peaceful protesters and the comments made by Israel’s Minister of Strategic Affairs Gilad Erdan, comparing the dead Gazans to Nazis and blaming their deaths on Hamas.
Bakri then offered a conciliatory note, adding, “This man is not representing the Israeli people. He is representing himself only and that’s not a reason to say and to think and to blame that all Israelis are like Mr Erdan and we believe that there are some Israelis, not few, that want peace who have the same dream for peace that we have.”