Fighting to Become Middle Class

by egund1 on November 22, 2013 - 5:52pm

Fighting to Become Middle Class


                In the film 5 Broken Cameras, the Palestinians in this area of Israel are struggling to improve their economic way of life. They see and desire what the Israeli’s have and would ultimately like a fair share of it themselves. This would be a social issue in the social structure. In the film the majority of Palestinians are poor and lower-middle class. I really feel it is that simple but so many differing factions in each group are always jockeying for power and position causing many negative social issues.

I chose this focal point because I feel there are a lot of issues affecting the social structure and the film does a great job of portraying this. Emad Burnat, a Palestinian and amateur videographer, shows this struggle beginning in 2005. Over the years he goes through filming peaceful protests to violent attacks. In the mean time he is also filming his son’s birth and growth, which portrays what his family and friends had to go through. As witnesses and participants in the fight to remove the Israeli’s from their land, they are faced with the moral dilemma of sacrificing their time, effort and even their lives to remove this barrier. On the other hand, the Israeli’s have lived there for a period of time but defiantly not as long as the Palestinians, and fear for their own safety. The back and forth struggle impacts both their lives as each one tries to gain territory and hold onto it.

                The narrative structure of the film is from the point of view of Emad, the owner of the cameras. Because Emad is a Palestinian you get to see just how they live, and are treated. Emad is a strong and courageous person to participate and be a leader in these protests and walks which really shows his personality and how much he cares for his town’s freedom and land. Just between Bil’in and the new settlers was an open field full of olive trees which they would pick off of daily. Soon they weren’t even allowed over to it and were shot at for going into the Israeli territory. I believe that the olive trees represented their freedom and family. Emad recorded his family throughout the years going to pick from the trees, something they all did together. Now that the olive trees were taken and destroyed by the Israeli settlers and army, they had lost those memories and what was now their freedom.

 After a protest that became violent between the Palestinians and the Israelis, Emad’s good friend, Phil, was shot and killed. Emad’s son asked Emad, “Dad why don’t you use this knife and kill the soldiers that killed Phil?” Gabrielle, Emad’s son didn’t understand that it wasn’t as easy as it seemed, but he did understand that the Israeli’s were treating them bad and hurting the Palestinians. The whole town sticks together as one big family, painting pictures all over buildings of Phil’s face, honoring him for everything he had done. The town walks with big masks of Phil’s face over theirs to show their pride for their beloved one. Gabrielle was born into and grew up in the constant struggle of the Israelis trying to take over the West Bank village. As he grows he has learned more and more or what all the walks and protests are about. The struggle to stand up against the Israeli’s is a long and grueling year after year, but they never gave up hope.


Burnat, E. (Director) (2011). 5 broken cameras [DVD].


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