1913: Seeds of Conflict – Eye-Opening and Enlightening

1913.SeedsConflict.jpgBreaking new ground and laying bare old myths, this PBS program, directed by award-winning filmmaker Ben Loeterman, explores the little-known history of Palestine during the latter part of the Ottoman Empire, a time of relative harmony between Arabs and Jews. Living side by side in the multi-lingual, cosmopolitan city of Jerusalem, Jews, Christians and Muslims intermingled with a cultural fluidity enjoyed by all. How did this land of milk and honey, so diverse and rich in culture, become the site of today’s bitter and seemingly intractable struggle? Was there a turning point when things could have been different? Weaving the raveled threads of Arab and Jewish narratives back together, “1913: SEEDS OF CONFLICT” provides new and fascinating insights into events that took place in Palestine which presaged a century of unrest. KIDS FIRST! juror, Juanita S. comments, “I enjoyed the film because it gave me answers to some questions I have about the conflict between Jewish and Arabic people.” See her full review below.

1913 Seeds of Conflict
Juanita S., KIDS FIRST! adult juror

The film is very eye opening about a very old and difficult conflict between Arabs and Jews and who owns Palestine. I enjoyed the film because it gave me answers to some questions I have about the conflict between Jewish and Arabic people.  It enlightened me about the geography.  I was not aware of the area called Ottoman and what was the Ottoman rule.

The film opens with the re-discovery of a film from 1913 that documents a time in history that few people know about.  I have often wondered what is the cause of this hatred between Jewish and Arab people?

The actors who portray the characters, Albert Antebi, a Sephardic Jew known as the Jewish “pasha”, Ruhi al-Khaalidi, the scion of a Palestine family and Jerusalem’s elected representative to the Ottoman Parliament, Khalil Sakdkini, a Christian schoolmaster and voice for Palestinian culture and Arthur Ruppin, a German Zionist who opens the Palestine Office to strategize the shape of a Jewish homeland that was to come are very authentic and speak in the native language.

I had to pay attention and read the subtitles.  Normally, I really do not like films with subtitles. However, 1913 Seeds of Conflict has very interesting and historical information.  The ending leaves you thinking about how something very small can trigger something very enormous.

I recommend this film for ages 12 to 18. The film meets the baseline KIDS FIRST! criteria and I rate it 4 out of 5 stars. PBS Distribution is releasing it on DVD on June 30.

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