Wild Flowers: Women of South Lebanon

By Cygnus

TW: film features reference to rape and scenes of unarmed protestors being fired upon by army.

This is a short documentary film from 1986 about the Zionist occupation of South Lebanon, beginning in 1982, and women’s resistance against it, following the mass incarceration of the men of South Lebanon.

The film focuses on how women maintained a semblance of normality, while simultaneously defending their communities in various way against occupying forces. There is no distinct linear narrative: scenes of casual interviews – about anything from resistance anecdotes to stories of imprisonment – are interspersed with music. It begins with the scenes of a content family in the hills, and ends with a woman discussing her drive to learn and be educated, with coverage of the Zionist invasion in between.[i] This captures the outlook of those resisting: the occupation will remain only a short episode in their desire for a good life, free of oppression.

It is particularly relevant to watch today, as we witness an upsurge in the objectification of women and acceptability of rape as a tool to ‘discipline’ or maintain hegemony over the Palestinian people in the context of colonial occupation. Sexism and racism are fused to operate as the driving force of Zionism. Complementing this, the use of sexual images of Jewish Israeli women to romanticise and ultimately ‘clean’ the IOF is the ‘defensive’ arm of the sexist Zionist public-relations campaign (hasbara). This reveals the misogyny inherent in the Zionist colonial project: the female (if Palestinian) is reduced to being a target of sexual violence or (if Jewish Israeli) is used as sanitiser of oppression through her role as a sex object.[ii]

Wild Flowers: Women of South Lebanon shows women as complete human beings – family members, workers, resistance fighters. Their role can be the home or the fields and hills, where armed resistance takes place.

The film was written and directed by wife and husband, Mai Masri – daughter of Munib Masri – and Jean Khalil Chamoun.

I would appreciate if someone could post some more background about the film, since it seems difficult to find (in English online, at least). Also, if a full version of the film can be found, please post it here.

[i] Sadly, this version of the film uploaded seems to be cut short, but I have no idea by how long, could be 1 minute or 10.

[ii] http://www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails.aspx?ID=717908