A Glimpse of Palestine, A Taste Of Syria
I recently enjoyed the film Amreeka about a Palestinian single mother Muna and her teenage son Fadi who emigrate to America. We get a glimpse of life in Bethlehem, in the occupied West Bank, and see the insecurity and anxiety of daily life in a conflict zone. Muna and Fadi receive a long awaited chance to move to America, and they begin a new life near Chicago living with Muna's sister and her family. Muna struggles to find a job, and Fadi tries to fit into his new school. In addition to the difficulties of transplanting themselves into a new culture and way of life, they unfortunately face some anti Arab sentiment as America is embroiled in a war in Iraq. Although the movie touches on very serious topics, it is at the same time light-hearted and fun. We get a glimpse into the warm and beautiful culture of the family, and see the humor as Muna stretches her wings in a new job and starts a new friendship. This movie is highly enjoyable, hopeful, and entertaining, while not shying away from challenging issues.
If you rent the DVD, don't miss the short bonus film "Make A Wish", also by director Cherien Dabis. Also set in Palestine, it has a poignant, surprise ending.
After watching a movie with Arab food, music, and culture, I was hungry for some Middle Eastern cuisine! I had lunch with some friends at newly opened Syrian restaurant Lazeez in Whitehall. I was assured by the owner that all the food was homemade by his family, and it was indeed delicious. I feasted on falafel and baba ganoush, and all the favorites were also on the menu including tabouli, spinach pie, shawarma, and more.
Now that we have traveled to the Near and Middle East via film and food, enjoy this beautiful song Supplication by the Azeri musician Sami Yusuf. You may remember this song from the movie Kite Runner.