The Neighbour Before the House: In the Face of the 'Fence'/Ezariah
Duration: 01:08:22; Aspect Ratio: 1.366:1; Hue: 14.833; Saturation: 0.023; Lightness: 0.593; Volume: 0.105; Cuts per Minute: 7.503; Words per Minute: 50.987
Summary: “The Neighbour Before the House” is a series of video probes into the landscape of East Jerusalem. This footage, shot with a security camera, is an experiment that exceeds the instrumental aspects of surveillance imaging, and uses the technology of power as a device with which to narrate, quite intimately, over the architecture of a deliberate and accelerated occupation of a city. Instances of inquisitiveness, gestures of jest, memory, fear, desire and doubt, pervade the project of watching. Stories float up, as Palestinians from different neighbourhoods evaluate what can be seen—messianic archeological digs; Israeli settlement activities; takeovers of Palestinian properties; the Old City, the Wall and the West Bank. Pans-tilts-zooms become ways in which to frame the view, as these residents speak about the nature of their distance from others.
(asking the children to come and talk)
(unclear what the conversation is about)
(Mahasen is asking who from the kids is good to talk)
Trying the girl Nadin.
(Mazen is asking the girl if she knew who had put the iron windows)
(Shaina asking if they can tell us)
(Shereen asking the kids if the children can come)
(children are calling each other)
Get one of your friends and come
Who would like and come and tell us a story?
(They are calling Rinad to come and talk)
(Rinad is coming)
(We are telling us that she doesn't have to come on the camera and that just ask her to talk about the neighbours and what they did etc.)
(they telling her to sit down and see the camera and explain exactly what happened)
OK she will talk Mahasen will move.
OK here we go.
Shereen will sit next to her.
(Mahasen is asking if she is expecting a girl or a boy)
-A girl and she will call her Jana.
The whole idea is that all that will come out is the landscape but we want to know when they continued the wall and when they put the guards.
-The guard has been there for three days.
waiting for the picture to come back.
Mazen says he will remind her in case she forgets to say certain things
Mahasen is explaining again how because she lives there she knows best
Rinad is asking if Mahasen will ask her and she will answer so we are explaining it just will be a discussion
and we will have nadin close to us
( still more regular conversation)
explaining how we changed the screens
The camera is excellent.
This is the watch tower if you zoom in?
(again normal chatter Rinad is asking whether to say certain things etc.)
Mahasen: ok what we can do is basically the way we did it.
(now the little boy sees his mother and wants also to talk)
(regular chit chat)
(sound checking again)
ok now we want to sit down and concentrate so anti um abed and anti shereen will tell us the story (Mahasen is telling the kids)
We can start now.
We would like you to tell us what we are seeing where is your house.
My house is now inside the wall , we are inside and they are outside.
(talking about watching Indian movies)
(Rinad is asking if we could put the camera some place higher so as to see the whole area.)
(Mahasen is suggesting doing it a bit better.)
(Rinad is saying that it was better..now we can only see the wall of our house.)
That's the house.
OK perfect for the camera.
And you can see right in the tower.
They want to see the soldier inside.
The soldier would say bye to the kids when they are going to school. The soldier knocked on the window.
-On which window did the soldier knock?-
On his window in order to call them and say good bye.
When has the wall been completed here? In this area, before how long?
-Around 2 months , yes 2 months they have been working on it and now it is completely closed.
They made some problems before going to the Aqsa and they say that they want to pray at the Aqsa. And they say that the guys attacked them and there was a gun fight, and I do not know what.
At night they closed it all and they put the tower and everything and it happened that now no one can go in or out, they have closed us in completely. And they gave the people inside permits to get to Jerusalem and go from around the gate at the mount of olives and now we do not move from here, it is forbidden.
And we are inside Bethany now and we do not go downtown Jerusalem. Even our neighbours we are unable to speak with, except through the windows.
So this is your neighbours house?
-Yes this is our neighbours' on the lower floor. We used to be really close friends with them and now we speak from behind the window or through the mobile. So I cannot talk to her more than that, and she likes that we talk because she comes from abroad she would like to enter Bethany as she knows many people here, she has no one in Jerusalem. I am her closest friend.
Now it is closed upon us, we cannot see her and she cannot see us except if she wants to come through the checkpoint by bus and come to Bethany.
-And for you to visit her you need to have a permit?-
Yes. On the basis that we are now West Bank, yes of course, and I would need an hour and a half by bus to reach the town.
And what about that house over there?
-This villa here, because their owners are not in the country, they confiscated it and fortified it with iron. The iron is even on top, so it has become more like a prison.-
And its owners are out of the country?
-Yes its owners are in the US, so they took it all. The police and army even come inside the building sometimes.
And no one is able to be in touch with the family?
-No no there is no one. And they closed in here the wall between the two buildings. They completed it.
Here they made a wall that connects these two buildings together and they broke the fence separating the two houses on the basis that these houses here are the wall?
-Yes these houses go along with the wall and this fence they made with electricity. I don't know if they did because as you see there are children here.
Although they do have a sign here that says 'Mortal danger' and I don't know what.
So the neighbours who used to be our neighbours are now separated from us and this has made us less close and more distant, we have come to like each other less and has become like a sort of ...
Here they took over the land as they were thinking that the wall would come this way.
(asking Mohammad to move from here)
They thought that the wall will keep on moving on the fence, but they found that our fence and stairway cannot handle being built on, so that's why they connected the houses together with the wall.
They thought of demolishing the stairs here and the fence and move without touching the houses. But the our fence is weak and so they had to complete it in this way because they had already begun. They had begun with the tower and this area here so they continued it between the houses and the windows.
This to the right is what?
-It is the convent. The convent which is now Jerusalem because they closed on it as you can see with the fence.
When they put the fence around the convent like this and stopped at the middle of the convent, we said it seems this is where they will continue, because they didn't finish the fencing until where they had their first tower up there. And we said for sure it will move from here. And two months ago they doubled the speed of building it and we stood and watched, we were shocked.
We stood to see what they are going to do, bulldozers and demolitions, and building...
The nursery- you mean the convent?
-Yes here how one day before no at the same day they closed it some children found it very difficult to climb the stairs and enter the nursery. One boy fell. It has become very hard for the kids to enter.
And except for the names of people, there are some people names that the soldier standing in the tower has. And only those whose names are there can enter.
Only for those people he would open the gate.
They had told them one day before to go and make permits in order to enter from here.
How was life before?
-Life was beautiful and easy. Our relation with our neighbours was always great. We used to come and go, the way was easier and pass, going down to Jerusalem didn't take an hour and a half as it does now, it used to take us 15 minutes, 20 minutes max.
Your children, which schools do they go to? a school in Bethany or...?
-My kids used to go to a school in Ras al Amud and then now we take them to a school in Bethany called Al Jeel Al Jadid.
All facets of our lives has changed, we used to go a lot to Jerusalem now it is Bethany , even the doctors, we used to go to them in Jerusalem. Now we go here.
So all facets have been replaced.
And when they put the wall they cut from you the water and electricity?
-Yes they cut for a while, a day or so then they gave it back.
Mazen: Tell her that your husband had a shop in Jerusalem and they won't give him a permit and how he was forced to close the shop and sit at home with no source of living and that all our life is in Jerusalem,, our families, his families, etc.
(Mazen still telling her things to say)
And also say about the nursery and...
(Mahasen reminding her)
OK now all my family is in Jerusalem. So I find it difficult to visit my parents and my sisters, as well my husband has a shop in Salah Din and now he is unable to reach it and he cannot open the shop and he is staying at home now. This is no life, that they won't give him a permit to go open the shop.
And now he is staying at home with no work and our families are all in Jerusalem. One finds it very difficult to go to Jerusalem in order to take yet another busy to be able to visit my family in Bet Hanina.
The distance is longer and the roads are more difficult. All our families are in Jerusalem.
(Mahasen suggesting Shaina sits in Mahasen's place)
You can see them moving inside the tower.
(Shaina and Mahasen discussing)
We need to bring the kids inside because the soldiers are paying.
(the kids standing in front of the camera)
They are looking at us here, ...here they are.
That is the most difficult thing, when you are sitting in your own home.
One moment please...
The most difficult thing is, this soldier sitting here in the tower when you are sitting in your own house and my windows face his tower, if I open the curtain like this, I am afraid he is looking at me through binoculars and watching what I am doing in the kitchen or my bedroom. So I have to close my windows all the time. Closing everything, I am forced to suffocate myself because I am afraid he will see us.
This is a life of horror, like prison. As if you are in a big prison. In your own house, in a prison.
This is not a life and they tell you file you a complaint. To who are we going to file a complaint when they are the ones who rule this country and they are the ones who have stolen the country?!
They have binoculars more than we do. We can see that he is sitting there but he has a big binocular. He can see what is inside. They have a much more advanced technology, if his windows are electronic, you open and close it electronically.
And the interrogations with us, 'where are you going, where are you coming from...'
The woman asks permission from her husband, and then this soldier comes again to ask you where you are going.
The soldier asks you where you are going?
Do they try to develop friendly relations with the kids?
-Yes maybe, but it has not happened. They do not talk with them. But in the morning when my children are going to school, the soldier would knock on the window to tell them hello.
They brought me back the other day,
Why?-I don't know.
ok I think we got very good sound bites... I want you to come and take.
Shereen... can you ask her if when she was talking to some friend, .....
She told us the story.
(Mahasen explains to Shaina what Rinad talked about)
(Shereen explaining also)
Neighbourhood became as such that the other side, became some place you do not like.
Who turned the radio on?
Did you know people in this house?
-Yes we talked about the story of this house.
She said that sometimes the soldiers come into this house, they could see them walking inside the house.
(Shaina taking some footage.)
(Mazen wants her to tell the story of how they attacked them while they were sleeping.)
(Mahasen telling Shaina that now Rinad will tell us the story of the soldiers attacked their house.)
That's because I was awake with them
Mazen: before they closed here
ok please go ahead...
One day before they closed the gate when they attacked they made a war between each other and they exploded and said claiming that some guys attacked them up and there were some gun shootings on the next day in the morning at dawn at the morning azan.
They attacked, they drove in the car and asked the neighbours who are the owners of this storage here and who are the owners of this house here. They came in, they knocked really hard on the doors, we were still sleeping.
At 5:30 they knocked on us hard and said 'open or we will break the door, open or we will shoot you.' So the children opened the door, they found some still in their night gowns, and some woke up terrified, and the children started crying so they entered our house and attacked deep inside the house.
They reached inside where the dining table and salon were, we had barely woken up. They entered our houses with our families while we were sleeping. How do you want someone to feel when they enter his house while he is still sleeping?
And you know how a person is when he is sleeping, I was in my night dress even the privacy of the home they invaded.
They broke this privacy.
Whom is this storage for and who are these camera for and have you seen guys and I don't know what.
This isn't a way to enter someone's house. You have to stay outside the door and ask permission. And if you can and you have to wait for us to wake up, to wait a little bit. You do not invade someone like this scaring the children and making everybody terrified. There should be respect to the house and respect to the people.
So what if they are Jews!
So we kicked them out and told them why do you enter like this? and told them to get out, that it was against all manners to enter someone's house like this. Would you like that, we enter your house while you are sleeping? So they said yes come in. Why? Do you think we even dare to enter their houses?
We are much more well-mannered than they are and they are not.
After that in the evening they stayed until maybe 8 in the eve they came back again in the morning, that was at 5:30, at 8 they came again in their car and the horror stayed with us, we were still afraid. From 5:30 how they attacked us, we were still very scared until in the evening they closed the gate completely. You cannot go in or out, you have to stay in and it is forbidden for you to leave, they closed down on us.
After that the school here at the convent, all the children could not reach it and the children fell and all out kids didn't go to school although the school is really close to us we had to not take any one to school. Even the close schools they had rid us of.
(Mahasen is thanking her)
thanks a lot.
(Shaina wants to double check something Susu's mother and the both families.)
Actually we haven't.
Are you related to Susu?
(Mazen is telling her to say that Susu is her cousin and that she lives here close to her mother. And her mother cannot visit Susu so Susu has to come here through Maali Adomim.
And we are not able to go to the house although it is really close , 5 minutes away ...5 minutes by foot.
Part of your family...
Let us talk now about Susu.
(they are deciding what to say.)
I can even not visit my cousin. ok we re gonna do it now where she will talk about how she cannot reach her cousin's house. I will not say Susu. I will just say my cousine.
(Shaina is telling how Susu's hous is right behind Wazwaz's.)
(Shaina thinks the tape was off)
(...but phew!...the screen went to sleep)
OK we are ready.
OK now after this house here is my where my cousin lives we used to reach her within ten minutes now we have to make the whole turn we used to walk within ten minutes to reach her now we need to make the full turn..she can visit us but she needs to drive a long way to reach us and we need a permit to reach her although she is my cousin and we are unable to reach her
The distance is really close, only a ten minutes walk and we are there..they cut through us and they cut through me and my family. They cut through families, my cousine now is not able to reach her mother's house here. Where it used to be only a ten minutes walk now she needs to have a permit in order to visit her daughter.
Sometimes they talked with each other from the roof. We used to call each other and say, go up the roof we want to talk to you and she used to go up the roof where we used to talk to her.
The distance is really close, ten minutes by foot, you climb up the hill and you are there and now the turn is very long and the distance is really long, we used to wave to each other form the roof and now they have really distanced us.
And this is my cousin and I love her lot and we used to visit each other a lot she used to come here and we used to stay up late till 12. But now we don't stay up late and we don't do anything, we are cut form life and the world.
And now the look of this wall is as if one is sitting inside a jail.
And this soldier sitting in the tower and watching life has become really hard and the children are scared as if we are are in this big jail. From this tower here you are not allowed to go, from the olive mount you need a permit. From the checkpoint it is closed you cannot go out. So they leave us here in prison, stay locked in your houses.
(Mahasen is explaining to Shaina what we have talked about.)
Our children are not able to go to Jerusalem schools because of the id.
The government schools are really bad and the PA even worse especially for the boys. They do no want the boys to have proper education. The girls, my two girls are in PA schools and they are really fine but my son is in a PA school and it is really terrible.
The teachers goes in beats the kids and leaves.
(Shaina taking footage)
(Shaina and Mahasen talking)
From the kitchen it could be better.
(taking the camera inside)
The bed is neat and the room is tidy. (what they are saying)
(Mahasen and Shaina talking.)
OK lastly we want to talk about these houses how they consider them the wall. And how they closed in this opening between the houses. Yes I said all these things.
(Mazen is telling her what to say regarding this house.)
We talked about this.
We talked about all this.
(They are asking stuff about this film.)
(Mahasen is explaining that it is a documentation for the future, saying we should put our hands together in order to document these things.)
(Mahasen is explaining how these films can be used for non formal education etc.)
(they are discussing about the film and its purpose and the wall and why it is built, etc....How to isolate Jerusalem and keep the west bank stuck inside, how the arab and international support is not with us. That such films are just a voice.)
(still discussing in the sitting room)
(unrelated but possibly interesting discussion)