Photo of the Week: Mrs. Burnat’s traditional Palestinian ‘thobe’ on the red carpet

Burnat Family

Photo credit: Unknown photographer, Agence France-Presse/Getty Images
Date taken: February 24, 2013
Location: Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, United States

Best Documentary Feature nominee Emad Burnat, his wife Soraya, and his 8-year-old son Gibreel arrive on the red carpet for the 85th Annual Academy Awards. Emad co-directed the popular film ‘5 Broken Cameras’ which documents his village’s creative acts of resistance against encroaching settlements and Israel’s barrier wall.

Particularly striking is Soraya’s dress, a Palestinian thobe displaying intricate embroidery patterns, or tatreez, that traditionally represent a village or a family or a way of life. At a ceremony where flashy and impractical clothing takes precedence, Soraya’s beautiful dress challenges the norm and elevates the standard similar to the way her husband’s film does.

Although the documentary didn’t win an Oscar, it was the first Palestinian film ever to be nominated. But this does not mean the film or, by extension, the Palestinian cause failed to receive the honor and recognition it deserved. As Yazeed Ibrahim puts it, “Hollywood’s privileged . . . machine cannot honor the Palestinian cause. It was an honor for the [O]scars to have a Palestinian voice in [their] presence, a falahi [farmer] family whose whole life actually revolves around fighting oppression and injustice, to which they will return after the lights turn off.”

Our hats are off to the amazing Burnat family.

For a fact sheet on Emad Burnat and 5 Broken Cameras, visit the IMEU here.


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