We speak with our friend Derrar Ghanem about his experiences working as a fixer with international journalists over the last few years in Palestine. A fixer is someone a journalist contacts in an unfamiliar context to help support their reporting: fixers often help translate and facilitate interviews, make contacts and help journalists navigate political contexts. Derrar reflects on the professionalism and ethics involved in speaking with the mothers of martyrs in the West Bank, and why he’d never heard about instances of collective resistance to Israeli occupation in small villages.
Our conversation reminded us of how major issues of access and mobility are in thinking about what we mean when we talk about international solidarity with Palestine. How can we, as people contributing to the noise of international media, help support self-representation and solidarity within Palestine?
Scene from the olive harvest near the West Bank village of Mas-ha, 2015.
In our conversation Derrar made reference to three Palestinian villages in the West Bank that he learned about from documentary films, or from working with foreign journalists in Palestine:
Battir: ancient village south-west of Jerusalem famous for growing eggplants.
Haris, Salfit: also spelled Hares, twenty-four kilometers south-west of Nablus.
Bil’in: featured in Five Broken Cameras (2012), a documentary by Emad Burnat covering the development of the Israeli West Bank Barrier in Bil’in, and creative resistance to it among Palestinians living in the village
“What is appropriate?” is a stupid question was produced by Sarah Mendelsohn and Fred Schmidt-Arenales. It was released on 6.30.2016.
Thanks to Derrar Ghanem for speaking with us.
Thanks to Sam Donahue and Nausicaa Renner for editorial support.
The music in this episode was created by Max Cooper. Thank you to him and to Sama Abdelhadi for helping us find it.