Loura Al Alanezi is a Politics (BA) student. She is from Kuwait, and she reports on the topics of poverty, mobility, security and conflict. Her hobbies include reading books and painting.
Watching Leila and the Wolves by director Heiny Srour thematizes the Palestinian cause and its intersection with women’s rights advocacy; the movie included multiple scenes of women defending their rights as Palestinians, at the same time as they were fighting for their rights as women within their society.
The movie captures the beginning of the Palestinians’ resistance against colonialism and the Israeli state after the Nakba, the establishment of the Israeli state, occurred in 1948. Leila and the Wolves establishes the struggles that women undergo throughout the conflict. It portrays how women participated by resisting British soldiers and how they protested for independence. Women are also shown to be participating within the political and military sectors of the Palestinian movement by aiding Palestinian groups.
Palestinian women remain affected by the actions of Israel towards the communities. Its manifestations range from the literal destruction of the domestic space through demolition or eviction, usually under discriminatory legal pretexts and even villages’ demolition.
These actions cause fear and confusion within the Palestinian community regarding displacement. This has long-term consequences for Palestinian women as they risk losing stability, security, privacy, and access to educational institutions. There is also a risk that the Palestinian woman will become victims of the loss of social support from her family, resulting from displacement and the failure of her psychological and physical health. Yet, there aren’t many options available to Palestinian women, especially those who face the poor and those living in geographically remote areas. They have difficulties accessing their rights of social, economic, educational, and political development.
Palestinian women also face issues within their communities, such as honour killings and abuse. The Jordanian Law of Personal Status (1976) and the Egyptian Law of Family Rights (1954) dictates all family law issues for the Muslim residents of the West Bank and Gaza. However, no specific laws criminalize domestic or sexual violence within families and results in a lack of legal protection regarding violence towards women.
One of the latest cases is of Israa Ghrayeb, a well-known makeup artist who was killed because she posted a selfie with her finance the day before their engagement. Her brother-in-law explained her injuries as being self-inflicted. He said she suffered from mental health problems and fell off a balcony at home. The claim was regarded as false by the prosecutors. She had sustained injuries on her spine that caused her death. Three of Israa’s male relatives have been charged with assault leading to her death. Her death raised awareness and increased the demand for further legal protection against violence.
Supporting women organizations in Palestine such as The Palestinian Working Woman Society for Development, continues to be essential. In addition, reading and consuming media made by Palestinian creators is necessary as it raises awareness for these struggles.
If you would like to donate to the Palestinian Cause. You can donate and learn more about the Palestinian Working Woman Society for Development here. You can also donate to Tawoon here to different causes from the Palestinian Refugees to the Education Program.
[Image sourced from Cinenova Distribution on Facebook.]