Discover a Happy Palestine and it’s then up to you to support a Smiley, Joyful, Free and Uplifting Palestine ! Happiness is one of the strongest act of resistance.
I decided to film about happiness in Palestine, about smiles and life awesomeness. I conscientiously avoided to film about human rights violations, Israeli soldiers humiliating people, armed settlers insulting us, peaceful activists on home detention, checkpoints, Palestinians’ homes being tagged with “Gaz the Arabs” signs, and all the insane hatred of colonization. Happiness is a tough path that requires the greatest will power I have ever seen. Palestine, I feel for your amazing strength.
Palestine was my first “Happy Country”. Why Palestine? Why the hell would you go in an occupied state to talk about people’s happiness? Why would you go besides a wall to talk about freedom ? Why would you go in a heated place to talk about smiles ?
Because here is it : happiness does not depend on external conditions. Happiness is an intimate path, and this path has a space everywhere. Because happiness is something you build inside that can resist any external storm.
Palestine is a happy country. Palestinians have this amazing strength to laugh, smile, make jokes and enjoy life even when the conditions are terrible. And yes, some days are darker than others, some of the things I saw there made me feel incredibly sad. Sad, but not desperate, not unhappy. Palestine is full of joyful people. Enter a Palestinian family house in Askar Refugee Camp and you’ll be filled with beautiful smiles, delicious hummus, tons and tons of juicy tomatoes, people watching you eating their food with a genuine generosity. You’ll hear kids playing, even though they all agree they’d like to have a football field just like they’ve seen on TV but hey, let’s go hit the ball anyway. You’ll meet with those young adults that decided to take actions and be responsible for the younger ones, creating a community center, offering art classes and providing them a sane environment to flee from hatred.
Being happy within tragedy, developing a genuinely happy inside world seems to be one of the beautiful human abilities, and to me it is probably the most vibrant one. One of the persons who showed that ability was the very touching Etty Hillesum, who wrote in her journal, one year before dying in Auschwitz in 43: “when you have an internal life, it does not matter, probably, on which side of the fence you are. I have already endured a thousand deaths in a thousand concentration camps. I know this. No new information can get me worried anymore. In one way or another, I know this all. Despite all, I find this life beautiful and full of meaning. In every moment.” This young jew had found the strength to maintain this internal peace in such an abominating situation. Some of the Palestinians I met seem so close to this woman now.
I love Palestine. Because it is a beautiful place, and because I have never met so many welcoming people concentrated at the same place. Anywhere in Palestine, you’ll find people offering you a nice chat, some food, a ride, a piece of information, helping you out as much as they can. Anywhere in Palestine, you’ll find highly educated people to have serious chats about life and politics, but also very funny people to have light moments with. You can never get lost in the bus stations, as people will just nicely and politely help you out, walking you to your bus and making sure you’re fine. People who speak English will be glad to talk and curious about the discussion, and there are many. If needs to be mentioned, you’ll be very respected as a woman. People will treat you very gently, and I never felt uncomfortable or in danger. I would actually say it is the total contrary.
Now what about the conflict, could you ask? Yes, taking Palestine as the first Happy Country is taking a stance. Agree. Yes, I believe Palestine should definitely be a country and all people deserve to be free and self-determined. You know, it’s not me saying, only the Human Declaration of Human Rights and the UN charts. But I did not want to film about the conflict. People have unfortunately seen enough bombed Gaza houses, dead children, crying mothers and angry survivors. Compassion is a beautiful human quality but it has its limits too. Why doesn’t “comfelicitas” exist ? It is good to be able to “suffer with” (Com-passio), but could we also “be happy with” ? I think comfelicitas is at least as powerful. I feel close to the happy palestinians I had the chance to meet and film. Their smiles make me happy and make me feel like I want them to last as long as possible. I hope people watching this video can feel the same way, and that it can make them feel like coming to Palestine to be comfelicitas with palestinians.