Monday, June 20, 2005

Filming the Dead Goat

Filming the Dead Goat

This summer in the Unholyland. The Israeli settlers are due to be evicted from the Gaza Strip.

The term used by the Israeli Govt is “Disengagement” for the eviction of some 7,500 Settlers. Tucked down in the corner of the Gaza Strip, lies the fenced in village of Dahaniya. It is a prison, within the prison that is Gaza.

Dahaniya is known as the “Village of the Collaborators”, Palestinians and Egyptians that have worked with the Israelis. They are traitors in the eyes of Palestinians, and for the Israelis they have served their purpose. But to protect them from there own, the Israelis built the village of Dahaniya. Within the security buffer at the southern end of the strip.

The problem is, with the disengagement only weeks away the Israelis have no plans to relocate the residents of Collaborators’ Ville. They are potentially going to be left to the whims of the Palestinian mob, once the Israeli Army leaves.

There is no mercy for collaborators in society here, they are hung upside down in the Main Squares of towns across the West bank & Gaza, like slabs of meat in a butchers shop, many of them tortured before being executed. I have filmed bodies being dragged through Manger Square in Bethlehem and then hung out of windows. A warning to the locals, collaborate, and you will be killed.

So for the 75 families (350 men, women and children) of Dahaniya, they live in fear for the future. For many they are innocent victims of actions of their parents or grandparents who in the past provided Israel with Intelligence.

Mike Tobin (Correspondent) Ibrahim (Producer) and I drove down there last week to do a story on the plight of the residents and their fears for the future. Gaza is best described as third world, Dahaniya could only be described as bordering on the door of the fourth world. Totally Isolated at the end of a road that can only be entered through the Israeli Army Checkpoint on the border with Egypt.

On one side of the village are the remains of Gaza International Airport, yes before this Intifada, there was an International Airport in Gaza with daily flights and they even had their own airline “Palestinian International Airlines”.

Driving in past the Animal enclosures made of wood scraps and plastic, the village looks almost deserted. Small boys ride old bikes and the sun just beats down.

We had permission to go and visit to the village but were told no cameras are allowed in, especially TV Cameras, so out came the small small handicam, I refer to this camera as my highjack camera as it is so small it fits almost anywhere, as you will find out.

I sit in the back as Mike drives around, so we could assess where the Israelis had lookouts and tanks. Suddenly Mike slows the car down and exclaims, “Did you film the dead goat?”

“The what?” “The dead goat back there”

“No I did not see it”

“Great Shot that Dead Goat”

Just up the road the Israelis have a tank positioned and we continue back into the village.

Mike stops the car outside a house and as we get out “Would have been a great shot, that dead goat”

Interviews are done, b-roll filmed inside the homes, usual mix of dirt floors and women doing the washing by hand. Small children come and go fascinated by the visitors. Mike shoots his piece to camera and it is time to leave. Goodbyes, and waves out of the car window.

Lets do one more lap of the village for b-roll. Say’s driver Mike. “Around this corner is the dead goat.”

“OK OK, stop the car and I will film the dead goat”

Car is stopped, Goat is filmed. Correspondent is happy, Cameraman is happy that he has now heard the last of the Dead Goat. Ibrahim laughs.

Now we had been told that we were going to have the car searched by the Israeli army as we left so we have to hide the camera. So down the front of the pants into the crotch goes the camera. I was picturing the scene from Spinal Tap when the bass guitarist is stopped at the airport with a cucumber in aluminium foil down the front of his pants.

We get to the army checkpoint and they wave us through, no checks or sweeps for cameras.

The Dead Goat shot never made it into the story, viewers would of complained, people can live in abject poverty and in fear, but a dead goat that is not visually acceptable to people watching TV.



Anonymous said...

I find the idea of a dead goat seriously disturbing. I find it even more distrubing the level of interest Mike show's towards dead goats. It's once again that Fox has a hard-right dead goat bias.



Mal said...

Hi Ben
Thought you might be offended by the words of Tobin, and the dead goat bias only too true. Have refrained from uploading pictures that might offend readers