It is highly symbolic for Shuja'iyya, also spelled Shejaiya, to be chosen to host the Karama Gaza Film Festival. One of the poorest and most-crowded neighborhoods in the enclave, Shuja'iyya was the scene of a brutal massacre during Israel's military operation in Gaza last summer. The massacre killed at least 90 Palestinians on July 20, 2014.
The Karama (Arabic for ‘Dignity’) Festival, which started yesterday and ends today, describes itself as “a platform that utilizes screen arts that involve human rights and justice issues as their subject matter in order to create a cross-cultural platform for the wider general public together with filmmakers, artists, activists and other stakeholders, in order to raise public awareness and encourage their engagement in actions that would eliminate violations of Human Rights.”
Gaza-based American journalist Dan Cohen interpreted this event as symbolic of Palestinians’ resilience:
The red carpet was rolled out through the rubble of Shujaiya. What a deep display of resilience from these survivors! pic.twitter.com/d320Nmg4B4
— Dan Cohen (@dancohen3000) May 12, 2015
A couple of months after the massacre, DemocracyNow! interviewed Eran Efrati, the Israeli army whistleblower who was arrested by Israel after he posted details about the massacre based on interviews he conducted with Israeli soldiers who were in Shuja'iyya. Efrati spoke of the massacre, including the killing of 23-year-old Salem Khaleel Shamaly, whose murder was filmed by the International Solidarity Movement.