Sunday, February 15, 2015

Two Sides To This Story: Sound of Torture (2013) פייסבוק‬

What most Americans don't know: South Tel Aviv is somewhat akin to living in South Central L.A. during times of heightened racial tensions. Residents there complain that migrant "infiltrators" have made their neighborhood a "living hell."

How did this happen? Most people have no idea - ask someone on the street - they would likely tell you that Israel is a Jewish nation "homestate haven" and based on what they may have seen on TV is what they think Israel is all about.

But now, along comes a PBS program that tells one side of the story. By the way, BOTH videos featured here just "scratch the surface." The sides of the story are much broader and deeper!

via @afropopww Since Europe closed its borders in 2006, thousands of Eritrean refugees have fled their military dictator-ruled country north to Israel, their gate to the west, crossing the Sinai desert in Egypt. There, many are kidnapped by Bedouin smugglers and taken to camps where they are tortured and raped as they are forced to call their relatives begging for ransom for their release.

Sound of Torture intimately follows Meron Estefanos, an Eritrean journalist-activist who runs a popular online radio program in Sweden. On the program, she talks to hostages in the camps while recording their pleas for help as well as their family members raising money for their release. The film also follows two refugees that made it into Israel in their attempt to save their loved ones lives.

But the program itself exposes the flip side of the issue: the cultural impact on Israel. Viewing the PBS program I was immediately taken by the amount of abuse these folks have endured, as well as their perception of cash - handfuls of U.S. hundred dollar bills are a common sight - problem is, instead of using money to take care of oneself or family or work toward a better lifestyle, it is not uncommon to pay "kidnappers" THOUSANDS of US Dollars ransom for captured relatives, who aren't always returned, and when they are, are in questionable mental condition. Tragedy changes people. Whether you think he was sane or not, tragic war affected the ex-soldier who killed the 'American Sniper'.

The refugee "infiltrators" have been transformed, much the same way the living cast of "The Walking Dead" have, totally off the axis of society, culture and religion. Others have the equivalent of "shell shock" and shouln't be walking the streets, let alone be left homeless, where they pose a danger to others and to themselves. Just my opinion. May Golan has been a crusader, a light of hope and a voice for concerned Israelis in South Tel Aviv.

Golan is prepared to give you all the details about her sexual assault by two attackers at the old central bus station near her Tel Aviv home. And to retell the story about the neighbor who asked her to enter into a fictitious marriage with him so he could get a visa, and who attacked her when she refused, and punched her mother in the head.  I interviewed May  around the New Year and will upload that piece to my soundcloud account when I have time to edit. Keep watching here for the link to appear! Meanwhile, you can comment using Facebook, Google+ or Blogger.

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