By Romana Rubeo
Renowned Palestinian actor and filmmaker Mohammad Bakri canceled his participation in Egypt’s El Gouna Film Festival on Tuesday, due to Egyptian authorities’ decision to detain and deport a young Palestinian filmmaker for ‘security reasons’, Variety magazine reported.
In a statement released in Arabic, Bakri said that he decided to cancel his trip in protest against Zagha’s deportation and, in general, against the mistreatment of Palestinian artists.
Palestinian actor-director Mohammad Bakri, known for his on-screen work in ‘Homeland and ‘The Stranger,’ has canceled his visit to Egypt’s El Gouna Film Festival, citing the country’s decision to deport Brit-based Palestinian filmmaker Said Zagha https://t.co/GXuY8QEdc9
— The Hollywood Reporter (@THR) October 20, 2021
“This was a reaction, in principle, to the mistreatment of Palestinian artists, regardless of their passport, whether it’s Jordanian, Palestinian, Israeli, or whatever,” Bakri stated, according to Variety.
In his statement, Bakri also said that “it is high time that Palestinians are granted full rights, like the rest of the world. This doesn’t only apply to Palestinian artists. I’m referring to all Palestinians.”
UK-based Palestinian filmmaker Said Zagha, who was invited to the Egyptian festival to present his forthcoming movie ‘Weedestine’, was detained at Cairo Airport on October 16, only to be deported back to London 12 hours later.
Zagha, who carries a Jordanian passport indicating his Palestinian origins, had told Variety that, despite the festival’s reassurances, he was detained at the airport due to ‘security reasons’.
In solidarity with Palestinian filmmaker #MohammadBakri, watch his vital documentary JENIN, JENIN — recently banned in Israel for exposing the IDF’s violence against Palestinians during the deadly 2002 confrontations in #Jenin, #WestBank:https://t.co/rOgJzMLL3k
— Cinema Politica (@CinemaPolitica) January 22, 2021
“Once I arrived, it was a different story. Egyptian border control told me that I cannot enter without ‘special security coordination.’,” Variety quoted Zagha as saying.
Zagha is not the first Palestinian artist to be subjected to this kind of mistreatment. In his statement, Bakri also mentioned Ali Suliman, another Palestinian actor who was denied entry to Egypt in 2018.
(The Palestine Chronicle)