Occupied Palestine (In Palestine Today)- Palestinian activists have called on to pull out Jordanian feature-film, Amira, which is nominated for the Oscars, for insulting Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails.
Using the hashtags in English and Arabic: #Pull_Out_Amira and #اسحبوا_فيلم_أميرة, Palestinian and pro-Palestine advocates have launched an online campagin to express their opposition to the film, saying such a film underestimates the importance of the issue of the Palestinian prisoners who have been suffering inside the Israeli occupation jails.
Jordan has nominated the feature-narrative film “Amira”, by Mohamed Diab, as its official entry for the Best International Feature Film at the 94th Academy Awards ceremony.
Amira, which is a female name in Arabic that translates to Princess, follows the life of a 17-year-old Palestinian, who was conceived with the smuggled sperm of her father, Nawar, a Palestinian prisoner serving a life sentence in an Israeli occupation jail.
However, her father is discovered to be infertile in the film when an attempt to conceive another child failed. It is discovered later that the smuggled sperm, by which Amira was conceived, is for an Israeli officer.
The film was entirely shot in Jordan in 2019 and is a joint production between Egypt, Jordan and Palestine.
Palestinian Prisoners groups strongly condemned the film, saying it is consistent with the Israeli occupation narrative that completely hides the truth and the suffering of Palestinians, adding that the filmmakers have “no good intention towards the Palestinian struggle, so any dealing with the film is considered a betrayal of the Palestinian people.”
The Palestinian Ministry of Culture said that the film “clearly abuses the Palestinian prisoners’ dignity, heroism, and great history of struggle.”
Sana Abu Daqqa, the wife of the Palestinian prisoner Waleed Abu Daqqa, also expressed her sadness and opposition to the film, as her daughter, Milad, was concieved with a smuggled sperm of her imprisoned husband.
“The smile of my daughter, Milad, defeats all those who produced the Amira film”, said Sana Abu Daqqa.
Dozens married Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli occupation jails have become fathers by smuggling sperm to their wives.
“It’s a revolution. So many prisoners have succeeded in smuggling sperm and becoming fathers,” Issa Qaraqe, former Palestinian Authority Prisoner Affairs Minister, once said. “They strive to maintain families and this is a great challenge taking into account the harsh reality inside Israeli prisons.”
There are many obstacles the family face during this operation, including finding someone to smuggle the sperm from the prisoner.
In previous attempts, some individuals whom Israeli occupation authorities allowed to visit their children in Israeli prisons would bring the sperm with them upon their return, but due to the Israeli checkpoints and the time wasted, the smuggled sperm would be unusable.
Sometimes the sperm does not arrive in good condition and the fertilization process fails. Then, the couple has to repeat the sperm smuggling process.
According to the Palestinian prisoners groups, the Palestinian detainees and their families are resorting to conception through smuggled sperm as they fear they could remain locked up and the idea began with the detainees having long sentences.
The first was in 2012 by Ammar al-Zabin who is serving a life-term sentence.
In 2014, the first child was born from smuggled sperm in Gaza; he is the son of former detainee Tamer al-Zaanin who was arrested in 2006 only three months after his marriage. Zaanin was released in 2018.
More than 95 babies have since been born via the smuggled sperm, according to the Palestinian prisoners groups.
Palestinians call these children “ambassadors of freedom” because they constitute a link between the prisoners in Israeli prisons and their families.