‘No Room for Happiness’: Palestinian Actress Decries ‘Ethnic Cleansing’ after Winning Israeli Oscar

'Let There Be Morning' has sparked controversy as it was labeled as an Israeli production. (Photo: Video Grab)

By Palestine Chronicle Staff

Palestinian actress Juna Suleiman said that she could not enjoy the best leading actress award at the Ophir Awards Ceremony because of the “ongoing ethnic cleansing” perpetrated by Israel, Israeli media reported.

The film “Let it Be Morning”, which sees Suleiman featured as the leading actress, won seven awards on Tuesday night at what is considered to be the Israeli equivalent of the Academy Awards. 

Suleiman did not attend the ceremony, sending a statement instead, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz.

“Under normal circumstances, I would’ve felt happiness and gratitude for the award,” Haaretz reported Suleiman as saying. “But unfortunately, that’s impossible when there are active efforts to erase Palestinian identity and the collective pain that I drag along with me and that exist in every role I play.”

“Separating my role and my identity is a cynical and violent step built on ongoing colonialist traditions of erasing historic identities and ethnic cleansing that leave me no room for happiness but rather anger and frustration.”

Suleiman was not the only artist who decided to boycott the event, according to Haaretz. Alex Bakri, Suleiman’s co-star in the movie, explained in a speech that was read at the Tuesday night ceremony that “the film describes a closure that has no reasons and no end in sight. That closure represents the absurd and inability to control tiny details of our lives.”

Many in Israel have expressed their outrage over the film’s overwhelming victory at the Ophir Awards, Israeli media noted.

“Commentators on Israeli Channel 12 commented that if former culture minister Miri Regev were still culture minister, there would have been an outcry over the winning film selection,” the Israeli newspaper The Times of Israel reported.

(The Palestine Chronicle)

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