Centuries after they were brought to Palestine as slaves, black Bedouins still face discrimination. About two years ago, filmmaker Uri Rosenwaks came to Rahat, a Bedouin town down in Israel's Negev Desert, to teach a group of Black Bedouin women a class in filmmaking.
Afflicted with pessimism, unemployment, poverty and violence, Rahat is partially populated by Black Bedouins who were brought to the Middle East as slaves. Kidnapped in Africa by Arab slave traders, they were auctioned-off in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Zanzibar, and until 50 years ago, Black Bedouins were enslaved by the White ones.
When the Israeli film director first started work with the group, the women never mentioned the issue. Only after about 18 months of working and making short films together, did he work up the nerve to suggest that they make a film telling the history of the Black Bedouins. Suddenly, a small and modest course in filmmaking became a forum for the airing of the unspoken taboos and history of an entire society.