AMNESTY International Shetland will be hosting a screening of Travelling Under Occupation by Babette Herchenröder on Tuesday 16th September at 7.30pm at the Shetland Museum and Archives. Babette made this film while she was travelling through the Middle East, specifically the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in 2002.
Babette, who was born in Germany and describes herself as “an adventurer”, is no stranger to Shetland, having lived here between 1977 and 1979. She undertook a range of jobs – as a labourer on the street, a fish processor, a helicopter cleaner, a grave digger and a chambermaid. She was fascinated and inspired by the quality of the light in Shetland; she couldn’t paint it so she decided to photograph and film it instead. Babette says she “photographed everything” and in 1985 her work was exhibited at the Shetland Museum.
In 2002 she planned to go to Israel as she had dreams of living and working on a kibbutz. However, what actually happened was that she read a call on the internet from Palestinians inviting the international community to help them in non-violent resistance against the Israeli army of occupation. She went, and there joined the International Solidarity Movement whose aims include working for a just peace between Palestine and Israel by means of non-violent action. Along with other people from all over the world – many of them Jewish – she became an activist, living and working in the Gaza Strip. Babette says she did not go to Palestine specifically to make a film, but she took her camera with her and filmed what she saw, sometimes secretly. Interviews with ordinary Palestinians are at the core of her film.
Babette will introduce the film and will hold a question and answer session afterwards. Amnesty International Shetland has agreed to host Travelling Under Occupation as Babette is currently in Shetland for a few weeks.