Documentary review: Tomorrow’s Freedom about Marwan Barghouti

Tomorrow’s Freedom showcases the life and incarceration of Marwan Barghouti, often referred to as Palestine’s Nelson Mandela, offering a raw and insightful exploration of the Israel-Palestine conflict. Through candid interviews with Palestinians and Israelis from both sides of the divide, the documentary provides a compelling narrative that sheds light on the complexities of the ongoing struggle for freedom and justice in the region. As we approach Palestinian Prisoner’s Day on 17th April, let’s delve into the film’s content, highlighting its significance ahead of its cinematic release on 26th April, 2024.

poster for Tomorrow’s Freedom documentary about Marwan Barghouti

Synopsis

In 2017 filmmaking sisters Georgia and Sophia Scott gained intimate access to the story of imprisoned Palestinian political leader Marwan Barghouthi. Working closely with Marwan’s family in the occupied West Bank, Palestine, the Scott sisters spent over 3 years following the family as they struggled through Marwan’s  prisoner hunger strike. Brought on by harsh prison conditions and the desire to make a stand, the following months were an intense year that took its toll on Marwan’s family and inner circle. The film follows painful prison visits by his family to see Marwan, only to be turned away at the last moment. As the hunger strike builds, we see in depth interviews from the people who know Marwan best, from Israeli political leaders to his lawyers, his sons and beloved wife Fadwa. Highly crafted, daring and humanist in its approach, Tomorrow’s Freedom film builds a powerful picture of a man that might one day lead the Palestinian people. And poses the question; can peace between Israel and Palestine be reached with the right leaders? Is Marwan that leader? 

 

The trailer

The verdict 

This documentary is incredibly courageous as it follows the story of an individual who has the potential to facilitate the peace process in the Middle East and bring an end to the longstanding conflict between Israel and Palestine. However, he has spent the past 20 years imprisoned in an Israeli jail, falsely accused of crimes he did not commit. His only aim was to secure peace for his people, yet he was denied a fair trial and subjected to torture and brutal beatings, enduring immense suffering as a result.

Marwan Barghouti is an elected member of parliament and played a crucial role supporting the Oslo Peace Accords in the 90’s. In 2000 Marwan was a key figure in leading the second Intifada against the Israeli occupation. Two years into the Intifada, Marwan was arrested by Israel and accused of ordering terror attacks in Tel Aviv. After 1000 days of isolation and his court case, an Israeli civilian court convicted Marwan and sentenced him to 5 life sentences. 

Recent polls indicate that in the next Palestinian elections Barghouti could be elected as the President of Palestine – meaning Israel would be holding the country’s president behind bars.

The vehicle through which this story is told is the Barghouthi family. Since 2017, we gained intimate access witnessing first hand the pressures that wife, Fadwa and their four children endure on a daily basis including prison visits and a 43 day long Hunger Strike led by Marwan from Solitary confinement. 

Fadwa is a powerful force for female empowerment and is a lawyer and member of the Fatah council. Fadwa has travelled the world campaigning for Marwan’s release for over 2 decades. 

The film captures a new call for Barghouthi’s freedom; by his family, human rights activists and key interviewees including Yossi Beilin (former Justice Minister of Israel), Lindsey Hilsum (International Editor Channel 4 news and the only Western journalist to have interviewed Marwan frominside prison), Hannan Ashrawi (PLO founder in Ramallah), Simon Foreman (international lawyer appointed by the Inter-Parliamentary Union to monitor Marwan’s trial in Tel Aviv), Former President Jimmy Carter and Desmund Tutu. 

Combining unfolding events on the ground, in depth interviews and powerful archive spanning over 30 years – we see Marwan’s evolution from activist to learned politician, uniting people and bringing hopeto a flatlined peace process. If given a chance, Barghouthi could pave the way for an inclusive and democratic future and peace between Israel and Palestine. 

It is painful to watch for two reasons: firstly, we witness the constant suffering of Palestinians, and secondly, we see a case of injustice reminiscent of Nelson Mandela’s struggle. Marwan is not only a Nobel Peace Prize nominee but also considered a strong leader for the Palestinian cause and could guide his people through their struggle, supporting the peace process. Instead of war, we must strive for peace. Let’s remember that we still have the opportunity to advocate for the release of political Palestinian prisoners held by Israel and work towards a peaceful world for our children and future generations.

As Nelson Mandela famously said, “Our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.”

 

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