Tunnel Trade (UK/Palestine, 2007, 21 min, PAL DigiBeta)
By: : Leila El-Haddad and Saeed Taji Farouky
Screens: Saturday, October 18, 1pm
When Israel withdrew from the Sinai Peninsula in 1982, they built a wall along Gaza’s southern border with Egypt. The city of Rafah was split in half. Over the subsequent years, frequent border closures further isolated the Gaza Strip, and Palestinian trade was forced underground. Since June 15, 2007, virtually nothing crosses the border of what is effectively the world’s largest prison. There remains however one illegal and dangerous means of trade between Gaza and the outside world – a network of tunnels used to smuggle everything from weapons to food to heart medicine. Tunnel Trade is an exclusive inside look at this underground economy from the perspective of the people who run it. Filmed in May 2007 for Aljazeera International’s People & Power program during some of Gaza Strip’s most intense ever fighting, it explores how – out of necessity – a handful of individuals from Rafah have gone underground to achieve illicitly what politics otherwise makes impossible.
Co-Director Laila El-Haddad is a respected Palestinian freelance journalist based between Gaza and the United States. Her work appeared on Aljazeera online, The Guardian, The New Statesman, The Daily Star, Le Monde Diplomatique and The Washington Post, among others. El-Haddad also reports for Pacifica’s Free Speech Radio and BBC World.
Producer, co-Director and Cameraman Saeed Taji Farouki is a Palestinian-British journalist, photographer and documentary filmmaker. His writing and photography have been published in The Daily Telegraph, The Independent, The Observer, and Reuters and his documentary film work has been broadcast on Channel 4 (UK), Aljazeera English and CBC among other places. He is co-director of the documentary production company Tourist with a Typewriter.