This May, Palestinians mark the 75th anniversary of the Nakba
Translated as ‘the catastrophe’, it’s the commemoration of the time when over 750,000 Palestinians were driven from their lands and their homes, while more than 500 Palestinian towns and villages disappeared. The communities we work with mark it not only as a historical event but as an ongoing story of colonisation of land, an apartheid infrastructure and a military occupation. The farmers tell us stories of ongoing loss of land and livelihood each year, as new settlements are built and the occupation continues to extend its reach.
This year also sees the 1st anniversary of the murder of journalist Shireen Abu Akleh.
Shot while reporting on an Israeli raid in Jenin, her death throws light on the dangers of working as a journalist in occupied Palestine.
To commemorate this sad occasion, we spoke to journalist Alaa Badarneh about his experiences. Alaa creates some of the videos and photographs of producers which we feature on our website and social media.
Alaa fell in love with photography as a young boy. His father owned a photography studio where Alaa spent many hours, and became fascinated with this work. Taking over from his father in 1984, the first intifada meant the closure of his family studio and Alaa travelled to Jordan for his studies. His love of photography stayed with him however, and this passion developed alongside a budding career as a journalist.
On his return to Palestine in 1994, Alaa began work in Nablus on a local radio station. He covered the daily lives of Palestinians under occupation and came to work with many international media agencies including Reuters, the BBC and EPA. In his time as a journalist, he says nothing has changed ‘on the ground’ in Palestine, “The occupation continues to grow with new settlements everywhere in the West Bank, more people killed and more funerals. The only change is that we film a new generation.”
I have one hope; that the new generation can live in freedom, occupation will end and the Palestinians have their rights. Then I can take photos for hope not for death.Alaa Badarneh
Alaa confirmed the challenges of being a photojournalist in Palestine. Many of his colleagues have been killed whilst covering clashes in Gaza, while he himself has been injured at least 11 times, necessitating many hospital stays. Despite that risk, he continues to document Israeli raids and settler attacks as well as Palestinian protests. And every year, he travels to the groves and terraces of farmers where he records the interviews with producers of olive oil and almonds which we buy.
Alaa has filmed and photographed many of the farmers we work with, including Doha Asous (pictured below) who visited us for Fairtrade Fortnight 2023. His films capture not only the story of those farmers’ lives and work, but also the beauty of Palestine’s ancient olive groves.
The olive season and farmers are one of my favourite themes to cover every year because I like nature and culture, I feel strong when I take pictures with farmers.Alaa Badarneh
Alaa’s work is published worldwide in newspapers, on television and online. From time to time he gets the opportunity to travel and exhibit his “strongest and most special photos”. He also shares his work via his Instagram and Facebook social media accounts.
The Nakba – documenting the catastrophe
Below are examples of Alaa’s work that document the stories of farming communities and how they are affected by the illegal occupation.