Farah Nabulsi: Palestinian investment banker turned activist filmmaker shines light on Nakba

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Born and raised in the UK to Palestinian parents, Farah Nabulsi studied business in London and became an institutional equity stock broker at JP Morgan Chase before turning to film. (Supplied)
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Born and raised in the UK to Palestinian parents, Farah Nabulsi studied business in London and became an institutional equity stock broker at JP Morgan Chase before turning to film. (Supplied)
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Born and raised in the UK to Palestinian parents, Farah Nabulsi studied business in London and became an institutional equity stock broker at JP Morgan Chase before turning to film. (Supplied)
Updated 15 May 2019
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Farah Nabulsi: Palestinian investment banker turned activist filmmaker shines light on Nakba

  • British-Palestinian filmmaker has not looked back since swapping her business suits and briefcases for cameras and film scripts

DUBAI: Farah Nabulsi had started out on a clear career path. Born and raised in the UK to Palestinian parents, she studied business in London and became an institutional equity stock broker at JP Morgan Chase.
But life changed totally, she said, after she visited Palestine and witnessed the everyday indignities that Palestinians endure.
“It hit me like a ton of bricks how colossal this injustice is, and how 1948 is happening right now in the present day,” Nabulsi told Arab News, referring to the exodus of several hundred thousand Palestinians when Israel was established on their homeland.
“That experience and first-hand knowledge changed me. I knew that charity and sympathy were certainly not enough.”

Nabulsi swapped her business suits and briefcases for cameras and film scripts. She took it upon herself to shed light on the injustices meted out to Palestinians since their mass displacement in 1948, known to Palestinians as the Nakba (Arabic for catastrophe).
“With one foot in the West — having been born, raised and educated in London — and the other — my heritage, the blood running through my veins — in Palestine, I recognized the unique and rather powerful position I was in, so I changed the trajectory of my life,” she said.
The change was a big one, but the British-Palestinian filmmaker has not looked back ever since, saying the shift has been “absolutely liberating.”

So far, Nabulsi has made three short films on Palestine. One of them, “Today They Took My Son,” follows a mother as she copes with the trauma of her young son being taken away by the Israeli military.
It was named an Official Selection at the Edinburgh Short Film Festival in 2016, and was a finalist at the International Short Film Competition at the USA Film Festival in 2017.
The other films, “Oceans of Injustice” and “Nightmare of Gaza,” have similar themes of Israeli prejudices against, and abuses of, Palestinians.


“What I do is painful, raw and exhausting. But the satisfaction that I’m doing something with meaning — giving voice to the silenced, playing my part in informing and educating with the aim of ending injustice, and being able to use my creativity and my emotional IQ while doing that — has been a blessing I’m truly grateful for,” Nabulsi said.
“I have children of my own, and the very idea of a child being taken — usually in the middle of the night by armed soldiers, with no parent or adult with them, processed through a military system and subjected to all sorts of abuses — is just insane,” she added. “That (‘Today They Took My Son’) was a film I didn’t choose to make. I had to make it.”

Nabulsi is working on her fourth short film, “The Present,” which features Israeli-Palestinian actor Saleh Bakri.
“It’s a beautiful story of a Palestinian father and his young daughter dealing with the indignities of checkpoints,” she said. “I’m looking forward to completing it and sharing it with the world.”


Lebanese icon hits right notes in Saudi debut

Updated 16 July 2019
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Lebanese icon hits right notes in Saudi debut

  • Wael Kfoury has the audience enthralled during the show

JEDDAH: Lebanese singer-songwriter Wael Kfoury, dubbed “the king of romance,” charmed his Saudi audience on Sunday in his first concert in the Kingdom, which was held at King Abdullah Sports City as part of the Jeddah Season festival.

Kfoury, who has been active for more than 25 years and has 17 albums, won Best Arabic Male Singer at the Arab Nation Music Awards in 2017.

He gained popularity in 1996 after releasing the song “Min Habibi Ana,” a duet with Lebanese pop singer Nawal Al-Zoghbi.

At Sunday’s concert, Kfoury modified his song “Yis’id Sabahak” to pay tribute to Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and the Kingdom’s people.

The audience was extremely enthusiastic, chanting Kfoury’s name, cheering with excitement and singing along to every song.

Fans said they were very happy to have the Lebanese icon perform in the Kingdom for the first time, and thanked the General Entertainment Authority (GEA) for its efforts to provide high-quality entertainment in Saudi Arabia.

FASTFACT

Wael Kfoury won Best Arabic Male Singer at the Arab Nation Music Awards in 2017.

“We’re so happy to have him here. I’m one of his biggest fans. Many thanks to the GEA, which brought us events that we really wanted in Jeddah,” said Dima Rasheed.

Abdullah Qabel said: “We were raised listening to Kfoury’s songs when were younger. We’re very happy to be here and attend his concert in our country. Many thanks to the GEA for making all these events available for us. I look forward to more.”

Ebraheem Moawad said: “It was an amazing experience. I’d like to thank the GEA because I never thought I could see these artists in Saudi Arabia. I always thought I should travel to see them, but seeing them in my country is amazing.”

Mona Abdullah said: “I never thought I’d attend a Kfoury concert in Saudi Arabia. I’d always imagined I had to travel to attend his concerts. I was very excited to attend. Kfoury has been one of my favorite artists since I was 10 years old.”

Lamya Ajaj said: “Kfoury is one of the most significant artists to me, and he has so many fans here. I was so happy he came to Saudi Arabia. 

“Jeddah Season’s efforts are unlike anything I’ve ever seen before, from the various exciting shows and organizing, to the professional and helpful volunteers.”