The message of this new film from Gaza — The Road to Silverstone — is “perseverance and hard work pay off.”
The Road to Silverstone tells the true story of a group of young Palestinian refugees who succeeded in building a Formula 1 racing car, the first ever such car built in Gaza, and in bringing it to compete at the international Formular Student competition at Britain’s famous Silverstone track.
Capturing the dreams of a group of young men and women and the challenges facing them, the film presents a side of life in Gaza rarely seen by the outside world.
Between 75-100 people attended the premier screening in Gaza tonight, but it appeared to be mostly an audience of foreigners. I wish there had been a larger hall capable of seating many more Palestinians to view the film.
I found my heart was racing when the film highlighted the difficulties the young Palestinians experienced traveling through the Egyptian border at Rafah.
Given my own recent challenge getting through Rafah, I was heartbroken when one of the young race car builders was not allowed to pass. Mohammed A. Najjar told his teammates to go on, but I had tears in my eyes.
At the end of the screening, following questions from the audience, Jorn Donner, a producer himself, spoke about the changes he has witnessed in Gaza over the past 30 years that he has been visiting. He called Gaza the “Israeli concentration camp.”
I know that description will upset some of my friends and family in the USA.
You must come to visit Gaza (if you can get in) and see how difficult life is for the 1.7 million Palestinians here, and understand that most of them have never left Gaza. Israel prevents them from leaving, especially men under 40.
Whether Gaza is a “concentration camp” or an “open air prison” —- there is no debate that Israel controls the keys and Egyptian authorities are complicit.
I have a dream. Thousands of young people build 100s of race cars in Gaza and then race them all to the border, across the border, not stopping until they run out of gas.
Those Israeli soldiers would be caught by surprise and so dumbfounded, they would forget to shoot. InshAllah!