Monday marked the premier episode of a 90-part series titled "Sleepless in Gaza ... and Jerusalem," which looks into the lives of four Palestinian women, Muslim and Christian, in a new humanistic approach to discussing Palestinian issues in the global media. The women, two living in Gaza and two in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, will discuss their daily lives in a never-before-seen manner that the producers are calling a "human look at the Palestinians."
The "Sleepless" YouTube site was launched on Sunday afternoon and already the hits are pouring in from across the region and the globe. As of noon Monday, over 1,000 viewers had watched the trailer that launches the innovative and unique experience of looking inside Palestine through the eyes of its women.
"It is to get around the usual rhetoric that often accompanies talk of Palestinian issues," said one of the executive producers on the project, Abdallah Schleifer, a professor of journalism at the American University in Cairo and an adjunct scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington, DC.
PINA TV production camera crews will be covering Ashira Ramadan, a broadcast journalist based in Jerusalem; Ashira's friend in Gaza, the documentary film maker Nagham Mohanna; Donna Maria Mattas, a 17 year-old student at the Holy Family school in Gaza, who dreams of growing up to be a journalist; and Ala' Khayo Mkari, who works with Caritas in Jerusalem.
According to the YouTube page, "the intention of this series is neither rant nor rhetoric. It is rather an opportunity for all of us, who do not live in Gaza, occupied Arab Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank, to grasp how these four young Palestinian women live out their daily lives, precisely because their lives are stories we journalists were taught almost dismissively to think of as ‘human interest' and almost necessarily conflict driven."
The series will be broken down into 26-minute segments and will be filmed in Jerusalem/West Bank and Gaza, then edited and uploaded the same day. It will run 6 days a week with Friday being the day off for rest, the email said.
"How, as human beings, these four Palestinians can also experience moments of personal and community achievement, and the warmth of friends and family life that in real life is possible even in the most difficult circumstances of siege and occupation," the producers write.
The media campaign to publicize the series is in full swing, with a Facebook group set up titled "Sleepless in Gaza ... and Jerusalem."
Stories of these women should shed light on the realities of living in Gaza and the West Bank, with the goal of educating those interested in Palestinian issues and daily life.
It will be directed by Ramzy Khouri, who is based in Ramallah and Schleifer and Walid Sababa will act as Executive Producers for the PINA TV-produced series.