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Growing pains

Some kids may reach maturity more quickly than others, but for three teenage Palestinian kids in Line Halvorsen’s documentary film A Stone’s Throw Away, the transition from childhood into adulthood has been shaped by violent experiences.

“In the beginning of the film, one of the boys that Line Halvorsen was filming, and a playmate of the other three boys that are featured in the film, was shot dead by an Israeli soldier,” said Seán Kinane, a member of the La Lucha group which is co-sponsoring the activity with the Alliance of Concerned Students. “The film is about how these kids cope with that tragedy and the larger issues of occupation and living as refugees.”

Conflict in the area first began in 1948 when the state of Israel was founded, Halvorsen said. “A lot of people fled from their villages and into refugee camps on the West Bank.”

As a Norwegian film editor and director, Halvorsen has produced more than two documentaries, including a film depicting the lives of children orphaned because of the genocide in Uganda, she said.

In Bethlehem, while working with the Peace Corps through a media exchange program, Halvorsen was introduced to the children of one of the West Bank’s largest refugee camps.

“There are 11,000 people living in one square kilometer,” said Halvorsen. “It’s packed … there are a lot of people and about half of them are children … some of them are fourth-generation refugees.”

Faced with a 24-hour curfew, the Palestinian people cannot go to work or school and even play, said Halvorsen. Shops and stores are closed as well.

“The kids would throw stones at the soldiers and tanks, and then the soldiers would shoot back with either teargas, rubber bullets or live ammunition,” Halvorsen recalled from her two-year stint in Bethlehem. “I was shocked by what’s been going on. I had no idea what Israel was doing to the Palestinians.”

A free showing of the film will take place at 7 tonight in Cooper Hall Room 103.

“Anyone who is interested in the Middle East, the situation in Palestine and Israel, human rights or children should see this free film screening and ask questions of Ms. Halvorsen,” Kinane said.