Falasha: Exile of the Black Jews (1983)

Genres - History  |   Sub-Genres - Politics & Government, Race & Ethnicity, Social History  |   Run Time - 81 min.  |   Countries - Canada  |  
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The tragic plight of Ethiopian Jews (Falashas) takes center stage in this well-researched and moving documentary by Simcha Jacobovici. The Falashas ("exiles") have lived for over 2,000 years in this region and are vastly outnumbered in a state that is half Muslim, with Christians making up the next largest religious group (Jews are too minor a group, less than 1%, to figure in statistics). But the discrimination arises from politics: Jews were massacred after the 1974 Marxist military coup -- not by the Marxists, but by their opposition, because they feared the Falashas would support the government. They are also prosecuted by the Marxists who fear Judaism stops them from supporting the government. In interviews with Jews living in distant villages, stories of torture and murder at the hands of Ethiopian authorities are told in all their tragedy, and the Falashas in the Sudanese refugee camps were afraid to be photographed. Meanwhile, Israel says it is "doing everything it can" to help the Falashas, while Jewish agencies in North America claim that Israel is doing next to nothing in that regard. In the end it becomes very clear that the Falashas suffer from a double stigma: they are both black and Jewish.

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Keywords

discrimination, drought, Ethiopia, exile, famine, massacre, murder, Muslim, refugee-camp, religious-persecution, survivor, torture, Judaism