Art & PhotographyThe Arts

Unlocking Their Stories

Never avert your eyes,” was legendary filmmaker Akira Kurosawa’s maxim for great art. “Room No. 4”, an ongoing awareness campaign, holds this powerful gaze on real, state-run violence against children.

According to Defense for Children International, arrests of Palestinian children in East Jerusalem are increasing, with 80% of cases involving physical abuse. Named after the room in the main Jerusalem police office where Palestinian children are interrogated, “Room No. 4invites viewers to enter prisoners’ experiences through 12 online doors. Each door opens onto one type of violence, from night arrests through full body searches and the denial of basic needs. Every two weeks, one door will be unlocked, revealing testimonies from children and their families, plus links to evidence.

“Beyond photos, it is a mission to document what is happening,” says its writer and director Tamer Nafar. Produced by Madaa Silwan Creative Center with War Child, it is co-written and photographed by Ashraf Dowani.

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Jennifer MacKenzie

Poet, writer and teacher Jennifer MacKenzie grew up on Bloomcrest Dr. in Bloomfield Hills, MI, which inspired her to wonder about places with patterns other than floral. Following her education at Wesleyan University's College of Letters and the University of Iowa's Writers Workshop, she followed a zig-zag course that included a pilgrimage across the top of Spain and a long sojourn in Syria in pursuit of the language of Muhammad al-Maghout and Moudthaffar al-Nawwab. While in Damascus she completed the books of poems "Distant City" and "My Not-My Soldier" (forthcoming from Fence Books) and edited the magazine Syria Today. Her poems and essays can be found in numerous journals including the Kenyon Review online, Guernica, Quarterly West, and Lungfull. She currently lives in New York.

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