This afternoon I spent four hours glued to my computer screen watching the live stream of the Pangea Day broadcast, a global film festival hosted simultaneously in Mumbai, London, Cairo, Kigali, Rio de Janeiro, Los Angeles, and elsewhere, showcasing short films from new talent all over the world. Interspersed with the short films were video montages of people speaking about universal human experiences—love, anger, sorrow—and short commentaries on human nature and human experience by scientists, activists, and others. The thrust of the event was to promote human understanding by simply presenting a broad sweep of stories that humanize the Other, that break down the categories of "enemy." And as it meandered toward it's final minutes, the focus drew increasingly toward the conflict between Israel and Palestine.
It proved to be a most rewarding way to spend a Saturday. The films, especially, were frequently touching, thoughtful, and moving in surprising ways. I was drawn into the sense of a global experience of discovery that was unfolding at a million points simultaneously across the world, as millions watched and learned and cried together. And (it must be said) laughed together.
But the coup de gras was during the final moments when a Palestinian and an Israeli member from The Bereaved Families Forum stood up together and told their own stories of loss and forgiveness, and this was followed by excerpts from the documentary Combatants for Peace, by the young Egyptian-American filmmaker Jehane Noujaim, previously known for her excellent documentary Control Room (2004).
Indeed, the entire Pangea Day event was organized in fulfillment of Ms. Noujaim's dream. When she won the TED prize in 2006, in which the winners are asked to make a wish that the TED community can bring to reality, she asked for a global day of film to break down the barriers and misunderstandings that divide us.
I believe that over the coming days the organizers will post the event highlights along with all of the films, speakers, musical performances, and more, incase you missed them or want to see them again. Or read their blog. Or check out the viewers' stream of consciousness (you may need to click "View the Latest Media").
Thanks, Ms. Noujaim, for your brave and beautiful dream.