For the day Israeli and Palestinian children receive the Manhae Prize

Iranian movie director Mohsen Makhmalbaf (Photo : NEWSis)

It is an absolute honour to receive such a prestigious award. Especially as this award has previously been given to major icons like the great Nelson Mandela.

Besides the joy that comes with receiving this award that makes my life time effort on this journey more meaningful, I also feel the burden of a new responsibility on my shoulders.

I tell myself: “Awards are like spotlights put on a person and their efforts so that mankind will not forget about the role models and their contributions for a better world. But at the same time, the receiving of these awards can help one to reflect this light back on the issues and problems that have been incentives behind all their efforts and actions.”

With the same thought, while receiving this award I remember the sadness and the tears on the faces of 700,000 Afghan refugee children in Iran who dream of being allowed into school one day.

I, with the help of my fellow colleagues, by making the film Afghan Alphabet, managed to change the law in favour of these innocent children. With this film I tried to explain their situation and put the light on their agony and potential dreams. After this film, the doors of Iranian schools were opened to over 500,000 Afghan children. The sorrow and tears on those children’s faces soon were transformed to smiles and screams of happiness.

This award is not just a spotlight on me, but a big reflection on all the pain and dreams experienced by all those Afghan refugee children.

A poster of The Gardener

I also remember the screams suffering of religious and ethnic minorities in Iran and Afghanistan. All those people who have been under the pressure of politics and other ethnic and religious majority groups for such a long time. By making a film like The Gardener, I have tried to put the light on these fellow human beings and the pain they are going through on a daily basis.

I also remember a lot of my long time friends who are under torture in political prisons in Iran, or the ones who have been under house arrest for a long time. Those friends who have done nothing wrong, but peacefully fight for democracy and tolerance in our society. I especially remember the poet and painter, Mrs. Zahra Rahnavard, who has been under house arrest for more than three years alongside her husband Mr. Mir Hossein Mousavi.

This significant Manhae Prize, which is named after the reformist Buddhist poet, being given to people like the great Mandela is like a light being put on another light. Or it can be seen as two facing mirror that reflect the beauty to the infinity.

Today we are in great need of these lights. Especially in an often dark world full of economical, political and cultural inequalities. It is in the same dark world that for the past 60 years mankind has been unable to sort the conflict between Israel and Palestine. I wish for the day that the Manhae Prize could be given to two Israeli and Palestinian kids whom instead of killing one another, embrace one another and start true peace.

We live in an often dark world where all its passengers get checked many times in airports, and their private conversations over the phone are hacked and checked. In a world that its pilotless airplanes kill people with no mercy in search of a better and safer world. But, in a converse effect our safety becomes more fragile than before.

I wish for a day when we could give this award to the creator of those pilotless airplanes, whose airplanes give food and water to the tired migrating birds in the sky.

I, with great honour, receive this sunlike “Manhae Prize” to be able to share it with all those people who peacefully fight with the darkness in our world.

One Response to For the day Israeli and Palestinian children receive the Manhae Prize

  1. Pingback: Makhmalbaf Awarded Manhae Peace Prize | The Gardener

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