The Shouting Fence

I’d heard about the dilemma of the Druze Arabs of Majdal Shams, first from Druze workers and Jewish friends on the kibbutz when I lived there in 1989, and then from residents, artists and activists of this town in the Golan Heights when I finally had a chance to visit last summer.

I even saw the infamous “shouting fence”—two fences actually, which create a no-man’s land between the Israeli-annexed Golan and neighbouring Syria. Friends, neighbours and family members who have been separated by this fence—some for 40 years—come together to call across to each other (some using megaphones) in a poignant symbol of this divided land

The fence was quiet when I visited. Apparently, cellphones and easier access to Syria via Jordan have cut down on its necessity. Still, the story of the Druze of the Golan should be listened to. Theirs is one of the more complex stories in a part of the world where nobody’s story is simple.

That’s what I was delighted to learn about and am keen to track down this recent Dutch documentary, Shout, which apparently traces the lives of two young friends from Majdal Shams, who cross over to study in Syria and then who must make the difficult decision of whether to stay there or return to their home on the far side of the fence, knowing that this decision is final and likely irrevocable.

Here is the trailer: