Sleepless in Gaza..and Jerusalem

I’ve just got a message from Abdallah Schleifer. Abdallah is an old friend of mine, old cause I met him more than 10 years ago at a conference at the Institut du Monde Arabe in Paris. I admired him for being a brilliant journalist and the smart director of the Adham Centre for TV Journalism at the American University of Cairo.

If you read his Wikipedia page you can have just a little idea of how cool is Abdallah, born Marc, an American secular Jewish who converted to Islam after many years spent as a militant in the Marxist movement all around the world, visiting periodically Cuba and being an active member of the Beat Generation’s.

I’ve always adimired Abdallah for being such enthusiast and passionate about whatever he does. So I’m not suprised to read his latest email, which I hope he won’t mind if I re-publish here below.

It’s about his latest project -or his latest “adventure”, same thing for such a character as Abdallah is!- “Sleepless in Gaza..and Jerusalem” which tells the story of four Palestian women, Muslim and Christian, living in two Palestian areas that cannot communicate –Gaza and Jerusalem-.

Those people can’t communicate but through Internet and phone, despite being part of the same country. Like them, we are unable to follow what’s happening to Gaza and its people, left alone and no more under “the spotlight” . TV channels, with few Arab exceptions, are not interested in Gaza anymore -it seems-.

But the Internet will help, once again. Abdallah and his partners at Pina TV Productions will broadcast each 26 mins episode of “Sleepless in Gaza” on You Tube each 6 days, starting from today.

I invite all of you to subscribe to “Sleepless in Gaza” ‘s You Tube channel and mabrouk to Abdallah and his partners for this great iniative who proves him to be, once again, the great enthusiastic and innovative personality we all know.


Dear Friends and Colleagues:

On March 1st — this coming Monday– the premier episode of a 90 part series, “Sleepless in Gaza…and Jerusalem” will be launched on YouTube. It will be a video diary about four young Palestinian women, Muslim and Christian, two living in Gaza and two in Arab Jerusalem/West Bank.

PINA TV Production camera crews will be covering Ashira Ramadan, a broadcast journalist based in Jerusalem; Ashira’s friend in Gaza, the documentary film maker Nagham Mohanna; Donna Maria Mattas, a 17 year-old student at the Holy Family school in Gaza who dreams of growing up to be a journalist, and Ala’ Khayo Mkari who works with Caritas in Jerusalem.
The intention of this series is neither rant nor rhetoric. It is rather an opportunity for all of us, who do not live in Gaza, occupied Arab Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank, to grasp how these four young Palestinian women live out their daily lives, precisely because their lives are stories we journalists were taught almost dismissively to think of as “human interest” and almost necessarily conflict driven.

How, as human beings, these four Palestinians can also experience moments of personal and community achievement, and the warmth of friends and family life that in real life is possible even in the most difficult circumstances of siege and occupation.

Each episode runs 26 minutes and will be shot in Jerusalem/West Bank and Gaza, edited and uploaded the same day. So you will find a new sequence six days a week at On Friday, we all rest.

A “Sleepless…” trailer should be up on YouTube by the time you receive this letter. We also have just set up “Sleepless in Gaza…and Jerusalem” on Facebook. It’s got such a long URL that Facebookers should note– just type in “Sleepless in Gaza…and Jerusalem” in the Facebook search and you will be home. We don’t have our own domain website yet, but our partners PINA TV Productions’ website will serve as such for the time being at

This is a personal note as much as it is a press release, so it is going out on my email but after today you can reach us at

Please pass this letter on to your friends on email and to organizations that believe in peace on earth and good will to all, that they too might spread the word.


Abdallah Schleifer
for Radiant Circle Productions and PINA