A Palestinian woman living under occupation in the West Bank is fighting for her daughter to receive life-saving treatment – and ends up transforming her own life as well.

My Name is Ahlam While fighting for her five-year-old daughter to get the treatment she needs for leukemia, Aisha – a Palestinian woman living under occupation in the West Bank – undergoes a transformation of her own. By battling for her daughter’s right to healthcare, Aisha finds herself finally standing up to her husband, the authorities and her occupiers, as well as anyone else who might prevent her child from getting treatment.

Director’s statement My Name is Ahlam 2010

As a Palestinian, I seek to point the camera towards the society to which I belong. I wish, for just a moment, to sidestep the struggle against the Israeli occupation, which often seems to open and shut any Palestinian discussion, and to take a hard look at the depravity, inflexibility, and oppression existing within Palestinian society.

A society subjected to struggle daily for its survival leaves no chance for those in it who are weak. This is a critical stance; one which raises difficult questions about the nature of a society fighting for its independence but also trampling its own weak and destitute, meanwhile losing the moral legitimacy of its existence. The film explored the tragic struggle of children and mothers against Leukemia in the harsh reality of life, whose lives are jeopardizes by the political reality they were born into.
Through the story of AISHA and Ahlam, I ask to contend with the oppression of Palestinian women. As a young woman I intimately feel this oppression on a daily basis, but mostly I fear the future in prospect, upon fulfilling what my society expects of me and establishing a family of my own. What will be my status then, and how will I live with the loss of independence and with knowing that I will fulfill myself solely within my home, as a mother and as a wife?
Despite the distance between me and AISHA, an immediate and intimate closeness was instantly formed. I feel that, silently but persistently, we are both rebels from within; and the bond established between us is a true privilege for me, which also compels a sense of mission, of telling her story and the story of other women, mothers to children with cancer whom I have met.