RAMALLAH, WEST BANK, April 6, 2005: Actor Ben Kingsley and U.S. philanthropists unveiled an Arabic version of the film "Gandhi" on Wednesday, hoping to bring the legendary Indian revolutionary's message of nonviolent resistance to Palestinian towns, villages and refugee camps. The release of the 1982 Academy Award winning film, dubbed into Arabic, comes at a key moment in the Mideast conflict. Many Palestinians are exhausted after more than four years of violence but say they have no intention of abandoning their fight for an independent state, says this article. "The message (of the movie) is fresh. People should and will be affected by it," said Kamran Elahian, an Iranian-American businessman who helped organize the effort. But Palestinians who saw the film were skeptical about applying its nonviolent message to their conflict with Israel.
The new version of the film is the centerpiece of the Gandhi Project, which hopes to spread the philosophy of peace and tolerance throughout the region. The project, sponsored by the Skoll Foundation and the Global Catalyst Foundation, two U.S.-based philanthropic organizations, plans to offer free screenings throughout the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and to distribute DVD copies to local civic groups to show to youth. The film also will be shown to Palestinians in Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. Kingsley, who played Gandhi in the movie, said its most important message was the idea of Satyagraha, a Sanskrit word meaning "truth force," the use of nonviolent resistance to open the eyes of the oppressor. Gandhi's campaign of nonviolent resistance was credited with helping win India's independence in 1947.