Jumana Manna: Sustaining Resilience
By HG Masters
It’s a situation that sounds farcical until it quickly becomes clear how real it is: Jumana Manna’s new film Foragers (2022) dramatizes the perennial struggles of Palestinians gathering the wild herb za’atar, the artichoke-like akkoub (gundelia), and other native species. Under Israeli laws, the foraging of these plants—including za’atar, akkoub, and sage, which are central to Palestinian cuisine—is illegal, as they were categorized as endangered species. To this day, the foragers, some of whom are elderly or low-income Palestinians, as Manna depicts in the film, are chased by the police and issued fines or even arrested, intensifying the ongoing struggle and pain of Palestinian communities dispossessed from their land during the 1948 Nakba and in the decades since.