Human Rights Through Cinematography festival: ‘A Walnut Tree’

“I can’t take it anymore! This is no life. I have to return home!” cried the old man bitterly.

“But you cannot. You will be killed there. You will be dead,” argued the son.

“I am as dead here as I would be there,” replied the old man.

This dialogue captures the essence of ‘A Walnut Tree’ – the emotional and psychological trauma faced by the internally displaced persons of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan torn by war.

This documentary was screened at the French embassy on 1 December as part of the ‘Human Rights Through Cinematography’ film festival. Before screening, the Ambassador of France Ms Martine Dorance spoke about the event and touched on the subject of the documentary.

The protagonist of the film was forced to leave his home along with his son, daughter-in-law and three grandchildren and live in Jalozai camp on the outskirts of Peshawar in the wake of military operation against the Taliban in his area.

He was a teacher by profession, loved to listen to music and write poetry. He lovingly wrote a poem about the walnut tree his father has planted when he was young. “On his death bed he told me to take care of this walnut tree because he wanted it to grow tall and strong and wished his next generations to play under its shade and taste its fruit. I hope that the tree is still there,” he said.

After the screening, director of the film, Ammar Aziz, shared his experience of making this documentary and the difficulties he faced in accessing displaced families living at the Jalozai camp. He also took questions from the audience.