Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Reel People: Hiam Abbass is Hind Husseini

The movie is Miral directed by Julian Schnabel (The Diving Bell and the Butterfly) and written by Rula Jebreal based her novel Miral (also by Rula Jabreal).

Hind al-Husseini

Hind al-Husseini , a Palestinian, was born to a prominent family in Jerusalem in 1916.

Husseini became very interested in social causes and education, and throughout the 1930s and 1940s was involved in student unions, the Women's Solidarity Society, and eventually became the coordinator of the Arab Woman's Union.

Husseini is most noted for an event in 1948, while the Arab-Israeli War was occurring in the region. In April of 1948 Husseini found 55 children near the Church of the Resurrection. This child had survived the Deir Yassin massacre (located in a town near Jerusalem), but did not have families or homes.

Husseini provided the children a place to stay in two rooms rented by the Social Work Endeavor Society. She would bring the children food daily, but due to war-torn area moved the children to a convent, and then later to her grandfather's mansion (and birth place).

This mansion was then named Dar al-Tifl al-Arabi (the Arab Children's home).

Post-ceasefire, this orphanage remained and continued to grow into the thousands.

By 1967 the orphanage expanded to allow for educational facilities, and became a girl's only boarding school, providing education to female orphans.

In 1982 Husseini created the Hind al-Husseini College for Women.

Hind Husseini continued her work with the orphanage and college until her death in 1994.


Miral tells this story of Husseini, based on the Miral by Rula Jabreal). Hiam Abbass (The Visitor) plays the famous humanitarian, but the title character Miral is played by Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire). In this story Miral is sent to institute at the age of 7 following her mother's death and she grows older falls for a political activist.

Other cast besides Abbass and Pinto include William Defoe.

Will Palestinian actress Hiam Abbass' portrayal of this honored woman and educator have a chance for an Oscar nomination/win for portraying this Real (Reel) Person?

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