x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Life lessons: Najwa Najjar

Najwa Najjar, director of the award-winning Palestinian film, Pomegranates and Myrrh, offers her philosophies on life.

1. Live passionately, and dare to do things you have never done before.

Enjoy and savour life (and everything in it). After college I decided not to take a job in the US and go back home. I left behind routine, a steady income and a stable country. What I went to was rocky and adventurous, and often dangerous. Being in a violent environment and seeing how close to death you can get taught me people and moments are to be enjoyed and appreciated, every missed opportunity is gone forever and there's no time for regrets.

2. Make mistakes, or better yet, laugh when you do.

It is the only true way to learn from them.

3. Believe in something that will make the world a better place.

Believe in it with all your soul, to your core, and fight for it. Maybe it was being brought up by parents who were Arab nationalists or being in a school where we were part of a minority, but I always knew that an enormous injustice had been done in Palestine for which the Palestinians bore no responsibility. This ultimately coloured my understanding of the world when it came to people's struggles against injustice – and what I want to do with my life.  I would like to think that cinema will make the world a better place, and I suppose if it allows one person to see, feel, understand another side of a narrative, then that's one step in the right direction. Believe in yourself and in the goals you want to achieve. Work for them, and put your heart into them.

4. Persistence does pay off.

One of the ways I coped with life during the second Palestinian uprising was writing, which ultimately became the script for Pomegranates and Myrrh.  I focused on this project as a way of not losing all hope during this time.

5. The cup really is half full, not half empty.

It just depends on what angle you are looking at it from. So tilt your head a tad, and make sure you can see the side that it is half full.

As told to Jemma Nicholls

Pomegranates and Myrrh is showing at Reel Cinemas, Dubai Mall until September 14 and at VOX Cinemas, Marina Mall, Abu Dhabi from September 15-28