Letter to Steven Spielberg
MOHAMMAD H. SAID, M.D., PH,D., MPH, MACP. MAAFP
DIPLOMATE AMERICA BOARD OF
INTERNAL MEDICINE AND FAMILY PRACTICE
CERTIFICATION IN GERIATRIC MEDICINE
June 27, 1989
Mr. Steven Spielberg
Movie Director and Producer
Ephrata, Washington, 98823
Dear Mr. Spielberg:
It is a privilege to write you this letter and to welcome you to our little town in this Columbia Basin area.
I hope this letter will come to your attention and this way it might prove that Providence sent you here to do this picture “Always” and that things positive will come out of this letter as the same Providence sent me to this little town, though with my qualifications I could have been at a big university.
As you can see from the accompanying materials, I was born in Haifa, raised in the West Bank, taught for a short while in Jordan and Saudi Arabia, then headed to the West, to Spain where I graduated from Grenada and Madrid University, then further to the west, to Canada, to the United States mid—west and finally to this area.
It has been a very interesting adventure-full and intense life with action all along. I have been involved in international events of major significance, particularly to help reach a peace between the Palestinians and the Israelis, and I am not finished yet, indeed I just started. Hoping that in the next few months, to years, I will be a major force in that region, to settle this issue.
However, the reason I am sending you this letter is not about myself, but about a dream which I am pursuing to fulfill. It is about the life of my Aunt, my Fathers sister, who raised us after my mother died. When we left Haifa, when Israel was established in ‘48, we were fortunate not to go into refugee camp, but to go to my Aunt, where with the little land we had, she raised us. She was illiterate, did not know how to read or write. After my father left to Saudi Arabia, in 1950, where he remarried and never came back, we were left alone with my Aunt, who courageously raised us, having contracts to pick the weeds from fields, crops, in order to get the money to raise us. She sent the four of us to Universities. That old lady was not just somebody, she was like a saint in our little town, Burin, in the West bank south of Nablus, on the road to Jerusalem. I remember, when somebody had a headache they would come to see her, and she would put some herbs, and would treat them. If somebody h ad marital problem, or psychological problem, they would come to my Aunt.
That lady, who was a devout Muslim, was at the same time a very tolerant lady, she would take me to Bethlehem in order to get the blessings of Christ, she would be always sympathetic and talking nicely about other faiths. Indeed she is the one who opened my
eyes early in life to consider the Jewish people as relatives. Though she was a nationalistic Palestinian, she would tell me when we passed through Jerusalem, looking over the wall to the west side where Israelis are, telling me “Look, those are your cousins” and that was a major impact through my life.
My Aunt was a very strong lady. When the West Bank fell to the Israelis in 1967, lots of people fled the area, but she remained in order to guard and protect our small properties. When she got sick, she refused to go to a doctor until I came back and saw her.
Her, dream was to get my brothers from different countries, to bring them back and have a picnic under the olive and the almond trees she planted. Unfortunately,, six years ago, she was going blind, and she was very anxious to see my children who were born in the United States before she went blind. However, due to certain circumstances, political boundaries, distance, etc. we were unable to go and she became blind without having seen my children.
When she went to visit my brothers in Kuwait, she became ill, and she wanted to touch my children before she died, and unfortunately, she died before we were able to go see her.
Her memory has a great impact, and her story is a lift to those people who seek friendship, tolerance and co-existence. I always felt that I would like to put her story in a movie and I would be able to write the script in 3 or 4 months only. It would not be just a good will in this critical time between the Palestinians and Isrealis, as an example of a woman who believed in co-existence and tolerance, but also a good will to the Jewish people. A movie about her life, like the title of Mrs. 0 Haja Ummu Khadar, a Palestinian Legend. Since her nickname was Ummu Khadyr, “The mother of Khadyr,” which was her only son, who was raised with us. It will be fascinating to go to that little town and go back thirty years, to present her life, the history of the people and history of that time.
I imagine that the movie will be a hit in the United States, also in the Arab and the Muslim countries. I would be glad, Mr. Spielberg, to sit down and discuss this with you. I would be willing to dedicate most of my time to help put my Aunts story, and be an adviser, and this will be the greatest honor for her memory.
Regardless what wilt happen, I am working on this and hopefully, as soon as I get somebody, if you are not interested, or get some money myself, hopefully after I get my company, “Designer Diet International” off the ground, I will be able to finance and to participate in producing this interesting movie. Mr. Spielberg, I have a feeling that you are going to be the one to produce this movie.
I am available to come and talk to you.
Mohammad Said, M.D.