Habibi chronicles a love story set in one of the world’s most prolonged and complicated contemporary conflicts: the Israeli-Palestinian war.
Palestinian prisoners’ wives have turned to ‘sperm smuggling’ to conceive children by their husbands, serving long-term sentences in Israeli jails. Around 7,000 Palestinians are detained, with nearly 1,000 facing 20 years or more sentences.
Conjugal visits are denied, and Palestinian prisoners can only see their immediate family members through a glass window. With the excuse of giving gifts to their children, the prisoners put their sperm into empty pen tubes and hide them inside chocolate bars. This is the most common method among prisoners and the only hope for their wives to have children and raise a family.
These women’s lives are suspended in an eternal wait for the return of their loved ones, and in vitro fertilisation offers a form of familial protest. These women won’t surrender to their husbands’ imprisonment and continue to grow their families despite their conditions.
Habibi (‘my love’ in Arabic) shows the impact of the conflict on Palestinian families, analysing the difficulties faced in preserving their human dignity.
Antonio Faccilongo is a documentary photographer, filmmaker, and photography professor at Rome University of Fine Arts.
After obtaining a Masters’s in photojournalism, he focused on Asia and the Middle East, principally in Israel and Palestine.
Documenting the aftermath of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, he sought to highlight the humanitarian issues hidden within one of the world’s most reported conflicts. His projects about women and families in Palestine have received several awards, including World Press Photo story of the year and first prize in the World Understanding Award (POYi Pictures of the Year International).
Antonio has been exhibited internationally at numerous shows and festivals, including Les Rencontres d’Arles, Zoom Festival and many others. His work has been published in some of the most prominent international publications, including National Geographic, TIME and The Guardian.
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