Globe win for suicide bomber film

Palestinian film-maker Hany Abu-Assad was perhaps the most surprised man at the Golden Globes on Monday as his drama of suicide bombers crossing into Israel, “Paradise Now,” was named the year’s best foreign language film.

Not surprisingly, no one expects any bookings for the film in Israel

I googled for reviews and considering I am not heavy into alternative movies the first one I looked at will suffice. IMDb provide a generally positive review on the film but I think the reviewers rose coloured spectacles has some sympathy for the Palestinian cause.

I guess if you review films for a living or hobby and seldom touch the real world, like actors, you will have some bias. On the face of it, one might have some sympathy for the Palestinians.

I don’t.

The general subject is one which has become a focus of world attention in the last few years, particularly since 9/11: young Muslims suicide bombers who destroy themselves and others around them based on their warped interpretation of passages in the Koran which guarantee entry to paradise for martyrs who die in the defense of Islam. While many viewers may wonder whether a religion that involves terror, murder, misogyny and repression deserves to be defended, for Palestians in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip the issues have a more secular basis. They see Isreal as the occupier of their land and an oppressor which treats them unjustly.

Reasons for the sense of injustice are both given in the dialogue as well as shown: third world conditions in the Palestian area where even water needs filtering contrasts with the glitzy tall buildings in Tel Aviv where beautiful girls in bikinis walk along the beachfront promenade. However, the viewer isn’t preached to, the issues get presented and contemplated thoroughly. The two recruits in the film are equipped with plastic explosives around their waists under suits and get to cross the Isreali border but things don’t go as planned. They both grapple with the ethical, moral and religious implications of what they are doing and change their minds more than once. Finally one of the two seems to have decided that even if, as his female friend tells him, there is no paradise, he is dead anyway and may as well extract revenge on the Isrealis. There is plenty of tension from the start to the finish and the script, directing, acting and cinematography are all superb. I rarely give scores of 10/10 but there is nothing I can fault about this.

One attempt at rationalization of their suicide;

….third world conditions in the Palestian area where even water needs filtering contrasts with the glitzy tall buildings in Tel Aviv where beautiful girls in bikinis walk along the beachfront promenade.

And for that we blow ourselves up. Could I suggest a better path to paradise; ignore the local Hamas and Mulah advocates, seek some education, get rid of your victim mentality and do something with your life. Maybe, after you became acceptable to civilized society, you might be able to go over and chat up the Israeli bikini clad girls.

I note they see Israel as the occupier of their land and an oppressor that treats them unjustly. Given that if the Palestinians, Syrians, Iranians and a few other were disarmed the Middle East would be a little more peaceful. Unfortunately it is also a given that if Israel alone was disarmed she would cease to exist.

One says oppressed, the other; defending my right to exist.

I wonder if this viewpoint was presented in the film.

If you listen to the Arabs; from Palestine east to Iran, it’s all about Israel and/or the US support of Israel.

In VIEW OF THE ARAB WORLD BY AN ARAB by Haim Harari, he says;

Yes, there is a 100 year-old Israeli-Arab conflict, but it is not where the main show is.■ The millions who died in the Iran-Iraq war had nothing to do with Israel.

■ The mass murder happening right now in Sudan, where the Arab Moslem regime
is massacring its black Christian citizens, has nothing to do with Israel.

■ The frequent reports from Algeria about the murders of hundreds of civilian in
one village or another by other Algerians have nothing to do with Israel.

■ Saddam Hussein did not invade Kuwait, endangered Saudi Arabia and butchered
his own people because of Israel.

■ Egypt did not use poison gas against Yemen in the 60’s because of Israel.

■ Assad the Father did not kill tens of thousands of his own citizens in one week in
El Hamma in Syria because of Israel.

■ The Taliban control of Afghanistan and the civil war there had nothing to do with

■ The Libyan blowing up of the Pan-Am flight had nothing to do with Israel, and I
could go on and on and on.

The root of the trouble is that this entire Moslem region is totally dysfunctional, by any standard of the word, and would have been so even if Israel had joined the Arab league and an independent Palestine had existed for 100 years.

The 22 member countries of the Arab league, from Mauritania to the Gulf States, have a total population of 300 millions, larger than the US and almost as large as the EU before its expansion.

They have a land area larger than either the US or all of Europe. These 22 countries, with all their oil and natural resources, have a combined GDP smaller than that of Netherlands plus Belgium and equal to half of the GDP of California alone.

Within this meager GDP, the gaps between rich and poor are beyond belief and too many of the rich made their money not by succeeding in business, but by being corrupt rulers.

We don’t need to ‘understand’ the suicide bomber anymore than we need to understand any other weapon of war. We need to understand the societies that produces them…and we do.

They are, simply put, disfunctional and Israel is only a part of their problem.

I wont go and see the movie should it be released in Australia. It will not teach me anything I don’t know already and, I suspect, will only reinforce my opinion that Hollywood has lost some balance.