Trying to get to watch this movie was an adventure in itself. A couple of months ago, I tried to catch it’s only public screening in Paris. I had received a message from my aunt reminding me about it. Only I read it 30 minutes before the start of the projection. So I pedaled and rushed as fast as I could from the other end of the city. I had a flat tire… I couldn’t find another bicycle to swap it with… And after finally finding one and reaching my destination, I couldn’t find a terminal to park the rented bicycle… So I arrived a couple of minutes late and saw a large crowd cuing before the theater. They weren’t actually cuing. They were discussing politics, middle eastern politics. Most looked French. But I’m sure there were a couple of Lebanese, Palestinians and Israeli amongst them. The theatre was packed, but they stayed on to discuss the same topic, either hoping to be allowed in, or they were just happy to meet with like-minded people and were planning on watching another middle-eastern film programmed for the same day. After eavesdropping for a couple of minutes, I returned home.Later that day, I learnt that a friend had bought back a DVD copy of the film from England. So i decided to borrow it from her. And so I did. I literally shelved it for weeks. But decided to watch it a couple of hours ago. I wouldn’t say I found it disappointing. It was actually rather close to what I had expected. It is a militant palestinian movie that’s main argument is against the separation wall. What I hadn’t expected was the reaction it was going to have on me. I felt totally discouraged. The whole Israeli-Palestinian issue seemed to be totally hopeless. Strangely enough, this impression didn’t come from the film’s subject, but from it’s approach. It reminded me of Alan Dershowitz’s “A Case for Israel” in its obsession to “prove” one point right by discarding any information that doesn’t directly suit this purpose. What does Mohammed al-Atar’s expect from this film? Sympathy for the Palestinians? Antipathy towards Israel? Most of the people who are likely to see his movie already share his sentiments… As for the rest, they’re going to be surprised by his portrayal of Israel and its colonisation policies. Even though he undeniably relies on facts, people are likely to be taken aback by the way he browbeats his point. When one makes such a militant documentary, one hopes for change. If Mohammed al-Atar aims at that, I believe he’s chosen the wrong strategy.
Archive for February, 2008
Posted by worriedlebanese on 24/02/2008
Posted by worriedlebanese on 23/02/2008
Posted by worriedlebanese on 15/02/2008
The French satyrical weekly, “Le Canard Enchaîné”, published an article proposing to move France’s national feast from July 14th (Bastille Day) to February 14th (St Valentine’s Day) because of the French president’s very publicised mariage and love affair. Ironically, the Lebanese government seems to have gone ahead with this plan, but obviously for other reasons. The government decreed this February 14th a public holiday.The Lebanese government could have decreed that day one of national mourning, and marked the time of the assassination of the former Prime minister by a public speech. But even that would have been quite shocking in a country that has never marked an official holiday for its 200 thousand citizens butchered during the civil war, or the assassination of two Presidents (Bachir Gemayel and René Mouawad), two Prime ministers (Ryad Solh, Rachid Karamé) and the heads of two of it largest Muslim communities (Musa al-Sadr, Hassan Khaled). So why should we commemorate that day in particular? To what purpose? And why decree the closing of banks, schools, universities and public administrations on February 14th? Is it to encourage and facilitate the organisation of a large public manifestation in downtown Beirut in which all the pro-government parties and figures were partaking in? This is quite obviously a kind of abuse of dominante position.
Posted by worriedlebanese on 04/02/2008
How said it was to hear that the Rafah border was closed again; that the inhabitants of Gaza were once again walled in their strip. When I saw the images of the Egyptian army pushing the Palestinian back with water-cannons, setting up a barbed-wire fence, patrolling the border areas to catch the “fugitives” still wandering free in Egyptian lands. As I watched those pictures I started to feel the anger Islamists throughout the world were feeling as they watched the same pictures. I started to understand how this fueled their general mistrust of the West that was applauding such a measure and their hate of the Arab regimes for not only failing to condemn it but openly supporting it. It was like watching the West German army in 1989 sealing off the Berlin Wall again, claiming that if it did not do so, it would be breaching the quadripartite agreement between the WW2 allies and that this lack of reaction could be interpreted as a casus belli by Democratic Republic of Germany or the USSR!! Does one have the right to transform a district home to 1.5 million souls into a roofless prison? To condemn all its inhabitants to economic underdevelopment? To kill all hope for a brighter future?