– fordi tiden kræver et MODSPIL

03. Apr 2006

Paradise now - or never?

As'ad AbuKhalil har set den nye palæstinensiske film Paradise Now, og han er ikke alt for imponeret:
This is not the best Arabic movie made, ever, and yet something in it appealed to Western reviewers, and I see why, now. I dare say that Israeli civilians in the movie are more civilian than Palestinian civilians in the movie. Even Israeli soldiers were portrayed quite humanely. This has been a staple of Western portrayal of Arabs and Israelis, that no matter what, and no matter whether they are armed or not, Israeli soldiers are more human and more civilian than unarmed Palestinian civilians. Even the last scene, Israeli occupation soldiers were seen in the buss smiling widely, and a male and a female were talking; you had to identify with them, and you had to sympathize with them, and you had to curse the killers, who dared to disturb their lives, but don’t you dare curse those who disturb, on a daily basis, the lives of Palestinian civilians. And you had to see that scene where Sa`id could not ride on the bus because there was an Israeli child. Israelis have children, Palestinians don’t. Palestinians give birth to terrorist babies, you know. This explains why Israel has no qualms about indiscriminate bombardments of refugee camps.

But the major flaw and problem with the movie is the premise itself (of the plot): the false premise about how individuals get "recruited" to undertake "missions". In the movie, there was this sneaky and suspicious fanatic Muslim character who recruited Sa`id, just like that, at a short notice. Leaders of organizations do not press members to engage in attacks, it is the other way round. In other words, members lobby and press leaders to send them on missions. This is true in secular and in religious organizations.
Han funderer også over, hvordan det kan være så forfærdeligt, om netop palæstinsiske aktioner mod Israel til en vis grad kan handle om hævn, når "hævn" eller "gengældelse" dog ikke er et helt ukendt koncept for andre aktører heller - især ikke for netop israelerne:
... the "enlightened" Westerner in the movie (made to be half-Palestinian to give her credibility) expressed outrage that the motive of Palestinians may be revenge.


Who engages in revenge in 2006 (except US, Israel, and others of course). But Western revenge is not seen as revenge; only Easter revenge is portrayed as "revenge" to underline its backward and atavisitic nature.

Was Munich (the movie) not based on a book called Vengeance? Was the war on Afghanistan not a war of revenge par excellence? And the debate on the war on Iraq was really a debate over whether the war was "legitimate revenge" versus "excessive revenge." Israel itself refers to its own wars and regular bombing campaigns as "retaliation", another polite word for revenge, of course. But the Palestinians, again, subjected to scrutiny and standards not applied on any other struggle in the world, are not supposed to engage in revenge. And do you notice that Palestinian struggle is the only struggle that is supposed to pursue options and courses of actions—or inaction—determined by its enemies? By its own enemies? This is like asking the victims of Apartheid to ask for recipes of action, or inaction, from the white minority regime in South Africa. This movie does not deviate from that. But a Palestinian director was seen chatting with Hollywood celebrities; the nation should be proud, and the community has to abandon its own standards and sensibilities, at least until the show is over.
Link til As'ad AbuKhalils tanker om Paradise Now (som jeg ikke selv har set, og vil udtale mig om, hvis jeg en dag får den at se).