THE CASE AGAINST PARADISE NOW
Whats wrong with Paradise now? Why not an Oscar?
Cinematically its a good combination of suspense and drama. Its a combination that takes you into the convictions of the Palestinian propaganda, one that is a rewrite of
history, both recent and distant.
In the monolog in front of the video camera, the suicide bomber to be blames Israel for refusing to accept a two states solution. A fact that is false, for the Israeli side, the dreaded Zionists, had accepted all partition offers since they were first introduced in 1937, until the Oslo accord in 1993 and their implementation throughout the 90s.
Settlements? Settlements continued to expand in the Sinai until the very last minute, before they where evicted and with the rest of the Sinai handed to Egypt in 1982, in exchange for peace. As of today expansion of settlements never stopped their eviction; a lack of a peace partner was more effective in preventing this.
In the film the two terrorists cross the fence part of the security barrier, back and forth very easily, ridiculing this measure. In reality, since its construction, though not completed, the success of terrorist attacks on civilians within Israel proper, mass murder attacks;
had dropped by 90%.
In the film one of the bombers, Haled, spares a civilian bus because he sees a child in it. In reality children were hardly spared.
At the Sbarro pizzeria attack on august 9th 2001, children were among the everyday customers, and 7 of the 15 slaughtered were children: Michal Raziel, 16, Malka Roth 15, Ra'aya Schijveschuurder 14, Avraham Yitzhak Schijveschuurder 4, Hemda Schijveschuurder, 2, Tamara Shimashvili, 8, Yocheved Shoshan, 10.
In many cases children and families were the preferred target, such was the case of Shiraz and Liran Nehmad aged 7 and 3, slaughtered with their entire family on march 2 2002.
Of Avia Malka, aged 9 month, who was gunned down in Netanya on March 9th 2002,
and the more famous Metzer killing.
Ilan Perlman, age 8, was murdered on a bus in Jerusalem with 11 others.
And the list goes on.
The lies of the propaganda are big and small. In the film the terrorists are warned by their operator to blow themselves if detected because the police take no chances. When in Netanya on December 5 2005, the local police detected a suicide bomber outside the Sharon Mall; they preferred to isolate him first.
In the film itself moral contemplation are sidelined at best. The main story is the carrying of their mission, a mass murder attack in Tel-Aviv. The secondary story is Haled, proving his loyalty to the Palestinian cause over the shadow of his father past betrayal. Morality isnt a third story, its a few paragraphs. When Suha, the love interest of Haled, raises the arguments against the attack, they are mostly tactical rather then moral. And she herself is a foreigner, an outsider, raised in Europe, a Europe, which supported the Palestinians, a Europe which that town, Nablus, rose against over the Danish cartoons. With a fanny accent her arguments are incomplete thoughts and
sentences. The complete thoughts and sentences are spoken by the main characters, and their co-combatants, these are the usual rhetoric of Palestinian propaganda, lack of honor and no choice. Each is debatable in the real world, but eternal truths in that film.
The climax of the film is not the suicide attack at the end, whose horrors are spared from us. The climax is the lead character, Haled, describing his motives to their commander. He tells a story, which serves to prove his loyalty to the cause and gives us, the audiences, the reasons why he will carry on the bombing. He tells how the only time he left the West Bank was when he
needed a medical treatment in Israel at the age of 6. And to get that his father had to sell out and betray. How likely is that? Theoretically its possible, as ordinary moviegoers we cannot examine hypothetical accusation unless there is an actual equivalent available to us on record. As Israelis we see how our medical services and welfare services are available to Palestinians. Including Hamas activists, terrorists.
His farther was executed for that betrayal, and he balms Israel for that, and that is his personal motive. But then he adds a political motive. They had somehow convinced the world that they are the victims on
which he construct the films logic behind suicide bombing, if they can be the occupier and the victim I can be the murderer and the murdered. And here lays the tragedy of Palestinian politics and history, a near collective commitment for denial. For Israel did not mysteriously, nearly supernaturally, changed the worlds view on the conflict. When the world saw how Israeli civilians where deliberately and systematically targeted and slaughtered, the world came to see that THERE ARE VICTIMS ON THE ISRAELI SIDE. But the world DID NOT STOP SEEN VICTIMS ON THE PALESTINIAN SIDE. In that one sentence, not only the political realities are denied and rewritten, but also the moral, and without the ability to see victims and innocents on the other side, the previously spared child becomes a legitimate target.
So why not an Oscar? Because political disagreements? Lack of morality? Denial? Misguided convictions? Can any of those reasons discredit a film from a competition if cinematographically it is good?
No! Not really. Films like people are allowed to be, immoral, obnoxious, infuriating, annoying and politically misguided. And even be remarkable in doing so.
So why not this one? Suicide bombing that is why.
Because no matter how one may believe his grievances are justified, (rightly or wrongly), blowing up the whole world around him can never be justified. And this film not only justifies it, but advocates it as well. Advocate it through the friendliness and friendship of its lead characters, their humor and infatuations. For it is not the gore and straightforward brutality that advocate violence in films, rather the cleanness of it as in this film suggestive violence that makes it look respectable and thereby
acceptable. Backed by the pretext of telling Israelis things they dont like, (another false claim, for here, in Israel, Israelis have discussed genuine issues of mistreatment of Palestinians in films like Ehad mishelanu http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097265/ and Nisuim Fiktiveem), it makes mass murder looks like an act anyone of us can do; even more so when it is backed and approved a Golden Globe and an Oscar, (nomination is as good an approval as winning).
Because once it becomes socially approved and acceptable that for whatever grievances we can blow up the world, some of us just might do it. Do you think Im exaggerating?
But think of this forgotten news story. At the beginning of the
Palestinian mass murder campaign one of the strongest critics of Israels was the government of Finland. With a typical Hasbara stupidity, the Israeli government responded by arguing that Finland, a former allay of Hitler, has no right to criticize Israel, ignoring the fact that country was forced into that alliance by a previous soviet invasion, and that it did not betray its Jews to the Nazis. Its a history that they have all the right to be proud of. A better line of argument by Israel would have been to simply stick to the basics and ask how come they have nothing to say against the targeting of Israeli civilians. For that silence, of saying nothing against suicide bombings and the targeting of civilians, while condemning every Israeli action with the harshest possible language, had the affect of making the Palestinian mass murder campaign of suicide bombing look understandable and thus acceptable. And that had the impact of gambling with peoples lives.
On October 11th 2002, the 19 years old Petri Erkki Tapio Gerdt, walked into the Myyrmanni shopping mall in the town of Vantaa, outside of Helsinki, the capital of Finland and blow himself up, killing 6 others and wounding dozens of shoppers. The resemblance to a Palestinian homicide attack on Israeli civilians is astounding, the method, suicide bombing, the target, civilians in a mall, and the weapon, a bomb with shrapnel to make sure as many as possible civilians will be hurt. Except Israelis and Palestinians it had all the making of the nightmare so eerily familiar to the residents of Jerusalem and
How certain it is that the social acceptance given to suicide bombing by the Finnish government and other elements of European politics and society played a role in this kid choosing this horrible way? Only those with access to his mind can say that with absolute certainty. But the resemblance is inescapable, why else did the criticism of Israel by the Finnish government, since then, was largely mute in compression with other European countries?
Do you think Im frightening for no reason? I do hope so, no one wants to wake up and see another Petri Erkki Tapio Gerdt in their midst, or any other suicide bombing for that matter. But to ensure that, it has first to be utterly, totally and unconditionally condemned and abhorred. And approving this film is exactly the way not to do so, for films like us, all of us, are not allowed to murder.
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