Friday, May 05, 2006

FILM: 'Paradise Now' is da bomb

Despite the crude title to this post (I couldn't pass it up), "Paradise Now," a Palestinian film that was nominated for Best Foreign Film (for whatever that's worth), translates the intricacies of the most divisive issue in the Middle East. It equally displays the shackles placed on Palestinians through the Israeli occupation, while demonstrating the uselessness, fruitlessness, and human waste that results from the Palestinian armed "resistance."

The film follows two young Palestinian men, Khaled and Said, who face poverty, underemployment, lack of free mobility, and the constant knowledge of Israel's domination over them. After we see the humanity of their regular life, we find out that they have volunteered for a joint suicide bomb mission in Tel Aviv. And from there, the story follows a weaving, intricate path that is both tragic and somehow hopeful.

There are several things this film does very well. First, it humanizes the Palestinian cause, which has been (perhaps rightfully so) characterized in our country as nothing but a violent group of thugs and terrorists. This, of course, is true to some extent. Yet, the basic fact that a debilitated and occupied people still exists somewhere out there in the desert. Which is why the second thing this film does is so essential. It shows how senseless suicide bombings, and armed resistance in general, are. If the Palestinians renounced violence, if their struggle was one of non-violent resistance, they would already have a two-state solution at the very least, because not even the most pro-Israel countries would be able to condone Israel's actions against a peaceful people. Sadly, this leads into the third thing the film does exceptionally well, and that is illustrating the false logic that drives young Palestinians to suicide bombings without making it a sympathetic endeavor.

For all these reasons, you should see this film. But, there is another one. The American youth (which I count here ranging in age from about 15 to 35) has never, and very probably never will, had to encounter any sort of dilemma as Said and Khaled do in this film, not to mention the dilemma millions of young people face in Palestine and other parts of the world everyday. We don't know what social shackles are, much less what they feel like. If we are to throw our weight around the world in effecting the experiences of such people, we should at least try to empathize and understand their struggle.


Mandingo said...

"social shackles"...are you going to trademark that phrase? Just wondering.

PiedPiper said...

You have no idea the list of trademarked phrases I'm working on. It's all in pursuit of eventually establishing my own PiedPiperian Thought that will be subscribed to by every third-rate intellectual within the next 25 years. Just ask Ilya. He's already a firmly committed PiedPiperian.