In doing research for this indieWIRE story on "Paradise Now" (which opens Friday), I was struck by the closemindedness and intolerance I encountered about the Middle East conflict, and the GOD FORBID possibility, that a film would seek to understand someone desparate enough to kill him or herself, and others.
I wasn't able to use this quote in my story, but it's stayed with me long enough that I thought I should publish it here:
"To kill yourself is a very horrible thing," the film's director Hany Abu-Assad told me. "You need a lot of reasons to do it, a lot of elements have to come into play. Wherever you go is not working. You want to have the hope that your leaders will do something, but they don't do anything. You want to have the hope that the world community will do something against the crimes of the occupation, but they don't. Whatever you try there is desperation."
There was another tragic suicide bombing in Israel this week, and I hope that distributor Warner Independent doesn't shy away from their film in light of the once again dissolving peace process. Rather than be scared off, it just makes the movie more relevant.
But people like New York Assemblyman Dov Hikind and right-wing bloggers everywhere just don't get it. Why do they refuse to see the situation for what it is and acknowledge the suffering on both sides of the conflict? Why do they think suicide bombing exists? Because it's fun? It's called a "cycle of violence," not a one-way trip. And not until people seek to understand and heal the root causes of the conflict will that cycle stop.