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"Paradise Now" Brings out the Intolerant

by Anthony Kaufman
October 27, 2005 3:09 AM
2 Comments
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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.

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2 Comments

  • b harty | October 29, 2005 1:05 AMReply

    I'm with you on this one, Tony. The idea that suicide bombers have anything but a glowing ember of pure evil motivating them is seen as tantamount to support for their actions, and that's unfortunate because political arguments only keep the system off balance and attention focused on blame.

    When two sides are unwilling to relent, people at war either fight with anything they have or they give up. Those are the options. None of this changes the fact that people killed by bombs delivered on foot and those killed by laser guided missles are just as dead, and their families are just as destroyed. Neither outcome is justified.

    Sounds like an interesting movie.


    (Nice picture, by the way.)

  • Marlin Adams | October 27, 2005 3:54 AMReply

    Anthony, keep up the good work. There are people in the US, particularly NYC, the media capital, that don't want the truth about the suffering to be dissiminated. I read quite a lot of information that comes out of the Middleast uncensored, and American's would be surprised to know that there are plenty of Israeli's that are very critical of their government's handling of the Palestinian situation, and that there is a substantial peace movement within Israel. There are also quite a number of US based activist that are now beginning to put this conflict on their radar, paticularly in parts of the country outside of the Eastcoast, where it is impossible to hear a balance view of the situation. FYI: the Presbyterian Church has recently divested their considerable investment dollars from companies doing business with the Occupation. It's not news you're going to read in the NYT, or hear on CNN, but Americans of good will are beginning to recognize that the US governments actions regarding the Middleast are part of the problem, and that the information we get in America is hopelessly biased and deceptive.

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