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It’s Paradise Now at the Oscars

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More interesting than Ken Livingstone being described as using anti-Semitic comments to court the “Muslim vote” and stand up to “the Zionists”, is the controversy over Paradise Now‘s Oscar nomination.

Paradise Now depicts the story of two young Palestinians in Nablus who were chosen by a local terror group to carry out a suicide bombing in Israel. It was nominated for an Oscar and there was a petition demanding its removal on the grounds that it glorifies Palestinian suicide-bombers, there was a counter-petition too! I’ve not yet seen the movie, but I read that that the controversy stems from those who want us to think that any sympathetic treatment of Palestinians is anti-Semitic, when the reality is that “It is a story about the suffering of Palestinians and how a life of desperation can lead to an act of desperation.”

Nevertheless, in the current climate a film about suicide bombings was bound to be controversial, which evidently provides marketing value. Michael’s review analyses the film as posing suicide-bombings as an emotional reaction rather than a legitimate form of political protest, and concludes with the message that terrorism is a road that leads to neither paradise, virgins nor lasting peace.

Elie and SarcastiPundit make comparisons in asking whether films such as Mississippi Burning would have received an honour if they had shown an “even-handed approach, humanizing and understanding” towards the KKK. Such comparisons omit the fact that Israelis are not targeted for being victims, as were the oppressed peoples of pre-civil rights America. Director Hany Abu-Assad points out that Israelis are not targeted because of oppression or hatred for Jews, but instead for belonging to, supporting and fighting for a State that forces Palestinians to live in refugee camps.

I read refreshing points from J.T who questions why we should not be allowed to explore why such violent protest is used by the people of Palestine, a country considered not to exist. It is oppressive in itself for their vilification, bulldozing and killing to be considered acceptable, while the understanding of their offensive/defensive motivations and strategies is considered unacceptable. The suicide-bomber uses a lethal and life wasting strategy, but then so did the frontline troops on the battlefields of WWI, as did the Kamikaze pilots of WWII.

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