Mi Bodeguita del Medio

While my blog is named after a restaurant in Havana I hope to someday visit, here you will find musings, rants, political incorrectness, thoughts on Indian Nationalism, strong straight-forward opinions and tid-bits.

Friday, February 1, 2008

To Die in Jerusalem

Last night I went to the Verdi Cinema for the European premier of the film "To Die in Jerusalem." The director, Hilla Medalia was present and the audience was able to ask her questions at the end and have a little discussion.

The documentary based on the suicide bombing by a 17 year old Palestinian girl that killed a 17 year old Israeli girl revolved around the mothers and families of the two girls. No matter how well you think you know the Israeli-Palestinian situation, seeing it from this angle was just brutal. I found to movie to be pretty unbiased, ofcourse if you leave aside the fact that its focused on the killing of an Israeli by a Palestinian. You see the aftermath of the bombing in the Jerusalem supermarket, and then the two families, the Israeli and the Palestinian. The Israeli family (supposedly a low class-not rich family) lives well, and the mother can only think about the loss of her daughter. The Palestinian family lives in horrible conditions, where death and suffering are daily routine.

The climax of the movie rotates around the conversation between the two mothers via a satellite meeting, and you see a stark contrast. The Israeli mum thinks of her loss as unique and is indignant about losing her daughter, while the Palestinian mum cannot accept that her daughter's death was caused for nothing. She fights for the principle her daughter died for, whereas the Israeli mum categorises it all as violence. The highlight of the movie for me was when the Israeli mother said to the Palestinian mother, 'can you stop talking about politics?' Israelis can actually think of separating politics from feelings, whereas the Palestinians are struggling for their basic needs.

This conflict only gets worse through the generations. When we exchanged our thoughts with the director afterwards, one of the things she mentioned was that in her parents' time they had quite a few Palestinian friends. While she was growing up, that interaction reduced, whereas kids growing up in Israel today are completely oblivious to the suffering that goes on on the other side of the recently mounted wall. She visited a refugee camp for the first time in her life, when she was shooting the film. The compulsion for all Israelis to go to the army according to me, is a major reason that the Palestinian is automatically seen as an enemy and a terrorist.

I say go see the documentary if you can. This issue can never be solved unless people are made aware of it and bring it out in the open, and by resisting extremist policies. The Israeli "left" has to awaken and fight its extremist leaders. But who knows if that is possible... as far as this movie is concerned, any hope for understanding in Gaza seems unfortunately, practically impossible.

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