Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I do not understand many things

I went to see this film the other night.

It broke my heart. I'm not entirely certain what I'm supposed to do with it now, but the potency with which it effected me leaves me feeling that I must do something. I don't understand things about much of the world- I don't understand how we can do such immense and cruel things to one another. I left this movie feeling absolutely sick to my stomach and entirely outraged.
I lived with an intense and beautiful, profound, intelligent and amazing Muslim-Mormon, Egyptian-by-way-of- Sweden woman less than a year ago (so many adjectives...). She moved me in many ways- challenging me to see the world from diverse ways and to understand particular beauties about the universe. I love and miss her spirit immensely. (I ramble.) I had distinct experiences with her in long and heated discussions about the recent Israel-Palestine conflict. She gave many speeches to local concerned individuals and organized a group, Provo for Palestine, whose mission was to show solidarity and support for West Bank Palestinians affected by the war(s) that have ravished their homeland for eons. I tried to show my support and love for her through joining and participating in this group. Despite my involvement , I left many meetings feeling empty, unfulfilled and inexplicably outraged. The stance and depth of the discussion were not nearly adequate; the scope of the dialogue fell short to encompass the immensity of the situation in the Middle East. I do not claim to understand all of the intricacies of Middle Eastern politics, but I am aware of the long term ramifications and continuously bloody ups and downs of that region of the world.
This film deepened my commitment to the complexity of war. It is never cut and dry. There are always entangling obstacles and complexities. I weep for the names in which wars are fought and sons and daughters are offered as sacrifices to the gods of nationalistic pride and greed (or whatever conspiracy theory you subscribe to today...).
I compare myself to Americans and Europeans who were embroiled in WWII and had no clue as to the atrocities being committed in their names in Nazi concentration camps. What is being done in MY name?
I do not fully understand the immensely deep racism and hatred that rises in the hearts of so many. The United States helped create the state of Israel in 1949. I am struggling to grasp the ramifications of this action. I am grovelling to allow the acts committed as vindication. I am inclined to consider the recentness (that's a word?) of this map:

and the immensity of the Sabra and Shatila massacre, which the film addresses.

I guess I am left to question the effects of the two wars in which we are currently embroiled. I am terrified at the fact that the war is romanticized and removed from our sanitary reality- I feel like most of us still view war as a fantastic fairy-tale (Pearl Harbor, anyone?) that is entirely removed from our lives. I'm left shocked and offended at the inane drivel of contemporary materialistic consumerism's commercialized fun so readily made of the terrors of war. Shame on us- may this stand as an indictment to our gullible belief in our own righteousness. I move that we have NO IDEA the evils that are funded by us and in whose name lives are utterly destroyed. What makes me more that a Palestinian woman, a Jewess sentenced to a Nazi concentration camp or a refugee in Darfur? My money? My skin color? My situation? Why the hell am I so lucky?
I am grateful for films like this one that courageously take on the challenges inherent with such a weighty topic.
I can't recommend this film to just anyone. I think it is poignant and incredible and utterly worth the time you might invest, but be prepared to be moved and challenged. Be prepared to challenge just how much you understand.


Kerianne said...

You beat me to it. Maybe I'll catch up soon. I think one thing I have been thinking of since our discussion is how important it is to relay information and ideas-- Not always as the authority becuase we have exposure, but as an informed deliverer. A blog is one way (but we already talked about how posts we care about never get any attention). Maybe verbal discussion is best. I had three coworkers hanging on my every passionate word yesterday about Waltz with Bashir. I could see that they got it. They felt the weight of my message. The problem is how to engage people properly, honestly, more than one at a time. I find that I fail in this capacity frequently because I lack information and feel ignorant, irrresponsible and unliable. The available channels of information are often unclear, biased, and packaged in 2 min sized internet clips. Still, when I am able to share, I find the opportunity to share frustrating. I talked about Nelson Mandella and his imprisonment in my group therapy at the hospital yesterday. No one had heard of mandella. They did not get it. This once again, confirms my belief in the study of history and the power of learning from our past.

And perhaps the wisest of the wise is someone who chooses to learn, engage, and seek better sources of information.

Joe Wilson said...

Another huge issue that came to mind as I read your post is the dichotomous nature of social opinion. You're either a patriot or a hippie. I think you nailed it when you talked about the confusion that comes with the 'complexities' of war.

I think of my grandfather who helped liberate concentration camps... then I think of my cousin who can't clearly explain what he's doing in Iraq. It's difficult to choose a side. I do feel that if we were a little closer to the pain that war causes we would all think about what we're somewhat unknowingly involved in.