Thursday, March 5, 2009

Controversial Israeli Video About Gaza

The animator of the excellent film Waltz With Bashir has produced a short video clip about Gaza for the Israeli NGO the Gisha Legal Center for Freedom of Movement.

I have no idea how to paste a video directly onto my blog, but you can check out the short clip
here. It shows a young boy trying to chase a bird as it flies around Gaza but the boy is blocked at every turn. Rockets can be seen launched from Gaza and return fire erupts around the boy as he tries to flee.

The clip makes its point: there are ordinary people in Gaza who are suffering who want and have nothing to do with politics. People whose lives are hijacked by events. Such is the case, unfortunately, in all war.

Though the Gisha makes its point through this video, it also oversimplifies things. Certainly there are innocents in Gaza suffering for events beyond their control, but there are also some pretty sinister characters there too. Characters with few qualms about using these innocents as shields. The video doesn't quite make that point.

The video has already come under some
criticism in Israel, specifically, that it ignores complex realities and the suffering of Israelis. Critics of this short clip would likely want you to also see this and this. To critiques, the animator's response is a re-affirmation his love for Israel, hatred of Hamas, and desire to show the predicaments of ordinary people.


mcreider said...

Can't agree more, it's a bit simplistic. That said, we usually tend to see another simplistic story - they are all fiends over there, or just those who voted for fiends, so they've got what they've deserved. Also, you cannot criticize a piece for what it does not include. Gilad Shalit is not in this animation either, so what?

Charlie H. Ettinson said...

Mcreider, thanks for the comment.

I disagree that you cannot criticize a piece for what it does not include. If it were viewed purely as a work of art, a movie, a story or painting, then yes, it must be seen for what it contains, but this is more than just art, this is meant as a political tool. It's meant to teach and I think teaching can be criticized for its lacunae.

That being said, I don't expect it to include all the nuances of a complicated situation (for example, Shalit, whose status has been hidden from international and Israeli authorities for well over 900 days.) My point is, that in showing the plight of this poor boy, the obvious solution the viewer comes to (and the message Gisha wants you to take away) is: open the borders.

The video suggests a solution to the viewer but ignores the reason for the current status quo and what the consequences of opening the borders may be. It argues for what I think is a false premise, opening the borders will make everything okay.

Lirun said...

most videos offer a sequence for pasting URL or embedding.. all you need to do is copy of the code for embedding and paste into your post but make sure your post in the html view..

i dig your blog.. keep up the flow :)