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Golden Globe for Terror

Golden Globe for Terror

The reception accorded Paradise Now reinforces the impression that, in the current global struggle against Islamist terrorism, our blood is somehow not as red as everyone else's.

by the Jerusalem Post

The Golden Globe award for best foreign film went Monday to Paradise Now, an entry from "Palestine" about two suicide bombers. Though no independent entity called Palestine yet exists, Nazareth-born, Dutch-resident director Hany Abu-Assad's French-German-Dutch-Israeli co-production has already garnered a plethora of awards, including the Audience Prize and Best Film Award at the Berlin Film Festival, as well as the European Oscar last December.

The latter prize was conferred on the day a Palestinian suicide bomber detonated himself at a Netanya mall, taking six innocent lives and maiming numerous others.

The film details the painstaking preparations of two attractive young friends with whom it is not difficult to sympathize. They feel suffocated in Nablus: Sa'id, the younger, prefers "death to inferiority," while his love-interest Suha -- the foreign-born daughter of "an assassinated Palestinian hero" -- tries relentlessly but ultimately fails to dissuade Sa'id from showing the "courage of his convictions."

The friends set out with explosive charges around their midriffs, are separated at the security barrier when surprised by an IDF patrol, and later reunite. The tearjerker moments revolve not around the presumed fate of the passengers -- mostly young soldiers -- on the Israeli civilian bus ultimately boarded by Sa'id, but around his friend's failure, following a last-minute change of heart, to dissuade him from going ahead with the bombing.

It's unlikely a film delving into the inner struggles of the terrorists who brought down the World Trade Center will be produced, let alone showered with the same accolades.

We don't believe that those who decided to honor Paradise Now necessarily wished to glorify suicide bombers or justify those who target Israeli civilians. Yet we find it unlikely a film delving into the inner struggles of the terrorists who brought down the World Trade Center or who murdered in London, Madrid, Baghdad or Bali will be produced, let alone showered with the same accolades.

The reception accorded Paradise Now reinforces the impression that, in the current global struggle against Islamist terrorism, our blood is somehow not as red as everyone else's.

In the film, the bombers' handlers are portrayed as cynical and manipulative. But even if there is no explicit vindication of attacks against Israelis, what else is one to make of a film that treats suicide bombers as sympathetic victims, with no attention paid to their actual victims?

Paradise Now is hardly the first movie to make heroes of villains. The gangster movie genre, culminating in the Godfather saga, is a case in point. But esteem for the real-life mobsters didn't spiral because the fictional Corleones were popularized. Nor were mobsters portrayed as having a noble cause.

It is scant comfort that Paradise Now isn't the only film to attempt making the worst monsters look human. Last year's German film Downfall, about Hitler's last days, offered a humane depiction of a flawed, repugnant and ranting but also sometimes kindly and generous old vegetarian. Yet Downfall was produced more than half a century after the Third Reich's demise, and it did not ignore the Holocaust horrors unleashed by Hitler and his regime.

Paradise Now deals with a very real present. The theaters in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem that showed the film, like almost every public place, routinely employ guards to prevent attacks of precisely the sort that the film portrayed -- from the bombers' perspective -- on the screen. Hence the concern is not over historical accuracy and perspective, but propagandizing for terrorism in the present and future.

Two years ago, Israeli Ambassador Zvi Mazel purposely damaged an art installation in Sweden that depicted a Palestinian suicide bomber as Snow White floating on a sea of blood - an undiplomatic act that was met with near universal cheers in Israel.

Paradise Now humanizes mass murderers even more forthrightly, and to a much wider audience. Those who would heap awards on such a film should, even if they are unconcerned by the sensibilities of Israelis, consider whether they would make the same choice if they - their nation or their families - were the victims.

January 21, 2006

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Visitor Comments: 13

(13) Anonymous, March 8, 2006 12:00 AM

Hollywood is sick . . .

Is Hollywood trying to appease the muslim ? ? ?

(12) julia, January 28, 2006 12:00 AM


I think we all could make the effort to regularly educate ourselves. I am amused by the comments made about liberals. Raised as a liberal quaker and then converting there is a lot of thinking that is foreign to me that I slowly acclimate. Liberal people don't believe that other people could want anything but peace and properity for everyone. They ar enot totally naive, but that is how they feel and don't want to believe in truely evil people. It is important that we call evil people evil and don't make excuses for them, or keep quiet when others try to understand them. It is simplier to understand them than it would seem. They are evil, they are human, but they are evil first.

(11) Yossi Zur, January 26, 2006 12:00 AM

my son was murdered by an arab terrorist

Last night the Palestinian movie "Paradise Now" won the Golden Globe award. The movie shows the route that two young Palestinians take to become suicide murderers, up until the minute they board a bus in Tel Aviv filled with children.
The movie looks professional. It was made with great attention to detail, but it is extremely dangerous – not only to the Middle East, but to the whole world.

My son Asaf, almost 17 years old, was a high school student in the eleventh grade who loved computer science. One day after school he boarded a bus home, as usual. Along the way, a suicide murderer from Hebron, 21 years old, a computer science student at the Hebron Polytechnic, exploded on the bus.

17 people were killed, 9 of them school children aged 18 or less.

My son Asaf was killed on spot.

I watched the movie "Paradise Now" trying to understand what it is trying to say, what message it carries?

That the murderer is human? He is not.
That he has doubts? He has none. After all, he is willing to kill himself along with his victims.
That the Israelis are to blame for this brutal killing? Are the Israelis to blame for the Twin Towers in New York, the night club in Indonesia, the hotel in Egypt, the shop in Turkey, the restaurant in Morocco or in Tunis, the hotel in Jordan, the underground in London, the train in Spain? And the list goes on and on.

What makes this movie award-worthy? Would the people that awarded this movie the Golden Globe do the same if the movie was about young people from Saudi Arabia who learn how to fly airplanes in the USA and then use Islamic rituals to prepare themselves for their holy mission, crashing their airplanes into the Twin Towers in New York City? Would this movie get an award then?

This movie tries to say that suicide murder is legitimate when you feel you have exhausted all other means. But a suicide murderer who boards a bus kills 15 or 20 innocent people, so how about a suicide murderer who walks into a city with a biological bomb and kills 10,000 people or 100,000 people? Is that still legitimate? Where does one draw the line?

I believe that the world should draw the line at one person. The killing of even one person is not legitimate. My son was almost 17 years old, he loved surfing, he loved loud music. Now he is gone because a suicide murderer decided it's legitimate to blow himself up on a crowded bus.

Granting an award to this kind of movie gives the filmmakers a seal of approval to hide behind. Now they can say that the world sees suicide bombing as legitimate. By ignoring the film's message and the implications of this message, those that chose to award this film a prize have become part of the evil chain of terror and accomplices to the next suicide murders – whether they kill 17 people or 17,000 people.

(10) Eda, January 24, 2006 12:00 AM

Israel you are not alone!

Israel you are not alone! There are many who know the truth!! It is a terrible shame this has happened.

(9) all for israel, January 23, 2006 12:00 AM

do you want answers?

here are some answers:

"from time immemorial" by joan peters
"this land is my land, reb nachman on israel" rabbi chaim kramer


what would help is if all the jewish people who really understand the truth united and really educated other jews and the world. the main thing is to educate and communicate.

also,most importantly, it says that tefila, teshuva and tzedaka cancel stern decrees (prayer, returning to torah, and charity) the more we do this, and hopefully make aliyah to israel the better we are.

everyone needs to do their part, whatever it is, but we also need to come together and really educate the jewish people. when am yisrael is strong, then we cannot be defeated by the nations.

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