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Rantings of a Sandmonkey

Be forewarned: The writer of this blog is an extremely cynical, snarky, pro-US, secular, libertarian, disgruntled sandmonkey. If this is your cup of tea, please enjoy your stay here. If not, please sod off

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Paradise what?

Before you continue reading this, I want you to know that I have not seen the movie Paradise Now yet, so I am not making a judgment on the movie, the script, the ideas behind them, or anything like that. If someone wants to make a movie that makes suicide-bombing look appealing, that's their business, and the Academy Awards people can chose to praise it all they want. That is not my beef today, since those are not my people. I think you now figured, that by implication, whatever beef I have over this film, I have with my people. And it all comes down to a single question: Do you really have to be THIS excited about THAT movie? I am sure it's a "tour de force" and "a staggering artistic achievment" and all that crap they put in trailers, but will you please stop for a minute and realize that you are all very proud and very excited over a movie about suicide-bombers? A movie that attempts to make us understand, and thus excuse, the motives behind suicide-bombing? And that's what you are so proud about? Is that the one thing we really want the west to understand about us? How does this logic work again? "Ahh...See, now here is a movie that will show them that suicidebombers are normal people,just like you and me, who, due to their living circumstances, just chose to blow themselves up and kill other people. I am sure once they see it from our point of view, they will be as ok with us doing it as we are!" Guys, a movie that attempts to show that suicide-bombers are your average run-of-the-mill palestinians does as much good to the palestinain cause as the rule that australian cops shouldn't arrest the men in domestic abuse cases in muslim households because "it's part of their culture to hit women" does to the reputation of Islam. And yet arabs praise the suicide-bombing movie, as much as australian clerics hailed that "wife-beating is a muslim thing" rule as "positive step" in "mutlicultural tolerance" and shows "acceptance" towards Islam. And then people wonder why the west views arabs and muslims as terrorists and opressers of women. Gee, I wonder why! For this reason, even before seeing this movie, I declare that I stand against it and what it stands for, and I won't be hailing it in any way, even if it's good. And I vow to redicule every single person that I know that gets excited about this movie and it's reocgnition as something "postive". Hell, if there was really a jewish conspiracy they wouldn't be protesting against this movie, they would be putting it in every movie theatre out there and then going "told you all those people are terrorists" while pointing to the influx of praise such a movie would get amongst arab and muslim people as ultimate proof. Unfortunately for us, the "evil Jooooz" don't really need to plot against us, cause we have become experts in shooting ourselves in the foot that way. So please, even if it's the best movie ever made, don't support it or praise it. We don't need those stereotypes enforced people, trust me on that one! Update: IMAO informs us how the fact that this movie didn't win an Oscar helped the academy dodge a bullet. Or bullets. Crossfire really! It will also explain the reason behind Ben Stiller's green suit!


At 3/07/2006 06:42:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i thought u were much smarter than this....you are the one here stereo-typing a movie u didnt see, i really cant get your point because you are missing the whole point of the movie...yes the movie gives an explanation to the circumstances surrounding suicuide bombers but it neither praises it or condemns it...the movie also offers the alternative view which is..its better for us as palestinians to live and fight for our right to live as the rest of humanity rather than go and kill ourselves and others...the movie does question suicide bombings and their results on the palestinian cause...
so sandmonkey...yes we really have to be EXCITED about such a movie that offers alternative points of view...

At 3/07/2006 07:07:00 AM, Blogger Diana said...

I saw the movie. I don't think it glorifies suicide bombers at all: quite the contrary. The heroine of the film is a Palestinian woman who argues forcefully against suicide bombing. The terrorist leader is explicitly shown to be a snake-in-the-grass who manipulates gullible young dummies.

That said, I think the film was overpraised. It really wasn't anything special.

And also it radically downplayed the influence of Islam in the everyday lives of Palestinians. These people could as easily have been Italian as Palestinian. The filmmaker is an Israeli Arab who calls himself Palestinian. Well, he is clearly living in some kind of dream world.

At 3/07/2006 07:39:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Diana, you hit the nail on the head: Dream World. He downplays the influence of their own faith upon their thinking, plays up ONE palestinian women's thoughts on the matter.... I think the word is taqyyia (sp).


At 3/07/2006 07:47:00 AM, Blogger Sand-E Sez said...

I think the thing that you fail to notice in all this is that most North Americans aren't as globally aware as the rest of the world. Fact is that a movie that addresses as major an issue as this needs both sides of the coin covered... The genius in this movie isn't the fact that it condones or condemns the issue but simply that it presents both perspectives as opposed to the usual one sided pro or con biased... I like that it doesn't insult the viewer's intelligence...this is the story... these are the different perspectives... do with it what you will.

At 3/07/2006 08:05:00 AM, Anonymous Lana said...

i love it how you call everyone ignorant for praising such a movie, while you appear to be the most ignorant since you are attacking a film that you have not seen yourself. you're reacting based on your personal view of suicide bombings and on media reports about the film. you should know that films are created very delicately and every action and word means something, this is not something that can be depicted in a review. so until you watch the movie, please spare us. if you just want an excuse to attack suicide bombings, go right ahead, just don't get this movie into it.

At 3/07/2006 08:57:00 AM, Anonymous Alb Sayed said...


You start out your post with:

"I want you to know that I have not seen the movie"

Which is an apropriate disclaimer, but you go on criticizing the movie and analyzing it, rendering it a "movie that will show them that suicidebombers are normal people."

In the past, you've been justifiably critical of the "mob mentality" in our world, and our lack of self criticism.

I think in this case both can be applied to your critique of the movie.

At 3/07/2006 09:15:00 AM, Blogger Tomanbay said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 3/07/2006 09:18:00 AM, Anonymous Kelly said...

SAM, they are falling for it. Just as you predicted. LOL. You ARE still the master button-pusher. awesome work.

Guys, I have known S.A.M. for 6 years now, and I hate to tell you that y'all been had. Contradictions don't exist people, always check your premises. You know how smart he is, so how would he make such an argument?

Or is why a btter question?


At 3/07/2006 09:38:00 AM, Blogger waterdragon52 said...

I haven't seen Paradise Now either as I had no desire to contribute to its economic success, but I have two film reviewer friends who have and both gave the film a "qualified pass" for "balance" but found the film lacking on many points. But I pointed out to both of them that had this film had no "balance", it would never have received funding from a major studio nor would it have received the broad distribution it did.

But as for the message that young Arabs or Muslims might take from PN, I think you need go no further than to the recent interview given by the director, Hany Abu-Assad, who claims that he was inspired to make the movie in part at least because of the hassle he experienced at a border crossing that has been the scene of many terror incidents: he said he felt deeply humiliated -- by the Israeli soldiers and not the conduct of the terrorists who really are to blame for the security measures that the soldiers merely carry out -- to the point of wanting to be a bomber himself. No mention of the culture of hatred nurtured by Arafat & Co., or feelings of collective guilt over massacres of unarmed civilians. Just a pathetic rationalization.

I think that like Arafat, Abu-Assad shows the face he wishes to in accordance with the audience.

As for the Academy using any judgment in not following suit with the Golden Globe panelists... ...I wonder how much credit goes to the petition, started in Israel, but ultimately delivered to the Academy by Nonie Darwish, a Gaza-born Muslim who converted to Christianity and speaks out about the culture of hate that has needlessly kept Arabs impoverished and dependant on aid, in refugee camps rather than recognize the right of Jews and other non-Muslims to live in peace in the Middle East. As a daughter of a military officer posthumously decorated by Nasser, I think the lady may have had a lot of moral sway.

At 3/07/2006 09:38:00 AM, Blogger Tomanbay said...

listen i took out the comment, because apparently u feel strongly about links in ur somments section...
u have read it, and that's all that matters!

At 3/07/2006 10:16:00 AM, Blogger elengil said...

I have not seen the movie. but ... your comments actually do sound vaguely familiar...

Do you remember a movie coming out some years ago called The Seige?

At the time I had a friend, Muslim, who thought it was rediculous that everyone in his mosque was against the movie, for being anti-arab... but they had never seen the movie.

We watched it. Yes, *one* of the bad guys in the movie was a Muslim Arab. *Another* bad guy in the movie was a US military general. Both were equally evil, in my opinion.

Conversely, many of the Arab Muslims were innocent and/or good. Many of the American military were good. Many of the civilians were good. Etc.

The point was... they had an idea in their mind about what the movie was and what it was about, and they were wrong.

My friend loved the movie, as did I. Why? Well, I know I loved it because it showed a very important truth. To be careful when fighting your enemy lest you become your own enemy.

The military General excused torture, mass imprisonment and martial law as being necessary to protect the city from the terrorists. However, in doing so, did he not become a terrorist also?

What is a terrorist? Someone who attempts to control through *terror*. That is exactly what happened.

Both sides became terrorists to reach their own ends. Those caught in the middle were people of every kind, Muslim, Chrisitan, Jew, white, black, Arab, American...

The point is... just because a movie is about a certain topic does not mean that it is either praising or condemning that topic. It does not mean the actors subscribe to the beliefs of the character they are playing. It does not mean the writer sympathises with the characters, though he may empathize.

I might watch Paradise Now. I might not. I don't know. I'm not really big into movies in general, so it's up in the air.

But I think condemning the movie *without* seeing it is too much becoming what you are against. Blind hatred for something. Hating what you don't understand.

Do I want to get inside the head of a suicide bomber? Honestly? Yes! Because their actions are so utterly foreign to my mind! I don't want to sympathise with them, I don't want to excuse their actions, I don't want to take up their cause. I want to know what on earth could make a man or woman, boy or girl, hate so deeply and so completely that they will kill whoever they can while kiling themselves at the same time. That is something that makes me want to know why!

Both because I cry for their victims, but also because I weep for them. Enough has come to light recently to suggest not all were willing suicide bombings. That still does not excuse it, but it sheds a vastly different light on the situation.

At 3/07/2006 01:45:00 PM, Anonymous Yet another anonymous said...

Criticizing a movie one hasn't seen is not very different from hating Salman Rushdie without having read The Satanic Verses (I don't hate him and I haven't read the book) or demonstrating against the Danish cartoons without having seen them (I have seen them and I strongly support them and strongly condemn the reactions to them from a part of the Muslim world and first and foremost Western dhimmis).

I'm a Westerner who has seen Paradise Now. IMHO, it didn't leave any peculiar impression on me, nor do I find it particularly pro or contra anything. And yes, I strongly condemn suicide bombings.

Sandmonkey, go watch it and write a critique! I'd love to read it, no matter what your opinion will be - what matters is that you've seen what you'rw writing about.

BTW, I saw Munich and find it no way anti-Palestinian. If it's anti-something, it's anti-state sponsored violence. Yet, there are opinions saying it's anti-Israeli or anti-Palestinian, some of them surely expressed by people who have seen it. This all means that there are various ways of interpreting art.

At 3/07/2006 06:13:00 PM, Blogger forsoothsayer said...

i saw paradise now too and it is kind of bland and there were no suprising moments in it at all. it honestly doesn't deserve stron feelings either way. really hot suicide bomber though.

At 3/07/2006 07:41:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I will never watch Paradise Now or Munich unless its a pirated edition. I dont want to give these people my money!

At 3/07/2006 10:43:00 PM, Blogger elengil said...

Re: above..

hmm. yeah. there is that. ah well, in five years they'll put it on TV no doubt.

At 3/08/2006 12:16:00 AM, Blogger sabaza said...


As someone who has seen the movie I can safely tell you that it does not glorify suicide bombers, make excuses for them or justify them.

Nor does it condemn them.

The movie leaves you with a lot more questions than it does answers, which might be good, or might be bad. Either way, for someone as intelligent and "open minded" as you, I find it surprising that you would feel so strongly in opposition to something that you haven't seen yourself yet.

Take my advice on this one, watch the movie, more than once if needed, and then pass your judgement.

Having seen the film, I think it deals very objectively with the situation. Almost too objectively given the fact that the director is Palestinian. But I will reiterate, it does not glorify nor justify suidice bombings. It juxtaposes two emotions, patterns of thought from the side that most of the people watching the news never get to see.

Think about it, the only time people know about suicide bombers is after they die. This is an insight most of us would be curious about.

Aren't you?


At 3/08/2006 08:34:00 AM, Blogger elengil said...

I think it deals very objectively with the situation. Almost too objectively given the fact that the director is Palestinian.

He's also an Israeli.

At 3/09/2006 02:08:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude see the movie before you judge it. I can post a link for a good torrent feed if you want, just let me know if it's ok with you (legal issues and all).


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