Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Because Here's The Thing

Just to expand a bit, because the more I think the madder I get. Spielberg's fucking hi-tech arts-n-crafts project is profoundly despicable on several axes, the most egregious of which is the fact that it presents a willfully, monstrously false and ahistorical notion of what it is to be a child under occupation.

Can he possibly believe that he's going to penetrate to the True Universal Heart of Palestinian childhood, to a land where we're really all alike, playing with whatever toys we can find or make, creating innocent lighthearted make-believes in the soft-focus landscape of youth? FUCK YOU. The world inhabited by Palestinian children is nothing to do with the experience of Israeli children, or American or any other children who don't live in shattered ghettos under siege, surrounded by the daily, absolutely real threat of vicious violence and death at the hands of their occupiers.
Early in the fighting, Palestinian children watched countless reruns of news footage that captured the death of Mohammed al-Durra, 12, even as his father used his own body to try to shield the boy from a barrage of bullets. "In their games, children identify with the martyr," says Dr. Eyyad Sarraj, a psychiatrist who heads the Gaza Community Mental Health Program. Psychologically, he says, "they have left their fathers for the martyrs." A cult of death has appropriated a Palestinian generation, but a deep fear underlies it. Today, according to Sarraj, 35% of Palestinian children under the age of 15 wet their beds, up from 7% before the intifadeh. Sarraj estimates that 30% of children suffer from post-traumatic stress.
This from fucking Time Magazine, hardly a bastion of pro-Palestinian progressivism, as evident from the use of the execrable phrase 'cult of death', than which I can think of no more alienizing, teratifying rubric. The article's rubbish, but even it can't skirt the screaming obviousness of the fact that there is no such thing as 'being a Palestinian child' outside the brutalizing context of the Occupation.

So Spielberg wants to show these traumatized, utterly hope-extinguished children videos of the daily lives of Israeli kids, enjoying plentiful food and running water, living in intact houses, interacting with parents who have jobs and lives, able to walk the streets without fearing harassment or worse from soldiers or settlers, having somewhere to walk to. What exactly is meant to come of that? Is that going to make Palestinian children less likely to want to kill Israeli children?

And for that matter, what does Spielberg think will come out of the Palestinian videos? What happens when, as will without fail happen, some of those videos document the IDF shooting the young directors' playmates for throwing stones? Will he decry those children as unnatural, unchildlike, political? Will he allow those videos to be shown to the Israeli participants? Or will he deem them, (unlike the footage of Mohammed al-Durra's death), too traumatic for children's eyes?

The conception of childhood that Spielberg is promulgating is not only sickeningly sentimental and factually wrong, it's an active, filthy lie that seeks to paper over and deny the deliberate, root-and-branch destruction of yet a third generation of Palestinians by the Zionist project.

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