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Normalisation Of Occupation In Movies

Published on 02 May 2015, by M. Tomazy.
Photo: from the movie 'Waltz with Bashir'
by Bea for Palestine (*)

This is a part from a longer piece I wrote, I made a fast translation to english about the Movie “Waltz With Bashir”, which I think is a movie that tries to Normalize the violence inflicted on the Palestinians. With the last Assault on Gaza its important to Highlight those normalization attempts.

Some may wonder why my focus is describing the dehumanization of Palestinians, without taking a closer account of Israeli suffering. The answer is simple. No one would require that as much interest was directed towards how the French felt during all the years they colonized other countries. Nor would the Boers in South Africa be put at the same level in an analysis of apartheids humanitarian affects and emotional impacts. During Israel's war against Lebanon in 1982, when Sabra and Shattila suffered horrific massacres, a term was invented, Shoot and Cry. Later this attracted increasing interest, especially after the Israeli film "Waltz with Bashir" by Ari Folman, where the concept really gets a meaning. Shoot, attack, bomb, arrest and kill - there is always a chance to cry out afterwards, the concept could be summarized. You can mourn that you have killed someone, but the dead person does not leave any traces and gives no headlines in the media.

”We'll drop bombs on residential buildings, and then we'll treat the wounded at Ichilov; we'll shell meager places of refuge in United Nations schools, and then we'll rehabilitate the disabled at Beit Lewin Stein. We'll shoot and then we'll cry, we'll kill and then we'll lament, we'll cut down the women and children like automatic killing machines, and we'll overpriced preserve our dignity” (Levy, Haaretz, 2009).

Folman has won a number of prominent awards for his film, including Golden Globe, and it is hailed worldwide for its ability to describe the soldiers' deepest feelings, as the anxiety that comes after shooting someone in the head at such close range that the brain substance spread not only on the floors and walls, but also sticks to your own body. Or how the soldier has consigned all the memories of what happened in Sabra into places where it is black. Where memory is blank. Where the horror is bearable because it does not exist. Folman received his Golden Globe Award at the same time as the bombs rained down on Gaza, and Haaretz journalist Gideon Levy, was not slow to pay attention to this:

“It must be noted that this film is infuriating, disturbing, outrageous and deceptive. It deserved an Oscar for the illustrations and animation - but a badge of shame for its message. It was not by accident That When he won the Golden Globe, Ari Folman did not even mention the war in Gaza, Which was raging as he accepted the prestigious award. The images coming out of Gaza That Day looked remarkably like those in Folman's film. But he was silent. So before we sing Folman's praises, Which will of course ask praise for us all, we would do well to remember that this is not an anti-war film, nor even a critical work about Israel as militarist and occupier. It is an act of fraud and deceit, Intended to allow us to pat ourselves on the back, to tell us and the world how lovely we are (Haaretz 23/2 2009)”.

Just as the former colonial powers glorified his adventures, Israel uses this tactic as a tool to win public opinion, both at home, but perhaps especially in other countries where it is increasingly important to convince public opinion of who we really should feel sorry for. This is a Normalizing process, where the borders between those dropping the bombs from high altitudes and the ones getting bombed to pieces, is erased and the parts are compared as equals. We have to be awake for all attempts to normalize the totally abnormal in Occupying, Sieging and murder people under the cover of “Shoot and Cry”.
(*) Pseudonym of the author