Friday, 16 January 2009
Among the first films to ever address the Palestinian struggle, The Dupes takes place sometime in the 50's Iraq, though shot in 72 Syria. A long, black and white film, it focuses on various characters and their struggle to get out of Iraq and into Kuwait to get high paying jobs. Each of them visits professional smugglers, but the smugglers ask too much money, they try to walk, but it isn't easy in the hot Middle East August sun. Finally they meet a man, who only seems to care for money, but has the most promising plan - he takes the three of them in his water tank truck across the border illegally.
To me, the strongest theme in this film was that nobody was doing anything to help. Here they were, men with low paying jobs, families, escaping particular social issues and offer of relief, rather the opposite, they were each trying to get some kind of money out of them. Whether they were the professional smugglers charging high prices for illegal acts of desperation, or fathers trying to marry off their daughters, or even other fathers leaving their family for a woman with money, nobody was standing up to anything that mattered. The fragmentation of society, and the deeper fragmentation of Arab society. Here they were, three penniless men trying to find a livelihood, but not the Iraqis nor the Kuwaitis that they came across would help them, rather they were interested in money and stories of sex-capades with dancers.
The film is based on a novella, Men in the Sun, by Ghassan Kanafani, which was written in 1962.
I was glad to have watched it today as the same themes still resonate.
Thursday, 15 January 2009
by Carlos Latuff (Brazil)
Tales of Iraq War
I guess I should explain my title by saying that in the last 3 weeks, I have seen more resistance (as seen here) from South American governments than Arab. Bolivia and Venezuela did not hesitate to make a diplomatic gesture against the genocide happening in Gaza. It is a shame that Arab governments haven't done the same.
from Al Jazeera.net (January 15, 2009, sourced from agencies):
Venezuela has joined Bolivia in severing ties with Israel in protest against its war in the Gaza Strip, which has left more than 1,000 Palestinians dead.
"Venezuela ... has decided to break off diplomatic relations with the state of Israel given the inhumane persecution of the Palestinian people," the foreign ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president, decided to expel Israel's ambassador and embassy staff last week because of the offensive, calling the Israeli onslaught a "holocaust".
Evo Morales, the president of Bolivia and a close ally of Chavez, said that he would seek to get senior Israeli officials, including Ehud Olmert, the Israeli prime minister, charged with "genocide" in the International Criminal Court.
The Bolivian president also dismissed the United Nations and its "Insecurity Council" for its "lukewarm" response to the crisis and said the general assembly should hold an emergency session to condemn the invasion.
"Considering these grave attacks against ... humanity, Bolivia will stop having diplomatic relations with Israel," Morales told diplomats in the Bolivian capital, La Paz.
He also said that Shimon Peres, the Israeli president, should be stripped of his Nobel Peace Prize for failing to stop the invasion.