Not that I'm much of a movie buff - I have small children, so most films I get to watch are animated features starring talking animals - but here are quick links to some films on Palestine/Israel and the War on Terror™ that I find useful:
2. Videos available for viewing on-line:
i. Palestine Is Still The IssueTwenty-five years ago, I made a film called Palestine Is Still The Issue. It was about a nation of people - the Palestinians - forced off their land and later subjected to a military occupation by Israel. An occupation condemned by the United Nations and almost every country in the world, including Britain.
But Israel is backed by a very powerful friend, the United States. So in 25 years, if we're to speak of the great injustice here, nothing has changed. What has changed is that the Palestinians have fought back. Stateless and humiliated for so long, they've risen up against Israel's huge military machine, although they themselves have no arm, no tanks, no American planes and gun ships or missiles.
Some have committed desperate acts of terror, like suicide bombing. But for Palestinians, the overriding, routine terror, day after day, has been the ruthless control of almost every aspect of their lives, as if they live in an open prison. This film is about the Palestinians and a group of courageous Israelis united in the oldest human struggle - to be free.(John Pilger).The more I had read, the weirder the world seemed to have gotten. Strange stuff about displaced people not being allowed to return to their homes, two-tier legal systems, international law being used as toilet paper. The more I dug up, the more peculiar I found the stories that came out of the public (NPR/PBS) and corporate media—as though a huge crevasse had swallowed all reality relating to Palestine.
Palestine was not alone in that respect. In 1981 there wasn’t a serious national dialogue on South African apartheid either. This reality gap—and I’ve met lots of Palestine veterans who have experienced the sensation—is a constant irritation. Like all your underwear is too tight. You can’t pick up a paper, or watch the news without the deformity of language hitting you in the face. An Orwellian soiree: war is peace, “occupation” tethered to “benign,” state terrorism cloaked in “security.”
While I was working on Refugee Road I had a long look at how selfless individual Americans could be when they knew the truth. Three quarters of a million people were resettled, in a volunteer effort, from those terrible camps to America. It was something. And why? Because Americans met those folks through their televisions, and they heard their stories and saw their living conditions. Other issues aside, my people had reached out and at least ameliorated a human catastrophe. That was the context that brought me to consider producing a documentary about the situation of Palestinian refugees.(Tom Hayes, link is to PDF file).Should we be worried about the threat from organised terrorism or is it simply a phantom menace being used to stop society from falling apart? In the past our politicians offered us dreams of a better world. Now they promise to protect us from nightmares. The most frightening of these is the threat of an international terror network. But just as the dreams were not true, neither are these nightmares.
The Power of Nightmares explores how the idea that we are threatened by a hidden and organised terrorist network is an illusion. It is a myth that has spread unquestioned through politics, the security services and the international media.
At the heart of the story are two groups: the American neo-conservatives and the radical Islamists. Both were idealists who were born out of the failure of the liberal dream to build a better world. These two groups have changed the world but not in the way either intended. Together they created today's nightmare vision of an organised terror network. A fantasy that politicians then found restored their power and authority in a disillusioned age. Those with the darkest fears became the most powerful.(By Adam Curtis, for the BBC)To many in both politics and business, the triumph of the self is the ultimate expression of democracy, where power has finally moved to the people. Certainly the people may feel they are in charge, but are they really? The Century of the Self tells the untold and sometimes controversial story of the growth of the mass-consumer society in Britain and the United States. How was the all-consuming self created, by whom, and in whose interests? (Also Adam Curtis, for the BBC)"Hijacking Catastrophe: 9/11, Fear & the Selling of American Empire" xamines how a radical fringe of the Republican Party used the trauma of the 9/11 terror attacks to advance a pre-existing agenda to radically transform American foreign policy while rolling back civil liberties and social programs at home. The documentary places the Bush administration’s false justifications for war in Iraq within the larger context of a two-decade struggle by neoconservatives to dramatically increase military spending in the wake of the cold war, and to expand American power globally by means of military force. At the same time, the documentary argues that the Bush administration has sold this radical and controversial plan for aggressive American military intervention by deliberately manipulating intelligence, political imagery, and the fears of the American people after 9/11.
Narrated by Julian Bond, Hijacking Catastrophe features interviews with more than twenty prominent political observers, including Pentagon whistleblower Lt. Colonel Karen Kwiatkowski, who witnessed first-hand how the Bush administration set up a sophisticated propaganda operation to link the anxieties generated by 9/11 to a pre-existing foreign policy agenda that included a preemptive war on Iraq.
At its core, the film places the deceptions of the Bush administration within the larger frame of questions seldom posed in the mainstream: What, exactly, is the agenda that drove the administration's pre-war deceptions? How is 9/11 being used to sell this agenda? And what are the stakes for America, Americans, and the world if this agenda succeeds in being fully implemented during a second Bush term?
Most of the online videos last about an hour. If you are looking for something shorter, you might try this two-minute video from an Australian film crew, who interviewed American passersby on the subject of "Which Country Should We Invade Next?". It very much confirms the findings that MSNBC announced yesterday: Young Americans shaky on geographic smarts. I can't decide if it's hilarious or deeply depressing.