On 22 June 2009, Nicolas Sarkozy, the French President, asserted that burqas (or the burqa-clad?) are “not welcome” in France, adding that “[i]n our country, we cannot accept that women be prisoners behind a screen, cut off from all social life, deprived of all identity” and that “the veils reduced dignity.”France’s Muslim minority is Western Europe’s largest Muslim minority, estimated at six-million-strong. And this is just an approximation, as the French Republic implicitly claims to be post-race and post-religion via a prohibition on any census that would take into account the race or religion of its citizens. (This anxiety mirrors the brouhaha in Indian media àpropos the much-contested enumeration of OBCs or Other Backward Castes in the Indian census surveys of 2011, or the urgency to declare some spaces post-caste, post-feminist, and post-racist while casteism, patriarchy and racism continue unabated.)
Masters of their own Destiny is the first episode in Al Jazeera’s six-part series on the history of the Palestine Liberation Organisation. It looks at the challenges encountered as Palestinians sought to wrest control of their own destiny from Arab regimes and create an independent Palestinian organisation that would lead the struggle for a national home.
Last month, PULSE published Yoav Shamir’s film, Defamation. I’ve finally gotten around to watching it, and just couldn’t help writing as I watched. Aside from the comical Nancy Drew music, I found it at times very hard to watch. Looking in the mirror is never easy.
The Easy Part – The Adults
There’s something pathetic about a grown man living in unsubstantiated fear. Probably the most pathetic statement in the movie is made by the security guy at Crown Heights:
When a black guy sees two people walking down the street, a black person and a jewish person, his choice to attack someone will not be a black person. With a black person, you never know, does he carry a knife, does he carry a gun?..
This superb documentary by Oscar-winning director John Demme (Philadelphia, Beloved, Man from Plains, The Manchurian Candidate) uses the story of legendary Haitian journalist and broadcaster Jean Dominique as a focus to present the larger history of the country’s political struggles. The film features excellent archival footage and interviews, and a briliant soundtrack (although Wyclef Jean I have just learned is a poseur who actually echoed the Bush State Department line in laying the blame for the 2004 coup and kidnapping of Jean Bertrand Aristide on the president himself).
The BBC’s Panorama program is typically loaded with Israeli Government propaganda such as saying Hamas provoked Israel, rather than Israel provoking Hamas; it also fails to provide adequate context about who broke the ceasefire and the illegal military occupation and blockading of Gaza, hardly an ‘impartial’ way to frame events. Continue reading “Panorama – Gaza: Out of the Ruins”
The first Gulf War was recently descibed by Robert Fisk as a turning point, where Western society seemed indifferent to war and civilian casualties, he discerned that part of the problem was due to journalism saying “our television lads and lasses played it [the war] for all it was worth – it was the first war that had ‘theme’ music to go with the pictures”.
Militainment is a documentary on this phenomena where journalism blends with entertainment and the military establishment.