Friday, September 17, 2010

In the Memory of Sabra and Shatila: Waltz With Bachir

I finally got to watch the animated movie “Waltz with Bachir” for the Israili director Ari Folman. Ofcourse, I had to watch it on Youtube since the movie is banned in Lebanon.
Folman is a former Israili soldier who fought in the 1982 Lebanese War and was present during the Sabra and Shatila massacre.

In his movie, Folman tries to recover his lost memories about the war. The title comes from a part in the movie where an Israili soldier is firing in a crazy Waltz manner next to a Bachir Gmayel Poster. I don’t know if it is a documentary, although it won several awards based on that.

I did not know what to expect to see in the movie. I have read very few Lebanese reviews or articles concerning it.

It seemed to me that the movie was showing that the Israili forces had nothing to do with the massacre, and that it was all Gmayel’s troops. That, to me, instantly kills whatever credibility this movie maker had (although I wouldn’t consider anything from an Israili credible). Because we all know Gmayel’s troops couldn’t have done anything without the help of the Israili warmachine. So when we see in the movie how all the house in the camp are no more than stones and ashes, are we supposed to believe that Gmayel’s guns did that and not the Israili Tanks?

That aside, I couldn't help but quetion all Gmayel's past and current supporters' loyalty, because it is hard to believe that the Lebanese Kataeb, with a history like this, could be enemies with Israel. To me, such acts do not just portray disloyalty to Lebanon and to the Arab cause, but it shows anti humane behavior.

Regardless, the movie did show how horrible war is, but really, it didn’t need a movie, one could simply see actual videos of that massacre. So I can say that showing how horrible war is was not the real motive. The director is trying to show a humane side of the Israili soldiers, or atleast reflect their agony. But we know better. We know that no agony compares to the Palestinians'.

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