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Thursday, November 01, 2007

To Die in Jerusalem- HBO Documentary

2 beautiful teenage girls killed in one fell swoop. Rachel Levy and Ayat al-Akhras. A victim and a perpetrator. An Israeli girl innocently shopping at a supermarket, and the Palestinian suicide bomber who in an instant, in the name of her almighty Allah, blew them both to bits.

I just watched the HBO Documentary "To Die In Jerusalem" and, although I'm not sure this was the filmmakers' intention, it confirmed my belief that the Palestinian/Israeli situation is hopelessly and tragically unsolvable. Not that I ever thought it was anything but.

Suffering greatly from her daughter's death, the film documents (over a period of 4 years or more) Avigail Levy's oft frustrating quest for answers from Ayat's mother Um Samir al Akhras. Both families are interviewed throughout the film, but it isn't until the end that the mothers finally meet (though not face to face) and Avigail is able to ask Um Samir "why?" Ultimately, all Avigail wants is for Um Samir to declare (on film) that violence and suicide bombings are not the way to achieve peace, but Um Samir is unable to do that, and the meeting is ended.

It's a riveting, albeit frustrating film, in as much as it demonstrates the futility of trying to reach out to someone who refuses to do their part and refuses to reach back. At least that's how I viewed it. I felt no empathy, whatsoever, for or from the al-Akhras. I saw no contrition, no guilt, no condemnation for what Ayat had done, some grief for having lost a daughter, but that's it, other than a truck-load of self-pity.

Um-Samir, like most Palestinians, is entrenched in the whole victim-hood, suicide-culture, hatred-of-Israel mentality. Through her comments (and those of her husband) you come to realize that she believes that because of the plight of the Palestinian people, violent actions are warranted. She refuses to acknowledge the fundamental truth that violence begets violence, and that until the Palestinians lay down their bombs and replace enmity with amity, until they stop insisting that "terrorism" is actually "resistance", until they stop equating "suicide bombings" with "God's Will", until they stop glorifying "martyrdom" and celebrate life over death, until they stop engaging in "Jihad for the sake of Allah", until they purge from their belief system that they are "pre-ordained to be martyrs", until they stop teaching their children to hate, there will never be peace in that region.

At one point Ayat's father says "Islam is peace". In another future lifetime, perhaps, but not this one!

26 comments:

American Interests said...

A thought provoking post this, I too would walk away from viewing this documentary with similar feelings. It is sad that little if any hope for a peace of sorts is conveyed. What hope when they are wired to hate and embrace such maniacal righteousness quite literally, from birth? Thanks Incog.

Frasypoo said...

Great post Incog.Glad you got back in time to watch it
Is' nt it ironic that they think Islam is peace!!

Karen said...

It is a sad story. I, too, see no way out for peace. As long as the Palestinians insist that this form of Islam is 'peace' then nothing will change. They continue to believe that it is right to wish for the oblivion of Israel and they are entitle to push it into the sea. It's sick.

Soccer Dad said...

Unfortunately, I'm guessing, the film ignored the heroics of Haim Smadar who saved a number of lives that day, even if he couldn't save himself or Rachel Levy.

Incognito said...

AI: I don't think that was her intention, though, just how I reacted to it. I saw no hope of resolution, at least on the part of the Palestinians, until they have it their way, which is no Israel. It's sad because they showed some footage of some Palestinian children (in that camp) laughing and having fun on their bicycles. Just proves that hatred is learned. If they would just leave their kids alone, perhaps there would be a chance for peace.

FRASYPOO: Yeah, me too Poo. Thanks for letting me know about it!

KAREN: They have decades of indoctrination to wipe out before they can approach the idea of peace.

SOCCER DAD: I can't remember any mention of Haim, or if there was, it was obviously negligble considering I don't remember the mention. I assume she was just concerned with the 2 young girls.

Pat Jenkins said...

that was good stuff incog.. as i was reading, you answerd my question. how the mom of the bomber thought of her daughters actions. a systemic problem indeed. to digress, i have a sort of tag for you give me your seven fav portals on the web. they need not be blogs. if you would rather not play along that is cool...

Incognito said...

PJ: She never really revealed what she felt... other than it was God's will.. which, in my opinion, indicates agreement rather than condemnation.

You mean websites? and do I have to post them here.. or tell you. :-)

WomanHonorThyself said...

ahhhhh there will never be peace because the Arabbbs will never put their hate down!..hugssssss Incog and peace !

Pat Jenkins said...

yes web sites and you can tell me however!!! i just wanted to see your interests beyond the realm of politics and what not!!! if it is too intrusive leave it alone!!! now as to our palestinian woman. i do not know if i would be able to face the lady who my offspring had taken the life of in such a way. she has some huzpah that is for sure.

Incognito said...

Few people seem to be able to accept that sad truth, ANGEL. One can hope, I suppose.

PATJ: Okay.. will think about it. I think there is always an overwhelming need to understand the "whys" of things that don't make sense. We don't often get the answers, though.

Jim Fryar said...

I now tend to regard Islam as a type of death cult rather than a religion. Its sad to have to consider the possibility that there is no peaceful way out of this.

The people behind this believe they can win and want to win, and human life means nothing to them.

Aurora said...

Incognito, thanks for bringing a human face to the carnage that goes on in that country (and has done)for decades. I can't imagine what those Israelis have to live with.

Debbie said...

I feel sorry for the innocent people in the Middle East. They are at the mercy of groups like Hamas, Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, and yes the Palestinian Authority. The die-hard Palestine is ours, Israel doesn't have a right to exist crowd will NEVER settle for peace between the two states.

Well, I should not say never, because with God all things are possible. It seems so hopeless though.

Incognito said...

JIM F: Well, it's certainly not a religion. It's more of a political entity cloaked in religious fanaticism. That's the problem... human life means nothing because death brings more rewards in their minds.

AURORA: I can't either... living in fear must be terrible. We are so lucky!

DEBBIE: I too feel sorry for them, at least those who truly want peace and harmony. I agree... through God all things are possible... but the people have to be willing to let Him.

peddlinshutterbug said...

Incog! thanks for stopping in... It was very good to hear from you. Still just plugging away at the school thing for now.
What a sad commentary on the 'peaceful' religion of islam.
The sad thing is that until the so-called mederate muslims do something about the violent mullahs, and imams; until the 'moderate, peaceful' muslims shut down the madrasas; until the familes stop encouraging and sending their children to be brainwashed indocrinated into this evil, it will continue.
The press needs to give attention to this issue of the abuse of young muslim children, and the perpetuity of their being abused as murderous pawns, held in mental captivity and evil slavery until they do their deeds.
What about even HALF of the attention they gave the Catholic abuse scandal?

Incognito said...

PEDDLIN: Good to see you. Hope you are done soon with school and that it's going well, in the meantime.

It is a sad commentary. and nothing *will* happen until they change their attitudes. I can't help but compare them to the Kurds and how differently 2 sets of people choose to live their lives.

JEB said...

I am center-left-leaning rabbi with love for Israel and, at the same time, sympathy for the plight of innocent Palestinians caught up in the difficulties attendant to Israel's occupation of the West Bank. Having said that, I too saw the documentary and thought your appraisal of it was spot on. Until Palestinians (both leaders and common people) renounce bloodshed, Israel has no reason or impetus to end the occupation. Israel should not submit to the unrealistic demands of people who rejoice at murder.

Incognito said...

JEB: Hello! Thanks for your comment. I don't think anyone denies the plight of the Palestinians but much of it is self-imposed. Why can the Kurdish people, who have been kicked out of land that was rightfully theirs centuries ago, somehow manage to live peacefully amongst themselves. It's a very similar situation. I don't see the Kurds teaching their kids how to hate. I just think that is counterproductive and a hateful thing to do to your progeny.

Anonymous said...

I cannot believe that we as Americans were moved by the obnoxious one sided views of that horrible jewish mother. She did not at any time admit or respond to the Palestinian mother who asked " what about the occupation and oppression of the Palestian land (which jews like to call Israel). If I remember my history correctly (the Bible), the jews wandered the desert for 2,000 years after losing the land they lived in (Palestine). Does that give one title to the land? The only answer to the question the obese jew asks is- the jews need to leave the land they forcibly occupied. The violence is due to the Palestians protecting their land and families. She needs to listen more than here sewer hole spits out crap.

Incognito said...

ANON: I debated deleting your comment, but decided people should be aware of what anti-semites are truly like.

well, Anon. I can't believe there are Americans like *you*, who can be duped into siding with the Palestinians. You need to do a little more research before you make statements about "history". And I'm not talking about biblical history. Violence against innocent civilians is *never* justified and teaching your babies to *hate* (like the Palestinians do) is morally abhorrent. Glorifying and justifying jihad is criminal, and the Palestinian mother implied as much.

Anonymous said...

From Regal185

To Incognito....
I have to agree with Anonymous in the sense that this documentary was taken from one perspective. While sitting there and listening to Abigail and how she spoke to the Palestinian mother.... it was quite rude. Her mannerisms did not project the desire for a true dialogue. The Palestinian mother eloquently spoke about oppression thought history (hell look at the evolution of the US with regards to violence) so violence has been a means to an end in our own creation. The American media does not paint the full picture of the conflict and are highly favoring the Israelis posiiton.

Anonymous said...

I recall Ayat's sister mourning her by shrieking "my sister killed 3, I will kill 30 for her! She should not have gone, she went because others were cowards!" Frightening insight into the true mentality of a palestinian mourning a suicide bomber.

Anonymous said...

I believe that Abigail was blinded by the fact that she thought Ayat's mother was going to condemn the act of the bombing. When Ayat's mother started justifying the suicide bombing of her daughter and the subsequent murder or Rachel, I wonder how Abigail even stayed in the room. Sure, it was a nice thought that the palestinian mom would get up and say the way she was raised and the way she raised her kids was wrong, but I don't see that happening.

Incognito said...

ANONYMOUS REGAL 185: One perspective. I beg to differ. Interesting, depending on our POV, how we view things. And the Israelis are favored because they NEVER instigate violence, it is the palestinians who do.

ANONYMOUS: It has been a while since i saw the documentary, but yes it is frightening.. considering these weren't radicals, but ordinary palestinians. trouble is, as long as they keep glorifying suicide bombings and telling their kids they'll get a bunch of virgins if they kille themselves.. this will never end.

American NATIONALIST said...

Yes, i agree that violence is wrong, but the conditions there are so difficult you can't just tell the Palestinians to stop suicide bombing, that is the last line of defense for them, not to mention if the Israeli's were in that position they would be suicide bombers in the name of their god. Violence is easy to commit but hard to stop. We need to look at both sides and be an unbiased moderator between them.

Incognito said...

AmericanNationalist:

I have to respectfully disagree with you. The Israelis only retaliate when the Palestinians attack them. There is no peace there (and never will be) because the Palestinians want the Jews out of there, and that will never happen. As you can see, the people in that region are inherently violent. Until they change that mindset, there will always be violence.