Monday, November 14, 2005

Motivations of a suicide bomber

Today I went to see the Palestinian movie Paradise Now. I try to take the opportunity to see movies from Palestine when I can, because there aren't that many of them, and they're inevitably influenced by the occupation, so it's interesting to see the political angle. Moreover, I just like seeing the scenery and shots from Palestine and Israel.

This particular movie takes place mostly in Nablus but with scenes in other areas and Tel Aviv as well. The main characters, Said and Khaled, are best friends and have asked to be selected as suicide bombers. Whichever militant group they are involved with decides that it is time, and selects them to go on a mission to Tel Aviv.

Paradise Now isn't asking us to pardon suicide bombers; it's asking us to understand why they do what they do. I actually think it could do a better job of that--Americans in general don't understand very well the living conditions in the territories and, while the characters talk a lot about how they live in prison (and it's true), I don't think we see enough in Paradise Now to justify the talk. We do, however, see that suicide bombers are people, and they do what they do for a reason, however unjustifiable their acts are.

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