“Heads Will Roll” May No Longer Be Just a Figure of Speech

You know, when your mom tells you that there’s a real danger of the takfiriyeen wreaking havoc in Lebanon, it’s not supposed to sound as if it’s just a matter of course.

(I’m not saying I truly see it that way, because I think that would be insane).

But for some reason, it’s also not surprising. It was only a matter of time before the truly crazed fundamentalist nutjobs got to this part of the world. They already left their blood-soaked fingerprints all over Afghanistan and Iraq. Syria’s increasingly ferocious civil war is an open invitation for them to embark on a proper infestation, made ever more enthusiastic because Hezbollah, an archenemy, is involved.

Because, you know, it’s not like we don’t have enough sectarianism of our own, what with our fifty-two (slight exaggeration, maybe) political parties and several religious sects. It’s not like we’re not dying for jobs no one will give us and salaries that suffice for more than a hand-to-mouth existence. And it’s not like Lebanese aren’t literally killing each other in Tripoli, where there’s a widespread infection of the “Pro vs. Anti-Bashar” mindset that’s driving them to murder.

Nope, we need maniacal subhumans with too much power to come on in and do their thing. (Which is gladly take a sword to your neck if you’re not Muslim or just not “their kind” of Muslim. BLOOD FOR THE BLOOD GOD!)

Ah, Lebanon. You’re such a speck of a country that your name on the map distinctly dwarfs you. How can so much conflict, instability, bitterness, bigotry…and the everyday almost carefree perseverance in spite of it all…fit in your tiny little borders?

It’s truly a wonder.


Speaking of Movies…

The Attack (الصدمة) is a Lebanese film made by popular director Ziad Doueiri (West Beirut, Lila Says).

Dr. Amin Jaafari is an Arab surgeon who lives with his wife in Tel Aviv, Israel and makes a seemingly comfortable livelihood as a surgeon. A sudden and devastating suicide bombing in a restaurant leaves seventeen people dead–including eleven children. In the midst of the chaos, Dr. Jaafari is summoned to the morgue where a horrible discovery viciously turns his life upside-down: His wife was the bomber.

Fascinating, right? It’s based off a novel of the same title, by Algerian author Yasmina Khadra. The fact such a plot is told from the point of view of a Lebanese director (especially one who has made great strides in his field) is a breath of fresh air. Doubtless, he would bring something far more different to the table than anyone you could think of in Hollywood. I’m not sure what other people would believe, but I think this is a film worth giving a good and fair chance to view.

Except it’s banned in Lebanon—the very home country of the director himself. Oh yes. Because it was shot in Israel and employed Israeli actors.

Never mind the actors were Israeli-Arabs. Apparently the ban is in place thanks to the Arab League’s boycott of “Israeli companies and goods”. What’s funny is this:

While a number of the 22 Arab League member states have peace treaties with Israel, other countries circumvent the different boycott levels by circumventing the rules and trading goods via third-party countries such as Cyprus…The irony of course is that Doueiri’s latest film is a nuanced exploration of identity among Israeli Arabs. In one of the film’s more memorable moments, for instance, as the secular, assimilated Dr. Jaafari is tearing down “martyrdom” posters of his late wife in the West Bank, a voice-over taunts him, “The bastard isn’t the man who doesn’t know his father. It’s the one who doesn’t know his roots.”


I will not pretend to be adequately knowledgeable about the ins and outs of Israeli-Lebanese relations, and what constitutes a product worth boycotting versus something that isn’t…but this is a Lebanese director telling an Arab story that is based in Israel. It has the potential (I haven’t seen it yet, of course) to explore the many intricacies of identity in a sensitive, complex and highly volatile area of the world.

And yet it’s banned, even with the Lebanese name at the helm of the project. Where is the sense in that?

I’m Not Sure What to Think…

Although…I suppose it would be kinda cool if it actually happened.

Behold: Cannon Fodder. An indie Israeli horror movie that has IDF soldiers and Hezbollah forming a highly unlikely alliance…to fight zombies.

No, really.

I’m still wondering if it’s some kind of spoof, but apparently it isn’t:

I probably wouldn’t mind seeing it either…

(A short but interesting commentary can be read here).