Monday, 18 May 2009

an emotional story

maori tv does it again. last night they had a documentary film about the pull-out from gaza by the israeli government. i'll get on to that in a moment, but i just want to make the point that the maori tv model shows what properly funded public sector broadcasting can bring us. this film would never have aired on the other channels.

the film itself was very moving, and was presented from the point of view of the police and army who had the responsibility of removing settlers and demolishing settlements in gaza. there was no vocie over of any kind, the film didn't seek to make any judgements as such. i saw it as a means for people to see the pressure that was put on these people in authority, the abuse they had to suffer and the patience they showed, in carrying out a task that they did not necessarily agree with.

from that perspective, it was extremely effective. it showed decent people who were simply carrying out their jobs. it showed extremely young people who struggled with the curses and the angry tirades, the pleading and the tears that were directed at them. it showed the cost of peace in the middle east, and the entrenched positions of some of the players.

the only problem i had, and it isn't a criticism of the film as such, was the absence of palestinians in the story. the reason i say it isn't a criticism is because the film was very focussed on what it was bringing to the viewer, and palestinians really weren't part of the story. the point i want to highlight, though, is that the palestinians must feel exactly the same way as the settlers did when the land was taken from them, and is being taken still.

as i watched one of the settlers crying because she was being evicted from a home that she had lived in for 20 years, i wondered if she could possibly identify with palestinians who had lost land that had been in their family for hundreds of years. i wonder if she would understand and sympathise with their tears. i think of all the home demolitions, the wall, the inability to farm their own land or use the water, the continually increasing number of settlements encroaching on the occupied territories. all of these are losses that are deep and painful, and cause much heartbreak.

this piece on radio nz gave a pretty good understanding of settler thinking, as well as the thinking of the current israeli prime minister. frankly, it will be a miracle if the rate of growth of illegal settlements in the west bank slows; forget about dismantling them.

there is so much emotion tied to this land. and i don't mean to give the impression that i'm insensitive to the grief of the people who were taken from gaza. that's far from the case, and i especially feel for the younger ones who have known nothing else.

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