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Bil’in protesters oppose a ‘horrible, horrible wrong’ — Michael Moore

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Michael Moore tweeted his followers to watch the film about Palestine that launched earlier in the departed year called 5 Broken Cameras. Twice. The chieftain of cinematic guerrilla activism sings it up as “one of the best films of the year” and ”that rare documentary that has the power to move many. Pls watch!”

Moore reveals a deeper connection to the film than suggested by those lonesome tweets. It took home the best picture award at the Traverse City Film Festival founded by Moore in his native Michigan. And he’s spoken at a number of screenings in the US. A video of one such pre-screening talk shows the extent of his directorial admiration for Emad Burnat’s film and the significant Israeli obstacles he has had to climb to showcase the debut Palestinian talent.

I was able to get Emad to Traverse City, Michigan. He’d gone to the airport in Tel Aviv and they wouldn’t let him leave. And so we had to get him to Amman to get on a plane there. But because I run a large international network of terrorists we were able to make this happen (laughs). I have been a huge advocate for this film for the better part of the last year. I was just telling Tom (the event’s co-organisier) downstairs that if I were the third Koch brother and had their resources … I would send a copy of this film to every home in America. And I believe that within 24 hours, if people would watch it, public opinion on this issue would change dramatically. This film is so powerful in its humanity, in its heart, its belief in non-violence as the way to succeed.

When Emad and his family were in Traverse City, Terry George, who made Hotel Rwanda, and I were introducing the film and then we did a Q&A afterwards and Terry said something I thought was really very true: every now and again a documentary comes along that after you see it you won’t discuss it as a documentary, you will discuss it as a work of art, a work of cinema, a movie. And we feel very strongly that this is one of those movies. This is one of the best movies I’ve seen this year, of all movies, not just documentaries. And their struggle goes on as you will see. This man is not a documentary film maker – he’s a farmer. And the film that you are about to watch is a film made by a farmer. With no training whatsoever. And I don’t even think that they have a theatre in their town so I don’t even know what he’s seen.

So that makes it even more amazing as you watch this film, and you’re realising that sometimes if you have that, whatever that is in you, whatever you have to say, you want your voice heard, and he found the medium to do that, quite accidentally: because his son, Jibreel, was born in 2005 and he picked up a used home video camera; and started you know wanting to film his son growing up but things started happening, they (Israel) started building the wall to bleed their town, so he started filming that, and the title of the film, as is probably self-evident, in terms of what happens to his cameras. One thing we did in Traverse City town is that when he left we sent him a brand new camera (laughs) so he can keep filming. A small price to pay for trying to right a horrible, horrible wrong.

So I’m really happy that he came here tonight to watch this; and I encourage you in terms of not only your appreciation of the art of this film, but also when you leave here, when you think about this tomorrow, to do what you can to help other people who don’t have five broken cameras, don’t have a voice. We (Americans) are the funder of what you are about to see.

Theodore Sayeed
About Theodore Sayeed

Theodore Sayeed is a contributor to Mondoweiss. He may be reached at: [email protected]

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14 Responses

  1. DaveS
    DaveS on January 1, 2013, 1:05 pm

    It’s nice to see Moore on the right side of this conflict, and every time I’ve seen him address it, he seems to be in the right place. But there are so few of those times. What a wonderful film he could make! The hypocrisy and mendacity that are used to defend Israel cry out for his attention. He has a unique ability to skewer and expose the culprits and portray right and wrong in simple but persuasive terms. Instead of sending 5 Broken Cameras – which really is a great film – to every home in America, he should make his own movie which would get a much wider showing because of his track record. Mike, if you read this, give me a call. I’d love to help frame such a film.

  2. Pamela Olson
    Pamela Olson on January 1, 2013, 4:43 pm

    It occurs to me that one “advantage” Palestinians have, actually, is how badly they are mischaracterized in the West. Once anyone sees anything of how they actually are, their minds are totally blown. And that can lead them to start questioning everything.

    Sorry the Palestinians have to take that one on the chin, but it certainly helped me understand the true nature of this world, and to understand much more about history, oppression, human nature, power, and politics. It was like a loose thread that demanded years of unraveling.

    It also helps that Palestinians are so dang charming. That human touch, in the end, is what wins with humans — at least humans who are paying attention to reality instead of carefully-constructed stories/frameworks that serve a narrow agenda rather than the greater good.

    Happy New Year, everyone in the Mondoweiss family. May 2013 be a year of many happy surprises!

  3. Carowhat
    Carowhat on January 1, 2013, 5:08 pm

    As far as I can tell, the film is only playing in two theaters in the entire country. How does one get to see it?

  4. dbroncos
    dbroncos on January 1, 2013, 5:55 pm

    I agree, David. Moore excels when he interviews people driven by ideoogies that are tragically flawed. His unwitting subjects are often so convinced of their arguments and of themselves that they agree to be interviewed inspite of knowing better. It’s easy to imagaine a stampede of Zionists wanting to express thier pov for a Michael Moore movie on I/P. Part of what he does best is to let the ideologues get tangled up in a rhetorical web of thier own making.

  5. yourstruly
    yourstruly on January 1, 2013, 6:42 pm

    & this so-called horrible, horrible wrong?

    what’s being brought down upon palestine

    righting said wrong?

    palestine, just & free

    • yourstruly
      yourstruly on January 1, 2013, 7:39 pm

      & israel?

      the opposite of what was expected

      seems most observers had figured that the jewish settlers would go the route of post-liberation, mozambican style, including, but not limited to bargain sales in most anything of value, what with +95% of the portuguese colonists turning down citizenship in the newly emerged people’s republic of mozambique); instead, fleeing en masse to their european homeland (except for the few who opted to stay on as equals among equals)

  6. Taxi
    Taxi on January 1, 2013, 11:23 pm

    I’m with David on this one too: Michael, make a goddamn Palestine movie!

    Here’s what Michael also said:

    My New Year’s Resolutions
    By Michael Moore, Open Mike Blog
    01 January 13

    Happy New Year! Have you made your resolutions for 2013? Here are mine:

    1- Learn the names of the people two doors down from me and invite them over for dinner.

    2- Learn how to make dinner.

    3- Buy a gun. Stroke it. Squeeze it. Hold it. Love it. Shoot it! Ahhhh… Buy more guns… Stroke them…

    4- Stop saying “I support the troops.” I don’t. I used to. I understand why so many enlisted after 9/11. Sadly, many of them were then trapped and sent off to invade Iraq. I felt for all of them. I understood those who joined because of a lousy economy. But at some point all individuals must answer for their actions, and now that we know our military leaders do things that have nothing to do with defending our lives, why would anyone sign up for this rogue organization?

    5- Apologize for #4. I have enormous respect for anyone who would offer to sacrifice their life to defend my right to live. Is there any greater gift one can give another? It’s not the troops’ fault they’re sent to invade other countries for dubious reasons and outright lies. It’s OUR responsibility to prevent this, to elect representatives who believe in peace, and to only put our troops in harm’s way when it’s absolutely necessary. My uncle was killed in World War II. Today would have been his 90th birthday. My dad still misses him. Our family has served this country in the military since the Revolutionary War. None of them watch Fox News.

    6- Drink more water.

    7- Wear color.

    8- Find the best person who can run for and WIN the governor’s chair here in Michigan in 2014. Work every day to win back the Michigan House and Senate from its Republican majority.

    9- Read more fiction. Support my local indie bookstore. Help people create Little Free Libraries and put one up in front of our theater in Traverse City. Don’t use glowing screens to read books. Write the next one.

    10- Keep walking, dude!

    That’s my list. Send me yours via Twitter and Facebook. Click here to join me on the walks. Let’s be kind to each other in the coming year. And let’s encourage Obama to ACT, to make history, and to be remembered as one of our greatest presidents.

    Here’s hoping for a peaceful 2013.

  7. Blank State
    Blank State on January 2, 2013, 12:57 am

    Do you really want to change the narrative??? Then market the tragedies visited upon those such as Emily Henochowitz. The average American couldn’t care less about the hardships and injustices that occur to people other than ourselves. Somehow, we just figure, with no small amount of coercion from our media and our politicians, that foreign sufferers “have it coming”, that they deserve what they get.

    But an attractive and talented young american jew??? Targeted and horribly disfigured while standing tall for human rights??? Emily’s story was a missed opportunity, offering the exact sort of drama and tragedy that tears at the heartstrings of americans.

    Eenie meenie…miney moe…Henochowitz…Moore….

    The answer is obvious.

    • AhVee
      AhVee on January 2, 2013, 5:13 am

      It can still be brought up, though, and easily verified. As can the stories of Israeli journalists who have been fired or even banned from Israel for their critical tone, and that of Jewish authors who were banned from speaking there. (I’m only mentioning the fairly petty reverse end of the “regime” here, as it affects Jews, because some people’s brains shut off immediately unless you start with the plight of the ethnicity ‘they actually care about’.)

      Also, why leave it to Moore? Mondoweiss(‘ers) should crowdfund a movie, or something. Enough places to start gathering donations for that, and even though I’m typically either broke or buying non-shit food on the occasion that I’m not, I’ll tip something towards it. Once something’s rolling, one could always try contacting celebs, such as Moore to contribute, at least as a talking head.

  8. edwardm
    edwardm on January 2, 2013, 11:20 am

    Dear Israel
    You stole my eye
    and buried it underfoot
    I feel
    you sin
    fear grips your heart, and so
    – Emily Henochowicz

    It’s not like it was in 1948 is it? Today, cameras are both ubiquitous and inexpensive, and we are watching.

    • on January 2, 2013, 7:20 pm

      “It’s not like it was in 1948 is it? Today, cameras are both ubiquitous and inexpensive, and we are watching.”

      So? The morons watch whatever they are shown, dutifully listen to the spin, continue voting for the same murderers and seem to react even less than the class of ’48.

  9. Maximus Decimus Meridius
    Maximus Decimus Meridius on January 2, 2013, 2:16 pm

    Is this the same Michael Moore who never once mentioned the word ”Israel” in ”Fahrenheit 911”? The same Michael Moore who pandered to anti-Arab stereotypes by exaggerating and caricaturing America’s relationship with Saudi Arabia (damaging though that is)? The same Michael Moore who never saw fit to even consider the influence of AIPAC on the decision to invade Iraq?

    Let him do a film exploring the Israel lobby and its pernicious influence on American politics, and then maybe I’ll take him seriously.

    • ThorsteinVeblen2012
      ThorsteinVeblen2012 on January 2, 2013, 4:43 pm

      There are limitations as to what you can do or say and Michael Moore knows them.

      • Maximus Decimus Meridius
        Maximus Decimus Meridius on January 2, 2013, 6:12 pm

        No, there are limitations as to what you can say and do – IF you want to keep on side with the Hollywood hot shots. There are plenty of people who speak out about Israel in the US – though such sentiments do not go hand in hand with a career in the mainstream media.

        Michael Moore is now powerful and high-profile enough that he would certainly be able to make an independent film about Palestine. Sure, he wouldn’t get the backing of the big studios, and no doubt would be ostracised by them, but the mere fact that someone as well-known as Moore made such a film would be big news.

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