Ari Fomman took best Foreign Film at the Golden Globes Awards on January 11 with Waltz With Bashir, a personal documentary about Sabra and Shatila massacres in 1982. The same day, as Tania Tabar’s article on Menassat reminds us, around 60 Palestinians died under the Israelis bombs in Gaza. And many more during the following days…
Tania Tabar follows mentioning that nearly 90% of the public opinion in Israel supported the war in Gaza (a statistic which does not include the “useless” opinion of the Palestinian citizens). How is this possible regarding the success, even in Israel, of an “antiwar film” like Waltz with Bashir, and compared to the thousands of Israelis who marched in the streets of Tel-Aviv as a reaction to Sabra and Shatila massacres? (Again, the 100 000 Arab Israelis who demonstrated against the war in Gaza in Sakhneen, one of the major Arab towns of Galilee, do not matter very much !)
A first explanation is the fact that Ari Folman’s film places the responsibility of the massacres in 1982 on the Phalangist militia and on Ariel Sharon who gave his green light” for the killing of civilians in the Palestinian camps of Beirut. Thus, the “naive young men (…) were only participating in a massacre because of the time and the place they happened to be” explains Tania Tabar, who also underlines that the “personal” narrative of Waltz with Bashir fails to provide a complete historical background which could explain why and how the Israeli state has been using for such a long time systematic violence against the Palestinian and Lebanese populations.
Waltz with Bashir ends with the animation suddenly shifting to real footage of the massacres which took place in the Palestinian camps of Sabra and Shatila in 1982, and with Palestinian ladies yelling and screeming at the camera [and the viewer] : “Where are the Arabs, where are they ?”
Since Waltz with Bashir is not a political movie, but a kind of personal testimony, accordind to Ari Folman's declarations, why did he choose such an ending? asks Tania Tabar.
Indeed, the question needs an answer. As an answer is needed to many others, today, “after” the war in Gaza, as many people ask : where are the Arabs? Where are they?
As usual, here is the link to the more developed post in French. Illustration : We are all Gaza. Demonstration in Beirut (Al-Akhbar)