Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Steven Spielberg's film Munich

Steven Spielberg's film Munich (2005) was shown on TV on Sunday night. Its about the aftermath of the 1972 Munich Olympics where a group of Palestinians, Black September, took hostage 11 Israeli athletes, demanding the release of over 200 prisoners in Israeli jails. German police handled it disastrously; everyone involved ended up dead. But the film focused on a fictional account of an Israeli group hunting down the terrorists, showing the deaths of the athletes only in flashback.

I remember the controversy that surrounded the films release, for suggesting a moral equivalence between the terrorist attack on Olympic athletes and the fictional Israeli response to it; assassinating the killers. Others have complained that the Palestinians are caricatured; and their motives, including their defeat in the 1967 war, not mentioned.

I thought it would be a better film had it focused on the capture and killing of the athletes through the eyes of the Palestinians; events so dramatic that the world was shocked. It fixed in the minds of the world the image of the Palestinians as terrorists, their story has yet to be told; they are still often portrayed as terrorists and unsophisticated people living in tents. In this film there is one scene where Palestinians do give there point of view though.

It was understandably a bleak movie, as the Israeli team became more traumatised by what they were doing, and became paranoid. As their targets began to expect being sought, they took action to protect themselves, seeking protection from the CIA or KGB, as well as getting contracts out on the team hunting them. Also their once clear mission began to creep as they went after the replacements of the people they started hunting, and those who were hunting them.

It was made by Steven Spielberg, who also made "Schindler's List," one of the most memorable films ever made about the Holocaust. Spielberg said that “answering aggression with aggression creates a vicious cycle of violence with no real end in sight.” And "a response to a response doesn't really solve anything. It just creates a perpetual-motion machine." He missed out a key event; the killing in Norway of an innocent Moroccan waiter, mistaken for alleged Black September boss Ali Hassan Salameh. He wanted his film to be a prayer for peace, it doesn't seem to have worked yet.

Washington Post
Open Domocracy
American Thinker
made in atlantis
electronic intifada
israel news agency

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