For once the Moslems were not involved
By Elham Atashi
March 12, 2004
Recently I had a very interesting discussion about
the movie Passion of The Christ with an eclectic group
of academic friends
each grabbing their own piece of the elephant. Rumi might not know it
but even academics can be blind-in opinion that is. The Medics found it
boring. More blood; it needed more bang-bang action to take their minds off
work, but plenty to ponder on how long it would be possible
to live with nailed hands and feet hanging from a cross.
in the liberal arts considered the film an artistic masterpiece.
The historians thought it failed to live up to historical accuracy.
Then there were
the leftovers; you know the lawyers, the environmentalists, political
scientists and the do-gooders of the world--the ones with the gift of gab,
the over-analyzers and hot-air talkers.
What was the effect on the rain forest
when trees were chopped to make crucifixion crosses? Was the
movie anti-Semitic? Would there be another inquisition? Whose fault
was it that Jesus
was killed? Is there enough evidence? Does due process imply? Would the UN
place sanctions on the Romans? Would America send in troops? Who
would get fingerprinted
at the gates to the Roman empire?
Then suddenly there it was. Someone said, "Look it could have been anybody's
fault!" This caught my attention -- YES maybe -- but more interestingly,
for once it Moslems were not involved. The aggressive bearded men in the
film are not MOSLEM. Not the Taliban. No weapons of mass destruction. No
Moslem fundamentalists. Not
even any American involvement. It was not done for oil; there are no oil
fields in Jerusalem, just olives.
So who did it? It was the Jews. Yes you
it right. For once all the hysteria is not about the Moslems.
It is between the Christians and the Jews and the perpetrators, for once,
are not Moslems.
I know it is only a movie and but people watching it take it as truth and
for me this has always been the problem with media.
the news or in the movies, the average Jack, Mohammed and Ishmael
accept whatever they see or read as truth and they believe it. So if the
Jews are working up a fuss about their wrongful portrayal in the movie
I can relate,
and even offer some advice.
For years I have been frustrated with negative
images of Moslems in the media. We are always stereotyped as being
the bad guys; we are all dark
with bushy eyebrows and angry eyes (what is that wax they put on the face
of actors to make them look Middle Eastern?).
We all have machine guns,
which we blast
into air for fun, possess funny foreign accents. We are all backward and
dirty looking. Our women are oppressed and veiled, chained to the
by their husbands
Yet in response to my frustration I often
hear this: "RELAX!. It's only a movie" or "It's
art". Well, guess what ART HURTS. Christians and Jews are angry
and frustrated with the media for being stereotyped and portrayed
the movie. So here is my advice based on years of frustrated
feelings: "RELAX! What's all the fuss? It's only
a movie." Feel better!?
Since September 11, bearded men from THAT crazy part of the world
are always prime suspects in news stories. To make things
worse the one billion Moslems in this world, each with their own unique
culture and identity, have been placed under a huge umbrella. Apparently
we are all THE SAME, living under the same umbrella with an imaginary
meta culture that makes us all evil.
I believe the media's impression of Iranians goes
further. We have been granted the top honor, for we are part of the
one and only
of Evil" (aren't you proud?). And since its liberation, Iraq has transformed
from evil into good, thus making us and our best friends, the
North Koreans, the only remaining members of the axis.
But then all of the sudden the word is out: Was it the Jews who killed
Jesus? The media attention is not on "us".
Terrorism experts on TV are not analyzing
us! For a window of
a while it is an issue between Christians and Jews. They are asking
the world not to bunch them under one umbrella. Yes... it gets tight
and frustrating under it,
The passion happened in Medieval times a long long time ago. Yet for
even a moment the movie lets the Moslems take a back seat and watch
get too comfortable though for it wont be long till we are back on
the suspect list again.
Elham Atashi is a professor of Conflict Resolution at the Institute
for Conflict Analysis and Resolution at George Mason University,
.................... Stop spam!