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Globalization is Weird
February 12, 2010 5:12 PM   Subscribe

Avatar goes to the West Bank. What better way to express your peoples' long-standing grievances against military occupation than a little James Cameron inspired role playing?

Every week for the past five years, Palestinian activists in the village of Bil'in have mounted a protest against what they call the Apartheid Fence and what Israel calls the Security Barrier. They are often joined by international activists and left-leaning Israelis. This week, they've decided to add the Na'avi to their list of allies.

They aren't the first.
posted by cal71 (29 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
I wanted to appreciate that, but it was laughable and seemed to make protest seem silly. Which it wasn't.
posted by xmutex at 5:18 PM on February 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


It's still a lame movie.
posted by Saxon Kane at 5:19 PM on February 12, 2010


A combined Avatar / IvP thread? Oh my stars and garters.
posted by Countess Elena at 5:21 PM on February 12, 2010 [13 favorites]


I don't see people using any other Best Picture nominee like this, just sayin'.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:23 PM on February 12, 2010


If only Ayn Rand were involved some how.
posted by brundlefly at 5:23 PM on February 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


I wanted to appreciate that, but it was laughable and seemed to make protest seem silly. Which it wasn't.

on the other hand, you've got to question the valid of an unsilly but completely ignored protest.
posted by Artw at 5:29 PM on February 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


I guess they didn't see Pocahontas in the West Bank?
posted by autoclavicle at 5:31 PM on February 12, 2010


Oh and I just saw this movie and oh dear
posted by The Whelk at 5:36 PM on February 12, 2010


I see they realize the West has more sympathy for fictional oppressed peoples than real brown ones. (It's so easy to not care if someone has blue, purple, or green skin... after all, those are the people you never meet...)
posted by yeloson at 5:45 PM on February 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


fucking nerds, they just ruined one of the last good geopolitical quagmires. Next thing you know those trust-fund hipsters will be drinking halal approved pbrs and riding fixies on that partition.
posted by Think_Long at 5:50 PM on February 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


When the Smurfs protested war, it got attention too.
posted by ardgedee at 5:54 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wanted to appreciate that, but it was laughable and seemed to make protest seem silly.

I think it's healthy and only natural that protest, like many other forms of human expression, should come in many forms. Humor and irony can be potent forms of protest, and obviously the use of humor and irony is a feature of lots of modern day political dissent. Two of the best-known American purveyors of social commentary would surely be Michael Moore and Jon Stewart, right? They wrap their message in humor and irony, and obviously it's a pretty effective strategy. Why shouldn't these Palestinian protesters get in on the action? It might seem crude and amateurish and silly to you, but, hey, keep in mind they don't have a major network or film studio behind them, or a crack team of comedy writers. They had an idea, a way to frame their argument, a comparison with a huge blockbuster movie. They got the blue suits together, gathered a little press coverage, went to the fence, tossed some rocks, I imagine, and got some tear gas shot at 'em. They're doing the best they can with the means at their disposal.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:35 PM on February 12, 2010 [6 favorites]


OMG HOW CAN IT BE THAT NOT EVERYONE HAS PERFECT TASTE 100% OF THE TIME!??!?!
posted by delmoi at 7:19 PM on February 12, 2010


They're trying to speak to us in our language.
posted by Avenger at 7:29 PM on February 12, 2010 [3 favorites]


Meanwhile, it looks like their non-violent approach did have a positive effect: from one of the links, Israel's moving 1700m of the security barrier, to restore about a third of the Bil'in's farmland to them.
According to attorney Michael Sfard, who represents the Palestinians in this case, the new route will restore about 650 dunams (65 hectares) of land belonging to Bil’in farmers to the “West Bank side” of the barrier. Nevertheless, roughly 1,300 dunams of private farmland will remain on the “Israeli side.”
Now if they would only give it all back, that would be serious progress.
posted by zarq at 7:39 PM on February 12, 2010 [4 favorites]


Well, that's... different.
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:43 PM on February 12, 2010


They're trying to speak to us in our language.

Nobody can speak to the average USAan in their own language if they are from an other culture. The language of "other than here" doesn't have the terms. The fact that a movie like Avatar speaks to the "others" is more to our fault than their ability to make it their own (sort of).

I'm not parsing this properly.

What I wanted to say was sort of like, I'm sad about this, while not knocking the actual people who make up my country. On the other hand I'd like to say fuck you to our politicians. And then I'd like to reach out a hand to the people who live elsewhere who think I'm Satan.

'Cause I'm not.

I like people.

Just not politicians. And corporations. And dicks. And well, a couple of people here at home that are dicks.

But I'm not as upset about them.

Well maybe, just a little bit.

When I see them I'll kick them in the balls.

But a country? Or a nation? I don't have enough feet. Or enough time.
posted by Splunge at 7:47 PM on February 12, 2010


Apparently they don't realize that to win, they need one of the Israelis to become a Palestinian, and then lead them to victory?
posted by bingo at 8:15 PM on February 12, 2010 [5 favorites]


I once protested Reagan's involvement in Nicaragua by dressing up like Shirley MacLaine in Terms of Endearment, so there's a precedent.
posted by gimonca at 9:09 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


I once protested adultery by dressing as a rabbit. Guess where that got me.

Don't worry, the skin grafts are fine.

But I freak out near a hot tub.
posted by Splunge at 9:34 PM on February 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


And don't even mention those Bugs Bunny cartoons.

::shiver::
posted by Splunge at 9:36 PM on February 12, 2010


I just hate the "with us or against us" mentality of israel. It's like if you have any sympathy for the Palestinians you are an anti-Semite. I actually heard in the days leading up to the last israel/hamas skirmish, this guy who was the father of some settlers who had forcibly kicked palestinians out of a building so they could more or less squat in it answer a question asked by a reporter with "are you an anti-semite" and the question (though less memorable then the answer) was something very unbiased like "how long have they been in the building?" or "how long are they planning to stay?" '

It frustrates me to know end.
posted by djduckie at 10:05 PM on February 12, 2010


forcibly kicked palestinians out of a building so they could more or less squat in it

Wut?
posted by Splunge at 10:10 PM on February 12, 2010


the word for "earth" is "forest"
posted by pelham at 12:22 AM on February 13, 2010


Wait, djduckie, your example of this is a settler?

That's like talking about how difficult discourse on abortion is, because see what happened when this one guy talked to an Operation Rescue activist.
posted by Salamandrous at 5:13 AM on February 13, 2010


I just hate the "with us or against us" mentality of israel. It's like if you have any sympathy for the Palestinians you are an anti-Semite.

You should really read Ha'aretz. In particular, their opinion column. Sincerely. If you're only paying attention to what Settler extremists are saying and doing, you're not getting a full picture of how many influential Israelis feel about the Palestinians and Israel's policies towards them.

It's a lefty paper that is read by only about 6% of the Israeli population. However, it is considered the most influential paper in the country because it is the primary source of reliable news and editorials for many politicians. Their readership is wealthier, better educated and more politically powerful than that of any other paper in Israel.
posted by zarq at 10:20 AM on February 13, 2010


I once protested Reagan's involvement in Nicaragua by dressing up like Shirley MacLaine in Terms of Endearment...

Toruk Makto!
posted by y2karl at 11:00 AM on February 13, 2010


So, The Hurt Locker... where's your cosplay protesters then?
posted by Artw at 7:56 PM on February 16, 2010


Here's a curious update on the uses and abuses of Avatar by various groups worldwide. I love that the Cato institute has embraced it as a parable defending property rights. I think that's adorable.
posted by jrb223 at 12:06 PM on February 17, 2010


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