Thursday, January 28, 2016

Censored Voices [2015]

MPAA (UR would be R)  ChicagoTribune (3 Stars) (3 Stars)  AVClub ()  Fr. Dennis (3 1/2 Stars)

IMDb listing
ChicagoTribune (M. Phillips) review (G. Kenny) review
AVClub () review  

Censored Voices [2015] [IMDb] [WCat] (directed and screenplay cowritten by Mor Loushy along with Daniel Sivan the based on conversations recorded of Israeli soldiers just after the 6 Day War, found also in the book The Seventh Day: Soldiers' Talk about the Six Day War [1971] [GR] [WCat] [Amzn] by Avraham Shapira [GR] [WCat] [Amzn]) is an Israeli documentary about a remarkable set of conversations recorded of Israeli soldiers returning from the 1967 Six Day War in the weeks following the conflict.   The film played recently here at Chicago's Gene Siskel Film Center.

Since the recordings were made in the weeks immediately following the conflict, the memories of these soldiers were still fresh and (inevitably for both better / worse) unaltered by subsequent reflection / history / events.  Surprising perhaps for Viewers today would be the ambiguity expressed by these Israeli soldiers coming home from this history altering conflict about the war: All seemed to understand why the conflict had to be fought (Israel's survival was on the line), but virtually all seemed profoundly uneasy about its result (yes, unqualified victory but occupation of the other side as well).

Yes, one understands why these interviews were censored by Israeli authorities at the time.  After all, the conversations were quite "down-ish" at a time when Israel had just survived, largely unscathed, the single biggest threat to its existence.

Still today, the film and the opinions expressed by these returning soldiers can not but help promote a future peace process because the opinions expressed fundamental doubts by these returning Israeli soldiers of the sustainability (and _justice_) of the post-1967 reality where Israel simply conquered (and to this day largely occupies) _the whole_ of Palestine.

Particularly poignant was the opinion expressed by one of the soldiers who said: "It's not as if we are 100% right or each side is 50% right.  The tragedy here is that both sides are 100% right... This war began with us fighting for our country's survival, and ended very differently, with us expelling [large numbers of] people from theirs."

I am not merely an American blogger, I'm one of Czech descent.  So I totally understand this ambiguity / remorse.  Post WW-I / modern Czechoslovakia's independence was done-in by the presence of large numbers of Sudeten Germans along its frontiers who had both inalienable rights and their own national aspirations.  These same Sudeten Germans were simply expelled by the re-emergent Czechoslovakian state in the weeks immediately following WW II.  To some extent "it worked."  There is no more (serious) argument over the lands in question BUT at what awful moral cost.  There is no (thoughtful) Czech who feels good about this.  And yet, what else to do?   Today, the descendants of the expelled Sudeten Germans are allowed to go back _to visit_ the lands / properties that were taken from them by the Czechs after the War.  EVERYONE _understands_ why this happened.  Thoughtful people on both sides "feel sorry" / "bad" and yet, there it is.  "National parks" now exist where villages once stood, "wild apricot" / "cherry" / "apple" groves exist in the midst of modern "meadows" and "forests" that didn't exist before the War.

It's both awful and yet, again, everybody on both sides sinks their heads and knows why.

Modern Israel exists in a similar situation (and has been actually _kinder_ than the post- WW II Czechs).

I ALSO KNOW that there are PLENTY OF THOUGHTFUL ARABS / MUSLIMS as well.  Perhaps a first step to peace would be a public acknowledgement of the tragedy existent in, what we Catholics actually call "The Holy Land," acknowledge WHY Israel exists (and will certainly continue to exist / fight to exist into the LONG forseeable future) and WHY the Palestinians, both expelled / displaced and those still living in Gaza and in the West Bank are often SO ANGRY at the modern and still expanding State of Israel.

Anyway, the often remorseful Israeli voices heard in this film CAN, I believe, help to prepare the way to a peace or at least an understanding that both sides do _understand_ the other.


This is actually a film that MAY be most easily found by checking listings at your local public libraries (or through them, make a request for an "interlibrary" loan): Censored Voices [2015] [WCat]

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