Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search

 


Review: An Explanation (And Then Burn The Ashes)

Film Review: An Explanation (And Then Burn The Ashes)


By Sonia Nettnin At The Chicago Palestine Film Festival


A dead pigeon hangs from a net at Columbia University. Sometimes, people send hate voicemail to professors. Why? When people cannot accept differences in opinions they resort to hatred...they cannot let go of their fear (Photo courtesy of CPFF)

Director Annemarie Jacir's short, experimental film, "An Explanation (and then burn the ashes) contains a sordid stream of racist and religious hate voicemail received by Columbia University Faculty, with images of Columbia University as the cinematic setting. Columbia University is one of America's oldest, educational institutions, located in Morningside Heights, a Manhattan neighborhood in New York City.

Imagine you are a professor at Columbia, and you publish articles, books, editorials, op-eds, etc. You are Arab and/or Muslim. Some members of the American public disagree with your expressed beliefs and opinions. Instead of writing a letter to the editor where you published your writing; or submitting an op-ed in response to your commentary for constructive, public discussion, some people (who probably do not attend psychotherapy or anger management classes) decide to verbally assault you. When you walk into work and access your voicemail, here are the nasty grams these people left for you:

"You are a terrorist..."
"You should be fired from Columbia you are pathetic..."
"...you f------ animal...you low-life scumbag..."
"...you're a bunch of gangster murderers..."
"...you're all a bunch of bastards..."
"...you're going to be in hell..."
"Listen you Muslim terrorists, we're going to get you, we know where you live and where you work..."

Their hatred is just a sampling of the verbal assaults, attacks and threats experienced by the Arab-American and Muslim-American community that Americans will not hear in the news. Through the cinematic public, Jacir confronts the racial and religious hate speeches by exposing them. Listeners hear the people who are the root-cause of violence. Images of the university show that people are subjected to hate in some of the most respected institutions of society. Hopefully the institutions' administrations address the safety and well-being of their employees. If Arab-Americans and Muslim-Americans receive these voicemails, what else is happening to them? What are the experiences of Arabs and Muslims worldwide?

In a democratic society people have the right to express themselves, but they do not have the right to assault and threaten people for their opinions. If society does not challenge the hate mongers, then there will always be racial, ethnic and religious inequalities. Jacir creates an artistic bridge for understanding these injustices so that people can promote change within society and through government policy.

With regards to the film's title, perhaps people resort to hatred because they cannot accept differences in appearances, beliefs and opinions. They cannot let go of their fear.


Directed and edited by Annemarie Jacir
Camera by Catherine Rios
Music by Kamran Rastegar
Voicemail courtesy of Columbia University Faculty
Philistine Films 2005

*************

U.S. journalist and film critic Sonia Nettnin writes about social, political, economic, and cultural issues. Her focus is the Middle East.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>

ALSO:

Buildup:

Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>

ALSO:

Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>

ALSO:


Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news