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Movie Critic Article: The Day After Peace 2008

The Day After Peace

Article by Muhsin Khalid

Peace and Vaccination

The Day After Peace documents the great effort exerted by award-winning filmmaker Jeremy Gilley who spent 10 years in a long hard journey calling on the world to adopt the 21 of September as an international peace day on which a global cease-fire and non-violence are effected in such a way as officially prescribed by the UN. Gilley finalized his quest by this film which definitely falls short of tackling all issues of humanity that deserve attention but ultimately and no matter how disappointed are the Arab views by it from their own perspective, it has achieved well for other nations as observed in Afghanistan, for example.
On the approval of Afghan authorities and the support of UN organizations the vaccination of millions of children was made possible on peace day. A similar outcome was achieved in Africa. The idea for an international peace day has originated from the UN in 1981. The role played by this documentary film comes as a call to apply the idea by visiting the most inflamed parts of the world.

From Pyramids to Funding

The film starts on the pyramids of Giza, moves on to the filmmaker's apartment in Cairo and then enters the the building of the Arab League of Nations, where we see Mr. Amr Moussa, head of the League,with Gilley (the filmmaker)on his side. They are encircled by members of the league who express their concern to the filmmaker that the film is biased to the "Israeli Enemy". Some of them denounce the appearance of Shiron Peres in the film which did not care to show any of the Palestinian children who get 'killed at the barriers' according to one spokesman.
One of the most interesting points on the film is that when funds were insufficient, the Coca-Cola Company stepped in to fill the financial gap.Could it be that this company of known roots and leanings was passing some hidden agenda through this work of art? The answer to such a question requires a comprehensive critique of the film down to the level of each shot of every scene. And these kinds of suspicions based on probabilities could make the average citizen lose his mind, but should not affect the people elected to represent the general public unless to the extent that makes them fix, not worsen problems!

Fund to Share

What was supposed to draw the attention of the Arab League went unnoticed because the notion that creative arts such as cinema and media can be used as weapons of war is not among their priorities. They might have mocked the movie-maker if he had tried them for financial help with his film, rather than seize the opportunity. What a weak position they were put in! To appear as only the blamer. To want your cause served without the slightest effort on your part! What an extremely weak situation that does not encourage one to resonate a shared feeling! In the mean time, the Israeli politician acts professionally, appreciates both the art and the artistic creator out of a broader insight. Media has been an old and major game for him. A look at the level of discourse and debate on both sides of the Arab-Israeli conflict as depicted in the movie will reveal before our eyes the civilisational and experiential differences between the two parties; the contrasting states of political awareness as evidenced by the nervously-alert and remote Arab as opposed to the pacifist Israeli who courts the world by respecting dialogue and desiring it.

The Arabs have presented themselves as tense and withdrawn. A personality that lacks the willingness to engage in dialogue with the world. The most obvious example is that person who spoke at the scene of the meeting with the head of the Arab League. He addressed the filmmaker: "We are not waiting for people to come from the outside to put plans for us!". So what does this have to do with what the filmmaker was presenting? Are the Arabs in the midst of a fierce battle now? Attacked by rockets for this gentleman to assume the right to utter such naive words that make him look just the way his enemies want.
Disinterested in peace!

Arab Myths

The spokesman went on to add more naive and disastrous words when he stated that: " We receive you only because Arab culture has a tradition of hospitality!" This speech is very dangerous. It is as if to say to him 'We welcome you reluctantly. Forced by our traditions!" in spite of his previous sentence which confirms the welcoming. A guest in all current human thought is a guest and is welcome everywhere, without a certain guest being an exception, and nothing to brag about it. Arab hospitality is not the only hospitality that exists on Earth. Unlike what some ingenuous history books tried to teach us, hospitality is a universal human quality that is not unique to the Arabs.Other nations know hospitality and know the 'other'! All this was done to the film by the Arabs while the filmmaker did not do them any harm. How ill-conceived was their reckoning of the man's plan!
He presented to them the crude matter of the film. And the idea for a one day for peace. They could have influenced the shaping of this matter and of the idea if they had chosen to woo and insinuate and get him to accept what they have. Or, if he openly refuses what they pose, then the burden of rejection will be on him, not on them. If Jeremy so desires to identify with the body that has been claimed to be behind him, or clearly shows his alliance with the Israelis, then this will be an attribute of his behavior, not of their sullenness.
But they slammed the door on his face in petty, childlike anger. They locked themselves on the outside by their own hands which they waved to the remote observer, to show their interest in non-peace which by necessity makes them also responsible for non-peace. The filmmaker came to show you his scheme for a one day for peace. You should welcome this in the first place and in all good spirit and then immediately embrace and, later, infuse his plan with the details you need to test his honesty. But do not deal with him in an immature way. Not with child-like sulkiness!

Peace in Bullets:

Let me put my observations on the movie and attitudes to it.

  • Obtaining financial help from Coca-Cola Company, after the faltering of his own resources, puts the filmmaker's effort under scrutiny for accountability, given that these supporters are not blameless, and that it is difficult to accept magnanimity as a cause for their ​​support. This puts more of the blame on the Arab reception of the man, who approached them with his idea for viewing and consultation. What role did they play on that? Was it childish sulkiness or the portrayal of themselves as withdrawn and unwilling to negotiate with 'strangers' coming in with their own 'plan'? as expressed by that spokesman in the film whose words were meant to confiscate any room for discussion or negotiation of the man's proposal.
  • Jeremy was telling Moussa and company that the sole purpose of his movie was to call for a one day for peace. That he was not interested in saying who was at fault or who was right. That he would submit his idea equally to all parties without intervening in any political affairs and without passing any judgments. Why did they not 'drown' him in an adoption offer as did the Israelis in public? and perhaps in the shadows as well! Why did they not submit their proposals in regards to a real Day of Peace? The Palestinian children that die at the checkpoints in their stead. Do they not deserve a Day of Peace? Why did they not contribute to the man's project just the way others acted smarter and did? Or they wanted to load the man's film with a shipment of their ideas to reach around the world for free? With all that raw language that made filmmaker wonder what they were trying to say.
  • Unfortunately, these were politicians but they did not know the extent to which the western and non-western viewer is displaced from the arena of genuine understanding of happenings in world politics. They did not know that the only way for those exiled is through media not the expulsion of it or its creators!
  • Islamic and Arab sorrow will not grow bigger just because you need to endure! Just be patient and try to convince the man to contemplate the idea of children dying at the checkpoints! That requires you to have your trained counter media! To pull films from the League's archives and show them to the man to enrich his materials or at least change his perception. Deliver your arguments diplomatically and thoughtfully as did the Israelis. Do they (the Israelis) believe that the absented viewer in this remote and vast West counts their dead in every newscast? Or that he knows anything no matter how small of their world and their pain? How distant is this Western apolitical human being from their world if only they knew! That was an opportunity which was more than favorable. It cannot be a daily occurrence to have a movie that took its maker ten years to make! But if it were to be, the chances are we would be seeing the same withdrawn and isolated act repeated again!
  • Arab diplomats, supposedly professional and efficient, forgot to assert the issue of a world day for peace and to voice their unconditional consent to it prior to addressing other issues. This is my main idea in this regard. Watch Peres saying those strong words in the film. Words as though prepared by an inspired poet: "If you want 365 days of peace you must start with a first day".

  • Gilley basically uses world-famous icons such as Angelina Jolie, Judy Lowe, Annie Lennox and Jonny Lee Miller. That makes one wonder why known Islamic and Arabic faces are not used to garner support in the general issues of the East. Issues of Arab and Islamic environments in particular? Why we only see them in commercials and ads and whatever they benefit from as persons but not as representatives of a cultural orientation.

  • The wide spots granted to the Israelis by Gilley in the movie are noticeable. He interviews Peres in person but shows only a passing image of Arafat on a wall. The dialogue that was closer to an argument between Gilley and a Palestinian politician in which the politician offered to arrange a meeting with the late leader Arafat, unfortunately, not followed up. Was this deliberate or was it because Arafat was to die?

  • The showing of many Western politicians as ultimately wise and blameless while blaming all problems  and complications on the East as the first and foremost origin of crises. A British politician tells Gilley that he does not mind to offer support but it would not happen with the snap of fingers. What if? What are the suspicions that can be raised after Ginney's work to promote Coca Cola and its products in the film and even before finishing it!

  • All UN inspectors appearing in the movie work in areas far from the Middle East. None of those working in the Middle East is to be seen!

  • The only shot of Palestinian children show them in glee and pleasure. Chasing each other in the streets as though none of them dies every day on the barriers, in schools and under house roofs demolished on their heads.

  • The person who appears in the film and says that he wanted retribution for three Palestinian leaders killed by an explosive he himself had planted. I think the content of this scene is the cruelest part of the movie on the Palestinian cause. Note that this person first speaks Hebrew and not Arabic to cast unto Jewish religious extremist minds that punishment 'fits the crime', as if they are right and the others are wrong. This scene is the only one that skips gilley's proclaimed controls such as standing on the sidelines and not being a judge. How could the only criminal personality in the film be a Palestinian?
    There is also a message to the Palestinians in this scene. He who uses explosives in Israel will be rewarded with what fits his crime and will regret.
    This scene is not innocent at all. It is the worst one in this movie.

  • More On Jeremy Gilley

    Watch Movie Free

    The Day After Peace (UK, 82min, Color)
    Genre: Documenatry.
    Written by: Jeremy Gilley
    Directed by: Jeremy Gilley
    Cast: Michael Douglas, Jeremy Gilley, Angelina Joli, Annie Lennox.


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