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The Attack

December 21, 2014

The Attack, a Cohen production is a film starring the imminent actor Ali Sulieman in the main role as Amin.  This outstanding and deeply thoughtful film has created a particular meaning for me.  It stands for “objectivity” in examining facts before making conclusions.  As a by-product which is very meaningful to our terror seized world is that religion itself does have a causal relationship with terror, but at the same time no religion has a vaccine to assure that it is immune from being used as a cover for terror.  So how does the film arouse such a thoughtful discussion?

Amin is a Palestinian physician has broken the wall so to speak.  He is a noted doctor in Tel Aviv and works at an Israeli hospital.  He is a non-practicing member of Islam and is married to Siham, a Christian Palestinian, played by Reymonde Amsellem.  In the midst of his oblivious love for Siham, Amin practices a medicine that is blind to ethnicity.  It is “people” that he serves, not citizenship.  What occurs in the film is atypical of what we have come to see portrayed as a suicide bomber.  Like the Sochi Olympic reports that created fear of female suicide bombers called Black Widows or the Pakistani slaughter of school children, such is the case in Tel Aviv.  Children at a birthday party are killed and maimed by a suicide bomber.  Amin works feverously on many victims seeking to save and comfort them.  Later law enforcement charges that Siham was the suicide bomber.  Israeli authorities seek to pressure Amin to divulge what he knows about Siham and her plan.  He knows nothing and denies it was Siham.  In desperation, as the hospital administration and many friends turn on him Amin sets out on a quest to find the truth.  Rather than the trip to Nazareth that Siham was to take he finds that rather went to Nablus on the evening before the bombing.  He travels there where he hears car radios and outdoor speekers broadcast the local radical Islamic cleric’s professions against Israel.  He believes the radical cleric is the answer to why Siham did her deed.  Siham’s portrait of martyrdom is posted everywhere.  People honor her.  When he finally is able to break through and speak with the cleric it is clear Siham spoke with another, but who?  Finally he is directed to meet someone in seclusion.  It is a Christian preacher that opens up the door to understanding Siham’s reasons for martyrdom – terrorism.

The film’s subtle message gives society a practical warning about common sense conclusions.  Even when generalities and our own experiences lead us to conclude that something is true, we have an obligation to objectively investigate facts before acting on our initial conclusion.  To conclude one religion’s association with a particular persons act, such as terrorism, substantiates that the religion itself is a direct cause of the person’s act is only prima facie evidence.  Common sense makes this often erroneous conclusion.  Conclusions are often unfounded and must be substantiated.  Moreover, assigning this potential to only one religion with out testing associations with terror is an incomplete analysis.  The conclusions are verified by considering the potential of all, or any religion to associate with political or culturally based grievances.  It is when a religion’s dogmas and rituals are skewed by associated political grievances, cultural strains, and ethnic tensions that the religion may out of context be used to motivate and justify humans in carrying out either pro-social or anti-social behavior.  Moreover, religion is not a carrier of this germ called terror.  Rather, religion is a means of solidarity and unity.  Religion inspires, motivates to “a greater good” and justifies actions and behavior of everyday human beings through a neutralizing process.  In this instance it is skewed dogmatic belief and ritual that neutralizes the Golden Rule of most every religion and serves as the authority to act with terror.

In both this film and in the research I have conducted it appears to be the “deliverer of the message” that spreads the dogmatic and extreme beliefs and rituals that simply “tack onto” a religion.  (5)  While it “appears” that the religion is “evil” it is not.  Rather the evil is played out by misdirected converts, who both victimize and are also victims.  It is not the religion, but the messenger who misguides the way of the convert and cleverly uses religion out of context to neutralize the follower’s deviance in using extra-legal process to resolve social, political and cultural fears and discrimination.

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