Essay On Paradise Now

Set in Palestine, Paradise Now is a movie that tells the story of two Palestinian childhood friends Khaled and Said, who are recruited to carry out a terrorist mission in Tel Aviv, Israel. The two friends are to cross into Israel and blow themselves up, a plan the friends are to keep secret from their families and relatives. The movie is seen as an accurate portrayal of the real life situation of Palestine citizens who are not happy with the thirty-eight years that Israelites have occupied their land.

Said is angered by the fact that the status of victims, what he believes belongs to them by right, is taken away from them by the Israelis. This assertion by Said seems to be the position taken by Palestine. Paradise Now speaks about the Palestine condemnation of violence and offers insight into those taking part in such inhumane acts. Paradise Now brings forth the issues in the Palestine-Israel war. The film shows how the suicide bombers are deceived and how they are traumatized during recruitment. In order to persuade the recruits to take the bombing mission, the terrorist group handlers employ various techniques.

The handlers provide the recruits with training, a ceremonial dinner, praise, encouragement, shaves, haircuts, suits and ties and also offer the recruits a chance to make a video be aired on television after the attack. All these actions the handlers do just to deceive the recruits. Though not fanatics, the two agree to take the task and leave for Israel with the bombs hidden in their chests. Suha, a daughter of Abu Assam who is a revered leader, appears and after interacting with the two, begins to fall in love with Said. She is a Palestinian born in France and raised in Morocco.

Upon her return, she is treated with great respect by the community because of her father’s position and her interaction with the West. Being an activist, she does not advocate for suicide bombers and instead devotes her efforts to human rights duties. She is reluctant and opposes the suicide attacks being planned by Said. She bases her argument against terrorism on two grounds, theological and real life situation. As an Islam believer, suicide is forbidden and should not be practiced at all. On the other hand, she questions the authenticity of martyrdom through martyring oneself.

She also argues that the major results of bombings are the creation of innocent victims and inspiring the enemies to retaliate causing an endless cycle of war. Upon interaction with Suha, Said and Khaled change their stance on suicide bombing. Suha becomes the embodiment of reason, and the two friends come back to their senses. They are convinced and understand the dangers and the results of the attacks they intended to carry out. It is at this time in the movie that Khaled, who has been more enthusiastic about the mission, changes his stance and backs down.

Suha sheds light on the dangers involved in the mission and the harm the operation would cause to the innocent Israelites. Said, who had failed to drop a bomb inside a bus simply because a young girl was on board, is left alone. He takes it upon himself to carry on with the operation and he gets a new target, the soldiers on board. With these mixed reactions from Said and Khaled, the operation fails. The two friends lose sight of one another, and each is forced to struggle with his convictions.

Though many have criticized the movie for what they term as carrying a terrorist’s original intended message, Paradise Now changes a person’s views on the Arab-Israeli war, life under military operation and even terrorism on the generation. Just as Khaled changes his stance about suicide bombing, the movie enlightens the viewers and gives many people a different concept from what they originally had thought about terrorism. Through Suha, the film gives the viewers a different point of view about martyrdom. Many Palestinians fall into the trap of becoming terrorists merely because they want to become martyrs.

The movie opens the viewer’s eyes that there is no martyrdom through martyring oneself. Even the director humanizes his characters in the film, and he does not glorify them at the end. He did not make Khaled out to be a hero even though the boys accept going to Tel Aviv because he believes there is no heroism in killing. The result of war is simply killing the innocent citizens and triggering war as the enemy will always retaliate. Paradise Now is heartbreaking and makes viewers feel humanity for those who take part in suicide bombings and even for the relatives and the families the attackers leave behind.

Khaled is recruited because of his desire for fame and recognition. He is lured by the fact that his poster will hang in town and the excitement of meeting angels and virgins and become a resistance legend. This shows the gullibility and immaturity of the recruits. Even though Paradise Now successfully avoids political aspects of the conflict, it provides room for the extension of sympathy and imagination, which are all vital for the creation of more and desirable opportunities for the citizens, Khaled and Said, and the others.