Saturday, August 25, 2007

Promises: A Movie You Must See

If you see only one movie this year let it be "Promises." It's a documentary that shows the lives of Arab and Israeli children living in and around Jerusalem. Some have never even known a child from the other nationality, and not one has befriended a child from the other side. Most of the children filmed from both of the religious sides (Islamic/Judaism) are filled with hate and anger, and the brainwashing from the parents, school and culture that has helped cause this is very apparent. Yet two twin Jewish boys that have been raised with a secular mindset do not hate, do not want to kill and are willing to go to the Arabic camp to spend a day with the Arabic children in hopes of breaking down the barriers.

The thickness of the religious tradition within the Jewish community angered and saddened me, and clearly showed that Jesus understood that rituals are not the answer—He is. The religious fervor of the Arabs and their inability to "let go" of the fact that they do not occupy the land that they believe to be theirs was sobering. To see this in children in this way is almost incomprehensible considering the gap between their mindset and the mindset of our children here in America.

But still, a few of the children actually understood and had a desire to begin accepting their "enemies" because of the realization that they will be the ones that will one day be responsible for peace or for war when they reach adulthood. Watching the friendship and discussions take place is heartwarming, but one boy's openness at the end of that day makes this my favorite scene in a long, long time.

Unfortunately, this movie may be next to impossible to come by anywhere else, but you can get it and read customer reviews at Netflix. Yes, it's subtitled, but very easy to follow (there is Hebrew, Arabic and English spoken). And no, it's not necessarily a lighthearted movie, but it's an important one because of the message of acceptance, change and forgiveness. It should be a wake-up-call for some that ignore the times we live in or think that the Issac and Ishmael conflict that will continue until the end has nothing to do with us.

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