Last week I got to see the Honest Reporting
movie Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West. I thought it was pretty good (one minor production quibble: they had lots of interview clips and in several cases they had the camera way too close to the person's face). I didn't learn anything new (having paid attention to this stuff for the last three or four years), but actually seeing it on the big screen had a strong impact. I've seen one or two video clips in the past, but mostly I've only seen still photos. As always, the most heartbreaking was seeing these adorable little kiddies being turned into hate machines.
In the week or so prior to the screening, local lefties and the local Muslim spokeswoman (who, according to my sources, is not representative of the local community and neither is she well regarded by them) were campaigning against the screening, calling it “hate propaganda.” In my opinion, that publicity, ironically, was responsible for the sell-out crowd. In fact, they had so much interest that they had to schedule a second screening for the following night, which was also sold out.
Contrary to the claims, the movie bent over backwards not to stigmatize all Muslims (although I would imagine a Muslim would find it upsetting). At the very beginning a text was on the screen for a long time saying something along the lines of “The vast majority of Muslims are peaceful citizens who support the countries in which they live. This move is not about them.” At several points in the movie one or other of the interviewees would make the same point (I particularly remember Daniel Pipes saying this), and the fact that moderate Muslims are the biggest victims of the radicals was also repeated a number of times.
The movie made the explicit connection between the brainwashing methods the Nazis used and the methods the despots in Muslim countries use. One of the interviewees was Alfons Heck, an elderly German who had been a Hitler Youth leader and described the process he underwent, drawing the explicit connection between that and how Hamas et al. brainwash their children. He said it took him a very long time to break free of that indoctrination and to see it for what it was.
It also included excerpts from Al-Shatat
, the Syrian-produced series that was aired during Ramadan (peak viewing period) a year or so ago, including where “the Jews” capture a Christian child, slit his throat, and drain his blood to make matzot (this was all shown explicitly). It showed some of the children's programs from various countries, e.g., animated cartoon showing Sharon glugging down a can of blood. It also compared some of the cartoons in the Arab press with the exact equivalents from the Nazi era.
After the show Nonie Darwish spoke. She read from a written speech, and started off rather shakily, tending to lose her place. I know this was her first Canadian appearance, and I think she hadn't "adjusted" sufficiently, because she had to keep going back to say "and Canada" when she was talking about "America, Europe, Britain... "
But when she was just talking, not reading, she was just terrific. She said that for her, being pro-Israel does not mean being anti-Arab. On the contrary, she thinks Israel can be a blessing to the Arab countries if they will let it. (Ain't that the truth?!)
When asked how she herself had managed to escape the hate. She said, "It wasn't easy." Here’s the story she told.
Her father had been appointed by Nasser to head the Egyptian fedayeen and organize terror attacks against Israel, and so Israel targeted him for killing. She said that when she was eight Israeli soldiers came to their house looking for him and she was terrified, but when they saw it was only her mother and the children at home, they left. She was stunned by that, because she was sure they would kill them all given what she had been told about Israelis. Then Israel killed her father and everyone said she should be happy that her father was a shahid, but she wasn't happy, she would rather he wasn't a shahid and was still alive.
When she was 20 she was visiting a Coptic friend. Her friend’s house was very close to a mosque and they could hear the sermon being broadcast. At the end of the sermon the imam called for the unbelievers to be killed. Nonie said, “I saw the fear on her face, and suddenly saw Muslims through her eyes.”
She moved to the States in 1978 and seemed to be drawn to Jewish friends (and vice versa), and found they weren't evil like she'd been told. Then her brother, in Gaza, had a stroke, and his neighbours told him that if he wanted to live he shouldn't go to the big hospital in Cairo, but to Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem. Which he did. And she said that it proved to her that when there's a crisis, the Arabs trust the Jews to help them.
She said that her mind had pretty much changed by that point but she didn't feel she should say anything because, after all, she was now living in America, a long way from the crazy Middle East.
Until 9/11. After that she knew she had to speak up. Which is what she’s been doing ever since.
If you get a chance to see the movie and/or hear Nonie Darwish speak, then do so. It’ll be well worth your time.
Related web sites:
Nonie’s sites: Nonie Darwish
and Arabs for Israel
Review of Obsession at the Center for Security Policy
Review of Obsession at Israpundit