Paradise Now Analysis

“Paradise Now” is a movie concerning the struggles of two young men as they live in Palestine under Israeli occupation. Though this movie deals much with some of the common trends in the media concerning the Palestinian – Israeli conflict, the story is told through a much different perspective: through the eyes of the suicide bomber recruits. The media commonly portrays the acts of suicide bombers and terrorism in Israel and Palestine as religious in origins, “Paradise Now” shows another source of motivation for suicide bombers: previous acts of Israel.

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The film starts off and begins developing with little to no mention of religion. When God is mentioned, it is almost always in a conversational fashion which is very common in Arabic culture. This is true, even when Jamal, one of the figureheads of the terrorist organization, approaches Sayyed to tell him that he was chosen for the operation, there was not an excessive amount of religion that was brought up.

In fact, Jamal, though he was mentioned to be involved with the terrorist organization through his involvement with teaching the children (instant thoughts to Muslim Brotherhood like organization, Hamas) and little relation to religion. The first real instance of was brought up during Khaled’s ‘Martyr’s Declaration’. In his declaration, Khaled cited a number of verses from the Qur’an giving justification for the mentioned suicide operation. However, past that, the references to religion are again few and conversational at best.

The majority of his speech deals with the Israeli injustices against the Palestinian people.

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The mention of Israeli injustices is actually the meat of the entire film. Both Khaled and Sayyed find most of their reasoning on why they choose to go through this operation through the above mentioned source. One of the most relevant lines in his declaration mentioned the choice to either accept Palestinian inferiority or be killed by the Israelis. He later mentions that his father was seriously injured by the Israelis during the first Intifada.

Sayyed has similar sources of why he was involved; his father was recruited as a collaborator by the Israelis which resulted in a loss of dignity of his family which resulted in their mistreatment by other Palestinians. Though much of the reasoning behind their willingness to become involved with the operation was political in nature, it is clear that there were religious undertones linking the organization and the operation together. The leader of the organization, Abu-Kareem, told the two young men as they were about to leave that they would be seen as heroes in God’s eyes, as well as in heaven.

However, the religious references again were grounded when Khaled makes earthly requests that his family would be kept safe afterwards and to make sure that the two would be made heroes through postering throughout Nablus. As a result, “Paradise Now” gives a significant amount of background for the more secular based suicide bombers. Though the religious themes aren’t completely removed from the movie, it is clear the writer made an attempt to make the reasoning and justification of the suicide bombers as secular as possible.

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Paradise Now Analysis
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