A change in Arab media


On Sunday February 24th, millions of views turned their attention to the 85th Academy Awards to see what movies would win an Oscar. This year two films regarding the conflict between the Palestinian’s and Israeli’s were nominated for best documentary, “The Gatekeeper” and “5 broken Camera’s”. Under the direction of Dror Moreh, the film “The gatekeeper” tells the story of the last 6 leaders of the Shin Bet (Israeli National Security Service) and criticizes them for their lack of action to resolve the conflict. In this film, the history of the conflict is told from its beginning following the 1967 war and shows how it has developed over time to where it is currently today. Throughout the documentary, viewers are given a firsthand look at how leaders of the Shin Bet have discussed national security, assassinations, and resistance by the Palestinians leading to arrest and detention by the Israeli forces. On the other hand, in the film “5 Broken Camera’s” directed by Guy Davidi and Emad Burnat, the opposing view is depicted of the conflict and struggle from the Palestinian view under Israeli occupation. When it comes to the name of the film “5 Broken Cameras”, this came as a result that in the five years of filming the struggle 5 cameras or 1 camera per year were broken as a result of attacks on Palestinian protesters by the Israeli’s. Davidi and Burnat claim that the reason behind composing the film stems from both their hope to spread the word to the world on the struggles that the Palestinian’s endure as well as the hope to inform and preserve the issue for younger and future generations. While each documentary portrays the views of opposing sides, both films come to the conclusion that the longer the conflict continues both sides will continue to suffer.

With the Arab World becoming significantly more western in their media both through reporting of news as well as entertainment, the issues facing the Arab World are becoming more publicized and debated around the world. Through this shift of publication in the media, not only is the information able to spread at a much greater pace, but also provides more accurate and realistic accounts of what is really going on in the area. Both the directors of “5 Broken Cameras” and the director of “The Gatekeeper” realize that even though neither of the films won an Oscar, both sides have spread the story to the world. In a quote by Davidi, he states “I wasn’t disappointed [not to win an Oscar]… the world knows our voice and our struggles now”. http://forward.com/articles/171838/the-gatekeepers-and–broken-cameras-makers-claim/

To take the issues of the conflict shown in the documentary on a lighter note, Ted the talking bear from the highly popular movie “Ted” joked about the issue along with Marc Wahlberg while taking the stage following the announcement of the best documentary winner. Even with neither film taking the award, prior to presenting the award for best sound mixing Ted poked fun at being Jewish stating “everyone is at least half-Jewish in this business …  I was born Theodore Shapiro and I would like to donate money to Israel and continue to work in Hollywood forever.” http://forward.com/articles/171838/the-gatekeepers-and–broken-cameras-makers-claim/ Through making these puns while on live television to the nation, Ted further brought this conflict to spotlight attention as the film would have if they won the award. Through doing this, not only did Ted create a comedy routine to further entertain the national audience, but also assisted in spreading Arab culture and ideas to the World through the ongoing issue in the Middle East. With this attempt, hope is that the conflict will get the attention that it needs and will come to a peaceful resolution in the near future.


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