Thursday, January 29, 2009

Karen Armstrong: The Role of Religion in the Arab-Israeli Conflict

Karen Armstrong's talk at the Capitol in Washington, DC with a 20-minute or so Q&A period is being distributed by the Council for the National Interest Foundation.

The talk is basically a summary of positions she has laid out in her book The Battle for God. Her prime contention is that intra-religious battles about how to react to modernity result in social identities which, in situations of stress and political conflict, emerge into fundamentalist political movements.

She takes a little more time to deal with Christian fundamentalists, but she address Jews and Muslims as well.

This talk is a great way to address people who say things like "Those people are always fighting" or "God said there would always be war" or "God says we must do such and such (politically)."

The program is 78 minutes long.

Film: Gaza Strip, by James Longley

Update: James Longley has made this film available for free. Please consider donating to support the work. Also, read the comment he made regarding Israel's July 2014 attacks on Gaza.

Gaza Strip from James Longley on Vimeo.

The documentary film Gaza Strip by James Longley runs 74 minutes. The special features include some striking still shots, a map of the Gaza Strip showing the extent of Jewish settlements in 2002 and a narrated audio track by James Longley, which I have not yet heard.

You can also read other reviews of the film.

The film includes profanity in Arabic which is then translated into the English subtitles.

The film includes a segment describing Israeli use of a gas weapon which caused neurological symptoms. I had never heard that before.

Another amazing scene is a large number of children standing around and taking cover every 10 seconds or so as gunfire breaks out, but otherwise acting as if it was normal.

The most unbearable scene is a dialog where Muhammad Hijazi, a thirteen-year old boy who appears frequently in the documentary, talks about what he thinks might happen to him after death. He relates the conversation he imagines might take place between him and God and his assignment to Hell or, perhaps, purgatory.

The film's footage was shot in 2001 (I think).

As I was watching it, I was thinking that most of my previous office co-workers would not be able to handle the truth of this movie. The Palestinians Longley interviews express a deep pessimism combined with a determination to resist.

I purchased my copy from

James Longley has also directed Iraq in Fragments. He is currently working on a documentary film about Iran.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Film: The Refusal-Story of Franz Jägerstätter, a martyr for justice

THE REFUSAL - Story of Franz Jägerstätter from GNV Team on Vimeo.

I purchased this DVD at the School of the Americas Watch rally in Columbus, Georgia, USA in November 2008. The movie was originally released in West Germany in 1971. This DVD has English subtitles available on-line, but no extra features. It runs for 95 minutes. The DVD label includes the web site for the Center for Christian Nonviolence. I spoke with John Carmodi of the center on January 26, 2009, and he told me that the web site's store was being rebuilt and it should be available again shortly. In the meantime, people who want the DVD can call 302.235.2925. [May 13, 2009-New English language translation of Franz Jägerstätter letter's and writings from prison].

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sonbolight Kids Web Site Focuses on Materials for Children to Enjoy Eid

While there are only a few items currently available from the web site, I hope that Muslims support it in the hope that it develops into a quality supplier of decorations and children's activities materials for Eid.