Join the Socialist Party Join us today!

Printable version Printable version

Facebook   Twitter

Link to this page:

From The Socialist newspaper, 30 March 2006

The socialist review

Paradise Now

dir. by Hany Abu-Assad

If you type in 'Nablus' on the internet, you can find basic information like this: "A historic city, about 4,500 years old, in the West Bank.. The Nablus district has 205,392 inhabitants, including refugee camps and surrounding villages.

Angelika Teweleit

"The city's unemployment rates have increased from 14.2% in 1997 to an estimate of 60% in 2004, however unemployment in the old city and in the refugee camps is as high as 80%.

"Due to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the city was closed off by the IDF. Checkpoints around Nablus restrict travelling of residents to and from the city (and there is a ban on vehicles, only pedestrians can cross checkpoints).

"Around 400 Palestinians (including armed fighters as well as unarmed civilians and children) from Nablus have been killed by IDF [Israeli Defence Force] military operations against militants during the Al-Aqsa Intifada. Israeli soldiers along with Jewish settlers have also been killed by members of militant groups that originate from there."

Imagine for a minute what your life would be like if you were born there. It would not be surprising if you said "It's like a lifelong prison sentence". That's how one of the protagonists in the 2005 film Paradise Now describes it.

Said and Khaled are friends, and at the start of the film they are both lucky enough to have work as car mechanics. Their situation is like that of most other car mechanics in the world - some customers are nasty and the boss thinks he can hire and fire you.

On the bright side of life there is this beautiful sight of the city, friendship, family and for Said there is also Suha with the knackered car, who clearly likes him. The two of them plan to meet again the next day but this plan gets crossed by the plans of the leaders of a militant islamist group.


Said and Khaled are the chosen ones for the next suicide attack in Tel-Aviv - in retribution for a horrific killing by the IDF a couple of years earlier. Being chosen means great honour but the prospect of being dead the next day and taking lots of people you never met before with you concentrates your mind. Especially on the question: will it actually change anything? Or is there another way?

These are the central questions of the film (and for the whole of the Middle East). They do not get answered, but this is exactly the situation at present. Today's reality is that Hamas is widely seen as the only mass alternative to the ineffective Fatah, and so in Nablus Hamas won a staggering 73.4% in the municipal elections in December 2005.

The film clearly questions the method of suicide bombings. At the same time it shows how desperate the situation is for people, so much so that they are prepared to carry out suicide bombings. This is less due to an understanding of what it will or won't achieve, but due to the circumstances of life in Nablus. Quite bravely, the film is approaching the issues in a genuine way and therefore inviting criticism from the different sides of religious extremism.

The film also raises the question of class - in one particular scene it shows the similarity between Said and the people he is supposed to bomb. But more so I thought that the leaders who have planned the attack are portrayed as rather middle class and the way they treat their "heroes" makes you rather angry.

Having been on the anti-war demo beforehand and then in a Socialist Party meeting afterwards, I really had to drag myself to go to the cinema but it was definitely worth it.

When asked what genre of film Said likes, he replies by asking if there is a "boring" genre. And then he says: "Well, films about life". Far from being boring, this one is definitely a great description of life on the Palestinian side. If there was a socialist Oscar, I would want to give it for the directing, the photography and the acting.

In London it will be shown at the Ritzy in Brixton from 14 April, look out for it in other areas. But you should also read the Socialist Party and Committee for a Workers' International articles on the Middle East - the only material which deals with the question of "What other way?". The starting point for Marxists would be that Palestinians and Israelis can only achieve self-determination and a peaceful life by confronting their common enemy - capitalism.

Donate to the Socialist Party

Coronavirus crisis - Finance appeal

The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • Our 'fighting coronavirus workers' charter', outlines a programme to combat the virus and protect workers' living conditions.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
Inevitably, during the crisis we have not been able to sell the Socialist and raise funds in the ways we normally would.
We therefore urgently appeal to all our viewers to donate to our special coronavirus appeal.

Please donate here.

All payments are made through a secure server.

My donation


Your message: 


In The Socialist 30 March 2006:

Socialist Party NHS campaign

Stop the NHS jobs massacre

New Labour's NHS lies

Call for NHS demo gets support

Huddersfield trust votes for cuts - but campaign gets stronger

Save jobs and beds at the Royal Free


Britain - Over one million strike for pension rights...

'Time for a new working-class party'

International socialist news and analysis

France - millions march for job security

USA: Millions march for immigrant workers' rights

Ukraine's 'orange revolution' goes pear-shaped

Will ETA's strategy lead to Basque national rights?

Socialist Party review

Paradise Now

Gordon's global gurus

Socialist Party campaigns

Why socialists oppose state funding of political parties

Local council services are still worth fighting for

Council elections: Great response in Lewisham

Stoke UNISON prepares for action against cuts

Strong support for minimum wage demand

Lambeth College students launch campaign against cuts

Save chemistry - sack the vice-chancellor!


Home   |   The Socialist 30 March 2006   |   Join the Socialist Party

Subscribe   |   Donate  

Related links:


triangleSouth East London Socialist Party: Black Lives Matter

triangleBirmingham Socialist Party: George Floyd's Life Mattered - Mass anti-racist movement erupts

triangleIsrael/Palestine: Trump 'peace plan' promises further conflict

trianglePalestinian solidarity demo

triangleTrade unionists and socialists opposed council adoption of IHRA definition of antisemitism

Middle East:

triangleBirmingham SE Socialist Party: Middle East mass protests - a socialist way forward

triangleEast London Socialist Party: Starmer wins Labour leadership - do we need a new political party for the working class?

triangleYemen's desperate civil war fuelled by imperialism and regional powers





Cuba: Covid-19 and the 60-year-old embargo


Nuclear weapons

Anniversary of nuclear destruction of Hiroshima and Nagasaki



Iran: Renewed wave of protests and strikes



Israel: Nurses strike and win


Hong Kong

Hong Kong: The fight for democratic rights


South Africa

South Africa: Building jobs and living wage campaign



France: 20,000 rally against Paris's killer gendarmes



Black and white youth rise up against racism - US protester speaks to the Socialist



USA - another cop killing of unarmed black man sparks widespread protests



Outrage spreads globally following US police murder of George Floyd


Hong Kong

Chinese state's imposition of draconian law reignites Hong Kong protests



Economic collapse leads to renewed protests across Lebanon



Trump, coronavirus, capitalism, and the presidential race



India: Fighting the curse of capitalism and coronavirus



Trump puts profit before safety (again)

triangleMore International articles...

Join the Socialist Party
Subscribe to Socialist Party publications
Donate to the Socialist Party
Socialist Party Facebook page
Socialist Party on Twitter
Visit us on Youtube



Phone our national office on 020 8988 8777


Locate your nearest Socialist Party branch Text your name and postcode to 07761 818 206

Regional Socialist Party organisers:

Eastern: 079 8202 1969

East Mids: 077 3797 8057

London: 075 4018 9052

North East: 078 4114 4890

North West 079 5437 6096

South West: 077 5979 6478

Southern: 078 3368 1910

Wales: 079 3539 1947

West Mids: 024 7655 5620

Yorkshire: 077 0671 0041



Alphabetical listing

August 2020

July 2020

June 2020

May 2020

April 2020

March 2020

February 2020

January 2020