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.

Why not click here to join the Socialist Party, or click here to donate to the Socialist Party.

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:


trianglePalestinian solidarity demo

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

triangleSocialism - the podcast of the Socialist Party

trianglePalestinian solidarity: "We are not victims. We are freedom fighters."

triangleAhed Tamimi - worldwide symbol of self-esteem in face of oppression

Middle East:

triangleMass united action against the war on Syrian Kurds

triangleCambridgeshire Socialist Party: What is happening in the Middle East, and why?

triangleCaerphilly Socialist Party: Will there be a Saudi-Iran war in the Middle East?




South Africa

South African Airways workers win wage increase after strike action


Hong Kong

Hong Kong's uprising


Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka: Presidential election sees return of dictatorial Rajapaksa clan



Regime's fuel price rise sparks massive protests across Iran



Amazon bosses defeated in Seattle - Kshama Sawant reelected



Chile revolt continues: read eyewitness report



Bolivia: Right-wing coup ousts Morales


Kshama Sawant

Kshama Sawant reelected in Seattle



End repression in Chile - freedom for soldier David Veloso



Chile in revolt



Chile: An outpouring of rage against the capitalist system



Solidarity with the Kurdish people



Catalonia: Draconian prison sentences of independence leaders provokes mass protests and strikes



China at the crossroads: 70 years since the declaration of the People's Republic of China



Massive protests against Lebanon's corrupt elite

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: 0798 202 1969

East Mids: 0773 797 8057

London: 020 8988 8786

North East: 0784 114 4890

North West 07954 376 096

South East: 020 8988 8777

South West: 07759 796 478

Southern: 07833 681910

Wales: 07935 391 947

West Mids: 02476 555 620

Yorkshire: 0114 264 6551



Alphabetical listing

December 2019

November 2019

October 2019

September 2019

August 2019

July 2019

June 2019

May 2019

April 2019

March 2019

February 2019

January 2019