Friday, May 23, 2008

Meeting Resistance DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Postwar Documentary Examines Iraqi Insurgency

For the past five years, we’ve been bombarded with Western press speculation about what fuels the Iraqi insurgency. The pointy-headed, chin-pulling pundits have placed the blame on everything from Al-qaida to Saddam loyalists to Iranian intervention to outside agitators to Shia versus Sunni civil unrest.
Now, thanks to a couple of intrepid filmmakers, Harvard grad Molly Bingham and British army veteran Steve Connors, we have a rare opportunity to hear from the participants in the resistance movement themselves exactly who they are and why they have chosen to take up arms to fight the U.S. occupation. Bingham and Connors embedded themselves with the enemy, being careful to mask faces while conducting dozens of candid interviews with so-called terrorists.
The subjects turn out to be surprisingly forthcoming about both their motivations for their attacks on American GIs, describing in intimate detail how they conduct guerilla warfare. For instance, we hear from a woman from Baghdad who freely admits to volunteering to serve as a scout and to deliver weapons because her burka can hide them and because as a female she is less likely to be stopped and frisked.
Most of the men are locals, too, and invariably see themselves as patriotic freedom fighters. None were even particularly political or religious prior to the occupation, but their consciousness was raised by the condescending treatment they received at the hands of the Coalition forces.
One guy said that before the war he never prayed and didn’t even know his way to the mosque. Yet, he has now decided to dedicate his life to radical Islam and to driving the infidel out of his homeland.
Probably the jihad’s best recruiting tool has been the Abu Ghraib prison pictures. The film features some new disgusting snapshots never released in the States, such as one with MP Lynndie England laughing while pointing at a naked detainee’s erection, as if making fun of the size of his manhood. No wonder again and again Iraqis cite restoring their pride and dignity as their reasons for planting roadside bombs, firing RPGs and lobbing mortars into the Green Zone.
Hell hath no fury like a Muslim humiliated.

Excellent (4 stars)
In Arabic and English with subtitles.
Running time: 85 minutes
Studio: First Run Features
DVD Extras: Commentary by directors Molly Bingham and Steve Connors, film notes and a theatrical trailer.

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