The absurdity of war, of a conflict without meaning, of barriers without meaning, of a wall. Seeing Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette’s film Inch’allah made me realize the point to which wars, conflicts, attacks, military invasions, are of no meaning to us, the people. To the people waging the wars, the army generals, the political officials, the presidents of states or of corporations manufacturing weapons, and the technology, software, networks, circuits and the fuel that support war, it is entirely lucrative.
What is war? Is it between two fighting parties? Between two armies? Between two peoples? Between two governments? Two, or more? The wars we see today, are they between armies? Or is it an army on people? Or, an army versus so-called rebels or militants? It is unclear to me.
The Palestinians, the Israelis. Are they at war? Do they hate the other? Are they different from one another as people? Do they benefit from the 700-kilometre, 8-metre high concrete wall, surrounded by a 60-metre wide exclusion area, and built mainly in the West Bank by the State of Israel? Who would hear of such a thing on the eve of the year 2013?
The Berlin wall fell; rather was demolished by German citizens, with their hands, in 1990. The wall was a barrier constructed in 1961 by the German Democratic Republic in East Germany, which completely cut off West Berlin from surrounding East Germany and from East Berlin. The Eastern Bloc claimed that the wall was erected to protect its population from fascist elements conspiring to prevent the “will of the people” in building a socialist state in East Germany. The Berlin wall was adorned with people’s graffiti.
Is the separation wall erected in Palestine, by Israel, also there to block out something? What? Is it helping? Is it useful? It is adorned by outspoken graffiti and words that compel the imagination and speak louder than its politicians.
The film’s Chloé, a Montrealer, a physician, working at a clinic visited mostly by Palestinian moms and their infants, is caught between a friendship with an Israeli young woman who serves her state by guarding checkpoints and checking the ID papers of those wishing to pass; and a friendship with a Palestinian family, marked by woes. Man-made.
I wondered what would send a young Canadian woman to a place like the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Why there? Does she speak Arabic? Does she wish to learn it? Is it the promised land of troubles? Is it her way of seeking redemption, or for being grateful for her life in North America? Is it a curiosity? A will to learn more about what is told to be complex? I don’t know. I am a Palestinian, and have not been. Am I ready? It is an absurd way to live. The checkpoints, the pain, the trials, the tears. It is all absurd.
Why do we do this? Why do we put each other through this? …is what echoed in my mind. This is not the first film or documentary that I have seen about The Conflict. But it struck a chord.
Was Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, the film’s Director, trying to show the absurdity of our wars, of our conflicts? Or, of the fighting and deaths in this place?