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Masculinities and Terror, Essay Example

Pages: 4

Words: 1223

Essay

Discuss how Paradise Now breaks the normative frame of the suicide bomber. How is the suicide bomber humanized in the film?

Unlike other movies where the protagonist is usually the good guy, Hany Abu Assad’s Paradise Now dwells on the possibility of presenting an individual who is probably most disliked by the society especially during bomb scares and terrorist attacks: the suicide bomber. Often, people see these individuals as perpetrators and worthless persons who have seemingly lost their way and are specifically twisted in their minds to actually consider themselves as the primary tool to the death of a massive number of individuals within a target area of attack. What makes terrorist attackers most reliable in their cause for living is specifically dependent on their attitude. In the writing of Laura Sjoberg (2007) entitled Agency, Militarized Femininity and Enemy Others: Observations From The War In Iraq, one of the reasons behind the steady motivation of the terrorists is that of their conviction that they are supposed to complete their mission to prove their manhood. To this she quotes Hirschmann saying “the understanding of obligation in a liberal sense is generally discussed as a limit on … a requirement of non-action” (97). In a way, the movie intends to impose that motivation as part of the decision of terrorists to push with their mission is integrated with their desire to prove their masculinity, a matter that intensively defines their being.

This film does not intend to change the mind of the society towards the people who put themselves in corresponding position to the perpetration of particular terrorist attacks. Instead, it simply hopes to create on them a sense of understanding as to why these people are the way that they are. In the film, two particular elements of motivation have been presented by the story-writer. One is that of religion and another is that of the protagonist’s response to the need to establishing his honor. Understandably, majority of the Palestinians belong to the Islamic religion. Not to profile the followers of this religion, but to establish what they believe to be a source of honor to serve the course of their life for the completion of the mission that they are expected to hold on to. In a way, in line with the consideration of the feminist’s vision, this particular consideration offering one’s self is defined as the theory of purity which indicates how a human individual submits to what he believes fully.  This theory specifically defines how one person becomes strongly attached to his beliefs and become motivated to act upon such understanding that he becomes willing enough to serve his life fully for the cause of defending such belief.

In line with the theory of purity, the story tries to indicate how one’s element of motivation plays a great role in refining the process by which people tend to hold on fast to their convictions. To show how immensely competent is one’s motivation in holding him to his course of responsibility, the story introduces a female character who at some point could also symbolize a westernized culture that impacts Palestinians who chose to live in western regions of the world. At some point, it defines the feminine side of the story that is more conceivably understood as the rationale of morality and the reasoning of life. Suha, the female character, makes a great impact on the attention of Said hence putting her as the primary source of his strength. However, her reasoning and her convictions are separately different from his creating a particular conflict on their beliefs. Being both Palestinians, one would think that these two characters ought to have a specific common ground from which they could agree upon. However, on the contrary, it was only their emotional connection that made it easier for both these characters to understand each other. Said did account Suha to be one of the most important people in his life aside from his mother. However, both women in his life did not support his conviction about being a sacrifice for the glory of his country. Khaled, Said’s supposed partner in the mission, decided to turn aside and was convinced that this mission of killing himself to kill many others was a worthless path was worthless; the words of Suha basically got into him and were rather able to change his mind.

What made Said so different is the fact that he had a background from his father that he never knew of. All he knew was that he took the same path, but Said never got to know what it was that pushed him to do the will of his people and give up his life. Relatively, Said wants to relieve the process of life that his father took to gain a better understanding of his reason. His decision alongside his conviction defined his desire to answer the question behind his head about his father and who he really was as a person. It seems as if it is only through the completion of this mission that he would be able to understand and know his father deeper. In a way, it has been mirrored how this mission was not only a point of doing matters for his country, his religion and his people, it was more of fulfilling a long time goal that has been lingering in his personality for a long time already. The desire to know the father who he never met has actually given him the driving force to pursue this way of living and become more convinced that what he was doing was for an actual cause. Suha and his mother, although equally important to his heart has already filled his life with the love that he needed to survive, nevertheless, what they give him did not fill the emptiness that could only be filled with the idea of solving the puzzle regarding his father’s personality and conviction which he believes he would only be able to realize if he pursues this particular mission of being a suicide bomber and deliver the course of life that his father once lived.

The notable conditions from which the desire to be part of a large containment of the society as presented on the characterization of the story’s protagonist suggests a relative form of defining how humans intend to find meaning through the things that they hope to do, the missions they decide to complete. For Said, his life would be more meaningful if he did find the right answers to his questions, if he would be able to finally feel complete and not scarred by the fact that he never knew his father. Taking the path that his father took gives Said a sense of satisfaction. To others, this may be a crooked decision, but for Said, this is the next best thing he could ever have if he really wanted to know his father more. Masculinity for Said was more of an identity, a matter of recognition that if he gets would at least given him a connective understanding of his father and what his life and decisions have been about.

References

Hany Abu-Assad. Paradise Now. (2005). Warner Independent Pictures (USA).

Sjoberg, L. (2007). Agency, Militarized Femininity and Enemy Others. International Feminist Journal of Politics.

Mirzoeff, N. (2006). Invisible Empire: Visual Culture, Embodied Spectacle, and Abu Ghraib. Radical History Review.

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