02 October, 2007

Great Palestinian Actors

Those who haven't been following the France2 story should. Boston blogger and professor Richard Landes at Augean Stables has one of the best summaries, drawing heavily on Natan Sharansky's recent WSJ op-ed. My own short-take on that:

France 2 Television broadcast film footage seven years ago purporting to show a Palestinian man and his son cowering under heavy IDF fire, ending with the boy's apparent death. Clips and stills from the footage became global icons most people would recognize instantly. As Sharansky notes: "The tape fanned the flames of what became known as the second intifada." Not to mention the third and fourth and, well... they're all starting to blend together now.

Only problems: 1) there is no blood whatsoever and 2) at the end of the full footage (only available outside of France as the tapes have been embargoed), the 'dead' boy raises his head and arm, wondering if the take is over and can he please get up now. That part was never broadcast.

In other words: it was a staged propaganda piece, designed to set off the intifada. (And people say Bush lied...) Experts have analyzed the film and testified to its fakery. The filmmakers were quite justifiably fired from France2. What did the French government do? It charged and convicted of defamation not the filmmakers, but the men who fired them(!)

From this one great lie has sprung much that is wrong about politics in the Middle East. Read it.