World War Z: Censored

Lebanese moviegoers will notice that in Marc Foster’s “World War Z“, a scene in which a Mossad agent talks about an anti-zombie wall has been censored. Being very poorly ‘edited’, it’d be hard indeed to miss it.

This not only pisses me off because I am against censorship, but also confuses me. The censored scene comes just after the Mossad agent tells Gerry about the wall and then resumes on something about Israel, only to be followed by a very long action scene in Israel itself.

In this publicity photo released by Paramount Pictures, the infected scale the Israeli walls in "World War Z," from Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions in association with Hemisphere Media Capital and GK Films. (AP Photo/Paramount Pictures, Jaap Buitendijk)
In this publicity photo released by Paramount Pictures, the infected scale the Israeli walls in “World War Z,” from Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions in association with Hemisphere Media Capital and GK Films. (AP Photo/Paramount Pictures, Jaap Buitendijk)

The Irony

Here’s the irony: the scene shot in Israel shows Israelis and Palestinians praying and singing together in the face of this common enemy, the zombies. With all the justifications we give ourselves to justify censoring “pro-Israel propaganda”, we’ve reached a point where we just take a black marker – sometimes literally in the case of censored magazines – and use it haphazardly whenever we feel uncomfortable. And this is precisely what censorship does: it makes you stupid, scared, ignorant of what is out there. It makes the condescending assumption that you, the citizen, is not smart enough to reach your own conclusions because you, the citizen, need them, the government, big brother, to know the difference between what is true and what is not.

Let’s say we choose to interpret the scene in Israel as being pro-Israel propaganda – whatever the hell that means -, does censoring it make it less visible? After all, it was censored and here I am, a Lebanese citizen, talking about it. By attempting to hide it, they produced the opposite reaction.

We’ve got to stop this childish nonsense that deliberately insults the intellect and reduces the citizen of Lebanon from a conscious decision maker into a passive sheep ready to swallow whatever is put in front of it (which not even real sheep do). He or she who truly wishes to learn about Israel and Lebanon should do so without the government’s interference.

Daniella Kertesz (left) and Brad Pitt (right) in World War Z during the scene in Israel
Daniella Kertesz (left) and Brad Pitt (right) in World War Z during the scene in Israel

Am I a traitor? Do I get points?

I have watched Samuel Maoz’s “Lebanon” and Ari Folman’s “Waltz with Bashir“, both brilliant movies and beautiful reminders of Israel’s surprisingly talented movie industry; I own a couple of books by Ilan Pappe (Israeli historian, available in Lebanon); I have a “learn Hebrew” Assimil book in French (available in Lebanon); I have a Star of David necklace that I bought when I visited Rome’s stunning main Synagogue; and I also have Israeli friends that I met in my travels. Am I a traitor?

Do I get points by being the one who exposed Wikimedia’s founder, Jimmy Wales, as an apologist for Israel’s War Crimes against Gaza? Do I get points for owning books by Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, Edward Said and Mahmoud Darwish? Do I get points for supporting the Palestinian cause wherever I go and in any way possible?

I’d love to meet the ‘real’ defenders of the Palestinian cause in Lebanon – those that have called them sub-humans and locked them up in those disgusting refugee ‘camps’ -, because I haven’t heard of anyone at the governmental level. We’ve entered into a nationwide circle jerk in which all things anti-Israel, no matter how ridiculous and absurd, are accepted as normal. We ignore the amazing Israelis who have been fighting alongside the Palestinians for justice and equality. We ignore B’Tselem (one of the best NGOs in the Middle East), Rabbis for Human Rights (known for acting as human shields to protect Palestinian farmers from vandalism), the Shministin (Israeli citizens who refuse to serve in the army), and Breaking the Silence (soldiers’ protest organization) because they don’t enter in our “Yeah, fuck Israel” narrative.

Brad Pitt (left) and Daniella Kertesz (right) in the Plane scene
Brad Pitt (left) and Daniella Kertesz (right) in the Plane scene

Conclusion

Censorship is an uneducated and primitive way of dealing with taboo subjects because it prevents us from knowing what is already out there. Luckily, the Lebanese who is as outraged as I am can find comfort in knowing that there are people working on fighting censorship.

You can watch the trailer of the movie here. I’ll upload the censored scene when the movie comes out on DVD:

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6 Comments

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  1. a friend of mine told me about that movie and i didnt believe him at 1st XDDD i cant believe daniela kertis got to play in a movie with brad pitt, she used to act in some israeli show i used to watch when i was a kid! XDD sooo long ago !!
    i dont really know anything about this movie exept its happaning in israel, until iv’e read what u wrote.. not sure about what i think.
    btw, i went on a trip with “breaking the silence” in the south of mount hebron, fews years ago..
    and i have a little something to fix what u wrote – “Shministin” is wrong. it started as “the shministim’s letter” (the 12th greaders letter), that wrote they dont wanna join the army for many reasons.. pecifist and etc…. there were few letters like this over the years ..

  2. I realized there was a censored scene too, and I was so confused as it was such a haphazard way of cutting it, and for no reason other than—like you said—it didn’t fit with the government’s tightly-packed minuscule mindset.

    Indeed, it reminded me of the time that the Lebanese government banned The Attack (a movie by Ziad Doueiri) because it was set in Israel and employed Israeli actors. Well, World War Z went through even though Daniella Kertesz is Israeli actress who got much screen time.

    Is this a blatant double-standard of some kind, of not just disgusting censorship but hypocritical as well, or am I missing something here?

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