Saturday, May 31, 2014

BACK DOOR CHANNELS: THE PRICE OF PEACE, a cartoon unto itself

BACK DOOR CHANNELS: THE PRICE OF PEACE is yet another effort from the Carter Center to create an apologetic for the results of the Administration's Middle East policy, here focusing on the Camp David Accords.  By utilizing a set of notable American liberals, such as Wolf Blitzer, the film presents a platform that dignifies the American efforts while constantly denigrating Egyptian or Palestinian concerns.  Kissinger appears as a voice of wisdom here, offering an ideological orientation that 'contextualizes' 1970's Middle Eastern policy in the greater spectrum of the Cold War and Nixon's detente agenda, totally ignoring how these policies were detrimental in the long term and how they indict their proponents, such as Kissinger.   Throughout the film, the Begin government is left absolutely de-contextualized in terms of the history of Irgun and the true meaning of Revisionist Zionism.  In contrast, Arabic politics are portrayed as Byzantine, corrupt, and ultimately fatal, as signified by the assassination of Sadat.  This is keeping with the notion of Israeli democracy and government as the only legitimate one in the region while fomenting further notions of anti-Arabism.  Furthermore, Sadat's identity as a black man is utilized by the narrative in a way to subtly enforce the notion that Muslims are racist and anti-African.  Another major goal of the film is to effectively attempt to rehabilitate Zbigniew Brzezinski as a diplomat to the Middle East, despite the fact this is the man who funded the Taliban.
Just as ARGO puts forward a narrative that fails to properly grapple with the notion of blow-back, so also this film is simply ignorant of the repercussions of Western mistakes.  The most obvious point is when Jimmy Carter is lecturing Sadat on honesty and lying, underlining how the film wants to make a stab at rehabilitating the Carter legacy.  It is in this sense the film fails, because it is not concerned really with the Palestinians (who have no voice here, unsurprisingly) as much as Jimmy Carter's legacy.  Zbigniew Brzezinski is obviously hopeful audiences will forget he created the Afghanistan War, but record is quite clear on this topic.  Ultimately, this is a very glossy but ultimately false piece of historical accounting for a Palestinian story that has no Palestinians in it!

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