Avenge but One of My Two Eyes
“Avenge but One of My Two Eyes” is a documentary by Avi Mograbi, which presents the case of Palestinians being mistreated by Israeli soldiers. The film is about the injustices that characterize the life of the Palestinians with some myths about Masada being narrated by the Israeli tour guides to enthusiastic youth groups. In the documentary, the director seems to be trying to bring out the contradictions that include the depression of the Palestinians at having to undergo indignities and checkpoints, against the exuberance of the Israeli tour guides (Avenge but One of My Two Eyes). Another contradiction is the heroic stories of the Masada and Samson in the case of suicide bombings by Palestinians. The story often follows the conversation of Avi Mograbi and his Palestinian friend over the phone as they discuss the problems of the Palestinian nation in light of their politics and the Israeli people. He conveys the idea that the Israelis are very brutal and suspicious of the Palestinians. At some point, the director shows an incident, when the Palestinian children were being blocked from crossing the frontier to get to school and he gets very agitated to the point of confronting the soldiers.
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The context of the film is present day cultural and political conflicts between Israel and Palestine showing the frustration of the Palestinian people at how Israeli soldiers treat them, and why they have resorted to suicide bombings (Chelala). In my opinion, the subtext of this film is that Palestinians are behaving in the same way as the Jewish mythical heroes, who committed suicide rather than surrendering to the Romans at the Masada. The difference, however, is that the Zealots did not kill innocent people. The film is clearly shown from a Palestinian side; thus, the Israelis are consistently being demonized in their capacity as soldiers to keep tormenting the Palestinians with their checkpoints to the degree of refusing the children to pass through on their way to school (Breaking the Silence 36). It is obvious that the film is focused on the negative side of the Israelis, while only showing the Palestinians as victims, ironically, like the Jewish Zealots.
The target audience of the film is anyone interested in the Gaza conflict; and the cinematic tools are not at all manipulative. In fact, the artwork is a documentary with a few conversations here and there to shed the light on what is happening. The filmmaker does not necessarily embrace the entertainment aspect but rather focuses on delivering a clear message on the suffering on the Palestinians in a Palestine- Israel conflict. The speakers include Avi himself, his anonymous friend and, at some point, the tour guides. The Palestinian friend represents the Palestinian side of the conflict, while the tour guides embody the Israeli perspective. Lastly, the filmmaker is seen to support the Palestinian side given how he portrays the Israeli soldiers in the film. However, the documentary is considerably biased, but it is expected considering that it is a documentary on the nationalistic issues. By presenting everything from the perspective of a Palestinian national, the filmmaker not only alienates the Israelis, but also trivializes the impacts of suicide bombing by finding a justification for it in the Masada myth. From an artistic perspective, I would say it was not exciting. The documentary propels a very flat, almost realistic view that cannot necessarily be considered manipulative, but rather more subtle and convincing.
A film like “Avenge but One of My Two Eyes” would be considered successful with an objective or rather a balanced edge, in which the Israeli side of the story finds its way to the surface. Moreover, it is also disappointing that the filmmaker seems to have found a way of equating the Palestinian suicide bombers to the Jewish Zealots, though in a sarcastic way.