Category Archives: Religion

Academy Award® Nominated: Ajami ~ Israel

Ensemble post by: Audiegrl and Geot

Written and directed by a Palestinian and an Israeli director, Scandar Copti (a Palestinian born and raised in Ajami) and Yaron Shani (a Jewish Israeli), Ajami explores five different stories set in an actual impoverished Christian-and-Muslim Arab neighborhood of the Tel Aviv – Jaffa metropolis, called Ajami.

Jaffa’s Ajami neighborhood is a melting pot of cultures and conflicting views among Jews, Muslims and Christians. Back and forth in time, and through the eyes of various characters, we witness how impossible the situation actually is: the 13-year-old Nasri who lives in fear; a young Palestinian refugee called Malek, who works illegally in Israel; the affluent Palestinian Binj who dreams of a bright future with his Jewish girlfriend and the Jewish policeman Dando who is obsessed with finding his missing brother. The many characters played by non-professional actors lend the story the feel of a documentary.

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Credits

Directors/Screenplay . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani
Producers . . . . . . . . . Mosh Danon, Talia Kleinhendler and Thanassis Karathanos
Cinematography . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Boaz Yehonatan Yacov
Editing . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Yaron Shani and Scandar Copti
Production Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Yoav Sinai
Costume Design . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rona Doron
Music . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Rabiah Buchari
Sound . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Matthias Schwab
Production Company . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Inosan Productions

Cast includes: Fouad Habash (Nassri), Nisrin Reihan (Ilham), Scandar Copti (Binj), Elias Sabah (Shata), Shahir Kabaha (Omar), Hilal Caboub (Anan).

Reviews

IMDB member from Israel
Ajami is the first full length feature film directed by two young Israelis Scandar Copti and Yaron Shani. They have produced an extraordinary film which features five separate stories set in Ajami, a poor Arab neighborhood situated in the city of Tel-Aviv/Yafo. The many characters are played mostly by non professionals, i.e. are not working actors, and the result gives a documentary feel to the film. Amazingly the level of acting is very high and ensures that the film is completely believable and absorbing from beginning to end. Perhaps the only drawback is the limited time available to develop each main character. The viewer wants to know more about them and their lives but time is limited. The film shows a part of Israeli society rarely shown in Israeli films (Arab Moslem and Arab Christian families living in Ajami) and the makers are to be commended for their achievement in showing a rather hidden side of our society.

Did You Know?

This is the ninth nomination for Israel. Previous nominations were for Sallah (1964), The Policeman (1971), I Love You Rosa (1972), The House on Chelouche Street (1973), Operation Thunderbolt (1977), Beyond the Walls (1984), Beaufort (2007) and Waltz with Bashir (2008).

One Nomination

Best Foreign Language Film ~ Israel

Back to 44-D’s Virtual Red Carpet to the Oscars®Back to 44-D’s Virtual Red Carpet to the Oscars®

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Filed under 82nd Academy Awards, Best Foreign Film, Christianity, Culture, Entertainment, Hollywood, Islam/Muslim, Israel, Judaism, Religion, Uncategorized, Video/YouTube, World

Black History Month…Re-Imagined

Thoughts by WillieBeyond

I know February is Black history month, but I feel during this month a lot of the focus is on the past, that is very distant from the present.  Not that this history isn’t important, but I feel as we talk about the past we forget some of the things we are doing in the present.  Everyone one will say the greatest thing to happen in Black history recently, would be the election of President Barack Obama. I have mixed feelings about that statement.  This post isn’t about recognizing what will be in a book fifty years from now, but more about realizing the important events that have happened that won’t be recorded.  I would like to have Black History Month changed to Black Culture Appreciation Month or something like that.  I feel a lot of the troubles people get into is because they can only think of the good times of the past, but not of the silver lining in the clouds of the present.  Remember, segregation was no joke, but now we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King because segregation isn’t legal now (kinda sorta, depends on who you ask).  So lets think of the things that are happening now.

One of the things I feel should be marked and mention this Black Awareness Month (yeah, I like the sound of that) is Dave Chappelle.  Now before anyone gets upset, I am not one of those people who looks to celebrities, as a guideline for how to be happy.  Chappelle just happens to be a really good person to remember for one major reason.  Now we can all Wikipedia the info on Dave Chappelle, but I want us all to think of his actions.  The one I am mostly referencing is his decision to not do a Season 3.  He had the number one show and it was rising, but he stepped away for ethical reasons. I think that should be something that is marked down in history.  Everyone presented his refusal to do Season 3 as either a smart business move to make more money, or as just stupid and an effect of his mind spiraling out of control.  No one said it could just be for him wanting a better place to work (in an “I can sleep a night kind of way”).  Here is someone who had the integrity to step back and go “I don’t want to work at a place where I can’t feel good.”)

I think this action speaks louder than anything else as far as personal standards in my lifetime.  And yes I know Jerry Seinfeld also quit when his show was on the top.  But the huge difference in my mind is Chappelle had a wider resume than Seinfeld and Seinfeld was starting to peak, while Chappelle was still rising (look at season 4 and 5 of Seinfeld and tell me season 9 was as good).  But what do I know, it is just my opinion.  Also, because it doesn’t really matter, I feel I should take this time to point out Chappelle is a Muslim.  That’s right all you people who say Islam and Muslim is bad and yell out I’m Rick James (you know it…don’t lie to yourself) you were laughing a Muslim’s man sense of humor.  Also I don’t want this to be a thing where we forget about the person.  Yes, Dave Chappelle is a Muslim, yes he made us all laugh in one way or the other, and yes he got paid, but most importantly he is a man with a family.  He never let that escape his thought process. He is a man who has to live with himself, and that is what makes him one of my role models.

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The President and First Lady Attend the National Prayer Breakfast

Posted by: Audiegrl

Prayer for Unity, Civility, and Progress

At the National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama reflected that it is often during the times when others are in great need that bring Americans together, as the nation united in its efforts to help the people of Haiti.

It’s inspiring. This is what we do, as Americans, in times of trouble. We unite, recognizing that such crises call on all of us to act, recognizing that there but for the grace of God go I, recognizing that life’s most sacred responsibility — one affirmed, as Hillary said, by all of the world’s great religions — is to sacrifice something of ourselves for a person in need.

And on his hopes for progress and civility in the face of difficulty:

Progress comes when we open our hearts, when we extend our hands, when we recognize our common humanity. Progress comes when we look into the eyes of another and see the face of God. That we might do so – that we will do so all the time, not just some of the time – is my fervent prayer for our nation and the world.

On civility in political discussions and a shout out to First Lady Michelle:

Civility also requires relearning how to disagree without being disagreeable; understanding, as President [Kennedy] said, that “civility is not a sign of weakness.” Now, I am the first to confess I am not always right. Michelle will testify to that. (Laughter.) But surely you can question my policies without questioning my faith, or, for that matter, my citizenship. (Laughter and applause.)

Challenging each other’s ideas can renew our democracy. But when we challenge each other’s motives, it becomes harder to see what we hold in common. We forget that we share at some deep level the same dreams — even when we don’t share the same plans on how to fulfill them.

Read the entire set of remarks here

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TVOne: Roland S. Martin Goes off on Limbaugh and Robertson

Posted by: Audiegrl

And you thought Roland was pissed at Rush Limbaugh before?! He’s got a whole new reason to rant after Limbaugh and 700 Club’s Pat Robertson made some crazy statements regarding the catastrophic earthquake in Haiti. See what Roland had to say.
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Help for Haiti~Learn What You Can Do

Complete Haiti Relief Coverage Main PageHaiti Relief Coverage Main Page

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Haitian Ambassador Raymond Joseph Responds To Pat Robertson

Posted by: Audiegrl

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A Brief History Lesson on Haiti and the Louisiana Purchase

On October 1, 1800, Napoleon Bonaparte, First Consul of France, concluded the Treaty of San Ildefonso with Spain, which returned Louisiana to French ownership in exchange for a Spanish kingdom in Italy.

Napoleon’s ambitions in Louisiana involved the creation of a new empire centered on the Caribbean sugar trade. By terms of the Treaty of Ameins of 1800, Great Britain returned ownership of the islands of Martinique and Guadaloupe to the French. Napoleon looked upon Louisiana as a depot for these sugar islands, and as a buffer to U.S. settlement. In October of 1801 he sent a large military force to retake the important island of Santo Domingo, lost in a slave revolt in the 1790s.

Thomas Jefferson, third President of the United States, was disturbed by Napoleon’s plans to re-establish French colonies in America. With the possession of New Orleans, Napoleon could close the Mississippi to U.S. commerce at any time. Jefferson authorized Robert R. Livingston, U.S. Minister to France, to negotiate for the purchase for up to $2 million of the City of New Orleans, portions of the east bank of the Mississippi, and free navigation of the river for U.S. commerce.

An official transfer of Louisiana to French ownership had not yet taken place, and Napoleon’s deal with the Spanish was a poorly kept secret on the frontier. On October 18, 1802, however, a strange thing happened. Juan Ventura Moralis, Acting Intendant of Louisiana, made public the intention of Spain to revoke the right of deposit at New Orleans for all cargo from the United States. The closure of this vital port to the United States caused anger and consternation, and commerce in the west was virtually blockaded. Historians believe that the revocation of the right of deposit was prompted by abuses of the Americans, particularly smuggling, and not by French intrigues as was believed at the time. President Jefferson ignored public pressure for war with France, and appointed James Monroe special envoy to Napoleon, to assist in obtaining New Orleans for the United States. Jefferson boosted the authorized expenditure of funds to $10 million.

Meanwhile, Napoleon’s plans in the Caribbean were being frustrated by Toussaint L’Ouverture, his army of former slaves, and yellow fever. During ten months of fierce fighting on Santo Domingo, France lost over 40,000 soldiers. Without Santo Domingo Napoleon’s colonial ambitions for a French empire were foiled in North America. Louisiana would be useless as a granary without sugar islanders to feed. Napoleon also considered the temper of the United States, where sentiment was growing against France and stronger ties with Great Britain were being considered. Spain’s refusal to sell Florida was the last straw, and Napoleon turned his attention once more to Europe; the sale of the now-useless Louisiana would supply needed funds to wage war there. Napoleon directed his ministers, Talleyrand and Barbe-Marbois, to offer the entire Louisiana territory to the United States – and quickly.

Click here for more…

If you’d like to see what the country looked like before the Louisiana Purchase, please click on the map below to enlarge.

Click on the map to enlarge

Check out A Tribute to Haitian Soldiers for Heroism in the American Revolution 1797

UPDATE: Haitians react to televangelist Pat Robertson’s ‘devil pact’ remarks

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Help for Haiti~Learn What You Can Do

Complete Haiti Relief Coverage Main PageHaiti Relief Coverage Main Page

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BBC Airing Guantánamo Guard/Detainee Reunion

Posted by: Audiegrl

“He would say, ‘you ever listen to Eminem or Dr Dre’ and… I thought how could it be somebody is here who’s doing the same stuff that I do when I’m back home”~~Former Guard Brandon Neely

Brandon Neely, center, was a Guantánamo Bay guard, and Ruhal Ahmed, left, and Shafiq Rasul were prisoners.

Brandon Neely, center, was a Guantánamo Bay guard, and Ruhal Ahmed, left, and Shafiq Rasul were prisoners.

Why would a former Guantanamo Bay prison guard track down two of his former captives – two British men – and agree to fly to London to meet them?

BBC News/Gavin Lee~~”You look different without a cap.”

You look different without the jump suits.”

With those words, an extraordinary reunion gets under way.

The journey of reconciliation began almost a year ago in Huntsville, Texas. Mr Neely, 29, had left the US military in 2005 to become a police officer and was still struggling to come to terms with his time as a guard at Guantanamo.

He felt anger at a number of incidents of abuse he says he witnessed, and guilt over one in particular.

Highly controversial since it opened in 2002, Guantanamo prison was set up by President George Bush in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks to house suspected “terrorists“. But it has been heavily divisive and President Barack Obama has said it has “damaged [America’s] national security interests and become a tremendous recruiting tool for al Qaeda“.

Mr Neely recalls only the good publicity in the US media.

The news would always try to make Guantanamo into this great place,” he says, “like ‘they [prisoners] were treated so great’. No it wasn’t. You know here I was basically just putting innocent people in cages.”

The prisoners arriving on planes, in goggles and jump suits, from Afghanistan were termed by then US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld as the “worst of the worst“. But after getting to know some of the English-speaking detainees, Mr Neely started to have doubts all of them were fanatical terrorists.

Mr Neely was 22 when he worked at the camp and left after six months to serve in Iraq. But after quitting the military his doubts about Guantanamo began to crystallize. This led to a spontaneous decision last year to reach out to his former prisoners on Facebook.

Released in 2004, after being held for two years, Mr Rasul and Mr Ahmed and another friend from Tipton had been captured in Afghanistan on suspicion of links to the Taliban. The three said they were beaten by US troops although this was disputed by the US government at the time.

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But what were the pair doing in Afghanistan in 2001?

They explain that, being in their late teens and early twenties at the time, they had made a naive, spontaneous decision to travel for free with an aid convoy weeks before a friend’s wedding, due to take place in Pakistan.

Mr Ahmed admits they had a secret agenda for entering Afghanistan, but it wasn’t to join al-Qaeda.

Aid work was like probably 5% of it. Our main reason was just to go and sightsee really and smoke some dope“.

Does their former prison guard believe them? Yes, says Mr Neely, who says he thinks it was a case of “wrong place, wrong time“.

Both sides are beginning to bond, yet towards the end, Mr Neely has a confession of his own. It threatens to destroy the mood of reconciliation.

He is deeply ashamed of an incident in which he “slammed” an elderly prisoner’s head against the floor.

Mr Neely recalls that he thought he had been under attack because the man kept trying to rise to his feet. But weeks later he discovered the prisoner thought he was being placed on his knees to be executed and believed he was fighting for his life.

Mr Ahmed is speechless, then evidently conflicted as he wrestles in his mind with whether or not he can forgive. Eventually, he says he can.

But should Mr Neely be prosecuted for his actions? Mr Ahmed pauses again.

He’s realized what he did was wrong and he’s living with it and suffering with it and as long as that he knows what he did was wrong. That’s the main thing.”

Afterwards, each say they had genuinely found some sort of closure from meeting. The sense of relief in all their faces speaks volumes, and they leave the meeting closer to one another.

Their story will be featured on the documentary Guantanamo Reunited on BBC Radio 5 live on Thursday 14 January at 2200 BST.

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Colbert Knocks Conservative Pundits For Promoting Racial Profiling (VIDEO)

After suggesting that airports institute crotch screenings and check photo IDs of passengers’ balls, Stephen Colbert mocked conservative news pundits last night who have suggested scrutinizing anyone Muslim or named “Abdul.”

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