Arts, Culture & Media

Lebanon bans "Waltz with Bashir"

The Oscar-nominated movie “Waltz with Bashir.” depicts Israel’s invasion of Lebanon in 1982. The director was a conscript in the Israeli army during that conflict. The Israelis were fighting Palestinian guerillas who were using Lebanon as a base for attacks on Israel. The movie’s title is a reference to the Lebanese Christian leader at the time, Bashir Gemayel – an Israeli ally – and it ends with the massacre of hundreds of Palestinians by Bashir’s militia.

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In Israel, “Waltz with Bashir” is considered an anti-war movie. But in Lebanon, the film is banned. Pirated DVDs of the movie are available, though. And one Beirut resident, German-born Monika Borgmann, managed to acquire a copy from a German distributor. She recently organized a private screening in the city.

"It’s important to show Israeli films because this demonization is not useful at all. In the end, everybody has at one point to live together in this region. And I believe that at least understanding the so-called “other” could be a step against this demonization." adds Borgmann, on why she thinks people in Lebanon should see the Israeli movie, “Waltz with Bashir.”

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