The Bubble – an Israeli movie

By Emad Sinan

Write it down!
I am an Arab.
Card number, fifty thousand.
I have eight children
and the ninth is due after summer.

So, are you angry?
Write it down!
I’m an Arab.
I work with comrades in the
I have eight children.
I break their bread
and clothes and notebooks
from the rocks.
From Identity Card by Mahmoud Darwish

No matter how hard I think to find a way to talk about this topic, it seems just impossible to find a proper starting point, or even a proper language to use.

For the past 2 months or so, all SBS resources have been invested in one direction – and one direction only, that is to improve the image of the racist apartheid regime of the Zionist state, who (in case you haven’t heard) has just finished their latest military act in the world’s biggest open prison (called Gaza), leaving some 1300 people killed, 5000 injured, over half of them were women and children and the vast majority of the rest were civilians! An act, that every historian on this earth declared it as a first in human kind history! This was of no surprise to me, as this regime holds many of “first time in history” records.

As hard as I try to think of a reason for the act and the timing of SBS, I reach a blocked road within my naïve brain.

May be it’s because I’m relatively new in Australia and still building an understanding about the media the country has to offer and those who are offering it.

However, I did know upfront before moving here two and a half years ago that there will be no Al-Jazeera! But to find this??? SBS?? Was just too much!!! And while I’m trying all that I can not to be judgmental or jump to early conclusions, after seeing the movie, I was left with no other choice but to do just that.

I honestly watched the movie anxiously – as I never watched an Israeli movie before, while I am a movie buff, so I thought it would be nice to see a different side of that state – other than the usual image of bombardment, mass destruction, assassinations and house demolitions, OCCUPATION, for short.

How stupid I was to think it would be speaking a different language, and I’m not referring to Hebrew! It’s not enough for them to dominate every single news outlet in the world.

It’s not enough for them to promote all the lies in every way they can.

It’s not enough to comitt crimes, but yet to find means to justify it, and as it wasn’t enough that they can target all levels of people of different religions and ethnic groups; by presenting (The Bubble), it was the turn now to target gays and lesbians, just to make the picture more complete to everyone.

This time, the approach was so much different, while it leads to the same destination.

It was passionate, romantic, liberated, showing the real heroes fighting for a just and rightful cause within their own community, and how they ended up to be a target themselves.

Even the poor gay and lesbian community of Israel, life loving and peace providing, ends up victims of terror.

Listening to the dialogue, I swear I got lost whether I was watching a movie or a documentary! A Director or a military officer! A script writer or a government spokesman! Almost all stereotypes were there.

I’m addressing and commenting them here in my own “naïve” way as I’m no movie-critic:·         The Holocaust, IT JUST HAS TO BE THERE!

Stereotype-1: We are the victims, remember??!! Under no circumstances the world should forget all those who were brutally murdered, and if you were gay back then, it would have been much, much worse! DO YOU HEAR ME – GAY’S OF THE WORLD?!

“Gay or straight, Palestinians has nothing to do with it!!! I swear to god, it was the Nazis!!!”·         At the very beginning of the movie, when a Palestinian woman lost her baby giving birth at the checkpoint, the doctor and others who tried to save the situation just HAD TO be Israelis.

Stereotype-2: Of course Israeli, are Arabs smart enough to become doctors?! And although we are holocaust victims, we are also full of humanity!

“NO, Arabs did not invent modern medicine! NO, one of the world’s best heart surgeons is not Palestinian! NO, those who were displaced from Palestine did not build all the surrounding countries in the middle-east and elsewhere! NO, Palestinians are not the number-1 degree-holders people in the world!”·         When the Arabic “gay” man was having sex, he did it in a savage way.

He even needed his good civilized Israeli lover to provide him with protection that he probably never heard of it.

Meanwhile, when his boyfriend was in the same position later on in the movie, it was a touching romantic passionate love-making.

Stereotype-3: Arabs are animals-like when it comes to sex! Gays are no exception! “Well, I can only recommend asking any man/woman you know who has an Arab partner!”·         Tel-Aviv was established 100 years ago!!!

Stereotype-4: Faking history “I won’t remind you with Jaffa, the city that Tel-Aviv originated from, the port that Napoleon could not conquer, which was rebuilt after getting ruined during the crusades, that is most common.

Excavations going back to the 1960’s or thereabouts found remains of towers, gates, brick-walls and even temples (in other words, a WHOLE civilization), that go back to BRONZE AGE!  So, urban development? YES, but over Palestinian villages and orange fields.

Did not exist? NO, Palestine was not empty! They themselves admitted the truth about the biggest lie the Zionists ever made and promoted for – land with no people for people with no land!”·         When speaking of Tel-Aviv and Nablus throughout the movie and the contest by which they were presented, one can swear they are talking about 2 cities half the way on earth from each other!

Stereotype-5: Faking geography “Although they are worlds apart, Tel-Aviv is around 50 KM’s from Nablus, and both belong to one historical land that for thousands of years was/still is Called Palestine”·         Neighbourhoods – mentioned all over the movie!!! Neighbourhood this and neighbourhood that.

Stereotype-6: Faking reality by word play.

“The UN calls them SETTLMENTS, and Geneva Convention said THEY ARE A WAR CRIME!!!”·         The turning point of the movie is when Ashraf decides to become a suicide bomber.

And although I was waiting to see this moment right from the first minute, I just didn’t realize that it will represent the main goal of the whole movie:MAKE NO MISTAKE, EVEN PALESTINIAN GAYS ARE POTENTIAL TERRORISTS.

God, I can write books about it:

1.      It was act of revenge – for his killed sister.

It’s never a desperate measure to (wrongfully) fight OCCUPATION!

2.      The brother-in-law was as cold as ice! As if the girl who was murdered was not his new bride! He didn’t show any kind of emotions, no what so ever.

News Flash for you Sir: Palestinians are humans too, just like you (supposedly) are, they do feel!!! And if they overcome all what the occupation puts them through, that’s because they are full of pride, but that doesn’t make their pain unreal!!!! I assure you, IT IS AND THEY DO FEEL IT!3.

His act was provoked by the most twisted minds: extremist “ANTI-GAY” brother-in-law and his WEIRD looking military friends, even that old Imam at the funeral promoting the killing of “100’s or even 1000’s of Israelis”!!! So everyone and everything is the enemy! No matter the age or the gender! So yes, it’s always ok to kill.

4. Of course, the two IDF soldiers who killed his sister were chasing militants running away in a residential area – taking civilians as human shield, so it’s not their fault!! They do take every care!!! But definitely human casualties SHOULD BE expected!!!! I wonder if that also covers children murdered by SNIPERS while returning home from school!!!5.

What an act of honour from that IDF soldier!!!! How he risked his life to stop his colleagues’ gun shooting!!! Wow, true man!!!Just in case you didn’t know what type of humans is the one I’m referring to:

CLICK ON THE LINK!!!!! DARE TO WATCH AND HEAR THE TRUTH!!!And it goes on and on and on…If you think I spoke long, feel lucky I haven’t recorded the movie and re-run it.

All the above was points I just picked up from my “naïve” memory by merely watching it – not analyzing, I’m no critic as I said earlier.

The complaint I’m raising on SBS goes beyond showing the movie, but criminalizing the whole act of black false propaganda.

It was text book: Started with improper coverage of the events in Gaza, while being so busy showing a series about Hitler, passing through cultural stuff (songs, ads and all) to tune things up and establish a connection between history and present, all the way into shocking the people of Australia with the fate of that poor little young (BABY KILLER captured at a land that IS NOT HIS ready to take the life of ANYTHING or ANYONE upon orders from his commander chief or on his own well) Israeli soldier, called Jelahd Shaleet.

May be there was something else? Too bad I missed watching it.

Do you honestly believe that your act does not break your own code of practice concerning Prejudice, Racism and Discrimination?! By going back to all the points I listed and all the points I missed, do you truly believe this movie (and your whole act in the current political situation) does not promote all sorts of racism (or at least false delegations) against Australians of Palestinian origin in particular, and Arab-Muslim-Palestinians in general?!If the SBS was not biased and not declaring itself as the spoke-person on behalf of the Zionist state in Australia, then why now?! Why not showing different plain and neutralized material about the conflict?! Movies and documentaries produced by international independent bodies for instance.

So much concerned about the victims of suicide attacks – that no longer take place? I won’t propose a Palestinian film like (Paradise Now), or a documentary criminalizing the media the SBS belongs to – like (Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land), so what about the words of a man who lost his only 14 year old daughter in a suicide attach, that I recently heard in a documentary called (Palestine Is Still The Issue), he’s also Israeli! And he’s real life tragedy, not manipulative revolting fiction.

May be Arna’s Children? Another Israeli movie catching the life course of 3 Palestinian kids among which one turns to become a suicide bomber.

NO, I guess not! That is too decent may be, and who can face you with your biased act when you clearly stated it in your code of practice that you are not concerned about presenting all different views of a certain topic or even allocate equal time for them!!!!WHO RUNS THE SBS???? WHO SOLD HIS/HER SOUL SO CHEAPLY?? And cheap is the price gained over encouraging injustice and promoting lies.

As an Australian citizen – even if recent one, I DO NOT ACCEPT an Australian TV that promotes occupation and demonize my homeland.

I believe that guns, Apaches (helicopters), Caterpillars (bulldozers), tanks and F-16’s are not the only weapons killing our children and ruining our lives.

I also believe in God, who is neither blind nor deaf, and definitely not dumb.

Emad Sinan

Justice for Palestine, Brisbane

6 thoughts on “The Bubble – an Israeli movie

  1. Eyewitness report from Gaza says:

    Public forum:
    Eyewitness report from Gaza: human rights activist speaks

    Wednesday, April 1, 6:30pm
    TLC Building (2nd floor)
    16 Peel St, South Brisbane
    Featuring: Rachel Johnson, International Solidarity Movement

    Rachel Johnson is a human rights activist who has recently returned to Australia after five weeks working with the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) in Gaza documenting the aftermath of Israel’s massacre and the ongoing collective punishment of the people of Gaza.

    Before working in Gaza, Rachel spent one year working with the ISM in the Occupied West Bank. At this public forum, Rachel will discuss
    both the impact and aftermath of the war, as well as the current situation faced by Palestinians living in the Occupied West Bank.

    Rachel Johnson will also speak at the following university meetings:

    QUT, Kelvin Grove campus: Monday March 30, 12 pm, A Block Lawn.
    Phone Lauren: 0413 534 125.

    Griffith Uni, Nathan campus: Tuesday March 31, 12pm. Business Building 2
    (N72), Room -2.10. Phone Kathy: 0400 720 757.

    Uni of QLD: Wednesday April 1pm. Chamberlain Building (Building 35),
    Room 213. Phone Jo: 0422 212 760

    For more information:
    Ph: 0424 264 750 (Emad), 0413 783 853 (Abdalla), 0401 586 923 (Hamish)

  2. Editor's Note: The Bubble says:

    I have published this letter of complaint by Emad Sinan about the film “The Bubble” sent to SBS. Emad, whose first language is Arabic, is a Palestinian-in-exile living in Australia.This film was broadcast on SBS TV on 26/3/2009.

    The blurb in the TV guide read:

    “A relationship between an Israeli and a Palestinian is viewed through the lives of three young people who share an apartment in a trendy suburb of Tel Aviv”

    — Weekend Australian – Review.

    According to one reviewer (DENNIS HARVEY in Variety):

    the title (Bubble) refers to the hip Sheikin St. district in cosmopolitan Tel Aviv and, in particular, a “bubble” in which Westernized urban-hipster flavor can seem wholly removed from the racial and religious conflicts raging a few miles away. Three twentysomething flatmates are more concerned with dating and gossip than weightier issues.

    I am responsible for the addition of the poem Identity Card. The translation of Darwish’s famous poem is from an article, called Unbeliever in the impossible, written by Robyn Creswell.

    Frankly I did not see the film. Yet I have published this article because I agree with Emad’s central point, that SBS TV content (in particular, and Australian media in general) is extremely biased towards US foreign policy and hence Israel. This does not necessarily mean the people responsible for programming at SBS are necessarily biased, they could just be buying cheap (shallow) films, or looking for films to fit in with ‘social categories’ like ‘homosexuality’.

    In our society, with an emphasis on the sexy and superficial, there need not be a conspiracy for the programming at SBS to be biased against Palestinians. One person who had seen the film said that some of the scenes depicted Palestinians more favourably than the Israeli attitudes described by Israeli anthropologist, Jeff Halper on a recent visit to Australia. She said:

    “at least there was recognition of their (Palestinians) existence (in the film).”

    The recent Four Corners Program titled The War Within gave a one-hour analysis of the effects of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan on Australian troups without once asking an Iraqi or Afghani what they thought of the Australian soldiers or their behaviour. At least, not on screen. The closest we got was when an Australian soldier suffering from trauma because he had shot both an Iraqi woman (in the face) and her child. He was asked by his commanding officers to apologise to the family. At the apology, the Iraqi family offered him a Coke which he drank telling 4 Corners later that he was uncomfortable doing so (because of the guilt).

    So great is the media bias in Australia, at one time during the invasion of Iraq in 2003 [‘shock & awe’ (sic)], I thought I was watching TV reports direct from the Central_Intelligence_Agency in Langley, Virginia.

    Ian Curr, March 2009.

  3. I react to Mr.Emad Sinan message, about somes points .

    I agree when he says westarn TV should show more points of views of palestiian people.

    It’s natural if he got angry agaist some points in the movie “The bubble”, but I dont’agree when people say “It’s a propagannda, why did you published it?”.
    Propaganda may be it is, by some points, but saying “It’s a propaganda so you shudn’t publish it ” is a kind of censhorship.
    I think the director Eytan Fox’s intentions were good.

    Reading Mr. Sinan’s comment, I learned many thing about Tel’ Aviv, what completed my knowledge.

    I would like to talk about the movie not politics, although this movie is very politic.
    About somes points my opinion is very different from Mr. Sinan.

    >Stereotype-3: Arabs are animals-like when it comes to sex! Gays are no exception!

    Well, to be truthfull with you, I didn’t think in the first love scene , Ashraf (the palestinian young man) behaves “like an animal”.
    Did Mr.Emad Sinan feel like that because of the position?
    Yet, Noam (the islaeli young man) chose “that” position.
    I’m an heterosexual woman, and I thaught Ashraf was a very tender lover. As a heterosexual woman, I felt , I would like te be loved like that! (Pasionate kisses, caresses) Logically, it’s impossible, because I’m not a gay man.
    The sex scene itself, was rough(I’m not sur my choise of vocabulary is exact), but it was their first night. They both looked delighted, none of them seemed to hurting the other. Ashraf did what his partner was expecting.

    Ashraf is much better than some israeli caractors, and he adores his sister.
    That’s why, what happened to him is horrible! (her death)

    >He even needed his good civilized Israeli lover to provide him with protection that he probably never heard of it.

    When Noam gives his lover a codom?
    Well, I think Ashraf wasn’ t suprised by “this unknown object”.
    He’s not so ignorant.
    Wasn’t it a way to say ” I love you, do what you want with me”?

    >2. The brother-in-law was as cold as ice! As if the girl who was murdered was not his new bride! He didn’t show any kind of emotions, no what so ever.

    I felt the same thing about him ; yet, I think he really loved his wife.
    When she is killed, he stay strangely quiet. He shows anger, desir of revenge, but not sadness.
    But this kind of personalty is classic in theatre and movies : instead of showing sadness, they show anger. It doesn’t mean they aren’t sad ; they just don’t express themself, or they cannot.
    I now the caractor of Jihad is very inaccessible, because he is so closed. Ashraf explain to Noam, hi’s father dead arriving at a hospital, after having stopped at a check-point for one hour, what may be reinforced his anti-israeli feelings.

    So, I react about somes points, I’m talking about the movie, not politics.

    I ask Mr. Sinan and the journalist to give me their points of view.

  4. loewdabulla says:

    Well, Mr Sinan, I’m sure you can write a book, and it will be just as incomprehensible as your post here.

    in Australia, there’s a little thing called freedom of speech and free people (most of the time anyway).
    Israelis and Jews are not the slaves of Mohammed here, so try to get used to living in a country not under Islam’s domination.
    And grow up.

  5. To Mina:

    Many thanks for your comment Mina. I highly respect your views and to some extent – having my personal emotions set aside about the movie by now, I do agree with some.

    My feedback in regard of the Bubble is not a professional one. The article is actually a complaint letter I wrote to the SBS [Editor’s Note: SBS = Special Boadcasting Service – an Australian government-owned TV station] condemning their act; showing such misleading movie at that specific time when the Israeli army was just done with their last brutal inhuman act, killing (1,400) people during the war on Gaza January 2009, almost half of them were women and children, and the vast majority of the rest were merely civilians. That is not me talking, but official figures.

    Anyway, let’s put all those dead people aside for now and say that I may agree with you; I may have taken the first love scene more harshly than I should have. As I said, I’m not a movie critic and just explained my thoughts at that moment – which indeed were combined with a lot of impulsive emotions that I believe it left such obvious traces on my article.

    Nevertheless, going back to both love scenes, I think there is a huge difference between the two, don’t you think so? But let’s both agree that the first one was less romantic due to the fact that both lovers were still new and are learning how to express their new love to each other.

    The point that I totally disagree with you is in regard of the propaganda and the hidden agenda within the movie – which is nearly true and almost a given fact for any movie, as any movie maker have something to say or deliver to the audience, or why should he or she bother making it in the first place?!

    In case of The Bubble, unfortunately it is indeed another stereo-typing one where Arabs (and Palestinians on particular) are exposed to the rest of the world that know nothing and probably seen none of them in person ever before, in such a way that keeps (even reinforces) the usual preconceived ideas that are already well planted in the west conscience.

    They say ignorance is a blessing. In our case, and I respectfully attend my words to the rightfully-unknowing western societies: your ignorance is killing us! So forgive me if we can’t afford it and if I personally have an obligation to put my hands with all those honourable people I met in the past few years (like Ian and The Workers Bush Telegraph team) who realised such fact, in order to change it and create a different reality for everyone.

    Let me give you a simple example. For any average person you may raise the issue of the Israeli/Palestinian conflict with, you will almost always have topics like (Hamas, suicide bombing, the rockets) mentioned. However, and in real life, Hamas is the first democratically elected government ever in Palestine – and probably in the Arab world, witnessed by an international committee that was headed by Jemmy Carter. Suicide bombing hasn’t been an issue for anyone for almost a DECADE now! and the so called rockets are actually hand-made ones that the bloody thing needs to fill on your head to (may be) kill you. Ever since Hamas started making them, official figures mentioned something like 8 Israeli casualties, but they failed to mention that they were part of an illegal settlement on an occupied land and the fact that 7 of them died of heart related issues – not the rockets themselves!!!

    Meanwhile, the above (among many other controversial topics never cease to be raised and forced on the western society) were all very well employed to cover up the murder of over (1,400) people 2 years ago in Gaza, killed by the world’s 5’th strongest army opening fire on unarmed people, 3 in the last couple of weeks – raising the count to almost a hundred this year to-date, while hundreds others died due to lack of routine medicine and lack of proper source of food and water as an outcome of the Israeli blockade that is classified as a war crime, and I bet none of that would be part of your conversation – as they are well blacked-out on you.

    You hear Israel as a country, but not as an occupational force. You hear of Israeli neighbourhoods, but not land-stealing illegal settlements. You hear of innocent Israeli citizens, but not war criminals. And above all, you hear of every single act a Palestinian desperately take to gain his/her dignity back, but not over 150 UN resolutions that Israel is yet to comply with, among wich some goes to 63 years ago when Israel was first declared on Historic Palestine, which we commemorate as The Catastrophe, or An-Nakba Day.

    I strongly recommend number of documentaries in this regard – (Reel Bad Arabs), (Peace, Propaganda and the Promised Land) just to name two, and you will see how Arabs (specially Palestinians), have been systematically introduced to the west – including yourself, in such a way that makes it acceptable to everyone to see what’s happening to them on the ground and do nothing about it. It’s only then, when you will understand my true view of the Bubble – as it had it all and was very well executed. The only difference is that it targets the gay and lesbian communities around the world.

    Such documentaries – explaining stereo-typing in the American and western media, will indeed break a dark thick shades put in front of your eyes, so you will start seeing a totally different reality when it comes to Arab communities, and when you hear of the Palestinian issue. Mind you, the first documentary is a literal study by an American scholar – Jack Shaheen, and both are produced by an American company (Media Education Foundation). You will even hear decent Israeli voices in the second one. So, both are totally neutral and can’t be labelled as “biased” in any way.

    With at most respect, you also contradicted yourself – wanting to discuss the movie as a story only disregarding the politics, while agreeing yourself that it is a political movie! Hence, my dear, you do realise that the movie is very well employed for a political purpose, and what I was condemning about it, is my deep disappointment how it wasn’t used in the right direction for the right purposes that everyone is aching for: JUSTICE.

    When you talked of how much you were touched by the way the husband acted toward his new bride’s murder, you actually put it in the exact way I was disgusted by.

    True, such character does exist in real life (and not only theatrically), but the use of it here – with Palestinians, put all their struggle in the terms you yourself have expressed – ANGER, REVENGE. No my dear, Palestinians are not trying to fight Israel out of anger or revenge, IT’S A GOD GIVEN RIGHT!!! They do so because they have the right to claim what is theirs – their lands, their crops, their air, their water, their freedom, their whole lives.

    The talk of this can go on and on, while we are both setting on a complete different grounds, and I’ve been trying my best to close the gaps between us so you get to see things a little bit differently. True I can’t cut off my Palestinian-self out of anything I do or say, but that also include the human part of me – shared by all of us. I really hope you are able to connect to it.

    Once again, I truly thank you for taking the time reading my article, and do appreciate your feedback about it.


  6. Hanny Abu Assad, the maker of award winning film (Paradise Now), seems to have nailed it again with his latest movie (Omar). The film won best film in the the very first Asia Pacific Screen Awards, held in Brisbane…
    Trust and identity are stretched like more wire in an impossible West Bank love story. Desires for individual and collective freedom collide. Mere sacrifice isn’t enough; betrayal is the only way to survive.

Please comment down below