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Arabs and Terrorism


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Grade Level: SrH-Adult
Producer: Arab Film Distribution
Closed Captioned: No
Running Time: 135 mins
Country of Origin: Middle East
Study Guide: No

Copyright Date: 2006
Available in French: No

Armed with a camera and a laptop, Arab-American filmmaker Bassam Haddad (About Baghdad) scours the globe in an effort to break down mass media-imposed barriers on information and find answers to some of the most persistent questions generated by the "War on Terror." Through no less than 95 interviews with high-profile politicians, Middle East experts and with people on the street, Haddad strives to open a dialogue between neo-conservatives in Washington, DC and the so-called Arab "terrorists" they obsess about.

The director engages in what can best be described as "laptop diplomacy." He allows the film's subjects to view each others' interviews on his laptop, after which they respond to each others' allegations. The resulting documentary series turns a critical eye on current American perceptions regarding the hypothetical link between "Arabs" and "Terrorism," while cutting to the heart of the historic and ongoing conflict of ideas between the Arab World and the West.

*Episode 1: Terrorism
The first episode in the series deals primarily with the dominant discourse on terrorism in the USA, Europe and Israel. It also features dissident voices from these countries and from throughout the Middle East. The focus here is on individual and group terrorism.
 
*Episode 2: State Terrorism
The second episode deals with “state terrorism,” providing the critics of the dominant discourse on terrorism with an opportunity to bring to bear what they think is missing from that discourse. Invariably, critics emphasize that, while individual and group terrorism is abominable, it is state terrorism that produces the largest number of victims and so should be dealt with more stringently than individual or group terrorism.
 
*Episode 3: Terrorism and Resistance
The third and final episode in the series deals with the often thin line between terrorism and resistance. A clear divide emerges between those who support the “War on Terrorism” and those who critique it. The debate turns on a number of questions, including the right to resist occupation/oppression, what/who can be considered a legitimate target of resistance, and where can/should resistance take place in order for it to remain legitimate. In this episode, and irrespective of one’s politics, the link between state violence and individual/group violence becomes increasingly apparent.

Arabs and Terrorism was filmed on location in Egypt, France, Holland, Israel, Lebanon, Palestine, Spain, Syria, the United Kingdom and the USA.

Languages:  Arabic, English, French, Hebrew, and Spanish with English sub-titles.