This Land Is Mined

Nina Paley’s cartoon about the conflict in Palestine and Israël was created in 2012. But the current bloodshed made it viral again.

Comfortably seated behind a screen watching violence reaches pornographic levels : that was our official position about the forever ongoing conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. Until we saw the pictures of the people fleeing their homes in Gaza, and of the less lucky ones who died or were injured by bombings. Children, especially. After the 9/11, we thought that we would never see that much destruction and despair. We needed a remedy then we found it in This Land Is Mine, a Nina Paley cartoon precisely concerned by that part of the world that has never been in peace since 60 years. Or is it 6000 years?

Nina Paley is known for Sita Dances The Blues, a long feature animation film awarded in Annecy and Berlin in 2008. She is also an activist for the Creative Commons movement. One of her most interesting piece is called All Creative Work Is Derivative and illustrates how makers and artists borrowed from each other from a civilisation to another since the dawn of Man. Paley illustrates in a video game style her worries about the situation in Middle-East. And like in a video game, the characters renew and upgrade their equipment, costumes and weapons, like to relive again that infinite war for a land that everybody claims to be his own. They will probably fight until the end of time, if time does end. « This Land Is Mine is a PARODY of The Exodus Song. That music was sort of the soundtrack of American zionism in the 1960’s and 70’s. It was supposed to express Jewish entitlement to Israel. By putting the song in the mouth of every warring party, I’m criticiquing the original song » writes Paley on her blog.

The original song, by the way, is from Otto Preminger‘s Exodus, starring Paul Newman and Eva Marie Saint in 1960. Nothing to do with Bob Marley‘s Exodus as we thought while listening the Monty Alexander cover for years. Quincy Jones made a crooner version of it in his early years. Paley’s film, as light and funny it is, still cannot make us forget the drama currently occuring in that land promised to many, obtained by few. The Exodus Song should also fit the story of the « Naqba » or « Day of the catastroph » as the Arabs call it to remember the day one million palestinians had to leave their land to make room for the new newcomers. But curiously, it does not. This Land Is Mine was created in 2012, while Israel and Palestinians were already trying to destroy each other. Unfortunately, as the author states in july 2014, her video « has gone viral again due to recent horrific events ».

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