Sunday, 14 February 2010

Coexistence Finds its Place in Commercial Consensus

It takes a little bit of patience, along with a healthy dose of optimism, in order to constantly deal with international affairs. One really has to believe that inherent goodness of human nature does exist, in order to believe that people from different worlds can agree on mutual causes or interest. I wish to be precise: as we all know, people and states make peace with their bitter enemies; we optimists believe that in order to achieve durable peace, people will be encouraged to try and find common language with their neighbors who are totally different: by societal codes; historical perspective (narrative); religious faith and national belonging; appearance; etc.

Racial, religious and national tensions are not a "privilege" of third-world countries or war-stricken regions. Many Western countries enfold a complex history of hostility, suspicion and violence between minorities and the establishment, or between several sectarian groups, which make the facilitator's mission everyone's concern.

In this context, in a kind of poetic justice, I found out recently that one of the five Oscar nominees for best foreign film this year is the Israeli film "Ajami". It gives an unequivocal insight of inter-racial and inter-religious tensions in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Jaffa (a formerly Arab town now populated by Arabs and Jews, annexed to Tel Aviv). In Israel race, nation and religion are intertwined, creating highly volatile situations. The success of this movie to deal with the difficult issue of coexistence while enjoying wide critical and commercial consensus, is remarkable. It is even more astonishing considering the fact that the film was jointly directed by two young directors, one Jew and one Arab, for both a debut film.

I think the most relevant conclusion we can draw from this case, is that art can, and should, foster humanist ideas such as coexistence, self-criticism and peace. Let's hope that the Academy will keep these conclusions in mind when it will gather to choose the next Oscar winner.

1 comment:

  1. Dear Mr Abrahams

    I was interested to read your recent posting about 'Ajami' and coexistence between Israel's Jewish and Arab citizens.

    As Manager of the UK Friends of the Abraham Fund Initiatives (see, an organisation which promotes coexistence, equality and a shared future between Israel's Jewish and Arabs citizens, I was thrilled to see you writing on such a critical topic on your blog.

    We are looking to raise awareness in the UK of the importance of these issues, and our colleagues in Israel are working to change the reality in Israel.

    If you'd like to know more about our work, please feel free to get in touch on

    Best regards

    Leo Williams
    UK Friends of the Abraham Fund Initiatives