Wednesday, 1 December 2010


I have just had the message: "The video you are trying to watch cannot be viewed from your current country or location". It is entitled To see if I am Smiling and it consists of an hour of interviews with six young Israeli women about their experiences as conscripted soldiers in Gaza and the West Bank. So someone has authorized censorship in Great Britain; a bit more creeping authoritarianism.

The wikileaks from U.S. diplomats show how the biased American attitude to the Middle East is maintained. The kings, emirs and presidents, who depend on America for the dollars, helicopters and cattle prods to stay in power, naturally tell their protectors what they want to hear. And so we get a litany of hostility to Iran (easy enough for Sunnis, which most of the protected leaders are). And back in Washington, these messages are believed to be expressions of 'Arab Opinion'. It is a self-perpetuating system.

Anyway, the censor has not blocked the description of the film, so here it is:-

Israel is the only country in the world where 18-year-old girls are drafted for compulsory military service. In the award-winning documentary To See If I Am Smiling, the frank testimonials of six female Israeli soldiers stationed in Gaza and the West Bank pack a powerful emotional punch. The young women revisit their tours of duty in the occupied territories with surprising honesty and strip bare stereotypes of gender differences in the military. The former soldiers share shocking moments of negligence, flippancy, immaturity and power-tripping as they describe atrocities they witnessed and participated in.

The psychological transformation that these young women underwent as a result of military service is both upsetting and riveting. The culture of war transforms people: personalities change, moral codes are subverted, values are supplanted and masks are constructed to dull the pain of what they did and didn't do in uniform.

“A brave and powerful testimony to the corrosive effect of power.” - Silver Wolf Jury, Int’l Documentary Film Festival, Amsterdam (IDFA)

1 comment:

  1. Hm, I can't view it either from Slovenia. Very weird.