Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Little Town Of Bethlehem - a film by Ethnographic Media - reviewed

Oklahoma City, OKEthnoGraphic Media (EGM) marked the United Nation’s International Day of Peace by kicking off a 12-day launch of its latest documentary, Little Town of Bethlehem. The standing-room-only event at Boston College was hosted by the Faith, Peace and Justice Program in the Department of Sociology. The film director, Jim Hanon was interviewed on FOX Americas News HQ with Shannon Bream on Sunday September 26th.

Fox News anchor Shannon Bream introduced the film as a documentary that imagines peace in the Middle East. Showing several clips from the film, Bream and Hanon discussed the need to reach people, especially college age people with the message of nonviolence.

The film is being screened on campuses nationwide and internationally this fall, and as part of the nationwide launch, the audience was given an opportunity to dialog with the film’s director as well as representatives from both sides of the conflict. Sami Awad, one of the film’s subjects commented on the audience response, “Students less familiar were clearly moved to learn more about the conflict and what they personally could do. Conversely, some who were growing weary after decades in the struggle for peace in the region were reenergized.”

About the film.

Filmed on location in the West Bank, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem, Little Town of Bethlehem brings awareness to a growing nonviolent movement in the Middle East that rarely, if ever, makes international headlines.

Sami Awad is a Palestinian Christian whose grandfather was killed in Jerusalem in 1948. Today he is the executive director of Holy Land Trust, a non-profit organization that promotes Palestinian independence through peaceful means.

Yonatan Shapira is an Israeli Jew whose grandparents were Zionist settlers that witnessed the birth of the Israeli nation. Today he is an outspoken advocate for the nonviolent peace movement, both in his homeland and abroad.

Ahmad Al'Azzeh is a Palestinian Muslim who has lived his entire life in the Azzeh refugee camp in Bethlehem. Today, Ahmad heads the nonviolence program at Holy Land Trust, where he trains others in the methods of peaceful activism.

Little Town of Bethlehem was produced by EthnoGraphic Media (EGM), an educational non-profit organization exploring the critical issues of our time. For more information visit www.littletownofbethlehem.org

My Thoughts:

This is a landmark film in the sense that a Jew, Muslim and Palestenian come together in an effort to practice non-violence. Their practices are based on Ghandi's teaching and the example of Martin Luther King, Jr. Only one of them profess to know Jesus through personal salvation, but their efforts toward peace, however noble, are not based on the truth of God's Word and the redeeming work of Christ.

The film itself captures the chaos and the terror of the lives of those caught in the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. You will learn a lot about the history of that land. However, you will gain no Biblical perspective of the conflict. I strongly suggest Colin Chapman's book Whose Promised Land? if you want to learn what the Bible has to say about this unending war. But this film will make you painfully aware of what life is like for the people of the Middle East and it will make you pray harder than ever that they will eventually turn to Christ and finally know real peace.

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