Thursday, 28 August 2014

The Honourable Woman - facile drama while world watches real Palestinian pain

Note: spoiler alert (in more ways than one ).

Just a passing mention of the BBC series The Honourable Woman, which is about all this dishonourable nonsense should really merit.

I watched it throughout, keen to observe its 'sophisticated' content and to confirm just why the BBC came to commission it. 
And, sure enough, it's everything the BBC would 'daringly' permit as 'nuanced drama' and 'challenging' thought on the Israeli-Palestinian 'conflict'; all consistent with its own 'critical', safely-moderated 'two-sides' news framing.    

This was Spooks in 'Tinker-Tailor' costume, posing as serious artistic commentary. At least Spooks dispenses with the pretention.

From first instalment to facile finale, Hugo Blick's 'cutting-edge' script, evoked every cliched baddie in the book: the malign, scar-faced Palestinian rapist and assassin, his chilling, mastermind father, and the double-crossing, but ultimately 'renewed', femme fatale, Atika, always destined to die so that fragrant-but-troubled 'peace-maker' Nessa could live. Well, you just can't trust those brooding, scheming Arabs - except the ones who go along with the Stein Foundation's vision of Israel-Palestinian harmony. 

It was also good to see 'Hebron' - after my own visit there - now so 'free' of all those Israeli soldiers, and the settlers they relentlessly protect while they're stoning Palestinian kids on the way to school.  Who needs all that tedious occupation stuff, anyway? Instead, we had placid Palestinians gazing endearingly at Nessa's benevolence in bringing internet wires to their lives. Life must be just great now down on Shuhada Street.

While the occupation is nowhere visible, Israel is portrayed as deviously defensive, but never lacking in good intent. It's not in any way culpable for the principal villainy - the kidnapping of the boy, or the killing of the Palestinian ambassador, or the bomb carnage in Hebron.

Rather, we're to believe that the US was actually behind all of this entangled plot, in cahoots with - wait for it - the Palestinians, all, we're asked to swallow, so that Washington could engineer false-flag incriminations against Israel as the pretext for - wait for this - making a clean break and supporting a Palestinian state. Ah well, who needs Obama and Kerry. They'll be stopping all those $3 billion yearly cheques next.

I gave up even trying to figure out the rest of the plot contortions after the dark-but-decent British intelligence heads - played to shallow Le Carré-esque effect - took it upon themselves to rescue Nessa from the West Bank, the sand-swirling, gun-toting action all duly completed at Israel's safe and welcoming wire fence - well, they couldn't really show the actual apartheid wall, could they?

Who knows the propaganda effect of The Honourable Woman. But in a popular TV media so devoid of authentic Palestinian voices and wider Arab experiences, this series does nothing to encourage - even with dramatic licence - any credible comprehension of issues in the Middle East.

Unsurprisingly, the Guardianista are falling over themselves in Bafta predictions.
But, damningly for Blick and the BBC, it got scheduled just as the world watched the real horrific drama of Israel's mass slaughter of Gaza, and got more insight on the darker truth of US/UK complicity.  

As Diane Langford's searing review notes: 
'In this series, the ongoing occupation and massacres are not depicted. The shallowness, inauthenticity and grandiose claims of Blick’s drama is blown to bits by the latest round of invasion, bombing and destruction perpetrated by the Israelis and watched in horror by millions on their TV screens [...] Imagine making a TV series about South Africa through the lens of white racists without reference to apartheid? The founding of the State of Israel, the dispossession of the Palestinians, the endless occupation, siege, land theft and killings, cry out for authenticity in the telling, fiction or not. Peter Kosminsky’s four-parter, The Promise, turned down by the BBC and eventually made for Channel 4, was exemplary by comparison.'
If you haven't seen The Honourable Woman, do avoid, and occupy your time instead in that much more honourable drama.

1 comment:

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

Rather, we're to believe that the US was actually behind all of this entangled plot, in cahoots with - wait for it - the Palestinians, all, we're asked to swallow, so that Washington could engineer false-flag incriminations against Israel as the pretext for - wait for this - making a clean break and supporting a Palestinian state.

Very amusing!

Sadly, on this planet, our President Obama continues with the same Bibi-licking as his predecessor. Yet the neocons here all shriek "betrayal" and demand even more obeisance to the Baby Butcher.