I have come be a little behind on pop culture and current events in the entertainment industry after living abroad. One show that I was happy to see when I came back home was Fauda. It debuted in 2016 and it has been quite successful since. There are fans and critics alike, but I’ll go into what is noteworthy about this show first.
For people who have a biased opinion or know knowledge about the issues in the middle east, it does a good job showing how back and forth and ridiculous a lot of the attacks are. Additionally, it can show how simple the need for revenge can be. One may look back to the Revenant in 2016, starring Leonardo Di Caprio. This is not much of a spoiler, but one of the Native Americans who was trading with the French for guns and horses, was doing so in hopes of finding his kidnapped daughter. In that movie, hints were being placed that both sides were lying about the motives behind attacks and in the end, it was all over land, cheating people out of money, stealing, lying, killing, retribution, and the general destroying and displacement of the Native American culture and peoples. This is not much different from the two sides: Israel and Palestine. However, the dispute over whose land it rightfully is will most likely never end.
These clues are hidden like little Easter eggs that I encourage you to look for while watching it. An Israeli agent offers a Palestinian detainee a Marlboro cigarette. KFC makes an appearance, but this time Palestinians are eating it. An analogy made through music is subtle, but well done because the harmonies, melodies, and instruments can be paralleled with morals, traditions, and values between two cultures. This occurs in a simple scene where a boy plays a Qunan or a Santur and it starts out nice and calm, but as he beings to play it faster, one can start to visualize how the musical progression mirrors the growing conflict. As the piece subsides, it feels as if it was representation of one day, as if to say I’ll play again tomorrow, but the pace won’t be decided by me. Deep I know. Keep reading.
This show tries to humanize its characters on both sides. If you don’t like spoilers for a show you are about to watch please skip this paragraph! You really feel for the groom when he grabs the butter knife to protect his wife to be. You feel for the Israeli operative who falls in love with a bartender who is working in an Israeli neighborhood. It hurts when the bride to be chooses to stay in the bar even though she knows what she is doing will not fix the overall situation or bring back who she loved. You feel for a brother’s anger when his brother is an innocent, but he becomes a causality. Scenes of a Palestinian kid in a hospital who is confused because Jewish nurses and doctors are treating her well really puts it into perspective that kids are the ones who are caught in the crossfire. I do think it’s worth mentioning that this show is pretty fair in terms of how it portrays both sides. This is the one factor that separates it from the rest. Reasons behind motives are key in having a real discussion and humanizing an otherwise biased conflict.
As for the critiques of this show; sometimes the setting is very cookie cutter and the stories can seem a bit bland or played out. It’s been done before with series and movies like 24, Homeland, Zero Dark Thirty, and others.The show makes attempts to show that there is love and there are possibilities for peace, but a lot of it is limited, complicated, or disregarded due to holding to tradition, putting family first, making false promises, or raising one’s name in the eyes of god and the community. Team Boaz all the way! You’ll know who that is when you see him. Anyway, people are suffering on both sides. People are losing their loved ones, family members, friends, and even their own lives in many cases. There is a sense of Hollywood drama, but at the same time very few shows are capable of coming close to describing the conflict as it is. While shows of the past may have been correct with just the language or setting, Fauda takes it further to show who is at fault. For the most part previous shows have dramatized the plot and made it all about us versus them. While this show has many plot holes and maybe the attacks and the events portrayed are played out, it is a good way to show that it’s the exact same for what is actually happening. These attacks are actually happening in real life, but no one can truly justify it. There may be an unhappy widow, a distraught lover, friend, or family member, but it seems like the bar keeps raising in terms of the death toll for each attack made due to revenge, spite, or pride.
Understanding perspectives allows us to really feel what the problems are for both sides. While the motives aren’t justified, it is equally as important when both sides consider why they should retaliate and carry out justice as they see it. Only then will people understand the passions and human emotions that are behind some of the most gruesome events that take place. After this, it is of utmost importance to find a compromise or solution that keeps people alive, happy, and tolerant of each other. While tolerance isn’t ideal, it’s a much better step in the right direction than what is currently happening. We have to think of the children, families, communities, and cities. If we were living in those areas, how would we want to live? It’s easy for us to sit on our couches, order a pizza, and watch Netflix. We can type away on online about how bad a situation is and what we think should be done, but are we meeting with people on both sides of the argument? Are we willing to listen to the opposing side? These are important questions to be asking ourselves especially if we want to make a difference in reducing and eventually ending the conflict.