Dubai/Muscat: Movie goers from the region had mixed feelings regarding the zombie apocalypse film World War Z, which has sparked controversy for an alleged supposed pro-Israel bias.
The movie, starring Brad Pitt, imagined that the world was overrun by zombies and that Israel, being one of the few countries that knew they were coming, built a wall around itself to prevent zombies from invading.
People from all over the world took to social media to point out the resemblance between the barrier built in the movie and the separation wall built by Israel in the West Bank to separate it from the occupied Palestinian population, adding that the movie was promoting Israel’s policies.
“While I was watching the movie I did feel like I was supposed to feel good about the wall, the fear of the zombies made the wall look comforting rather than atrocious. I felt like they were attempting a mind shift. It was also interesting that only the [Israeli intelligence agency] Mossad was able to figure out the problem before everyone,” said Canadian national Mohammad Syed, works in the oil trade sector in Dubai.
Dubai resident Aleena Khan, from Pakistan, also said she believed that the movie was glorifying Israel, adding that the movie presented a misleading picture of the relationship between Palestinians and Israelis.
“I don’t think it was trying to justify Israel’s occupation, but it was glorifying the Israelis by emphasising on peace and harmony of the two nations, which is far from the truth. One has to face facts and admit that Israel is hostile towards Palestinians. It was a very rose-tinted version of what the relationship between the Israelis and Palestinians actually is,” she added.
Dr Abdul Khaleq Abdullah Professor of Political Science at UAE University on the other hand thought that the wall symbolised Israel’s insecurity.
“Plenty of Israeli propaganda came from the movie but the fact that they built a wall in my opinion shows how Israel feels insecure and so would go to any length to protect itself even if it meant coming up with over-the-top solutions like building the barrier or wall”
Palestinian national Saif Khalil, did not think much about the wall symbolism however thought that referring to Occupied Jerusalem as part of Israel was uncalled for.
Other movie-goers in the region said some people, especially Arabs and Muslims, were reading too much into the movie.
Palestinian national Maen Hadid, who works in a Dubai-based media company, said he did not feel the movie was trying to convey a pro-Israeli policy message.
“I think that the movie showed Israel as a country that normally exists just like any other country but their solution was to build a wall to protect those left inside, including the Palestinian Muslims,” said Hadid.
Bader Al Lawati, an Omani, said that after watching the movie, he read about the controversial views in the media and, “didn’t even think about it that way while watching the movie.”
British teenager Gwynfor Callaghan, who was born and brought up in Oman, said those viewing the wall scene as symbolising the situation of Palestinians were overreacting.
“It is a fiction made by Americans, so don’t think that the scene was intended against a group,” the British School Muscat student said.