Monday, September 17, 2007

Iran Holocaust Miniseries

Josh Marshall takes note of an Iranian miniseries dealing with the Holocaust:
"It is Iran's version of 'Schindler's List,' a miniseries that tells the tale of an Iranian diplomat in Paris who helps Jews escape the Holocaust _ and viewers across the country are riveted...

"Yet the series titled 'Zero Degree Turn' is clearly sympathetic to the Jews' plight during World War II. It shows men, women and children with yellow stars on their clothes being taken forcibly out of their homes and loaded into trucks by Nazi soldiers...

"State media have said the series, which began in April, is popular. It has been a revelation for some Iranians and has pulled them away from more popular satellite channels, which are banned but which many watch anyway on illegal dishes. The fare on state TV is usually dry.

"'Once, I wept when I learned through the film what a dreadful destiny the small nation had during the world war in the heart of so-called civilized Europe,' said Mahboubeh Rahamati, a Tehran bank teller.

"Kazem Gharibi said he watches the series every Monday on a TV in his grocery store.

"'Through this film, I understood that Jews had a hard time in the war _ helpless and desperate, as we were when Iraq imposed war on us,' he said, referring to the eight-year Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s."

I suspect in the background of this is the fact that Iran's generally sane leadership doesn't want the country to become known as Holocaust Denial Central. This also helps counter the idea that Iran's opposition to Israel is motivated by anti-Semitism. Whatever the reasons, however, this is still a great thing. In much of the Middle Eastern Islamic world, knowledge of Israeli society and the shaping of its people's political attitudes is abysmal, and its history and that of the larger Zionist movement a caricature. This is a good step toward acknowledging a central piece of the puzzle. Maybe Egypt could follow suit?

And yes, the other side is that Israeli society still hasn't come to terms with the Nakba as part of their history. It's out there in the public arena, however.

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