Monday, January 23, 2012

The Promise

The Promise

Do you have any understanding of the Arab/Israeli situation?  How it all started in the late 1940s and how it looks today?   I don't, never having looked into it in detail or understood the small amount I knew.  Now I'm sure TV dramas don't get all details right, but I really enjoyed this and it opened my eyes into some of the complexities of the situation.

The Promise is a 4 part drama series that was screened by SBS towards the end of last year.   

It combines two stories.  The first is of Len, a British soldier part of the post-WWII peace-keeping force in Palestine.  At the time when Jews were fleeing Europe after the horrors of WWII, those who chose to settle in Palestine often clashed with the Palestinians living there.   He has sympathies for the Jews having witnessed some of the atrocities of concentration camps; yet also befriends an Arab, Mohammed and becomes involved with his family.

At the same time, we meet Claire, Len's granddaughter, who has discovered his diary of those days.  Travelling to Israel on a gap year with a friend, and hosted by her rich Israeli family, she sets out to track down Mohammed's family.  Travelling to the West Bank, Hebron and Gaza, her eyes are opened into the current situation in Israel today. I wouldn't have thought any 18 year old would be quite as blithely stupid as she was wandering into war zones, yet then, you never know - at 18 you do think you are invincible! 

I found it very interesting, very moving and quite believable.  It managed to convey both sides of the issues well, although I think in the end the Israelis ended up looking worse.  I cannot comment on the accuracy, but I appreciated some of the insights.

It's no longer on the SBS website, but my guess is they will show it again in 2012.  More details are on the British Channel 4 website.  Look out for it on TV, or in your local library.

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