Lebanon Dream – Business in the Midst of War

In 2000, when Israel pulled out of the security zone it had established in Lebanon, after nearly 20 years, it was a paradigm shift of power in the region. Israel withdrew to the internationally recognized border, with Hezbollah filling the void it left behind. Characteristic of clashes in the Middle East, both sides claimed victory. Hezbollah, in removing Israeli troop presence from Lebanese soil and Israel politically, both domestically and internationally. Caught in the middle of the withdrawal were members of the Israeli-sponsored South Lebanese Army, who if they were lucky managed to be on the Israeli side of the border.

In Lebanon Dream, we meet Samir Farhat, a Lebanese businessman who takes advantage of the confusion of war. Several years before the withdrawal, he is in Israel buying TVs, radios, anything that he can turn a profit on, to import for sale in Lebanon. In the eternal ethos of the middle eastern bazar, he buys low and sells high, but just high enough that he doesn’t overprice himself. Using the connections he makes, over the years he build his business up to where he turns a tidy profit. And in 2000, he finds himself stranded on the Israeli side of the border, with nothing. His wife is in Lebanon, subject to the control of Hezbollah, along with nearly 4 million dollars’ worth of inventory.

However, this is more than a simple tale of an everyman trapped between two larger, opposing powers. Where do his loyalties lie? Yes, he dons the uniform of the IDF and/or the SLA, but is it a matter of ideology, or practicality? Are his friendships genuine, or is he just the eternal businessman seeking opportunities to exploit? And once it’s all taken away, what is left for this man to profit from?

Union Street – A Painkiller for Generation Hopeless

Dystopian fiction is on the rise again

The last two peaks were around 1940 and around 1960. This is actually not surprising at all since both are times of war (WWII and the Cold War). These were times people were oppressed, felt unsafe, had so little – to no hope at all. The bleak future dystopian worlds display are a shadow of our youngster’s angst and despair.

So.. what’s going on now? Is something terrible happening? Or are we afraid of something terrifying yet to come?

Generation Jobless – about 300 million 15 to 24 year-olds are not working, even if they received education and/or training – is becoming generation hopeless. It seems like they believe the world is progressing towards becoming a bad, bad place (if it isn’t already..?).

So what planet does Matan Pinkas, director of the documentary Union Street come from?

Union Street is a small street in the center of Jerusalem. Junkies, homeless, vandals and all kinds of trouble makers mark their territory there with graffiti and defecation.
Pinkas decides to do something about it since he lives there. He starts to run elections for “street mayor” with as first candidate: himself!

First reactions are disbelief, mockery, indifference. But very quickly things start to change.

Pinkas teaches us a huge lesson in perseverance, in hope, and in a positive attitude. You can see him change people’s mindsets for the better in every minute the movie goes.

This film is like hope-pill youngsters should get on prescription.

It should remind them of their power to accomplish. Make something happen, no matter how small. Don’t let anyone tell you-you can’t do it. Pinkas is no big hero walking on stardust. He is just an ordinary guy of whom most likely no one has heard before. It really could be you. It is you – If you would let yourself. Are you willing to be the mayor of your own happiness?