Why Calling Out Wonder Woman is SO Critical
I am a Palestinian, a slightly obscure fact that I wasn't allowed to mention for a very long time because I didn't want to be known as a terrorist or a terrorist sympathizer, which were the only two options given to Palestinians at the time. So, I, like many others, hid behind alternate identities, like superheros terrified for their lives in a very corrupt society. The superhero part is a stretch, but the corruption and injustice is very real.
This weekend Wonder Woman is released, with Gal Gadot at the helm, in the lead role. It's about time that we have a female superhero headlining a big budget film. I'm not a fan of the sexualization of female comic book characters, but that can be forgiven if other aspects of Wonder Woman are done right. What is unforgivable is having a lead actress that has openly supported the genocide of Palestinians, the erasure of their existence. It sounds like a big jump, but that's the reality. Wonder Woman represents Justice, Freedom, and Compassion. These things are all missing from the lead actress and by a long shot if we are to take her own words and actions seriously, having served in the Israeli Defense Forces.
If you have Palestinian friends then you have probably seen the uproar over the last couple of weeks with Lebanon's BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) Movement asking theaters there to skip it, and other chapters following along.
I understand why so many individuals want to watch the movie. It is historical, quite literally, and if it wasn't for Gal's link to terrorism I would be there opening night. But, at the very least you need to call out the BS of this casting and make sure people are aware that standing for genocide is not okay.
Over the last few weeks, I have seen tens of individuals that I have previously viewed as allies falling head over heels with the movie. You don't get to say you stand for Palestinian Rights and freedom of ALL indigenous populations without acknowledging this problem.
The key here is not in boycotting the movie. The key is in calling it out.
Some will say call-out culture has gotten out of hand, so I'm going to try to explain what calling this out means to me.
Growing up, I knew it was bad to be Palestinian regardless of where you are in the world. It was simply unacceptable to be Palestinian and walk around with your Palestinian identity. Even in Jordan, you are persecuted for this identity. So, for years I lived with my Jordanian identity instead of facing the world as a Palestinian. It wasn't until two years ago, when Netanyahu blamed Palestinians for the Holocaust, that I took off my mask and allowed my Palestinian identity to soar. But just because I have accepted this identity doesn't mean that the world is ready for it. I have had the closest of friends switch Palestine with Israel or introduce me as Jordanian. I have had people try to explain to me how I am Jordanian instead of Palestinian and don't have a right to the word. I have people that literally will stop talking and even looking at me the moment the word is out of my mouth.
The message is very clear. Being Palestinian is NOT OKAY! What you calling-out this film does for me is to affirm that the world is filled with people willing to support, and to stand up when you ask them to. This is me, and millions of other Palestinians asking you to take a stand. So, will you support or will you try to silence or ignore us like you have done for decades.
A few years ago, Mel Gibson was caught saying something anti-Semitic. His career was over instantly. When standing for Palestinian murder and displacement receives the same reaction I will know that being Palestinian is truly okay, and not something that makes one an additional target.
What you calling out this film does for me is to affirm that the world is filled with people willing to support, and to stand up when you ask them to. This is me, and millions of other Palestinians asking you to take a stand. So, will you support or will you try to silence or ignore us like you have done for decades.
Ahmad Abojaradeh is the Founder and Executive Director of Life in My Days, Inc. He is the co-Founder of Muslim Community Link, An Engineer, a world traveler, a Peer Support Specialist, and a Novelist. He hopes to spread awareness of living a life of wellness through his writing, workshops and speaker events. Follow Ahmad on twitter, instagram or facebook.