Thursday, May 21, 2015

Promises: Track

Every year that we watch Promises, there is a scene that really gets me: the track meet scene.

In this scene (some mild spoilers ahead... you've been warned...) Faraj is chosen to run track for Deheishe, and he comes in 2nd.  Anyone who has ever played on an athletic team knows the feeling.  It doesn't feel good to lose, and the close ones are often the most difficult.

There's another scene in the movie which shows the twins, Yarko and Daniel losing their volleyball match.  They too, came in second place.

I think (and this is just speculation, mind you) these scenes were included for two reasons: to connect us - the audience, especially the young audience - with them.  We've all been there.  These are kids playing sports; being kids.

But later on in the film Yarko, I believe, says something like, "People think there's a winner in a war, but there's not.  In a war, both sides lose."

I think it's showing that in this conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians, both sides are currently coming in 2nd place, and it doesn't feel good to anybody.

That's not why I'm writing this post, however.  A few years ago, a student noticed something:

Now, I'm no track coach, but shouldn't Faraj's opponent have been disqualified?   I mean, he's clearly in the other lane.

I'm sure I'm just adding my thoughts into a narrative that's already been established, but I always think now, that in both the conflict, and the race those involved feel cheated out of what they believe to be rightfully theirs.

That said, I'm sure that Faraj never thinks about this race.  (...Even though I think about a goal I shanked in a soccer match more than a decade ago...)  Still, I'd want to tell him.

I mean, seriously... where are the refs?

I declare Faraj the winner.  I can do that, right?  Or am I missing the point?

Maybe my point is that I feel the injustice of this situation in the movie.  And this is a track meet between 12 year olds.  What about the conflict as a whole?  The land?  The checkpoints?  The terrorists?  The jails?  The water?  It's not just a track meet that's been lost.

If you're in my class, read and discuss the blog post with an adult.  Write down some thoughts from your discussion and have them sign the paper.  Turn it in tomorrow.

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