The Na’avi characters from James Cameron’s blockbuster Avatar, a visually spectacular (if cliché ridden) allegory of imperialism, seem to be becoming an icon of protest.
In the village of Bil’in on the West Bank a group of Palestinian, Israeli and Arab activists protested against the building of an Israeli barrier by costuming-up as the blue-skinned Na’avi from the blockbuster movie (albeit the women wore hijab) . The protesters at Bil’in, who consider the barrier a land grab by Israeli security forces, equated their struggle to the intergalactic battle for Pandora, the Na’vis homeland which humans try to forcibly occupy for its mineral resources.
Via The Lede:
Batsheva Sobelman of The Los Angeles Times reported from Jerusalem that last month “a screening of ‘Avatar’ erupted into a small ruckus in a suburb when one moviegoer loudly announced that the Palestinians should learn from this movie what to do to the Jews, causing a commotion and angering others in the audience.” Ms. Sobelman explained that the “opinionated moviegoer was Juliano Mer-Khamis,” an actor who was “Born in Nazereth to a Jewish mother and Arab father.”
Mr. Mer-Khamis told the Israeli newspaper Maariv:
No one dares to make the real analogy. ‘Avatar’ is one of the bravest films made. It portrays the occupation, but people aren’t making the analogy. Many would like to be like the blue people but don’t understand the meaning. This is why people got angry at the movie theater. It is no secret that I think the Israelis are occupiers and the Palestinians occupied. Israel sits forcefully on lands that belong to others and this is exactly what the movie is talking about.
Check out the video. Also, there are reports of state-meddling in the screening of Avatar in China since the government considered the movie to be close to ‘sensitive issues’ in China. However, other reports suggest that this maybe simply because of the Chines governments policy of helping local cinema by keeping Hollywood blockbusters out.