Monday, February 13, 2012


by Mansor Puteh

Perhaps the creation of the New Muslim Cinema is what we need. It can finally be able to check the problems of the world, especially between the Muslim World and the West, and promote a more equitable and peaceful world? It may be the only means that we have at our disposal that had not been fully utilized before.

A shocker for a start? Not really.

Just consider this: Diplomacy has its limits. The politicians have proven that. Political wrangling has proven to be an effort in futility as it often muddles the problems and they get even worse the more they wrangle as issues that were previously unattached are now so.

Hundreds of millions of innocent people all over the world suffer quietly. We don’t even know where and who they are. They have become numbers. Even those who had suffered more than half a century ago are still suffering. They pass this legacy of suffering to their off-springs like it had become part of their DNA strain.

Meanwhile political leaders change, often with a lot of fanfare, like they had just descended from the mountains in triumph. The old ones move on to do other things before they kick the bucket, while their successors repeat their errors and statements like they are new to everyone.  

We have seen enough of political ‘shadow play’ or ‘wayang kulit’ performances in the United Nations already and have gone used to them by now. They are now reruns – nothing special at all. They are just a change of cast with the same dialogue and gestures and venom.   

Meanwhile, we suffer – I mean the whole world suffers. Sadly many in America also suffer. Although they may not be physically affected by what the others suffer, but they suffer quietly and psychologically.   

So, it’s time we did something unusual and unorthodox and even if may be too far-fetched to comprehend. The cinema may be our ultimate salvation for a world that had been so badly fractured, abused and sadly neglected.    

It may be a simplistic and a seemingly far-fetched idea, but one that deserves to be tried since all other attempts had failed miserably. What else can we count on now that we had not held our hopes before? We certainly do not need to have more forums, seminars and conferences and all sorts of peace initiatives.

These are all efforts that had been tried. In fact, the problems of the Muslims and consequently the world, have become worst and this has affected their relationship with the rest of the world, particularly the West. 

But aren’t all the problems faced not only by Muslims and the others are simplistic, if one cares to look at the whole equation in the widest possible perspective and all angles, and not just listen to officials from both sides give their own accounts of them?

Some say it’s all about O-I-L. Others say its hegemony. But isn’t the world huge enough to entertain their lofty and useless ambitions? Otherwise, the outer space is there for them to partake!  

If you do not have oil to cook food, you either get it at the supermarket. Or you can smile and put out your hand and get your neighbor to offer some to you. But you just don’t break into your neighbor’s house and grab his stock of oil leaving him without anything to cook food for his family.

And now you are forcing him to rearrange his furniture and tell him his ways are wrong and yours are right and you want to help him improve his lot and that of his family. But they were okay before you wanted his oil! They did not have as much as you, but they were doing okay and it was enough for him to get by.

May be the filmmakers and the cinema can finally neutralize everything and reverse - or at least try to halt the further escalation of the problems before it continues to spread it in more countries and areas in the world and turning it to pieces, and make the political leaders realize their folly.    

We have also seen how the same international political leaders from both sides of the factions have squabbled and often they returned to their respective countries not being able to do anything.

Meanwhile, those who suffer are the ordinary folks who are mostly Muslims. They might not even know if a war had caused them to suffer - or if it was really the end of the world?

The two seem to be alike to many of them especially for those who live in remote areas and who do not have proper communication and do not watch television and listen only to their tribal leaders and warlords.

The Muslim World which is defined as all the 57 countries which are members of the Organization of Islamic Organization (OIC) is vast. Unfortunately it is devoid of life. And the so-called Muslim World may not even exist as an entity.

Nothing interesting is happening in it. Muslims living in it find it a drab. We do not have many things including a cinema that we can call our own. We also do not have much of a media organization to serve our special needs, without having to depend on those that had been existence all this while. Muslims generally lead a parasitic existence. There is also a problem of image-deficit of Muslims and Islam. 

And the kinds of news we ‘make’ as reported by ‘them’ seem to be the kinds that made look and seem helpless and the Muslims are constantly standing looking lost in front of somebody else’s guns or tanks.

Stories of the death of scores of Muslims do not make Muslims in other parts of our world feel agitated anymore. They are just news. Even the television stations and newspapers in most Muslim countries now prefer to give more space to films and modern Western culture than the deaths of Muslims.
Hong Kong with a population of a mere six million produces 120 feature films each year for the World Chinese market. So surely, we as a world of 1.5 billion people can come up with hundreds and possibly a thousand interesting feature films to share amongst ourselves and with the others. 

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