Fitna vs Schism

For those of you who have been following the response to Dutch radical politician Geert Wilder’s film, Fitna, a Saudi blogger named Raed alSaeed has created a 6-minute companion film, Schism, to mock the first.

Fitna starts with a Qur’anic recitation in Arabic, while a split screen shows on the left a translation of a verse from the Qur’an:

“Prepare for them whatever force and cavalry ye are able of gathering

to strike terror

to strike terror into the hearts of your enemies, of Allah and your enemies”

On the right side of the split screen, footage from the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks eventually comes to fill the screen, with transcribed audio recordings of a person inside one of the tower calling an operator and crying that she’s going to die, while the operator urges her first to stay calm so that she can get out, and then tells the frantic woman to say her prayers.  It goes on to show footage of hate-filled imams preaching death to the infidels, a pious young Muslim girl saying that she knows from the Qur’an that Jews are apes and pigs, masked men wearing checked kefiyyas and raising their arms in unison, juxtaposed with an image of a protest sign that says “God Bless Hitler”; charred bodies laid out on the ground, blood covered knives raised in the air, newspaper headlines proclaiming that Muslims hate gays, cut women’s genitals, and so on, all juxtaposed with Qur’anic verses and graphs showing the increase in the population of Muslims in Europe.  It closes with these words on a screen:

“Muslims want you to make way for Islam, but Islam does not make way for you… Islam wants to rule, submit, and seeks to destroy our Western civilization”

(Rule and submit??!)

“In 1945, Nazism was defeated in Europe; in 1989, Communism was defeated in Europe.  Now the Islamic ideology has to be defeated.”

Called “Schism,” alSaeed’s film starts with white writing on a black screen: “The following phrases are from the Bible, the Holy Book that teaches the most barbaric war criminals,” and then quotes from the Old Testament (Samuel, Numbers, and Deuteronomy) urging the ancient Israelites to commit genocide (e.g. “Do not leave alive anything that breathes,” from Deuteronomy.)  It is followed with images of soldiers  (American? – hard to tell) outside of a desert compound beating several small children.  Then it cuts to interviews with 2 American children speaking enthusiastically of dying for God and the peace that comes with it, and an American woman preaching war in a Christian church service (the sect is not specified) while children in the audience weep with emotion and later dance with war paint on.  It then cuts to CNN coverage of the “shock and awe” bombing campaign in Iraq.  It concludes with more white lettering on a black screen, while the sound of the bombing of Iraq continues in the background:

“It is easy to take parts of any Holy book that are out of content [sic] and make it sound like the most inhuman book ever written.  This is what Geert Wilders did to gather more supporters to his hateful ideology. To create schism.”

Both films are extremely disturbing, a pornography of violence.  There are several key differences.  One is the way the anti-Islam sentiments of the Fitna are overtly intertwined with an anti-immigrant agenda, an angle ignored in Schism.  Another is the fact that Fitna shows the extremism of minority groups, while Schism makes tacit links between an extremist version of American Christianity with the brutality of the most powerful military force in the world.  The most obvious difference is that Schism is a parody, meant to illustrate that it’s not only Islam that can be portrayed in a violent light, while Fitna appears to have been made in complete earnestness.

You can watch Fitna here, and Schism is available on YouTube.

(Warning: watching both films together this morning made me physically ill.)

–L.L. Wynn

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5 Responses to Fitna vs Schism

  1. Raed AlSaeed says:

    I’m really sorry that my film disturbed you.. I worked hard to make it less graphic…
    I know how you felt and I felt the same…

    It’s sad to see such an evil inhuman things…

    But smile there are a lot of good people in this world… but news don’t like good people…
    Only evil makes headlines.. :(

    I’m sorry again,
    -Raed AlSaeed

  2. llwynn says:

    Raed, don’t apologize: it’s the kind of horror that we have to face periodically, because it exists in this world. Turning away from it won’t make it disappear. Meanwhile, I think that it was absolutely necessary to make your point. Glad to see that you still have some faith in humanity.

    Did I convey in my post how fantastic I think your video is? Ever since the Wilders film came out, I’ve been wondering how to write about it here, and your video gave me the perfect point of comparison. Great work. I’m in Cairo right now and I was talking about it last night with some Egyptian friends who didn’t know about your film but we all agreed that it was a brilliant idea to spoof the Wilders film in the way you did.

    cheers,
    Lisa

  3. noahbassil says:

    Raed, I just watched your film and thought it was mild. I reiterate Lisa’s congratulations on challenging a dangerous piece of propaganda. I had decided not to watch fitna because i did not want to dignify it. However, after reading Lisa’s blog I thought I would watch both to juxtapose the two movies and thought in fact you could have shown far more disturbing images if you had wanted to horrify your viewers, in the way that Wilder clearly intended to.

    You could have used images of the Holocaust, the Atlanatic slave trade, the massacre of indigenous people from the North American plains to Tasmania, or the use of machine guns against civilians by the British in Uganda, or the the death and destruction in Iraq and Syria that followed the decision to “award” the Middle East to Britain and France in the post WW1 carve-up. Or numerous other incidents to illustrate the atrocities attributable to Americo-European dominance of the world since the sixteenth century.

    How quickly the “western” world has forgotten the atrocities committed in the name of Christ over the last five centuries. But, where these atrocities have not been forgotten are in the slums of Uganda, or the refugee camps in Lebanon, or the streets of Cairo, and on the streets of Indonesia or South Africa these people will not forget the legacy of Dutch rule and the oppression and murder committed for Christ and commerce by Dutch colonial racism.

    Raed, Good work and keep up the struggle for truth.

    Noah

  4. […] for papers on cinema in the Muslim world In the wake of our discussion of Fitna vs Schism, I thought I’d post this call for papers that I received via Kalpana Ram.  I wonder if the […]

  5. jamil says:

    This is only the way to get attention in the most biased/westernised world of media.

    jamil

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