Thursday, March 18, 2004

Passion Of The Christ

I preferred not to comment on the movie till people got to watch it themselves. I watched the movie days after it started showing at movie theaters. I wanted to see the movie for myself before I jumped to any conclusions.

I liked the movie for many reasons. First, I was so happy to see a Jesus with brown eyes and Middle-Eastern looks. The old movies with a blue-eyed Jesus never worked for me. Jesus was born in Palestine. He was a Jew. It makes sense for him to have brown or black eyes. So yes, I loved his resemblance to my mental image of Jesus.

Using Aramaic language -- my native language -- for Jesus' daily communication made so much sense to me. At last, someone took the risk to use an ancient language in a movie telling an ancient story.
During the first few minutes of the movie, I had problems understanding the actors' Aramaic accent. Then I relied less on the subtitles. I was really impressed by some of the actors/actresses who mastered the accent to the point I wondered if these people were pure Chaldean-Assyrians, or were good actors who mastered their lines very well. In either case, they did a great job.

The violence may be too much for people who can't handle these scenes. BUT, we watch worse violence on movies produced for Halloween season and nobody complains about it.

Did the movie harm the Jews? In my opinion, it didn't.
You could look at the dark side and say, "Well, there were many Jews screaming all over the place demanding Jesus' crucifixion," or you could look at the bright side and notice how many Jews sympathized with Jesus during stations of the cross. I looked at the bright side. It could just be my personality.

Let's face it. If Jesus didn't die on the cross, then Jesus would never have risen from death after three days according to the prophecies and the Bible. So, please stop this nonsense of calling Mel Gibson's movie the worst movie ever made about Jesus' passion. The name sums it up, it was Jesus' passion. It was his love to humanity that made him accept this painful and deadly task.

Did anyone go on the streets killing the Jews after watching the movie? No.
Why didn't anyone go on the streets and kill the first Jew they met on their way? Because it's just a movie.

The movie made me reflect on my life. It didn't make me hate any Jew. I have Jewish friends. I would have been the first person to criticize the movie if there was anything wrong about it. I hope people see the movie the way I see it -- as a work of art. Again, it's just a movie.


UPDATE: The small community of Chaldean and Assyrian, who live inside/outside the Middle East kept the Aramaic language alive through the parents' commitment to teach the language to their kids. Chaldean-Aramaic is my first language. Chaldean-Assyiran parents don't allow their kids to speak any other language until they master their native language.

When living outside the Middle East, parents would allow the kids to learn the language of the country where they're living. This would prevent the kids from having any problems at school. Then the parents would start communicating with them in Aramaic at a young age.
My sweet nieces in Australia started learning Chaldean-Assyrian a few years ago. We motivated them by encouraging them to attend the Assyrian singers' concerts in Sydney.
My wonderful 10-year-old niece in Detroit enrolled at the Chaldean church in their suburb, where they teach the language to the kids on Saturdays. Since my niece learned the language, nobody can shut her up any more according to my sister. She really enjoys communicating with her grandparents in the Chaldean language.

So, that's how we saved this language for the last 2000 years.




Passion of The Christ

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