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Funs1zeD 2004-06-16 12:26

The plight of the Ishbal: A comment on the Israeli/Palestine situation?
Ok…This could be reading FAR to much into things but after watching ep32 I was suddenly struck by the massive similarities displayed between the Ishbal subplot and the current situation in Israel.

The story goes that the Ishbal people were removed from there homeland in a supposedly “legitimised campaign” conducted by the army (headed up by state alchemists). The massacre in Ishbal erupts after a girl is accidentally shot by military personal which results in mass protesting by the people of Ishbal and is then heavily stamped out by the military (We are told this by Dr. Marco, ep14 and 15.)

The first intifada in Israel (Intifada is the name given to the unified rebellion of Palestinians against there Israeli oppressors lasting from 1987 to 1993) was sparked after a schoolgirl was shot in the back by an Israeli guard in October 1987. This resulted in widespread rioting with police forces and lead to years of conflict during the early 90’s in Israel.

Palestinians and Israeli’s are separated by ethnicity, culture and religion. Palestinians are largely Arabic and Islamic whereas Israelis tend to be western, white and Jewish. It seems that the people of Ishbal and there military oppressors are split along the same lines too: The people of Ishbal have their own faith, worshipping the god Ishbala and consider alchemy a work of the devil, they are also clearly a separate ethnic group characterised by there brown skin and red eyes.

Currently the people of Ishbal are forced to live in designated “interment camps” tightly controlled by the military, and once again we can draw parallels to Palestinians, who are closely monitored by Isreali forces, and are forced to live in designated areas (notably the Gaza strip and West bank.) In episode 32 we see the people of Ishbal living in what looks to be a third world shanty town. The Gaza and West bank is nothing more than two massive refugee camps that over time has become more permanents, but is still with out decent infrastructure and isn’t much better looking than the Ishbal housing.

However the clinching point for me was in episode 32 when the people of Ishbal started throwing stones at the military (it was this scene that made me initially realise the similarities of the two groups.) One of the most symbolic images of the Palestinian conflict is groups of Palestinian men running towards heavily armed Israeli armed forces, complete with riot shields, plastic bullet, tear gas, and tanks. What do the Palestinians do? They throw stones. It is not so much the damage they inflict, but the message they send- it is utter defiance in the face of inevitability.
This same sentiment is clear when the people of Ishbal pick up rocks and start hurling them at the state alchemists who out number them and are equipped with guns.

that’s pretty much my argument. I’m not even 100% convinced of it myself, however the more I thought about it the more connections I could makes, especially the little girl getting shot, and the stone throwing. I think its entirely possible that the writers of FMA used Palestinians as there inspiration for Ishbal.

I’ve only watched up to ep 33 so I don’t know if there is any more stuff in ep34 or 35. I will be interested see how the Ishbal sub plot continues

Shamdu 2004-06-16 13:12

I think you're a bit wrong. There is a similarity between FMA and the Israely/Palestine situation, but it's not exactly what you said.
For example:
Lately, Israel's military has been employing national alchemists for fighting in the Palestinian territories. So far it has been succesful, and there are even attempts now to empower them with the philosopher's stone.
Also, I heard about a terrorist who goes around killing people by blowing them from the inside out. apparently he has a large tatoo on his arm and a scar on his forhead. All citizens are adviced to be cautious.
And there's also been this homunculus problem lately.... hmm....

Well, as you can see, there are alot of similarities! XDDDD
Sorry for the sarcastic post, heh...

Funs1zeD 2004-06-16 13:30

hehe ok ok fair point....

Maybe i didnt make myself clear tho, im not proposing the Ishbal people is a COMPLETE metaphor for palestinians, im just thinking that there are so many similarities that maybe the writers had the palestinians in mind when they developed the ishbal plot line. Just because anime / cartoon is a pretty much under used medium for commenting on world events doesnt mean that it doesnt happen. And do you KNOW that Ariel Sharon isnt homunculus!

...and oh the sarcasm! man it cuts deep!

Shamdu 2004-06-16 13:48

lol, I just want to say that political discussion=bad.
This kind of thread can be offensive to some people.

Hmm, so you think Ariel Sharon's a homunculus? Interesting.... Sounds like a conspiracy to me. I'll have to think seriously about it. XD

Tripon 2004-06-16 15:24

Hmm, I always thought that the Isbal people were more like the Jews from the old Testiment. Forced out of their land, wandering trying to find their own home. Scar having visions of their God, given a power that lets him protect his people.
Why, Scar just needs a staff, and the Scar=Moses comparison really works. ;P

shadowspirit 2004-06-16 19:56

Hm, that's an interesting comparison. It's probably still a little off, but then again, many allegories are. I have to agree with Shamdu, though. Political discussions can become rather nasty things unless people decide to either not take personal offense to someone who disagrees with them or view things objectively and be willing to look at an issue's various points of view.

(Lightheartedness helps too... unless it's taken too far... =P)

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