Why Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman is a slap on the faces of Palestinian girls in Gaza

Published: June 15, 2017

A person who has such an utter disregard for the suffering of humans cannot possibly be the face of a superhero that fights for justice and equality.

This past week, viewers from all across the globe flocked to their nearby cinemas to catch the first female superhero movie, Wonder Woman. People leaving the cinema published accounts of inspiration and motivation. Some even spoke of a rekindled sense of purpose and drive in their individual feminism

Yet in the same news cycle, you could also find a piece or two decrying some ban on this blockbuster placed by Lebanon and then followed by a suspension in Tunisia and Algeria. Naturally, as every ban does, it piqued the reader’s interest. After all, what would the Lebanese, Algerians or the Tunisians have against women empowerment? It made little sense until you opened the closet and found the skeletons inside.

In order to comprehend the rationale employed by these Arab states, one has to be aware of the 2014 Gaza massacre. Put short, in a brutal 50-day assault, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) were able to eliminate 2,139 Palestinians, out of which 490 were children. According to UN estimates, 500,000 Palestinians in the Gaza strip were displaced and 20,000 homes were destroyed. 

On the Israeli side, there were 64 deaths, out which six were civilians including one child. This assault by Israel was decried and denounced by every major human rights organisation. To put this in perspective, Amnesty International accused Israel of war crimes and a “callous indifference” in their deadly attacks on Gaza.

During this time, Gal Gadot, the actress playing Wonder Woman, posted the following on her official Facebook page:

The spellcheck police would like to rightly allege that Gadot got the spelling of co-existence wrong. However, her post is problematic for reasons far beyond that.

As a person, Gadot supported the acts of a military responsible for the brutal murder of hundreds of innocent civilians. This lady is now being presented as the role model for female empowerment and liberation. That, in essence, is flawed. A person who has such utter disregard for the suffering of humans cannot possibly be the face of a superhero that fights for justice and equality. It is a slap on the face of Palestinian girls in Gaza who are being told that those who support their oppression and murder can, in fact and virtue, be the harbinger for female liberty.

What is most ironic in this situation, I think, is that when the children in Gaza endured what they went through in 2014, they must have been hoping for a miracle. In the world of comic books and superhero movies, the miracle often arrives in the form of a superhero there to allay the fears of the many and give them hope for a better tomorrow. Well, it seems that there is hope for many and justice for a few, just not for the Palestinians, if you please.

As a Pakistani, I can only speak for my own country. There seems to be a loyal and devout support for Palestinian liberation amongst the masses. When the Gaza massacre was happening, Facebook and Twitter in Pakistan was lit up with messages of support, prayers and calls for action. There were thousands of dollars raised by our very own citizens for our brothers and sisters in Palestine. We need to understand that our solidarity with the Palestinian cause has to be broader. We cannot simply push away the thought of solidarity by terming our own actions as having negligible consequences.

Trust me, every social justice movement has heard the naysayers say the same few lines about the lack of power they govern over the oppressive structures. However, we must believe in ourselves and our ability to inspire change through collective action.

We cannot forget that female empowerment cannot exclude women who are being oppressed by structures of power that go beyond their gender. We must strive to fight patriarchy in all forms and shapes. However, we can also not let the message of female empowerment in our countries be hijacked by images that can further hurt those who are oppressed. Our fight against patriarchal structures cannot exclude members of communities that are also disenfranchised.

Malik Ahmed Khan

Malik Ahmed Khan

The author is currently studying Economics and Mathematics at Kenyon College. He has an avid interest in Urdu poetry, social justice movements and global and local politics.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Saira Khan

    Our Pakistani actors go to India despite all they have done against us, when would you start protesting that fact?Recommend

  • liberal-lubna-fromLahore

    hear hearRecommend

  • Amir Sultan

    Blaming the palestinians of hiding behind children, its not like it stops them from bombing everything anyway; while themselves using white phosphorus and experimental munitions unfettered. Truly disgusting.Recommend

  • Duniya Hasan

    AgreedRecommend

  • libertador

    Dumbest argument ever made. People like you see the whole world from one lens and thats your own subjective lens. She’s an actor, I am pretty sure Marvel Studios offered tons of money and with that comes fame, which any actor wants. Sometimes people need to take things at their face value and not add political twists to everything. Having said that voicing the plight of Palestinians is a noble thing to do as they are oppressed but apologies I totally disagree with your angle.Recommend

  • Kulbhushan Yadav

    You should read more about Black September in Palestinian history and Pakistan’s role in it.Recommend

  • Kulbhushan Yadav

    Whatever was done on to you by India, was invited by Pakistan by provocation. Read the history without green opaque glasses.Recommend

  • Waron Dafe

    Pakistan is the only country on earth which uses religion to project itself in the world.Recommend

  • Faisal Malik

    An excellent article. Seems in the mayhem for pursuit of daily materialistic pleasures people are forgetting that their are millions of fellow muslims who are suffering accross the world. These include many in Palestine, Burma, Kashmir, etc. and we don’t even have time to say few words to express our support to these people.Recommend

  • Ronny Abbasi

    good blog post man. Thanks for pointing this out.Recommend

  • M Sarmad

    Great Article,
    for our sister @saira, many people do boycott Indian movies, series etc. People who don’t care about Indian atrocities in Kashmir doesn’t care who they work for and what they do. Its always been this way, it always will – Money will overcome many over moral and righteousnessRecommend

  • Abdul Haseeb

    yes exactly, if you dont protest to bollywood you shouldn’t protest to hollywood …….because 2 wrongs always make a right !!!
    This is bizarre logic .Recommend

  • Zeeshan Khan

    Not just protesting. We very openly and happily watch their movies, fan follow their actors, tv shows, dramas and Bollywood songs are a norm. Sadly, we are very comfortable with it and have no problem in it.. surprised with his article.Recommend

  • Zeeshan Khan

    So in your expert opinion Mujahideen are the main reason for unrest in Indian Occupied Kashmir?Recommend

  • harkol

    She is the wonder woman. World is watching her. The movie is a big success in USA, Europe, China & India (big markets).

    If you don’t like what she is – DON’T WATCH. I don’t think the makers will lose sleep over it!!Recommend

  • Rahul Patil

    Israel is defending itself against terrorist hamasRecommend

  • Roli

    Too be honest if you ask me people are really taking her words out of context. Where in her post does she say she supports the killings? She served and obligatory 2 years in IDF. All the post is implying is that she supports her fellow soldiers. She didn’t even say or imply anything about the killings.
    Recommend

  • Wahib

    Saira’s comment is not offence at all.please Kulbhushan do not take it upon being an Indian. Her message means first make yourself pure and then point others. No need to take it personal and turn it to war forum please.

    ThanksRecommend

  • Martha

    There is not such thing that Israel is doing that to defend themselves from the Hamas. We gotta understand that Israel is doing that Bc they want their land. Recommend

  • numbersnumbers

    Curious that you forget that most Muslims suffer at the hands of other Muslims!Recommend

  • asd

    Gadot is the bombRecommend

  • profbernie

    So glad to hear that you oppose patriarchy. I Wish you luck when you promulgate that opposition in your native Pakistan.Recommend

  • jae

    I have to admit I don’t know all the facts, but it sure seems like Israelis are doing to the people of Gaza what was done to them in WWII. History repeating itself and I don’t understand how they are allowed to keep doing what they are doing. Recommend

  • jae

    I wish we could do away with money. It only leads to the rich being more corrupt and greedy. They never get imprisoned for their crimes. Same with cops who shoot black people b/c “they were afraid.” If they are so afraid, they shouldn’t be cops. The US police force could learn a lot from European law enforcement.Recommend