draw the stark contrast between Israel and radical Islam - the former, representing the best of humanity; the latter, incompatible with civilized society. The standout
the one feel-great short in an otherwise endless litany of woe, introduces us to the Bialik-Rogozin school in Tel Aviv, where students from 48 countries, many of them poor immigrants, are welcomed with open arms and nurtured to become color-blind friends and academic achievers.
focuses on the groom whose 2005 wedding was bombed by an Al-Qaeda operative, killing his father and 26 family members. The man, Ashraf Al-Khaled, has become a crusader against terrorism, and we watch him argue in vain with young jihadist disciples. But his argument is not so much against killing per se; rather, it's against killing that happens to imperil Muslim bystanders, as though it would be hunky-dory otherwise. Also in the program:
the touching story of Carteret Islanders who must travel to neighboring Bougainville, hat in hand, to beg for land to resettle to as their island sinks slowly into the sea;
- "The Warriors of Qiugang,"
about the victimized villagers leading the embryonic environmentalist movement in China; and a possible upset winner,
about Robynn Murray, an all-American cheerleader turned Army poster girl turned antiwar activist with PTSD. Murray is a rarely eloquent and reflective subject, and might just make the Oscar stage next Sunday night.
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