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‘Omar’ exposes the perils of conflicted beliefs

“Omar” (2013). Cast: Adam Bakri, Eyad Hoorani, Samer Bisharat, Leem Lubany, Waleed Zuaiter, Rohl Ayadi, Ramzi Maqdisi. Director: Hany Abu-Assad. Screenplay: Hany Abu-Assad. Web site. Trailer.

It’s been said that none of us can serve two masters, for attempting to do so will surely lead to our downfall. No matter how well equipped we may feel to take on such a task, we’re susceptible to failure when our personal resources and wherewithal are pushed to their limits. And the struggle to set matters right under such circumstances can be more than we’re capable of handling. That’s the lesson for a conflicted young freedom fighter in the gripping new drama, “Omar.”

The life of a freedom fighter is fraught with many challenges – perhaps more than anyone knows. That’s certainly the case for Omar (Adam Bakri), a Palestinian brigade member who’s clandestinely engaged in an ongoing battle against Israeli security forces. Omar fervently pursues this cause with two collaborators, his childhood friends Tarek (Eyad Hoorani) and Amjad (Samer Bisharat). But, despite the obstacles and danger involved, the three would-be liberators believe in the justness of their quest, given the oppressive everyday living conditions that have been imposed on them and their people. For example, the West Bank city where they live (a fictitious but ostensibly typical Palestinian community) is divided by a high separation wall that was built to intentionally keep residents from interacting with one another. Thus, those who simply want to visit friends and family members must often go to such great (and risky) lengths as scaling that imposing wall – a structure protected by snipers – just to see them. In fact, that’s what Omar has to do whenever he meets with his colleagues. It’s no wonder the freedom fighters are so anxious to change things.

But Omar’s challenges don’t stop there. He has a strong romantic attraction to Tarek’s beautiful young sister, Nadia (Leem Lubany), who freely returns the affection he lovingly showers upon her. Yet, despite Omar’s heartfelt feelings for Nadia, this “distraction” sometimes diverts his attention from his cause. What’s more, to complicate matters, Omar quietly competes with Amjad in an effort to win Nadia’s hand. Even though Omar seems to have the edge over Amjad, this rivalry with his comrade nevertheless adds fuel to the tension of their circumstances. These conditions thus force Omar to address his priorities: Which is more important, the love of his cause or the love of his life?

That question takes on further importance when Omar is captured by security forces in the aftermath of an ambush on an Israeli checkpoint that he carries out with Tarek and Amjad. He’s imprisoned and subsequently trapped into making a backhanded confession by Undercover Agent Rami (Waleed Zuaiter). In light of this “admission,” Rami informs Omar that he’ll never get out of jail – and never see Nadia again – unless he’s willing to become a double agent for the security forces. Omar considers the offer and eventually agrees to Rami’s terms. He’s soon released from prison and returns home.

But what exactly are Omar’s motivations in taking the deal? And, in doing so, how sincere is he being with Rami, his brigade peers and even Nadia? Of course, as Omar quickly finds out, he must also evaluate how genuine everyone else is being with him, a realization that forces him to reassess his priorities – and his relationships – once again. With suspicions and potential deceptions running rampant, it quickly becomes apparent that no one really knows who to trust, most of all Omar.

As conscious creation practitioners well know, contradiction (along with fear and doubt) is one of the primary inhibitors of effective manifestation. It’s difficult for our divine collaborator to know how to respond when we send out mixed signals in our beliefs, the driving force behind the materialization process. When we hold onto such conflicting intents, the results we realize often take on “distorted” qualities as our celestial manifestation partner does its level best to precisely interpret what it is we’re trying to achieve.

These kinds of confused outcomes can arise in several ways. For instance, when we try to reconcile conflicting priorities, as Omar does with his political dealings and his love life, it can be unclear which one should take precedence. Attempting to multitask one’s manifestation efforts can be tricky business, especially when each sought-after goal seems to require equal degrees of attention, potentially leaving our consciousness spread a little too thin. Similarly, when someone attempts to pursue outcomes where opposing sides of the same issue are involved, as Omar does in his role as a double agent, the materialization waters can easily become muddied; which result is truly desired? Indeed, the act of intentionally and surreptitiously engaging in deception can be like walking the razor’s edge, a highly precarious act if ever there were one. And, to make matters worse, if we’re fundamentally unaware of these kinds of conflicts or their underlying contradictory beliefs, the results can seem that much more puzzling. We may think we know what we want, but do we? And, as a consequence, should it really come as any surprise to us if the outcomes don’t match our expectations?

So how do we get past such potentially confusing circumstances? First and foremost, we need to get a better handle on our beliefs – all of them – especially if the mix of intentions involves contradictory elements. And one of the best ways we can conduct such assessments is to work on sharpening our intuitive skills, for they will help to clarify matters for us. Of course, to do this, we must also learn to get past any bias we might have about the “illogical” or “irrational” nature of the intuition. The impressions this faculty provides us are designed to help us, to reveal what we really need to know about the people and circumstances that cross our paths, no matter how outlandish or improbable they might seem. Purposely ignoring the input of this highly personal, highly informative resource is something we do at our peril.

One of the many benefits of heeding our intuition is that it helps to open our eyes to the circumstances we’re materializing. We may come to realize, for example, that the beliefs we’re employing to create the reality we’re experiencing aren’t really serving us, an awareness that, one would hope, might prompt us into questioning why we’re doing so in the first place. In a political conflict like the one portrayed in the film, for example, if each side were to truly see what they were creating, they might each discover the inherent insanity of their manifestations. They might each see that the intrinsic mistrust they have of one another isn’t serving them, that it only leads to the creation of even more mistrust, perpetuating a seemingly endless cycle of repeating outcomes that won’t fundamentally change until the beliefs producing these results are replaced. In a world gone mad, such enlightened new realizations may prove to be planetary life-savers. And, in Omar’s case in particular, they might help him to see which of his priorities rightfully merits the most attention.

“Omar” is an excellent film that’s part thriller, part political saga and part love story, with psychological and metaphysical considerations that are never far removed from any of the central narrative’s other aspects. The picture is smartly written, masterfully edited and well acted by an ensemble of young performers, many of whom are making their big screen debuts. Sensitive viewers should note, however, that the movie can be rather graphic at times, but the images are always in context and, thankfully, never gratuitous. The filmmakers were rewarded for their efforts, too. The picture earned Palestine an Oscar nomination as best foreign language film, and the Cannes Film Festival named the movie as the winner of the Un Certain Regard Special Jury Prize.

The rigors of successful manifestation can be taxing enough in themselves, but, when the process is hampered by too many considerations being heaped upon it, we’re setting ourselves up for disaster unless we take focused, drastic measures to combat these circumstances. “Omar” drives home this point with stunning power and remarkable clarity. One only hopes that the protagonist, like all of us, has the wisdom to see his way through to keep from losing everything. But, then, for someone who operates under the kinds of conditions he does on a daily basis, there may be nothing to lose to win what is so painfully sought.

Copyright © 2014, by Brent Marchant. All rights reserved.

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