Burchfield offers film series on history of terrorism

Najee Walker, Associate News Editor

Starting Mar 4.,The Burchfield Penney will host a series of films centered around terrorism.

Ideas Prime is a series that constantly runs throughout a given season at the Burchfield Penney. This season, terrorism takes hold in the Ideas Prime series.

“The History of Terrorism” is the name of this season’s Ideas Prime series. The series focuses on different films and lectures that question why terrorism occurs and asks filmgoers to take a look at terrorism from a different perspective or “in another’s shoes”.

The first film of the series, “The Hamburg Cell”, follows a Lebanese dental student through his journey of extremism, something that most American people do not fully understand. The director of the movie, Antonia Bird, received harsh criticisms about the movie following its release in 2004, only three years after the 9/11 attacks. The film was called “Sympathetic to Terrorists” and ultimately was thought to paint terrorists in a tone that many Americans did not agree with at the time.

Despite that, the film plays an important role in understanding where the root of terrorism comes from. The film is based on interviews and documents collected by the director, and is a dramatization of the collected accounts.

Susan Randaccio, a history professor at SUNY Buffalo State specializing in Middle Eastern history and foreign policy, spoke to the audience before the film began. Randaccio emphasized the importance of the film, telling students and other filmgoers that the film really puts into perspective how extremists come about.

“Terrorists usually come from a prominent, wealthy family,” Randaccio said.

The film follows Randaccio’s words, as the main character Ziad Jarrah, played by Karim Saleh, goes through his daily life while also following a group of Muslim extremists. By the end of the movie, Jarrah, once a young, happy student, is about to begin his part in the 9/11 attack.

The typical profile of people who turn out to be extremists are people who are not religious at all.

“Most of the terrorists at first are barely religious,” Randaccio said. “They drink, have sex before marriage, but when they start to talk about the Quran, they are adopted into extreme ideas.”

The Ideas Prime series will continue throughout March, April and May. The last film in the series, “No Country for Old Men,” will be shown on Thursday, May 5.

For more information, visit the Burchfield Penney website at burchfieldpenney.org.

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Twitter: @NajeeW93