“This is the first time in American history that there has been a documentary film made about someone who is fighting against American soldiers in real time and shown to the American public while that conflict is still going on,” said Molly Bingham, director of “Meeting Resistance,” at a San Luis Obispo screening of the film last month.

Bingham and co-director Steve Connors, both photojounalists who have specialized in Middle Eastern affairs for more than 25 years, will show their unprecedented documentary for the second time at the San Luis Obispo City/County Library at 7 p.m Friday. The film will be shown in honor of the fifth anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and the directors will stay afterward to answer questions and discuss issues.

The directors showed the film about the active Iraqi insurgent movement at the library Jan. 17 in an intimate setting and remained for more than an hour after the showing to speak with the audience.

At this screening, it was obvious that Connors and Bingham were not informed just about the insurgent movement, but of the history of Iraq and other Arab nations as well. They extensively researched what is going on currently, politically and socially.

“Meeting Resistance” exploits the myths in mainstream U.S. media by documenting primary sources. Connors and Bingham interviewed 45 active Iraqi insurgents in a 10-month period to create the film, and although faces and identities are obscured on screen, the messages are clearly projected.

Connors explained that before “Meeting Resistance” was screened, he and Bingham produced an opinion-editorial piece for The New York Times with clips of their film accompanied by many statistics they found while reporting. He said the statistics contrasted drastically with what The New York Times reported in its news stories. The op-ed editor asked for fact checks before the piece was published, and they all checked out.

“As far as the Iraqi people are concerned, 78 percent believe the U.S. military creates more conflict than it prevents, and 71 percent want a withdrawal of U.S. troops within a year,” Bingham said.

Bingham explained that since September, she and Connors traveled across the country five or six nights every week to show the film in all types of venues, and she detailed their motivation to pursue this project.

Speaking of the “The Fog of War,” a film by Earl Mars about the Vietnam War, Bingham said someone notes that 3.2 million Vietnamese people were killed because the U.S. misunderstood their motivation. People thought the people they were fighting were communists when they were actually nationalists fighting occupation.

“I think (‘Meeting Resistance’) in some way kind of calls that bluff to the American population, to our political structure,” Binghman said. “We all said we’ll never do this again; we’ll never do what we did in Vietnam again.”

She said especially now, in an election year, she hopes that after people see the film, they will hold discussions about it. She said people should write blogs or tell friends about it, or just spread the word because she hopes it will persuade Americans to contemplate their political decisions.

Connors pointed out that although he and Bingham are mainstream journalists, they came against gatekeepers after they made the film but decided not to quit.

“And here we are. We are here addressing people directly with the film,” he said.

Bingham said there is hope in America that the war is going to “turn a corner,” as President George W. Bush recently said.

“There is this notion of always hoping that the next few months, the next few weeks, the next year will produce a stabilized Iraq. . Sixty-one percent of the Iraqi population as a whole thinks it is perfectly acceptable to target American troops in Iraq and kill them. That’s a significant statement. Recognizing that it is the heart and soul of Iraq that’s opposed to our presence, there is a real step to make,” Bingham said.

The San Luis Obispo City/County Library is located at 995 Palm St. A $12 donation is suggested but not required for the viewing.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *