A friend of mine, one Abdul Rahman C., published this amusing post on his Facebook wall today. I reproduce it here with his permission. I remember watching Grendizer episodes as a kid, but never thought about its political influence upon my brain. (I always assumed that the cartoon with more obvious resonances with Lebanese politics was the Smurfs, but I’ll have to rethink that…)
If anyone would like to write a counter-post responding to why Hizbullah is your Grendizer, please post it in the comment section and I’ll consider promoting it.
Hizbullah is Not Our Grendizer
A guest post by Abdul Rahman C.
Grendizer is the hero of my generation, the Lebanese generation that grew up during the Civil War and witnessed the Israeli invasion. I can confirm that Grendizer is mentioned at the beginning of every Lebanese friendship and at every gathering that brings together a group of Lebanese people for the first time anywhere in the world. It is one of the very few things that our generation genuinely agrees on. I even believe that the whole generation would not oppose calling ourselves the “Grendizer Generation.”
“Grendizer” is a Japanese cartoon series that was dubbed into Arabic and broadcast on Lebanese National Television during the eighties. He is a gigantic robot whose handsome pilot, Daisuke (or Dayski as pronounced in Arabic) is not originally from our planet. The robot and its pilot are dedicated to defending the planet from the alien Vega’s evil plots to invade Earth and control it. I believe that the intent behind showing such a series at that time of Lebanese history was to raise up a generation of resistance and unity. Though the program had a lot of violence, it was justified violence used by good people in defense of the world, to defeat evil powers, and to achieve peace and love. In other words, it is the same old story of good and evil, but there is no doubt again that it made a huge impact on our individual and communal psychology. Maybe we can never claim that the program had actually succeeded in achieving its goal of unity, but it seems that it had done a good job in teaching resistance.
Hizbullah was also growing up with us during the eighties, and it seems that it had also been influenced by our favorite TV show. Being born a couple of years prior to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon, and having its horrible implications as our primary childhood memories, it is conceivable that we would have a lot of negative emotions towards any type of unjust violence and we would be ready to adopt any resistive ideology. Add to that the fact that Grendizer was feeding our resistive spirit to a great extent. Hizbullah became our real Grendizer, actually protecting us, and fighting our enemy who had killed my cousins and the parents and siblings of so many children of my generation. However, we did not fall in love with Grendizer because it was a Japanese hero — we had no idea at that point that he was Japanese, it would have been a huge disappointment. Grendizer speaks Arabic (specifically classical Arabic) and this was how we knew him, in our own context! This might be slightly different from a child to another; Grendizer could have been seen as a Muslim Grendizer, an Arab Grendizer, and for sure as a Lebanese Grendizer.
What Hizbullah has been doing recently is quite confusing, it actually reminds me of an episode where the evil aliens make a fake ugly robot that looks like our Grendizer with almost the same powers! Hizbullah is not our Grendizer anymore, even if it wants to justify itself, as usual, by saying that its actions are a necessity for resistance, or by saying that it was fighting the “terrorists.” Ironically, those terrorists are with Hizbullah on the same black list, made by the enemies Hizbullah and the “terrorists” share.
Imagine if the last episode of Grendizer was like the following: “Dayski decides to turn on the humans he is supposed to protect. Since he is not originally an “earthman,” he decides that this fight against humans is a necessity that no mind can grasp other than his alien mind. Obviously, it does not fit the main plot of the show.” Would our child minds ever understand that???
Note that many people of our generation had given up on this fake Grendizer long time ago…