discrimination, poverty and ignorance

In this 2012 production, Hadji, who has been living in the USA is arrested following intel that he has been funding or directing terrorist activities from US soil and is set for deportation to Turkey to face trial.

He tells Firat, the cop from Turkey, mankind has three problems; discrimination which can be solved by love and compassion, poverty,  by sharing and ignorance which can only be resolved by education. He had escaped ignorance at Bitlis to go to the US and sadly, he dies as a result of ignorance, in Bitlis.

Hadji says there is one irrefutable truth to every human; to be born and to die. Life is but a bridge that links these two ends and we spend a lifetime trying to bridge this gap.

The acting is generally good. Becker of the FBI thinks all Muslims are terrorists and I don’t know how he expects to get answers from the same Muslims when he goes all macho into a mosque during prayer time and starts barking orders.

If you have 115 minutes to spare, and don’t know what to do with it, then here is something you could do with it.

And a poem

On the day I die, when I’m being carried
toward the grave, don’t weep. Don’t say,

He’s gone! He’s gone. Death has nothing to do with going away. The sun sets and

the moon sets, but they’re not gone.
Death is a coming together. The tomb

looks like a prison, but it’s really
release into union. The human seed goes

down in the ground like a bucket into
the well where Joseph is. It grows and

comes up full of some unimagined beauty.
Your mouth closes here, and immediately

opens with a shout of joy there.

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Eye in the sky- Movie review

Following Ark’s review, I watched eye in the sky and I got beef.

The movie plays on the phobia that we have somehow come to develop about terrorists and the west’s equivocation of terrorism and Islam. To develop this theme, we have our would be suicide bombers meeting in some house and prayers being said but since we don’t hear what they talk about, the movie leaves us with a single conclusion, it is religiously motivated. It is simplistic.

The conflict or dilemma we are presented with is one-sided. We are driven to believe the suicide bombers and their leaders are irrational actors. So there is no background to their grievances. All we are to assume is they met, prayed, wired themselves ready to cause havoc and Britain has come to save humanity from terror. The only rational actors are the Brits and Muricans. Powell, if not for the little matter of the law, would have blown the plotters to smithereens without a thought. But unfortunately for her, she has to seek approval from civilians some of whom seem unwilling to really get involved, from the foreign secretary to the prime minister.

The drone captain refuses to fire his weapon the first time until the command centre led by Col. Powell sends him a revised collateral damage estimate. He is reluctant to release his weapon lest a child who is selling bread is killed. Angela North argues, and I agree, that firing the missile just because the suicide bombers may kill people is not a good reason to kill an innocent child. Lt. Gen. Frank tells North never to tell a soldier he doesn’t know the cost of war this is after she tells him he ordered a bombing over coffee and biscuits.

My beef with the setting is that no part of Nairobi looks like that. Especially Eastleigh. And more son, we are not at war. Don’t tell me it’s a movie, most people think movies are documentaries and may start asking me if I live in the war zone of Eastleigh!

There are characters who do nothing in the movie. Nothing would be lost even if we didn’t have the command centre in Nairobi since the movie takes place between Col. Powell, Frank, the drone pilots and the situation room in the UK.

On collateral damage, this comment by Wole Soyinka resonates with me

The accidental casualty that is inflicted on innocents in the course of a conflict- I detest the expression ‘collateral damage’ when applied to human lives- occupies a different level of responsibility and censure, to be judged on the efforts made by participants in the conflict to avoid such violations of innocence or neutrality.

The acting is quite good.

And a comment on Westgate and Garissa attacks which are mentioned in passing the movie. I think somewhat the government or people in it were culpable in this crimes, their response appalling. I distrust the government line on the attacks, and for good reason.

While it is true gratuitous violence as practiced by suicide bombers is disgraceful, many government actors and actions would qualify as terrorism. They resign several millions to lives of misery, even death. For example corruption in the health sector means drugs are not available for patients, there are no doctors and more die from such acts than die from terrorist activities. We need perspective in addressing such matters. We must ask what are the issues that drive some people to the point of willing to die for causes that on the surface look absurd? Religion alone, to me, is not a sufficient answer.

Thoughts out of season 3

A few weeks ago, one of my WP friends, wrote a post, what are you worth? 6 million dollars? that is relevant to this discussion and the link that am about to share. As you are all aware, the hostage situation in Nairobi has come to a close and families that lost loved ones will have to rebuild their lives afresh, there are businesses that have incurred serious losses and so much more and I don’t want to belittle their suffering any bit.

However, a few uncomfortable truths have to be dealt with, to see where we have come from and how humanity can move forward, how such situations can be prevented in the future. There are those among us who will argue that the government ought to be granted more surveillance powers, that security searches should increase and other such measures. I disagree totally with such propositions. These measures do not contribute to our safety in the long-term. They are temporary measures that are implemented by unthinking people. The real deal is to ensure that no society feels marginalized, oppressed and denied opportunities for self-expression. Ensuring the masses get proper education is going to ensure that our race frees itself from religious, political and other forms of bigotry.

Having said this, the question to be asked of everyone is why hasn’t there been a similar outcry for the countless and nameless Somali women, men and children who have lost their lives in the duration that the Kenya Defense Forces have been occupying Somali? Are their lives of less value? And in which planet is peace kept by killing civilians? What peace is that? As I have said before, I will say it here again, we have to re-evaluate ourselves as a race, to come up with peaceful and better ways of living with each other.

I have to admit it here, the reason am against all this senseless killing is because of self preservation: The will to live. I, however, know that nature doesn’t give a bat-shit whether I live or die. It maintains the will in the general and not the specific so that there will always be a striving to live whether I exist or not. In the meantime, while I live, I realize there are 1000 plus things trying to kill me and the odd terrorist is the least of them. Why a lot of money is wasted on the war on terror is beyond me.

Nairobi attacks: what about the casualties of Somalia’s war zone?