Thursday, October 04, 2007

The Wind That Shakes The Barley......

Every two or three months we get enough time off to watch a film. I joined NetFlix, and ordered that cute "Sunshine" movie three months ago.......It is here on the desk somewhere.

I am the reason NetFlix is profitable.

Well, this week I stopped by Valley Video (it is next door to the liquor store that sells Gruet....) and got "The Wind That Shakes The Barley". My professionally subversive friend Bennie recommended this film nine months ago....and I could never find a screening or a copy anywhere. Palme D'Or, Cannes 2006. Best Film Venice 2006. Highest grossing independent film in its country of origin.....ever. Hey, this is America here. That foreign shit......Who needs it?

So.....The movie is about an intensely localized culture that is dominated by a foreign occupying power. Said power, in the name of security, bans all public gatherings of certain sizes, suspends habeus corpus, rights of privacy, and search and seizure, etc.

The beginning of the film shows a village game and much hilarity. The occupying power decides the game is a security problem, shuts it down, confiscates the play equipment and interrogates the players. The one who doesn't speak the language of the occupying power is beaten to death with rifle butts inside his mother's house for being difficult.

This atrocity radicalizes the entire village. Everyone becomes insurgents.... and it gets ugly. The occupying power randomly imprisons, tortures and shoots whomsoever the fuck it feels like. The insurgents get stronger, and sort of win.

Eventually, the occupying power appoints a local "independent" government and steps back from the violence. Half the insurgents buy into the program.....half continue the struggle. Atrocities mount on both sides. Friend kills friend. Brother kills brother. Widows abound. Local culture is essentially destroyed, along with families, businesses, villages....the whole nine yards.

Sound familiar at all? is not about Iraq.

It is about Ireland, and Ireland of recent memory. Well, my recent memory. My best friend in grade school's dad was an insurgent and fought against the Black and Tans. (The Black and Tans were so named because after WWI, the Brits didn't have enough whole uniforms to go around, so they equipped their Irish security forces with mix and match outfits). Mr. Donovan trained us to try to kill any Airedale terrier we saw.....because this was the dog the Black and Tans used to terrorize families in his youth. And this was Anaheim, California in 1961. The Home of DisneyLand......

By the is REALLY bad form to order a Black and Tan in an Irish bar....or even in The Cachagua Store. How about: "Light and Dark"? Unless of course you are being deeply ironic, and you have earned your stripes....possibly by blowing something up. Just remember Don Imus with his "nappy-headed ho's" comment if it doesn't work. Nigger.

Anyway, the movie.....oops:film..... is powerful. I wept, but then again....I am Irish, and I am a weeper. Amanda watched it under protest, and mostly from under the covers......and she learned to hate the Brits.

Next morning we rooted hard for Chelsea to beat Valencia in the Champions League. And for Liverpool to beat the fucking Frogs. Go figure.

What is my point?

Watch the movie. Film.

Ask yourself: "If the film depiction of the various atrocities is more moving to you than fact of the acknowleged atrocities that inevitably take place under our watch in Iraq....or wherever we go with guns and poor people. When the answer is "yes"......and the answer IS "yes"....does that make us racists?

Well.....what else is new? Another thing to work on.

Ask yourself: "If the emotions stirred by a film depiction of injustice and atrocities can stir strong emotions across ninety years, three generations and nine thousand kilometers, and even jump across ethnic divides to rile a peace-love-tie-dye Buddhist who just happens to be in the room.......What do we think the effect of real injustice, atrocity, violence and general mayhem will be in Iraq.....across one generation and maybe a hundred kilometers?

And I still don't trust myself around Airedales.......

This cannot end well......


Blogger benniespiedel said...

My dad's mother was born in Cork. She had a passion that she gave to my dad and he gave it to me... To hate the pommy bastards.

Now every day I use that passion to work to bring the troops home now...
The great Australian poet Banjo Patterson wrote in THE LAST PARADE,
"`Over the sea you brought us,
Over the leagues of foam:
Now we have served you fairly
Will you not take us home?"

It was true in 1916 when Australian boys died for King and country and it is true today when American and Australian girls and boys are dying for King W and country.

PS: My best friend Trevor asks, when you call me "My professionally subversive friend Bennie". "Is there something I should know?", well yes there is!
This week my good friends Medea & Ann were detained an ejected from Canada...
"Canada Refuses Entry to Col. Ann Wright and Medea Benjamin"
But today the ladies in pink are outside the Canadian Embassy in Washington being arrested for exercising their constitutionally protected right to free speech.
You know Medea like I do, when she challenged your Monday night patrons with, "1, 2, 3, 4, we don't want..."

I know the "War on Terror", when they entered my studio without warrant and copied my "PAPERS", when when they called on my clients and used the "PATRIOT ACT" to intimidate the interviewees with threats of detention without cause if they told of the visits...

to be continued

8:46 AM  

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