Sunday, 27 August 2006


After a lazy sunday afternoon nap, we decided to watch Syriana. I was still a bit sleepy and I had been hoping for something not too complicated, so probably some bits of Syriana passed over my head without registering.

The film is complicated with different simultaneous and parallel story lines spread over different continents and in different languages, English, Farsi, Arabic and Urdu. The main aim of the film is to show how American multinationals involved in petrol extraction with active support from different American institutions, are willing to go to any length to keep on their profits, including the assassination of those who try to fight against their power. At the same time, short term thinking/planning of USA forces sometimes provide sophisticated weapons to those who later use them against American interests.

I was thinking of how so many Indian films are now equally vehement in showing nexus between corrupt politicians, underworld and other corrupted state institutions.

It is a victory of freedom of press if cinema can show such realities in so clear terms, pointing accusing fingers at the powers.

Yet, the fact that films like these can be done time and again and in spite of all the accusations, that do seem believable, nothing changes. Voters go on electing same persons, those same persons keep on doing what they were doing and public does not care. Then periodically, there are some "ritualistic cleaning" with some weakened power brokers who are sacrificed to satisfy the public hunger for justice and everything can continue as it was. It sounds very horrible and cynical and yet probably an accurate description of how "real" life is.

Coming back to Syriana, George Clooney must be passing though that "I am not just a beautiful body, I am a good actor" phase. It does seem unbelievable, his perplexity and confusion in the film, after being a secret agent for all his life in places like Beirut. The decision of Pakistani boys to be the suicide bombers is also not explained properly in the film, since at least one of them is not convinced about religious dope peddled by his instructors.


I always had an admiration for Isreal. There was a long time that I was convinced of having been a Jew in a previous life, who had lost his life in the holocaust. And I am deeply distrustful of religious fundamentalism of any kind, these days, especially the islamic kind. Yet, in the fight between Isrealis and Palestinians, I feel that Isreal is renegating its legacy of suffering and is behaving like the oppressive forces in nazi Germany, uncaring about the countless civilians that Isreali forces seem to crush with uncaring abandon.

Probably this feeling is because for me, this fight is not perceived as between Jews and Muslims but is seen as unequal force of strength between uncaring and powerful isrealis and desperate palestinians, trying to hold on to their homeland.


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