With the recent release of “United 93,” the full-blown commodification of 9/11 has begun in earnest. Most telling about the debates and discussion surrounding this politically sterile film is the omnipresent question: “Is it too soon?”
Only a nation sufficiently insulated from the impact of its policies can indulge in such a concern. Forty people died on the doomed United Flight 93. With all due respect, that’s a typical Wednesday in Iraq.
Thus, I wonder: Is it too soon for a movie about Fallujah? What about the U.S.-enforced sanctions that killed a half-million Iraqi children under the age of five? Creative Iraqis might consider making films on such topics but well … they’ve got other pressing matters to deal with at the moment. No hand wringing in Baghdad over the issue of too much, too soon.
Is it too soon for an Afghani to craft a celluloid re-telling of U.S. planes carpet bombing from 15,000 feet of the depleted uranium shells littering the landscape? Afghani directors might first wish to document life under Soviet and then Taliban repression. Unlike Hollywood execs, they do not have the luxury of dwelling on a singular attack. Neither do filmmakers in Kashmir or Chechnya or Haiti or dozens of other nations.
We in America, on the other hand, are so lacking in such cataclysmic subject matter, we’re still re-hashing Pearl Harbor every few years. Our victims do not share this deficiency.
Speaking of U.S. military interventions, Saturday, April 29 gave us yet another large anti-war protest. I know there’s a genuine anti-war movement in America (and has been for over a century) … but far too many of those speaking out against the U.S. invasion of Iraq are not strictly “anti-war.” From what I can tell, more than a few protestors have no problem with: a) wars started by their (sic) party and/or b) wars the U.S. easily wins (sic) Case in point: Operation Iraqi Freedom (sic) has provoked far more protest/outrage than 78 days of U.S./NATO bombing over Yugoslavia in 1999 ever did.
Until an anti-war movement is guided almost exclusively by genuine anti-war sentiment, it’ll play the two-party (sic) game…a game with no long term winners.
On the other hand, the May 1 “Day Without Immigrants” protests at least took place on a weekday but I’m afraid we’ll need something akin to recent uprisings in France to make a lasting impression.
To begin with, the entire immigration debate is tainted by the word “illegal.” While it is, of course, technically against the law to enter the U.S. in such a manner, how did it come to be accepted that humans left with no option but to choose this path are universally judged and referred to as “illegal”?
I say if that’s how the corporate media and crooked politicians want it, let’s go all the way. If George W. Bush defies international law to invade, bomb, and occupy a sovereign nation, he should be called an “illegal president.” Corporations that rape the environment are run by illegal CEOs. If a policeman wants to beat a confession out of someone; he’s now an illegal cop. Pundits, politicians, lawyers, doctors, investment bankers, real estate magnates…the possibilities are endless.
I’m just not sure if it’s “too soon” for such an idea. What do you think?
MICKEY Z. is the author of several books, most recently “50 American Revolutions You’re Not Supposed to Know” (Disinformation Books). He can be found on the Web at http://www.mickeyz.net.