Friday, May 6, 2011

Now thou art come unto a feast of death--Shakespeare

What does Temudjin have to do with Obama? Nothing.

Temudjin was a warrior; Obama is a hitman.

Temudjin, who was compelled to battle his blood brother, Jamukha, upon capturing him, set him free. Gave him a horse--and a horse, to a 12th c Mongolian male, was more important than a woman.

Obama, on the other hand, feeling compelled to follow in George Bush's warsteps, upon capturing their arch enemy, Osama (who they created), shot him in the head. Bin Laden was unarmed. His body was dumped in the sea.

Last night I watched Mongol (2008). It's not the type of movie I usually watch, and if someone would have told me it has these gory battle scenes, with heads getting chopped off, men and horses being impaled, men against men in violent confrontations, abductions, and war as a fact of life/survival, I would not have watched it.

But my husband started watching it on Netflix, and when I looked up from my book, the cinematography grabbed me. Where is this beautiful place? I wondered (the steppes of Mongolia and Kazakhstan, I read on the film credits). Then, the story line riveted me. The acting was exceptional, too.

The music was riveting, too. Strange, so strange to me. Strange because I thought it sounded somewhat like old Finnish men chanting! When Temudjin and Jemukha chanted together in the yurt, I thought, their breathing and sounds were oddly familiar to me.

OK I wasn't imagining that; the film credits list Tuomas Kantelinen as composing the film score. I laughed. "Yeah," my husband said, starting to hum and chant, "it sounds like some of that weird stuff you play."

Sergei Bodrov, the director, did an exceptional job re-imagining the 12th c tale of Mongolian nomads on the steppes, of Temudjin, the man who became Genghis Khan. What is amazing to me is that this film is successful in humanizing male warriors.

I made my husband skip through the worse parts of the battle scenes, though.

I couldn't help but think when watching Temudjin set out to do battle, how war has become something else today. So much of it is divorced from individual courage or bravery. War is politics. War is played out in rooms. The recent assassination of Bin Laden, so glorified in the US, among its youth, in its media, and among some Canadians, too, is disturbing. Has assassination become hip? Canadians don't even have the death penalty and yet folks think killing Bin Laden in this covert "operation" is ok?

Why is it an 'operation' when the West does it, but terrorism when someone from the Middle East does it?

American constitutional lawyer John Whitehead writes in Bin Laden, Gaddafi, and Modern Warfare: On the Highway of Death:

Modern technology totally dehumanizes warfare and, in the process, totally dehumanizes us as human beings. While it allows us to wage battles from afar, modern technological warfare also reduces the act of killing human beings to nothing more than targeting blips on a screen--a macabre video game with faceless victims and no danger of someone shooting back. And when an American drone annihilates innocent civilians in some far-away land, this is simply written off as yet another technological blip. [....]

The fact that modern technological warfare is turning human beings into non-feeling killing machines should cause us to tremble. It should give us reason to pause and question how we could let ourselves travel so far down the road to perdition. We have placed others on the highway of death. In the end, however, it is we who are traveling the highway of death. May God help us all.


Ari said...

Obama had to prove that he has been the best possible "winner" of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Merche Pallarés said...

It's tragic seeing where the world is going... As you say, may God help us all, especially Canadians with Harper "de nouveau" as P.M.! Hugs, M.

northshorewoman said...

Does the Nobel Peace Prize have any credibility anymore?

Unfortunately, Harper and the neo-Conservatives are back full vengeance. We have a lot of work to do to counter their policies.

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