Posts Tagged ‘terrorism’

Beware the Ever Present Bogeyman

February 3, 2008

A couple nights ago I watched another movie on TV that I’d avoided on its release because I’d expected religious propaganda – with good reason.  M. Night Shyamalan’s previous film ‘Signs’ was a very bad, blatant attempt to say that keeping faith in god will save you.

But ‘The Village’ is a much more intelligent, thought provoking, and honest movie.  The story is set in what appears to be a nineteenth century Mennonite type village.  Life is simple, people are innocent and respectful, and old world values are adhered to.  A council of elders are in charge and their edicts are abided by.

This may seem idyllic but the village is in an isolated valley, surrounded by woods inhabited by hostile creatures.  Only the elders seem to have been around before the current truce.  The rest of the community takes their word that there was trouble in the past.  To keep the creatures away, the colour red is banned because it supposedly attracts them.

There is a metaphor here for religion and politics.  There is a clearly defined boundary at the edge of the woods which must not be crossed.  When Lucius Hunt wants to visit the outside world for medicine that would benefit the community, he is forbidden because he would have to pass through the woods.  Medicine?  Science?

One day, Lucius ventures into the woods and is seen by one of “those of whom we do not speak”, as they are referred to.  The red-robed creatures invade the village that night and leave red warning symbols on doors.  This provides the elders an opportunity to reinforce the rules and the consequences of breaking them.

Later, the village idiot stabs Lucius out of jealousy over the legally blind woman they both love.  She volunteers to go to ‘the towns’ to get the medicine Lucius needs to survive.  The elders allow it and, when she asks what she should do if she encounters the creatures, one of them reveals an astonishing truth.  There are no creatures!  It is the elders in costumes who terrorize the village.

We later discover that the elders, all traumatized in the past, had established the village as a shelter from the outside world.  They invented the creatures as a way to control the people and prevent them from leaving or seeking the outside world.  In the end, the elders decide to continue the lie.

A hierarchy creates a bogeyman to instill fear, control people, and preserve a way of life that suits them.  The colour of passion is banned, innocence is emphasized.  Science cannot be pursued if it challenges the rules.  Sound familiar?

A Blast From the Past, Indeed

January 5, 2008

I was listening to Talking Heads for a blast from the past.  The track ‘Listening Wind’ was playing.  It’s one of those songs that makes my skin tingle because it seems so true – it cuts through all the bullshit and tells you what’s what and tells it like it is.  It’s also very unique and, hence, ‘cool’.

But, it also got to me for another reason.  It got to me because it’s STILL true, about twenty-five years after its release.  It’s just as relevant and, in fact, could have been written yesterday.  Aside from the fact that I used to have hair down to my ass when I listened in the past and, well, now I don’t, nothing has changed.  Not a thing.  A quarter of a century.  More than a generation.  The middle east is still a mess with American foreign policy still fuelling resentment and making things worse rather than better.  And the news stories still invade my home.

 This may seem a bit callous, but I actually feel a certain resentment.  For my entire life, the middle east has dominated the foreign news.  Ever since I was old enough to notice the news the middle east has been the big story, with wars, bombs, civil wars, terrorists, religious nuts, revolutions, hardliners, and the rest getting in my face every day.  I feel imposed upon.   How dare they come into my home and dump their stupid hatred and arguments on me.  And all because they insist on a religious based state of one kind or another.

When will these idiots realise that religion and government are a terrible combination?  Religion is fuel for fires started by heated political debates or situations.  So, two peoples need water in an arid region?  A skirmish over control of the source of the only two rivers in the region grows into an extended, decades long religious conflict encompassing ‘formal’ and ‘informal’ wars.

Do you think people would want or support half the wars if they were presented with the facts – that they are about water, oil, resources, or land and, ultimately, money rather than religion or “To protect/defend our values/way of life”, as they’re told?  I doubt it.  There are lies, damned lies, and then there’s politics or business masquerading as religion.

“The wind in my heart

The dust in my head”