Sunday, October 14, 2007


Interesting review here of 'Rendition', a film that uses the US practice of extraordinary rendition as the basis for a plot. The film reveals the huge lack of US understanding of militancy or 'terrorism' in the Islamic world. Take this passage for example:

But Rendition's ambitions stretch beyond America. The film attempts to expose the roots of terrorism, by exploring the back-story of the chief torturer, Abasi Fawal (Igal Naor), whose daughter Fatima (Zineb Oukach) is secretly dating an Islamist boy, Khalid (Moa Khouas), who has been radicalised by the knowledge that his father was tortured to death. Fawal tells Freeman: "We have a saying - beat your woman every morning. If you don't know why, she does."

The torture scenes are pretty grim as Fawal attempts to force El-Ibrahimi to explain why his mobile phone records show that he has been in contact with a known terrorist. Freeman is horrified at first, but gets used to the brutality fairly quickly, albeit not quickly enough for his boss Corrine Whitman, the CIA's Cruella De Vil-style head of terrorism (Meryl Streep). She calls when he is puffing away his troubles on a hookah in a belly-dancing bar. "You're new to this, aren'tcha?" Streep says. "This is my first torture," Gyllenhaal replies. "The United States does not do torture," Streep rebukes. Soon, Gyllenhaal is taking his frustrations out on the prisoner, strangling him after being called a coward.

Belly-dancing and wife-beating is fairly typical fare when it comes to stereotyping the middle-east. There appears to be little distinction between Arabs, Persians and other cultures in the world of cinema. The middle-east to these people, is one amorphous blob full of dark haired moustached or bearded people speaking guttural tongues and wearing strange white dresses. Whether you are a religious Pakistani or an armed Uzbek fighting against a brutal fascist dictator, the western world sees you as a threat and an exporter of 'Jihad', despite not even knowing what the word means. This probably a consequence of the successful Zionist propaganda campaign, which has completely infiltrated mainstream America and seeks to portray Muslims as an existential threat, no matter where they are from or what they actually think.

I also wonder at the purpose of this type of film. It certainly fails miserably to expose 'the roots of terrorism'. Apart from reinforcing stereotypes, this review appears to indicate that is an attempt to mitigate the disgusting practice of rendition and torture. It is basically saying that those damn terrorists are so darn bad, we are justified in abandoning our stated principles of fairness and justice (which are a myth anyway). Therefore, if they happen to get tortured to death by one our middle-eastern allies, then it is too bad. At the same time it shifts the blame for doing the actual dirty deed onto more smelly foreigners:

Robert Baer, a former CIA agent, explaining the process in brutal terms: "If you want a serious interrogation, you send a prisoner to Jordan. If you want them to be tortured, you send them to Syria. If you want someone to disappear - never to see them again - you send them to Egypt."
It's not even that surprising that Syria is named as one of the countries 'helping out' by carrying out torture on our behalf. This smoothly helps to reinforce their labelling as a terrorist state.


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