Sunday, July 4, 2010

Boob Tube Slump

If you are friends with me on Facebook or happened to stumble upon my profile you would see a status update stating the fact that my TV is busted. The "Don't Buy Philips" mantra is so true and I will never buy products from that company again. Until I can get a new set my apartment feels very spartan. I love watching the bube tube, so does MW. So while I am between sets what is a guy to do? Well adapt of course. I decided to head on over to youtube and hulu to scrounge up some movies that I had missed. I am happy to say these tube sites have delivered the goods. Last night I binged on some tasteful documentaries and films. Here are my reviews of some of them.

The first one is "Ramchand Pakistani" a debut film by director Mehreen Jabbar. It's an excellent tale of life on the Pakistani Indian border. After a young Hindu boy accidentally crosses into no man's land and then the country of India he's apprehended by security forces. His father, in search of him, follows suite. The callous security personnel promptly accuses them of being spies (yes even the cute little boy) and throws them in jail. Where they languish for years on end. This is such a heartbreaking story it's stupid how nationalism makes us treat fellow humans in such an inhumane manner. We are all God's creations our souls come from the same place and must return to him. We are so much more than a group of nations we are citizens of the Earth. Hiding behind our national flags to justify violence against a people of another flag is medieval and vile. Let's try to gather under the banner of Humanity!

This next documentary tries to do just that. After the success of "Super Size Me" Director Morgan Spurlock is at it again. This time spurred on by the impending birth of his child he seeks to make the world a safer place. So he goes after the most wanted man in the Universe. A play on the popular Kid's show the title film seeks to chronicle the effects of "The war on Terror" on common folks in the countries that have been blacklisted as the most dangerous in the world.

At first Morgan appears very paranoid and eats up the propaganda spewed by Fox and Friends. I thought, great another independent filmmaker biting the bullet and becoming part of a "Red Neck Agenda" (tip of the hat to Green Day!). But he admits that he's just being paranoid and begins his journey. Following the trail of destruction allegedly perpetrated by OBL and his henchmen. He's taken to numerous Muslim countries. He sits down and talks to movers and shakers, university students and ordinary folks. For the most part no one considers OBL to be their champion and curse him for bringing the wrath of the US military upon them. The film goes out of its way to show that demonized Arabs just want to go about their business in peace, building a better future for their children and co-existing with others. Spurlock is a multi-culturist something that I am too. So I totally dig this movie and recommend it to all my readers.

However towards the end the film maker couldn't gather the nerve to enter into the tribal areas of Pakistan. A roadside sign clearly stated that foreigners are not allowed. Thinking of his family and himself he said it wasn't worth it and heads back. I don't blame him I once had a run in with an Afghani Gunmen guarding a settlement on the outskirts of my town in Pakistan. Let's just say a change in underwear was needed. This next and last film also tackles the issue of foreigners and their misadventures with the tribesmen of Pakistan.

But perhaps its most compelling message is the battle between traditionalist and Liberal elements within the Islamic Faith. Each wants to serve their lord in their own way. Some through music others through vigilantly justice. The opposing forces come head to head in a dramatic court scene. The film was plagued with controversy because of what the Liberal Imam had to say. He bashes the traditionalist for focusing on how people dress when it's what's on the inside that counts. Plus he justifies the use of Music saying that the Prophet David was blessed with the gift of Music by our Lord. The narrow minded people lash out and attack the defendant. This is typical of these backwards people. They have hijacked the religion of Islam to feed their power lust.

During my time in Karachi one of my classmates said that his Imam told him that the famous hadiths in which the Prophet (PBUH) says that the greater Jihad is the Jihad against the Nafs not Jihad against are enemies, was false. I was shocked by his comments and wondered who on earth was feeding him this poison, as this is clearly unIslamic just like denying education to girls., or justifying the killing of Muslims by other Muslims. Of course I don't expect my opponents to understand these nuances. Their view of Muslims is tainted by propaganda that says that we are all radicals bent on killing every last American. They have no idea who they are dealing with we are a civilization much older and wiser then the century old American Empire. More sensitivity and enlightenment on their part is sorely needed.

Overall I agree with the Imams Liberal views and find the film to be well made raising some very important issues. Although the interrogation scenes seems a bit far fetched. I doubt law enforcement will abduct you from your home in the middle of the night without a warrant and then torture you to make a false confession. That's not to say that this sort of thing hasn't happened to foreign nationals in the aftermath of 9/11. Lastly while I am being critical I must also say the cinematography was a bit hokey. We moved through the story in an abrupt manner smoother transitions were needed.

So that was my film binge made possible by the 4th of July long weekend. I might do another one if I have time. I'll let you know what I come up with in the meantime share with me what you did over the break.

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