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Friday, March 03, 2006


SYRIANA: MOVIE REVIEWS 

I'm not watching the Oscars this weekend, pass it on.

Here are 2 intelligent takes on the movie, Syriana.



Hollywood Arabs by Amir Taheri

Lastly, and perhaps without realizing it, the self-loathing Americans reduce the Arabs to the level of mere objects in their history. In the "Syriana" view, it is the almighty America that decides every single detail of Arab life with the Arabs as, at best, onlookers and, at worst, victims of American violence. The Arabs are even denied the dignity of their own terrorist acts as "Syriana" shows that it is not they but the CIA that decides who kills whom and where.

Pretending to be sympathetic to the "Arab victims of American Imperialism," the film is, in fact, an example of ethno-centrism gone wild. Its message is: The Arabs are nothing, not even self-motivated terrorists, but mere puppets manipulated by us in the United States.

By suggesting that America has stolen Arabs' oil and their decision-making process, the filmmakers are, in fact, trying to rob the Arabs of something more important: their history.


Oscars for Osama by Charles Krauthammer

What is grotesque about this moment of plot clarity is that the overwhelmingly obvious critique of actual U.S. policy in the real Middle East today concerns America's excess of Wilsonian idealism in trying to find and promote -- against a tide of tyranny, intolerance and fanaticism -- local leaders like the Good Prince. Who in the greater Middle East is closest to the modernizing, democratizing paragon of 'Syriana'? Without a doubt, President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, a man of exemplary -- and quite nonfictional -- personal integrity, physical courage and democratic temperament. Hundreds of brave American (and allied NATO) soldiers have died protecting him and the democratic system they established to allow him to govern. On the very night the Oscars will be honoring 'Syriana,' American soldiers will be fighting, some perhaps dying, in defense of precisely the kind of tolerant, modernizing Muslim leader that 'Syriana' shows America slaughtering.

It gets worse. The most pernicious element in the movie is the character at the moral heart of the film: the beautiful, modest, caring, generous Pakistani who becomes a beautiful, modest, caring, generous . . . suicide bomber. In his final act, the Pure One, dressed in the purest white robes, takes his explosives-laden little motorboat headfirst into his target.

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