Friday, January 9, 2009
A little while back I wrote about the film Lions for Lambs, and how it's inability to honestly say what it was trying to imply left it a meaningless dangling participle in the film world.
Not too long ago, W/we watched the film Rendition, which starred Reese Witherspoon, Meryl Streep, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Alan Arkin, just to name a few. Admittedly these stars don't automatically have the drawing power of Robert Redford and Tom Cruise, (who starred with Meryl Streep in Lions for Lambs,) but they are all big names just the same.
The topic was not about a specific war, but rather what happens when well-meaning people go too far. You see, it is called rendition when the government kidnaps a foreign nationalist suspected of terrorist activities and has them shipped to another country where torture is legal and accepted.
Only in the case of the movie, the government took the wrong man, an innocent man, and under torture, he finally told them what they wanted to hear, even though it was a lie.
This film did a little better than Lions for Lambs, because the story went somewhere and was allowed to unfold, and it wasn't stifled so as not to offend the government or the press or some other group of people. One critic gave it 4 out of 4 stars - a far cry better than LfL.
The practice of rendition does need to be examined, the film shows us that, and even Meryl Streep's character talking about how she would rather make such a mistake than to risk the lives of American citizens does not atone for the heinous acts committed in the name of national security.
That said, as you watch this movie, ask yourself if the rendition and torture would have been ok had the government picked up the right man, the guilty man. When we live our lives in fear, we allow bad things to happen. Things like rendition, the loss of civil liberties fought long and hard to win, the loss of our privacy. And so much more - things we practically beg the government to take away from us and our fellow human beings if they would only please keep us safe and protect us from evil people. If only it were that simple.
Far better to live in the light, not in a spirit of fear. Live as beings of love and possibility and positivity, understanding that sometimes bad things will happen to us or those we love. It is called life, and perchance if enough of us learned to spread that light and love, the ripple effect could be enough to change the action of 1 person somewhere so that the next bomb doesn't explode, and the next innocent victim doesn't die.
Step into the light.