A break from real bad Arabs

The Bush administrations foreign policies has led to a few critical films about the countries involvement in the Middle East. Syriana, Rendition, Lions for Lambs, Valley of Elahj, Redact to name a few  which have tried to put the Middle East conflicts into some perspective so as to reveal the games which are being played in the name of democracy and freedom.Where once the brave Americans save the day by shooting  crazed “towel heads” and Reds to save the world we now seeing a tripple of films which are more nuanced. Even in X-Files the Movie there was a humorous scene of Mulder and Scully rolling their eyes at a photo of Bush, while the theme tune played in the background.

Ridley Scotts’ new movie  Body of Lies, which takes up US espionage in the Middle East as its subject is thought-provoking and powerfu. The film stars Leonardo di Caprio as Roger Ferris, a CIA agent who speaks fluent Arabic, understands and respects local customs and is on the search for terrorist groups in Iraq and Jordan.

Ferris reports to Ed Hoffman (Russell Crowe), a senior CIA official who co-ordinates Ferris’ activity in the Middle East from Washington DC. In contrast to Ferris, Hoffman has only one aim in mind and that is to acquire information which serves USAs interests. For Hoffman anyone is dispensable including Ferris as long as he is in the wings of the CIA.

Hani Pasha (Mark Strong), Jordan’s chief of security and Ferris create a trusting working relationship which Hoffman repeatedly attempts to destroy by using information Ferris gives him. Hoffman neither understands the culture or has respect for the traditions and customs in the Arab world, he reflects the American establishment and it is shown clearly in his attitude towards Hani.

The film had some powerful scenes and good action, but I guess it is the underlying message which interestes me. The way the movie showed the devils on both sides of the world. The use and abuse of power by the USA to fabricate evidence, bombings and use bodies which have been in storage to create a lie for the mainstream media to lap up.  Something else to note is the humanising  of Arabs world and also a clip from the refugee camps in Lebanon, which resemble shanty towns. Most interesting is Ferris’ reflections over what he has become and how the “enemy” makes him realise that what he has been serving is not as humane and just as he believed.

Good movie worth watching and a wonderful break from Bad Arabs.

Suggested links:

Reel bad Arabs http://www.reelbadarabs.com/

Arabs vilified since 911

Smearcasting: The Dirty Dozen


~ by no2wars on 06/12/2008.

2 Responses to “A break from real bad Arabs”

  1. Hi, your blog is really interesting. I’m an Arab and I thought some of the films which you mentioned really presented a different view of the so-called “war on terror”…

    Bush really made a mess of everything… hopefully Obama will be able to clear it up..

    I digress, I also write about the Middle East and focus on news and debate:


    Take care, Sarah.

  2. Thank you Sarah. I hope that we can encourage each other through our comments on each others blog and also have some spicy discussions.
    I am passionate about Middle East issues and cannot see there being any other way forward until there is a solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict.
    When it concerns Obama clearing things up I am not too optimistic there. Especially when he made an “unshakeable committment” to give $30 billion to Israel over a 10 year period. Also adding Rahm Emanuel to his staff was also a move which clearly shows which line Obama intends to take the next 4 years in realtion to the plight of the Palestinians.

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