After going to McDonald's yesterday I thought it would be nice to go to see a movie. I often go to the Prince Charles Cinema off Leicester Square, which shows repertory and second release films at a very cheap ticket price. I checked their website to see what was on. I went to their website, and I absolutely groaned when I discovered that they were having a "Not in our name" day. They even apparently had Ken Loach along to introduce some of the films. Yes, they appeared to be protesting the British presence in the recent victory in Iraq. (Presumably they scheduled this when they were expecting a quagmire). This was annoying, because I just wanted to see a film but I didn't really feel like a day of rampant anti-American. I wasn't going to go to any of their "Not in our name" screenings without heckling Ken Loach, loudly singing the star spangled banner in the middle of the film and consequently getting lynched, and I concluded it just wasn't worth it. Plus, "all profits are to the stop the war coalition", and was certainly not giving them any of my money.
However, it is interesting to see the list of films they were actually showing.
"Proud Arabs and Texan Oilmen"
This video sets out to answer the question why the Gulf War happened. Drawing on war footage, some of it never shown on British television before, it includes interviews with Tony Benn, Noam Chomsky, Alan Clark, Michael Ignatiev, Rana Kabbani and Olga Maitland.
Oh, splendid. I am so sorry I missed Noam. I think I might go with "Because Saddam Hussein launched an unprovoked attack on Kuwait" but I would no doubt be accused of being simplistic. (And sure, making sure that Saudi and Kuwaiti oil was secure was obviously part of it. And yes, the Americans were too close to the Saudis. And some of them still are. Thankfully, though, this second war means it is actually possible to back away from them).
The UN served as a rallying point for the US led onslaught on the Gulf, but it failed to deal with the aftermath and has been unwilling to resolve any of the other conflicts that still divide a world where the one remaining super power calls the shots. The promised 'new world order' has proved to be a chimera.
The UN has been unable to resolve anything since the first war. Yes, I'd pretty much agree with that. The Americans were too concerned with preserving the multilateral coalition at the time, so they didn't finish the job. Thus we had a decade of sanctions that were used as a tremendous anti-American grievance by the fundamentalists of the region. If the second war had not taken place, this festering sore created by the "multilateral" UN model would have continued. I don't think this speaks very well of the multilateral model.
Next film. "No Man's Land". Exceptionally fine film illustrating the absurdity of the war in Bosnia. Nothing directly to do with the war in Iraq. All I can really do is observe that the war in Bosnia went on and on for much of the 1990s, many people died and many atrocities occurred, the UN and Europe were unable to stop it, and finally it was stopped through American military action. You can argue that America was at fault because it didn't use its military to stop the war sooner, but quite frankly a better example of why American military action is sometimes called for is hard the imagine.
Next film. Something called "Not in our name".
'Not in my name' is a powerful new documentary film which tells the story of the U.S. led war on terrorism you DIDN'T see on TV. Why is dropping bombs on or firing cruise missiles at innocent civillians not considered 'terrorism' by the Western military?
'Not in my name' explains the background to the attacks on Afghanistan,
Let me explain the background to the attacks on Afghanistan. Barbarians who want to return the entire world to the seventh century attacked New York, and killed 3000 people who had done nothing but get up and go to work. Amazingly, the Americans were outraged by this, and therefore they observed that the evil people who had done this were based in Afghanistan, which was also incidentally ruled by the most barbaric regime on earth. They removed this regime from power, and frankly the world should be grateful. The Afghans certainly appear to be grateful. Seriously, I think you have a peculiar world view if you think there is something wrong with the idea of the Americans retaliating because their greatest city was horribly attacked.
charts the growth of the anti-war movement and offers a chilling insight to the dangers of U.S. led imperialism. Which country will NATO attack next?
I don't think NATO is going to attack anyone much, because the alliance has been shown to be completely useless. Lets assume they just mean "Les anglo-saxons".
Who are the REAL terrorists?
Well, for starters Al Qaeda, the Iranians, the Syrians, the North Koreans, Hamas, the PLO, various unpleasant groups in Egypt and Algeria, far too many Saudis, anyone who uses suicide bombing. Those kinds of people who attack innocent civilians, generally. Sounds like a dreadful screed and I am glad I missed it.
Okay, the last film. Next we have David O Russell's "Three Kings". Really good movie. The message of the movie is that the American's really screwed the Shia Muslims of Basra by encouraging them to rise up in 1991 and then letting Saddam Hussein slaughter them. Yes, not America's finest hour. Also, though, not a very good argument for allowing Saddam to stay in place and continue slaughtering them. I will observe that thanks to the second war, these same Shia Muslims are now permitted to practice their own religion without persecution for the first time in a couple of decades.
Okay, so I think they had two dreadful screeds that I had not previously heard of, and two really good movies. I am not sure that these movies collectively make the point that American action was wrong, however.
However, I really just wanted to see a movie. Instead I went to see "Blue Crush" at the local multiplex. It was pretty good, too.