White Balloon

Daily Journal of Mahaan, an Iranian-American student residing in USA.

Monday, July 03, 2006

The Wind That Shakes the Barley

Tonight I watched the recent Cannes Film Festival Golden Palm winner: The Wind that shakes the Barley. Coincidentally the movie is about Irish Independence and the resistance against the British. It was quite fortunate to watch the movie in Ireland and discuss it. The starts with the British colonialist brutalities which stems the Irish armed resistance under the name of IRA. An era of fraternity and concrete struggle around a single cause which results in some sort of concession from the British side. But after such a victory, the split starts: Some believe in continuation of the struggle till the full victory or sticking to what's already gained and win the rest in a political non-violent struggle. The movie does a good job in presenting diverse views in the debate. And it's so sad to see that when the split starts the same brothers who were fighting against brutalities of British, do similar acts to their own people. That's the familiar story with most political revolution and struggle.
The movie again brought me back to some basic political and ethical questions about the right judgement about political struggle. The picture that the movie starts with is a totally dark situation that exist in many places in our world. Places that there is no hope for a democratic reform movement and a political change of affairs. Does a violent and armed struggle make sense in those spots? You observe the sufferings of the generation after generation and keep silent for the hope of what? In countries where basic level of even non-violent opposition to the regime is crushed with the most cruel policies, what's there to hope?

Then other side of me says: come on, at least nowadays behind most of violent struggle, there is whole a lot dirty power struggle and what's not really at stake is the future of those generations. I take the Palestine-Israel conflict as a good example that I have been studied better recently in a peace forum that we have in our university: After serious discussions about the foreign influence in both Israeli and Palestinian sides: it is clear to me that those governments that sympathiser with either side, practically don't give a damn about the people in the conflict. I take US for example who is called as huge supporter of Israel: US spends billions of dollars as grants and loans to Israel, but practically all that money is injected into arm sales. So practically the whole Israel thing is a channel to inject a good portion of US tax dollars into US arm companies. Does Dick Cheney who doesn't give a damn about Americans' blood in Iraq, really cares about Israelis' peace?

On the other side, I look at Iran or Saudis who have quite a bit of influence on Hamas and other armed factions of the Palestinian side. How can I believe that these corrupt governments that use every possible violent policy against their own people, have suddenly become so humane to help Palestinians? Isn't Palestine really a channel for these government to impose their regional influence and negotiate their own agendas with the west around the concept of Palestine? So with such a dirty picture, then how can I have any support for the armed struggle of Palestinians? I definitely sympathise with those individuals who are suffering them. I even sympathise with the naive suicide bomber who is so desperate and frustrated with life to do such an act, but the bottom line is that I condemn the leadership who uses the hopes and emotions of their own people for the sake of their power and political domination.

Actually if you talk to Irish people today (south Irish), majority of them don't have any positive view about IRA. They IRA brought a long bloody war for the Northern part which was never won by either side. And along the way, to finance their movement, they got involved in many corrupt activities like drug and arm smuggling that does not really associate with any progressive movement.
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