Good will watching

I really, really shouldn’t be blogging now because I have an editing deadline to meet by 4pm later. But my mind cannot focus on work and the harder I try, the harder it becomes.

We went to watch The Kite Runner just now. The book, which the film is based upon has been sitting quietly in our library for quite a while already. I’ve never read it, neither has the husband. It’s one of our ‘buy-to-read-later’ books.

Image taken from here.

The mixed feelings I had after watching the movie is not on the movie per say. Since I have not read the book, I wouldn’t know how it ended but I sort of guessed it halfway through the movie. It’s the theme or the plot of the movie that perplexed me a bit and made me think more of the personal experiences I’ve had with the people who were from that land and/or those who’ve had personal experiences of the land that is Afghanistan.

Had I been to the movie say, for example, oblivious to any information about Afghanistan or Islam or Muslim per say, I would come out of it scared sh*t of this ‘faith’ that seems so barbaric. So demeaning. So negative. So….hmm how do I put this? So not unlike Europe in the Middle Ages.

Being an ultra skeptic that I am, I never believe that the coin has only one face to it. What more taking anything from the media, any media at face value.

In June 2006, I met her in person at a conference in Kuala Lumpur. Somehow, in the very last minute, someone I know from an NGO here needed someone to go on their behalf to this particular conference. And let’s just say I happened to be around at the right time and the right moment and was asked to attend the conference as a delegate, and they foot the RM 1500 delegate’s fee. That was when I met her, who was a guest speaker. She delivered the conference papers and because of her ‘unconventional’ way of coming into Islam, many requested some more up, close and personal sessions with her after the conference had ended.

She was a reporter captured by the Talibans and became a Muslim because of it. No guns were pointed at her head. She was not raped nor was she mistreated. She came to Islam because according to her, the Talibans treated her with so much respect as a prisoner of war that it was the first key that opened up her heart towards the faith, which she speaks for these days. Loudly too, I might add 😛 Before I met her, I’ve read anywhere and everywhere, mostly from American/British based media on how barbaric the Talibans were and yada yada yada, exactly like how the movie The Kite Runner depicted it. But for a former prisoner to tell us otherwise personally, I remember having to make a few mental U-Turns then.

That same year, our Ramadan was in Sydney. The first day of Ramadan, we were invited by the Afghanistan community there to break our fast at one of their houses. The host was an elderly couple who came from the generation of Afghans who fled their country during the invasion. After the break fast, we went to do our Tarawih with the whole community in the hall of the church they rented for the whole of Ramadan for Tarawih prayers. We were the only non Afghans that night. And naturally, I asked alot of questions, amongst which were of course the Taliban issues. To my surprise, not all of them are averse to the Taliban ruling, although some of them did admit that it is too strict for their liking. But one old lady commented that hey, the Talibans did ban the opium, which is the core destruction of the country so not all is bad, is it? She asked me.

And today, when I watched the movie, I asked myself. What is the movie trying to show, actually? Is the plot about friendship of two boys? Or about the evils of war ? Or the evils of Taliban/Islam/Muslim/Shariah ? Or is it another propaganda to feed the unquestioning minds that believe in everything they watched in the movies? If it is not propaganda, then why was the Russian invasion and the atrocities they committed during the invasion and occupation downplayed so much that it was depicted as if the Russians came like fairy god-mothers with just one attempt of rape by a soldier?

One thing that tickled me is that at the end of the day, as any other cliche movies, America came to the rescue. The great land of America, always, always there to rescue the weak, the oppressed, the destitute, the mutilated, the pathetic. The land which promises a thousand dreams to those within, but causes a billion destructions beyond their shores. Is this movie one of those which give justifications to their presence in Iraq and any other places they are not wanted nor needed?

Imperialism ain’t dead, in my humble opinion. Mental imperialism is very much rampant and alive and thriving. And this was the feeling I walked out of the cinema with.

Hail America !!! Yee ha.


6 thoughts on “Good will watching

  1. Interesting entry. I have read the book and I have watched the movie.

    What captivated me the most to Kite Runner is the beautifully told story of the 2 boys. I cried buckets reading their stories!

    As I do not know much info about Afghanistan, and pretty much believed that Taliban is barbaric. The scenes didn’t bother me that much.

    I always knew that whatever is depicted in the movie was not Islamic at all. It is some other elements, perhaps tribe-ish, perhaps cultural, perhaps patriarchal system. (although I tend to always blame everything on excessive patriarchal value in most culture in Islamic country).

    But it’s true what you said, perhaps I should reconsider my view and probably look at Taliban in a more objective way. Everything has it pros and cons.

  2. Zieha,
    Not only Talibans. Everything has two sides to the coin or rather, the ball is round and each side of the ball does not always have the same picture or colour. 😛

  3. Despise is a strong and negative word, but that was my feeling toward Amir’s father when I got to the last page of The Kite Runner two years ago. Fiction or not, Amir’s father is a reflection of hypocricy of the men in our society who hide behind their titles, power and money and yet ignore their scatterred seeds.

  4. Ana,
    I just started reading the book and in the 2nd chapter now. As in the movie, Amir is such a whim, I find.
    About the father, yes.. I agree on you with that one

  5. Just read this entry from the link you gave me.. Hmm, I read it on view of the friendship, but you’re making me look at other points of view.. and it makes me uncomfy at how remarkably true your views are on the other issues. Hahah, and since I’m a coward when it comes to these kinda issue, I’ll stick to the friendship one 😀 But seriously, I can’t stop thinking of this entry.. and I’m saying that as a compliment!

    You’re a good writer, you know 🙂

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