Thursday, February 08, 2007
Every time I think I've seen everything, I watch another of these Award Winning War Documentaries, and find I can not sleep through the night.
"For three weeks in October 2003, against the backdrop of increasingly violent resistance to the U.S. occupation of Iraq, the award winning web-based Guerrilla News Network sent a crew to document everyday life for Iraqis and American soldiers. Dramatic Eyewitness accounts and candid commentary are interweaved with the heart-wrenching story of a former anti-Saddam Hussein guerrilla, who has returned to Iraq (13 years after G.H. Bush called for Iraqis to fight Saddam following the 1991 Gulf War), to find his family. BATTLEGROUND goes beyond the headlines and partisan politics to offer a wider understanding of this diverse conflict."
It is very important to note that this documentary was made in 2003, only six months after the end of "Major Military Operations", well before we forced Iraq to "vote" on their new constitution. At the time of this writing, Feb. 2007, we have been watching the situation worsen for four years, and the debate about the roll of U.S. Imperialism is just beginning to reach the the general public.
When you watch this documentary, take the time to view ALL the special features on the DVD. I can not stress how important the dialog on this video is to understanding the big picture of the reality of Iraq and our roll in the world.
In this documentary, among the main "characters", are some of the most amazing and articulate people from all sides of the conflict. I would be proud to meet or talk with any of them, all of them project their passion and wisdom, yet none are displayed without flaws. This is holistic view of the War on Iraq, and the lessons that reveal themselves are exponentially more relevant and ironic as time marches on.
"Frank" - a former Iraqi Freedom Fighter during the 1991 Gulf War against Saddam Hussein Regime. He fled Iraq after being shot and tortured by Saddam's forces and rescued by U.S. Soldiers. In 2003 he was returning for the first time in 13 years to find his family, whom he had not had contact with for fear of Saddam's reprisals. Syrindipidiously, he happened to be on the plane from Jordan with the film makers, and they decided to roll tape on his emotional odyssey of his journey home.
"I never thought I would see my country (again). I never thought how beautiful ... even the desert of it. This is just the border, but if we have a good government it wouldn't be a desert right now." - Frank, Iraqi-American refugee from the 1991 Gulf War, upon returning to Iraq in 2003
Raed - an Iraqi Blogger (the only real Iraq journalists left) who is investigating the cancerous effects of DU (Depleted Uranium) from the U.S. Military Forces used in the 1991 Gulf War. His deeply educated, young Iraqi views and opinions are recorded off-hand during a taxi ride on the way from the Tank Graveyard popping with radioactivity 300 times normal levels. A rare, honest look at what a real Iraqi thinks about the conflict.
"One of the questions that I was asked by the U.S. Military is ... 'what is the difference between the Shake of a Mosque and the Shake of a Tribe?' This is the kind of question that a two year old asks. How can you reach this country and not know (the minimum social facts of life). It was very funny." - Read, Iraqi Blogger
May - an interesting, Arabic/English speaking, western Journalist of obvious Asian decent, who lived at the Palestine Hotel during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq and witnessed the death of reporters at the hands of the U.S. Military. She give us her highly intelligent insight about the state of Iraq in late 2003, with ironic truisms and world shaking wisdom that leave me speechless today.
"God! This place is totally unrecognizable. I remember, I'll never forget, the night before the bombing started, I came here (to the Ministry of Information (check on Wiki)) because I wanted to see, if there was ANYBODY left from the American Networks. They were all in one place, there doors were right next to each other. And each one of them had a lock on their door. The kind of permanent lock that you see when somebody is never coming back, ever." - May, American Journalist
Rena - an Iraqi woman, former Bathest party member, who is able to honestly express her opinion against the American occupation. I found myself often agreeing with her assessment of the U.S. invasion and government, even though she is obviously a bitter and damaged fascist, who would have supported Saddam if only because he was racially an Arab Iraqi. Rena has many issues, and her scars are obvious, but she is speaking truth to power, and expressing her honest opinion in an untenable situation. I can't help thinking that she and 'Frank' would be the deadliest of enemies if they ever met.
"You have to protect your country, everywhere, not only in Iraq. That's everywhere. And if you have an experience with occupation, you can feel the same things that I felt. I can't describe my feeling against the American because it's horrible." - Rena, Iraqi Translator
Hollis - an American Soldier, who very succinctly deconstructs the reasons for American military conquest and expounds upon the nature of Capitalism, Imperialism, and survival. His commentary is not accompanied by as much in-depth character development as the others, but the irony of his situation seems so glaringly obvious that the viewer becomes captivated. He is a Black American, who's ancestors were probably stolen from Africa by British imperialists, and after generations of slavery in America, having finally earned freedom and equality, this intelligent person is now becoming a perpetrator of the same imperialism. What is strange is that he seems consciously aware and totally realistic about the nature of his situation, yet shows no remorse, or opposition to the horrifying predicament. His last words ring in my ears, "Do you think anyone will really understand?".
"Are these people (Iraqis) warriors? Yes and no. Most of them believe in their religion, and and they are peaceful. But some of them that are going to fight, just like Americans, they are warriors. Now, how they choose to fight is up to them. We say we have the "Rules of War", and this is how you should fight. And the British had their "Rules of War", but when we (Americans) were fighting for our independence, we fought like the indians (Native-Americans), and so forth, and so forth." - Hollis, African-American Sgt. in the U.S. Army
I find myself wondering if any of these people survived, and what happened to them. I hope there is a followup documentary.