Monday, October 17, 2005

Control Room

I saw Control Room at the NZ Film Festival in 2004, and I love it. The people from Al Jazeera that are featured in the documentary are very funny The Bush/Rumfeld extracts are choosen for maximum irony. At the same time it's a documentary about a war, and the reality of war is brutal.

But my favourite part of Control Room was the story of the Marine in charge of communications Josh Rushing. Over the course of the movie you see his attitude change. Through his contact with people who are more critical of American foreign policy and the war, including those at Al Jazeera, he comes to question his own attitudes. He compares the way he reacts to dead Americans with the way he reacts to dead Iraqis, and comes to question his own ignorance on Palestine

"US Marine questions war while talking to Arab journalists" - it's almost too cheesy to make up. That's the thing about real life - you find hope in the weirdest places. I'm a sucker for hope - as an activist, as a historian, that's what I need to focus on to keep going.

Anyway since the movie was released Josh Rushing has gone through some interesting times. The Marines didn't much like the documentary and fired him for talking to the press. Well now, according to The Guardian he's got a job on Al Jazeera, as an on-air commentator. Add it to the reasons I wish we could get Al Jazeera here (although even if we're could I'd probably still be too cheap to pay for Sky).

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