Sunday, April 27, 2008

What it is REALLY like

"I never wonder to see men wicked,
but I often wonder to see them not ashamed",

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), poet and prose satirist,
most famous for his novel 'Gulliver's Travels'

Ever since Americans learned that American soldiers and intelligence agents were torturing prisoners, there has been a disturbing question: How high up did the decision go to ignore United States law, international treaties, the Geneva Conventions and basic morality?

The answer, we have learned recently, is that — with President Bush’s clear knowledge and support — some of the very highest officials in the land not only approved the abuse of prisoners, but participated in the detailed planning of harsh interrogations and helped to create a legal structure to shield from justice those who followed the orders.

We have long known ... that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld approved a list of ways to abuse prisoners. But recent accounts by ABC News and The Associated Press said that all of the president’s top national security advisers at the time participated in creating the interrogation policy: Vice President Dick Cheney; Mr. Rumsfeld; Condoleezza Rice, the national security adviser; Colin Powell, the secretary of state; John Ashcroft, the attorney general; and George Tenet, the director of central intelligence.

"This is a monument to executive supremacy and the imperial presidency," said Eugene R. Fidell, who teaches military justice at Yale Law School and the Washington College of Law at American University.

Only by fully understanding what Mr. Bush has done over eight years to distort the rule of law and violate civil liberties and human rights can Americans ever hope to repair the damage and ensure it does not happen again.
(via various editorials published by The New York Times on the topic: 'Torture')

[Read about Torture on Wikipedia]

[Related: Fernando Botero and Mark Twain]


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Saturday, April 26, 2008

The Showdown

La Nuit de la Vérité

- The Night Of Truth -



Director: Fanta Régina Nacro; Language: French, Mooré and Dioula, with English subtitles; Running time: 100 minutes


In a fictitious country in sub-saharan Africa, the leader of the ruling "Nayak" people and the leader of the opposition "Bonandés" along with their respective retinue of armed soldiers come together to finalize and celebrate a landmark truce between the two warring tribes. ...

... A huge feast and festive ceremony are prepared to commemorate this occasion. But on the night of this event the atmosphere of fear and mistrust is palpable. A decade of atrocities and slaughter between the enemy camps is hard to lay to rest, good intentions notwithstanding.

In the end, this is the story of a flawed hero tormented by his past crimes, and a mother driven to insanity by an unmitigated desire for revenge, a scenario mimicking the classic Shakespearean tragedies.
The denouement will shock and surprise the viewer.

Read about it at Link TV

This is the award-winning feature debut by one of Africa's most talented female directors, Fanta Régina Nacro, who shaped this plot after the real and factual fate of her own uncle.

"I had long struggles with my cinematographer," Nacro says, "to get him not to look for the perfect shot, the perfect light, the beautifully composed image - because that was not what I needed. What I wanted was the reality of things, to capture the immediacy of things even if they weren't beautiful."

[Warning: This film contains extremely violent and macabre scenes]

UPDATE, MARCH 2012: The entire web seems to have been scrubbed clean of video clips from this film. Do we smell the stench of censorship...?


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