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Friday, August 11, 2006

Fear (and Some Random Thoughts)

"One man's terrorist is another man's Freedom Fighter." Ronald Reagan (?) (somebody find me the source of this quote).

I just finished watching V for Vendetta on DVD (if you didn't read my March 26 post, go to the archives for my first "review" of it. As lie builds on lie in the media, the movie seems more true-to-life than it did at first viewing at the Imax; as usual when I watch a big-screen movie for the second time on a smaller screen, when I already know the plot and won't be so overwhelmed by the visual effects, I appreciate a great movie even more. I still wonder why Alan Moore wanted his name removed from the final production. Is it because his graphic novel's backstory was in Thatcher-era Britain and the movie's begins in our present time? Or have his political views changed? Is he a Blair-ish toady kissing Bush's ass by proxy? Or is he just afraid of possible repercussions if the government clampdown is successful across boundaries? There's just no way to know.

There are other things I caught tonight that I missed the first time. Parallels, foreshadowings etc., but maybe if I don't say too much you'll be inspired to watch it twice, yourself. I may have more to say about the movie after I finish watching the special features on the second disc, but I doubt it. If you haven't seen it, go rent it. Now.

I occasionally find myself not blogging because I think that by now you must already know what I think about everything from what I've already said, but then I realize that's an idiotic position. That's just me thinking my perceptions and trains of thought must be universal, but in rational moments I realize that's really not the case. So I need to point out some things which you may or may not have thought already, and may or may not agree with. Obviously, just about all that's on the news these days is about the supposed terrorist plot in London which was supposed to result in many American planes being bombed into the ocean. Although that's all we hear (or you hear, since I avoid watching the news as much as possible), I really don't have much to say about it. Frankly that's because I don't believe a word of it. Now, I'm not saying it's not all true, or at least based on a real incident. I'm just saying that as far as I'm concerned, the mainstream news has become little more than a voice for government propoganda, and I have no idea which is true or false if that's my only source. OK, I believe the sports scores. Usually.

In the movie, one of the more dramatic (and frankly problematic) plot arcs has to do with V's rescuing/kidnapping Evie, then imprisoning and torturing her until she loses all fear and thus becomes free. That whole fear/freedom thing is sticking with me. It occasionally becomes uncomfortably clear to me that I'm writing about the growth of New Fascism in America, and those Fascists can read this, and that this is exactly the kind of thing people get hauled away for when the Boot come Down. I try to take comfort in the fact that there are a lot of people out there speaking out and writing against the growing oppression, and then I remember that America has a lot more room for camps than Germany ever did. So at some point it comes down to using what talents I have to do the right thing. If there's one thing my Zen sitting has taught me as much as V for Vendetta has (heheh), it's that that last inch of integrity is all you have in the long run. Yes, if one speaks out against the oppression, one risks the loss of all one has. But hell, I don't have that much, and we have to remember that all our property and possessions and accomplishments, all that constitutes the social platform on which our existence (or the existence of our personal indentity) stands depends on the continuted existence of a free society. Do you want to live as a scared little rat in a Nazi state? I've decided that I don't. Your decision is yours to make.

Fear keeps us from living meaningful lives. Fear that we'll go to hell if we don't choose the right religion. Fear that unknow enemies, be they "terrorists" or whatever will kill us all if we don't give up all our rights in the name of Security.

Sometimes Fear wakes me up in the middle of the night. That only happens when I don't feel right about myself. It happens when I don't do the right thing, and when I'm worried about paying the inevitable consequences. Because when I do what's right, I have nothing to fear, because I've done what I need to do to preserve that last inch of integrity, that make me me, that keeps me truly alive. Now, no one does what's right all the time. If we always did what's right, we'd never eat the flesh of animals. We'd never pollute our consciousnesses with drugs or alcohol. Most of us would weigh less. But some things are more important than others. Going to another country to kill people who've never hurt you, that's an important decision. Backing the invasion of yet another country by Israel, a country we set up in the 1940's (in the wrong place in the first place; more on that later), that's an important decision.

So how do you know what's important and what's not? Check your fear. Check yourself from the inside out. Draw an imaginary line from the base of your spine to the crown of your head, and see how far from that bowstring your fear resonates.

See how you sleep. Then you'll know.

1 comment:

aumeye said...

There is some confusion about who coined the oft-repeated phrase, "one man's terrorist is another man's freedom fighter," but Ronald Reagan is not the one:

There were few common-places that offended Reagan more than the old saying that “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” — a delusion that he said “thwarted ... effective anti-terror action.” As he explained,

Freedom fighters do not need to terrorize a population into submission. Freedom fighters target the military forces and the organized instruments of repression keeping dictatorial regimes in power. Freedom fighters struggle to liberate their citizens from oppression and to establish a form of government that reflects the will of the people.
In contrast, “Terrorists intentionally kill or maim unarmed civilians, often women and children, often third parties who are not in any way part of a dictatorial regime,” he declared. He especially admired the “Nicaraguan freedom fighters ... fighting to establish respect for human rights, for democracy, and for the rule of law within their own country.” Similarly, Secretary of State George Schultz declared in a June 24, 1984, speech, “It is not hard to tell, as we look around the world, who are the terrorists and who are the freedom fighters.”