Sunday, March 22, 2009

Control Room

This has got to be the most important and eye-opening documentary I have seen. It's about the war in Iraq through the eyes of Samir Khader, a senior producer for Al Jazeera, Hassan Ibrahim, Al Jazeera journalist, and Lieutenant Josh Rushing, a press officer from US Central Command, among others.

It is absolutely heart-breaking. There's a point where former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld speaks out against the US dead and captives soldiers shown on Iraqi television, arguing that this goes against the Geneva Convention and Hassan scoffs at this and pretty much says "'Now there's a Geneva Convention? What about Guantanamo bay? What about invading and bombing a country without authorization of the UN? All of a sudden there's a Geneva Convention?"

This is terribly sad, because it's true. I think that's the part of the documentary that touched me the most. The Third Geneva Convention apparently does not apply to the POW's captured by US troops. The fact that a government can torture and hold prisoners without a trial because of terminology it's beyond distressing.

There are aspects about the war that Americans need to see through the eyes of the people whose country we invaded. These are some of my notes(I'm paraphrasing):

"American news reports said troops took over the Bridge on Tigris river but Iraqi newscaster is talking to his reporters and says the only bridge that leads to Tigris is El kut. Then the troops say they are on their way to El kut. Then one of the Iraqi journalists asks: 'Is this American news all nonsense then?'"

"Hassan - 'The US is the most powerful nation on earth, yes we know, but the rest of the world is not castrated. people are resisting, people matter
Eventually they’ll have to find a solution that doesn't include bombing people into submission.'"

"Hassan - 'The Americans will defeat the Americans. I have ultimate faith in the American Constitution . . . You are the most powerful nation on Earth. You can crush everybody, yes, we know this, but don’t ask us to love it as well."

"Rushing – it’s our responsibility to reach out and understand their perspective and viceversa."

"Samir - There will be one single thing that will be left: victory, and that's it. People like victory, they don't like justifications. You don't have to justify it, once you are victorious, that's it."

To this date, the death of Al Jazeera Journalist, Tariq Ayoub, after American airplanes bombed the News Channel office in Baghdad has not being investigated. Lt. Rushing begins showing the same nationalism Iraqi people show to their country, but you see he genuinely tries to see the other side's perspective. Want to hear something ironic? After the Pentagon ordered him not to comment on the movie, he left the Marine Corps and is now working for Al Jazeera English.

I have got to get my hands on his book.

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