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Thursday, March 5, 2009

The Kite-Runner - Great Movie

As you know, I don't have T.V. here where I live, so my major entertainment from the outside world is the radio (limited reception) and Netflix. I tend to see films later than most people, but I have a huge selection to choose from.

Recently I saw "The Kite Runner", an incredibly sensitive film about Afghan-Americans and the history of Afghanistan for the last 30 years or so. The film is realistic and informative, showing just a little about how much life has changed in Afghanistan in the past 30 years. It's enough to reveal how little we know about the how the current fundamentalism in Muslim countries is both radical and unwelcome by most of those whom it affects. Most countries where the faith is primarily Islam, have been modernizing just as all other countries. The radical fundamentalism that has been rising up is reactionary and militant.

This morning on the radio, someone finally said that we have been under the control of a coup in this country for the past 8 years. If we did not have a strong tradition of 'democracy' and an established term limit for 'rulers', we would still be under the control of that coup. In a sense, we are. They have run off with our money, ruined our economy and our reputation in the world and they are all somewhere now having a ball with our retirement funds while we are hanging on by our fingernails.

We were almost taken over by fundamentalists too. 'Christian' ones. To my understanding, Muslim fundamentalists are no more Muslim than Christian ones are Christian. Yes, I am saying that neither actually follows their prophet nor their book of revelation. Their agendas are private, political and economic. In a sense, they use so-called tradition to justify the most despicable practices of 'modernism'. As the film shows, the leaders of the fundamentalist movement in Afghanistan committed the most heinous crimes against children, while exacting draconian punishments from the public for far lesser crimes. Our recent fundamentalist regime tortured, killed and terrorized thousands, instilling fear in all of us. They violated the Constitution, committed crimes against humanity and got away with it all (so far). In other countries they have a harder time controlling tyrants and preventing them from taking over permanently.

This film tells the story of two boys who grow up together in Kabul before the Soviet invasion. While class separates them, as children they live as brothers. When the Soviets invade, the upper class child is able to escape to America, while the servant remains and suffers the fate of so many others.

The film shows how Afghan-Americans have created their own sub-culture in America, as have so

many other ethnic groups in this country. This was especially interesting to me, because they have a large community in one of the towns I lived in as a child. In fact, the majority of Afghan-Americans in this country live in or around that town. What a difference from when I lived there! It was somewhat 'red-neck' when I lived there. The Mexican-American farm-workers were barely tolerated, let alone Afghans! Good to know that things have changed since then.

For some reason, since I was a child, I have always wanted to go to Afghanistan. So far, I have not had the opportunity to go and the way things are looking, I may never be able to. But then, who knows.

There are scenes from all over the SF Bay Area. So it had a familiar feel to it. While it is always challenging to watch a film with subtitles, the fact that the movie uses the Afghan language makes it more realistic. I highly recommend this film to anyone who wants to understand more about what people are dealing with and want to expand their preconceptions.