Say no to "Zero Dark Thirty"
by Debra Sweet Director World Can't Wait Things are starting to break open in protest against the film Zero Dark Thirty which opens nationally Friday on the anniversary of Guantanamo. Amnesty International projected the message TORTURE IS WRONG at a special showing to Congress last night. Right on to that!
Stephen Colbert nailed the pro-torture content of the film last night. Colbert pointed out that the Senate is investigating torture in a film, while not investigating it — or more accurately, not releasing the results of their investigation -- about torture that actually happened, carried out by the CIA, U.S. military, and associated warriors on "terror."
And, thanks to David Clennons, a member of the Motion Picture Academy who says he won't be voting for Zero Dark Thirty in any Oscar category:
"If, in fact, torture is a crime (a mortal sin, if you will) - a signal of a nation's descent into depravity - then it doesn't matter whether it "works" or not. Zero Dark Thirty condones torture. Not a single character involved in "The Greatest Manhunt in History" expresses any regret about the CIA's use of torture. Maya/Chastain gets her man (code named "Geronimo!") and that's all that counts. The end justifies the vicious means.
If the deeply racist Birth of a Nation was released today, would we vote to honor it? Would we give an award to Leni Riefenstahl's brilliant pro-Nazi documentary, Triumph of the Will? Hundreds of millions of people around the world watch the Oscars, we're told. Are we going to show the world that we Americans still approve of torture?
Dennis Loo writes in Zero Dark Thirty: Bigelow's "Civilized Lunch":
There are other dimensions to Bigelow and Boal's apologia worth exploring as well. To begin with, their defense that they're not making a “political statement” supporting torture’s efficacy is similar to a police department saying that they got a confession from the suspect after offering him a cup of “civilized” coffee, neglecting to mention that immediately prior to offering this friendly cup of Joe that this very same police officer threw the suspect against the wall numerous times, waterboarded him, stuck a gun in his mouth and threatened to pull the trigger, sexually humiliated him, put him into a box smaller than a coffin, and as he was handing the suspect the civilized coffee cup, told him that he could, instead of giving him coffee, hang him from the ceiling and torture him so more.
The first question I had when viewing Bigelow and Boal's and Greenwald’s comments side by side was why Boal would describe the offer of food to the detainee as “civilized.” Under what circumstances could having something to eat with someone who has just gotten done torturing you be accurately described as “civilized?”