The Oscar battle between Kathryn Bigelow’s The Hurt Locker and James Cameron’s Avatar has been creating a big stir. Many people seem feel that Avatar deserved the award simply for the level of financial success it has achieved.
Somewhere ticking away in the background is the constant referral’s to Iran’s nuclear programme and the US Congress declaring the killing of Armenians during World War One by the Turks as genocide.
I don’t know why these keep pushing themselves to be written about (not something I do very often) but I’ll try.
I haven’t seen The Hurt Locker but I have a cursory knowledge of it’s central set up, following a team of US army personnel who’s task is to defuse bombs. What a wonderfully sympathetic group to follow in a war. They seem immediately outside the main conflict, the purpose of which is to deliver destruction rather than defuse it.
Avatar, I have seen and it seems to me a reworking of Pocahontas filtered through guilt for the genocidal basis of the United States of America and the current destruction of the envionment. However it increasingly arrives at a racist and sexist conclusion as the ‘other’ can only be saved by the white US soldier.
The US soldier, who has the right to deploy all arms, including nuclear, unlike his Iranian brother who, in a ‘four legs good, two legs better ‘ logical paradigm belongs to a country with less sovereign rights than the US (or Israel for that matter). National and human rights become different thing once you cross certain borders, apparently.
And then there is the Armenian genocide. The irony that the US Congress, who owes so much of it’s territory to the fruits of forced migration, genocide and the continual dismantling of treaties should accuse anyone of genocide is startling. A similar engagement with the current situation in Gaza would be more pertinent and useful, perhaps. However, a recognition of the continual injustice and unjustified slaughter carried out by the US on a continual basis since and during the formation of America might be more appropriate.