Lois Poitras decided to do something foolhardy, and went to Iraq with a camera, and hung out with an anti-occupation politician during the 2005 election. Contrast this with the home of Kraus and Shafer and Hitchens, Slate, which elected to get its Iraqi election news from correspondant Tamara Chalabi – that’s right, Ahmed’s daughter. How sick is that. And so contrarian! Giggles must have swept the Slate D.C. office – so naughty. Why, it is as funny as making a mousse out of congealed Iraqi blood!
Well, Poitras didn’t do anything so chic and D.C., but spent time –
plebe that she is – in the Adhamiyah section of Baghdad filming … “*Dr. Riyadh* … a Sunni political candidate and medical doctor who sees the effects of war daily. Dr. Riyadh opposes U.S. occupation and calls for civil resistance, while hoping for a democracy based on Islamic principles.” One of the … wait for it … bad guys, must be. Ungrateful for the killing fields which, as Chris Hitchens has pointed out, are just the price people like him are willing to pay to stop Islamofascism.
Anyway, her Q and A here is fascinating, and the film sounds pretty
cool – those of you who get PBS might see if you can tune into some
rerun of My Country, My country.
However, as much as LI finds Poitras and the response to her film
heartening – there is still a part of this country that won’t accept
bullshit lying down – there was a q.and a. to remind us that under the present decider-clown, we are slouching towards giving up our right to freedom of speech at an alarming rate:
“*Fort Thomas, Ky.:* Have you found out yet why you have a score of 400 with Homeland Security? it is an outrage! The film was wondeful I am hoping to get it shown at my daughters HS - Thank you and please send our thanks to the Dr. and his family for sharing their lives with us!
This is an important work.
*Laura Poitras:* The reason I'm on the list is classified. What I was told my a source it that there is an accusation against me. I'm in the process of filing a Freedom of Information Act request which will probably take months or years to process. It is sad and also funny - no one gave me any trouble in Baghdad, but now that I'm home I'm suddenly dangerous. Makes me a little worried about the people who make this
kinds of decisions.”
Mother of mercy - an accusation filed against her. This is where I stick my poll through the screen - notice the chopped off locks? Yesterday, I decided I needed to look like Dreyer's Joan of Arc, got out the scissors, and snip snip snip - anyway, kiddies, here's the plan. Please address Andres Serrano and ask him to make President Bush the honoree of his next art work. An' at this point I withdraw my head, the camera filling with a huge eyelid coming down - wink! on a huge eye, a la a Warner Bros. cartoon, circa 1945 - and we return you to your regularly scheduled post...
The PBS site for the film is here, complete with podcast of conversation with George Packer. Hmm.
And a quote:
Maria Hinojosa: There is a moment in your film, when people are getting ready for the election and they're being spoken to by an American military official who says, "Your elections are going to be the biggest show on earth, they're going to be seen all over. Your show." And the Iraqi says, "What do you mean this is a show?" and he was confused. Tell me about that scene.
Laura Poitras: It was actually a shoot that I fought really hard to get on. Some of the access I got in Iraq came serendipitously, some of it went through repeated, repeated emails. For that particular shoot, I knew that there was going to be training of police before elections, and then I got an email and officially, they said, "No, the training is not going to happen, it's not going to happen." But somebody else sent me an email from the military and said, "Listen, it's happening, you didn't hear it from me." I approached the military and I got in.
It was two days of training where the U.S. State Department and Justice Department had put together a manual for training Iraqi lieutenants. So these were Iraqi police officers who were high up, and the U.S. brought them from all over the country to do this training. I filmed for the whole two days and during this one particular scene, it's a contractor for the Justice and State Departments who was conducting this training and talking about this is going to be such a great show. But then you listen to the conversation that develops, and you realize that the people he's talking to — the Iraqi police — are going to be on the front lines, so these are the people who are going to die in the show.
Maria Hinojosa: That's what he's saying to them, "This isn't a show for us."
Forgive a bit of blind and stupid optimism, but I think the Poitras approach is going to blow up, eventually, the Dracula’s castle the plutocrats are making of this country. We creep up upon them. Loonies such as myself, practicing homemade black magic. Filmmakers getting riffs from war supporters that lead in unexpected directions. My suggestion for a political motto at the moment in these here states is: Brothers and sisters, let's not slaughter other people.
“I’m so bored. I hate my life.” - Britney Spears
Das Langweilige ist interessant geworden, weil das Interessante angefangen hat langweilig zu werden. – Thomas Mann
"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads
"Never for money/always for love" - The Talking Heads