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Film

The awakening
Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11"

Kamal H. Artin
July 7, 2004
iranian.com

Fahrenheit 9/11 seemed to me to be a moving piece of art with documentary components than a neutral documentary. Moore does a remarkable job to put emotion, comedy, facts, and assumptions to stimulate our minds. For unclear reasons, Moore has rather avoided clarifying some important points. Every scene might deserve praise and critique by professional reviewer.

The purpose of this lay review is to share my thoughts on some of the issues I found interesting! Moore makes us feel and think. He makes us sad, when he shows some poor youngsters joining the armed forces to survive and not necessarily to defend and spread human rights and democracy. He makes us angry when he hints that some politician won't risk the live of their own significant others for what they stand for. He makes us cry, when he highlights the sorrow of the people who have lost their loved ones on 9/11 and in the war.

He makes us smile, when he hints to the limited intellectual ability of some of the politicians. He makes us laugh when he compares smoking out the bad guy in Western movies to smoking out fundamentalist terrorists from their caves. He makes us wonder, how one with power in Washington, a major center of hope for democracy around the world, could change official documents related to politician's background to avoid political scrutiny.

He makes us question why 7% of the country should be the property of some clan families in Saudi Arabia. He makes us doubt if politicians would remain at the side of the people at home, who pay them a limited salary, while Saudi's contribute Billions of dollars to corporations who have close ties with them. Like all human beings, Moore also has shortcomings.

One might not detect class elitism in Moore's approach, but he can not hide his intellectual elitism. He suggest that a small country such as Costa Rica might be weak for having no army; he does not argue maybe Costa Rican people prefer not to waste their limited resources on the military, when their citizens have other basic needs. He falls for a general assumption that beauty and intellect might not be compatible; he shows that a bearded, casual, and heavy male artist has more compassion and intellect than a beautiful, popular, and simple female singer.

As a Kurdish American, I also see another shortcoming in the movie. Surpassingly Moore does not mention anything about the Kurds. Moore probably has heard that the Kurds have remained the most honest, ethical, and welcoming allies of the US to support great values of the civilized world, and yet they are denied their basic human right of self-determination. He might know that the Kurds have paid a tremendous price for the corruption in the world politics for decades.

By not mentioning the Kurdish suffering, maybe his goal is only to highlight the corruption, so the people push the politicians to correct themselves and facilitate further progress. Maybe he did not detect corruption in Kurdish leaders, and therefore there is nothing to talk about regarding Kurdistan. Hopefully it is not a conscious ignorance of Kurds in order to satisfy those international and national corrupted politician who deliberately avoid even mentioning the worlds such as Kurds and Kurdistan.

Regardless of its shortcomings, the movie is awakening. One could alter the names of characters in the movie and put the names of many foreign politicians in their countries to see that the scenes remain similar. Most likely the movie becomes a classic, and therefore a must see for everyone. Let's congratulate every American on Independence Day, for having built such a country that its intellectuals are allowed to speak freely and question the integrity of its most powerful politicians. Bravo America!

Author
Kamal H. Artin, MD, is from the Kurdish-American Education Society in Orange County, California.

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