September 13, 2004

The Siege

Kanaal Twee - independent local Flemish TV which shows American films, reruns and some locally produced reality TV - is showing The Siege right now. It's an odd choice for the first Monday after 9/11, but it seems to me they ran it last year at this time too.

I remember how controversial it was when it came out. I remember that there were protests and complaints of anti-Arab defamation. Now, watching it again, it seems positively sympathetic to them. American government - particularly the military and intelligence people - is portrayed as badly as terrorists. There are at least two shots at Israel - effectively accusations of torture and abuse that are portrayed as among the causes of terrorism.

Particularly disturbing is the torture scene, ending in a heard but unseen shot. It seems so much more plausible now than it did in '98. Reputable legal figures discuss the morality of torture today. The notion that the US might kidnap and detain someone secretly seems positively tame in an era when rumors still circulate - at least in Europe - that Osama bin Laden is really in a secret US prison. Abandoning civil liberties for the sake of anti-terrorism is all too real.

I wonder if they show it on American TV at all these days.

Posted by Scott Martens at 10:27 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack