Saturday, March 11, 2006

Happy Endings

Joe and I went to the cinema earlier this week. George Clooney won a best actor Oscar for his role on the film "Syriana". It was billed as a political thriller and was exactly that. It was about the big companies securing oil interests in the Middle East. They had the power and the connections to carve things up they way they chose without regard for the needs of the local people. The king had two sons - sounds like the beginning of a parable. One son was very determined to bring progress to the people. He was a good egg. The other son was in it for as much money and profit as he could get. Which one was going to be the next king? Which one does the big company want as the next king? How are they going to protect their interests? Guess which one gets blown up? It was not a happy ending.

Muslims were portrayed not as off-their-heads-fundamentalists, but people pushed to the limits. They were on the receiving end of so much abuse from the oil companies that I gained an inkling and a sympathy for the two Muslim suicide bombers who were driven to ram a boat loaded with explosives into the oil terminal. I don't think the teaching to love your enemy or turn the other cheek features in the Qur'an. It was not a happy ending at all.

The big company doing all the manipulating (American of course, but I don't suppose Britain has clean hands it can boast of in the real world) was under investigation but made a deal with the investigators to drop it all in the lap of someone fairly high up in the pecking order, but the top dogs got away with it. It went beyond "not a happy ending" to "evil wins over good".

I can remember watching the film "Braveheart" many years as part of an audience of Scots. There was cheering and clamping and foot stamping as the English got their just deserts in one of the battle scenes and even though Mel Gibson was gutted at the end, you never felt that he lost. OK, technically it wasn't a happy ending for him, but you never felt that he was defeated. At the end, one could sense that if a group of those film goers had met an Englishman on the way home from the cinema, the outlook would not have been pretty. I felt that way about Americans the other night, although I recognise that it's only some of them!

This whole idea of carving up the world to suit me and my needs, and carving up people's lives in the process is just plain wicked! I know that they will not necessarily have their own happy endings when they face God and His judgement seat - but what about NOW?

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