Friday, July 10, 2009
Has Anyone Seen "Standard Operating Procedure"?
Has Anyone Seen "Standard Operating Procedure"? I just read THE BALLAD OF ABU GHRAIB, by Errol Morris and Philip Gourevitch, based on the interviews that comprise the film. It's exhaustively researched, compellingly told, and historically important. Still, I am stunned that the Iraqis themselves have almost no voice in the story at all, with the exception of Shit Boy and a couple other cartoon characters; they, the objects of our torture, become a great silent mirror against which we play ourselves to death.
This reminds me of the move in the recent film, "Waltz with Bashir," when the narrator/director Ari Folman is set to talk to someone "who was there" at the massacre of Sabra and Shatila decides to talk to an Israeli journalist, and not a single Palestinian or Lebanese. It's as if only "we" can confirm the truth. And while I understand and admire the existence of such figures as investigative journalists and dissenting intellectuals "from within," I find it beyond depressing that only "we" can confirm the truth.