Monday, July 28, 2008
Shadow of the holy book
I think in my next life I will come back as a dictator of some obscure backwater (Turkmenistan) that is oblivious to such minor things like human rights, freedom of speech, general welfare of the country & other details, which really, are just pesky obstacles that can be easily overcome by writing a holy book that is now your country's way forward.
Any problems that come up can be easily rectified by one of the following: Jail 'em, Bribe 'em, shoot 'em... And the piece de'resistence: make anyone who wants to do business with your corrupt regime publish a version of your holy book (the "Ruhnama") in your own native language !!! From there, the doors are flung wide open for your company to rape, pillage & plunder the vast natural resources of this backwater, with nary a second thought to any problems this may cause the local inhabitants. Again, just minor pesky details. A quick phone call to your local friendly corrupt official can sort out all this, without you getting your own hands dirty. Or, you could go one step further, and because you do so much business with said backwater, you now can sort things with ridiculous ease, because you are now in the government in a position of seniority. In fact, you are now number 2. Second only to the top guy, because you've made him so very happy !!!
Now comes the killer punch line.
Its all absolutely true...
No, this can't be happening in this day in this age you say ! Unfortunately its all too real, as uncovered in dogmatic fashion by two very determined people to find out the truth.
Finnish director Arto Halonen & American journalist Kevin Frasier endure endless stonewalling, obstruction, and corporate PR hacks to try to talk to the central characters to ask the very necessary questions that are raised in this unbelievably insightful documentary. 89 calls later, they talk to one solitary C.E.O who incredibly, has a conscience about doing business with an unethical regime. The rest, including some surprising major US companies are more than happy to cough up the pittance for translating the holy book, so they can make a few more squillion for their precious shareholders.
Then comes what appears to be a breakthrough of sorts: the beloved leader dies !. OMG, that's not in the script of how these things go. With a small amount of pensive hope, some refugee's & the directors watch and wait to see just what will happen. Will there be a revolution? Will things change for the better? Who will take the top job?
The more things change, the more they stay the same...
Turns out, beloved leader had some good ideas thinks the new guy !!! And, if it ain't broke, it don't need fixin !!! Result? Depends on your point of view doesn't it ...
So, sadly, no fairy tale ending. But, you kind of knew that. These countries exist in this way because the bottom line is always the bottom line. No matter where in the world you are, if there's a buck to be made, if you don't get in first, someone else won't hesitate - not even for a nano-second. And your shareholder's will be really pissed..
I'd give this 5 stars, but thats probably irrelevant-its just jaw dropping & unmissable