Tuesday, June 06, 2006

V for Vendetta

On this symbolic date, when the world could, I’m told, come to an end, a short story about one of the better films I’ve seen in a while and things which pose an actual threat to our society.
I expected V to be entertaining, as it was, but the serious and mature outlook was quite unexpected … and very welcome. The film elevates itself far above the typical black-white Hollywood action films. I guess the strong critical references to western societies could shake up a lot of people, primarily in the US, where many of the issues the film deals with are controversial or even taboo. There is a tendency in the world to be superficial and people, especially many Americans, tend to be too touchy about certain subjects and less wiling to discuss them.
But the film is wonderfully universal in condemning oppression in all societies – from obvious references to fascist states to Western democracies struggling with issues of privacy and human rights under threat from conservative governments on one side and dangers like terrorism on the other. More close to home, it is reminiscent of Serbia in the 90s – the sugarcoated TV reporting, the propaganda machine spreading fear and mistrust, the divide-and-conquer tactics of maintaining power by creating enemies everywhere. Consequences of this period are still painfully present and as destructive as ever.
I see this film is a warning that all our actions, or lack there of, have consequences, that as in the famous poem by M. Niemoeler what happens to others eventually reaches us and in the end there might be “no one left to speak out”, if we do not speak out against injustice. If the likes of DSS, the orthodox church, and other conservatives in Serbia and elsewhere had their way I can easily imagine Ivan and I being dragged out of our bed in the middle of the night and disappearing.

I have always been an optimist and hope the world will come to its senses, but with so much human stupidity I have to be worried about the future. Wasting of resources, greed, double standards and false morality are pushing people into ignorance, fear and hate. That makes the warning more powerful and important. This does not just happen in distant countries in a distant time. The film shows what our own societies could mutate into. And in a globalized world, there is no standing aside. A Faithless song says “Whether long range weapon or suicide bomb, wicked mind is a weapon of mass destruction … we need to find courage, overcome, inaction is a weapon of mass destruction”.The key issue is individual responsibility. I’m not happy quoting politicians, but as the assassinated PM of Serbia said, paraphrasing JFK: “ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for yourself“. Nobody is going to help us if we do not help ourselves. And responsibility never ends. In a country where the power of people and its ability to push change was so evident, we must not forget it now, as we slide into conservativism and bigotry. “Remember, remember, the fifth of O… November”. Staying silent must not be an option.

No comments: