Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Abu Ghraib...the movie?!

aka "I'm with Busey."

Well, kind of. The movie's called "Valley of the Wolves--Iraq" and stars Gary Busey. The Turkish-made movie has drawn large crowds in Turkey and is due to open Europe-wide. It is based on events in Iraq:
In one scene, an American doctor, played by actor Gary Busey, is furious because troops keep killing Iraqi prisoners before they reach the Abu Ghraib prison. The doctor's problem? If the Iraqis are dead, he can't harvest their organs to send to Israel.
[...] The movie is standard Hollywood action-adventure fare, but with the villains wearing the Stars and Stripes. The heroes are dapper and kind; the Americans are slovenly, sadistic and stupid. An American who questioned why a smiling comrade is spraying a metal container full of Iraqi prisoners with bullets is quickly killed.

Some of the incidents in the film draw on actual events, though they're portrayed in such a way as to impose the worst of motives on the Americans: American soldiers guffaw as they set dogs on prisoners at Abu Ghraib, lie in wait so they can target wedding guests when they celebrate with gunfire and open fire on a mosque just as the call to prayer is sounded.
Aaaaaaaand scene. But wait! The Turks like Americans, right? Ummm...
Yusuf Kanli, the editor in chief of the Turkish Daily News, said the film is grounded in a real event known as the "bag incident," which cemented the movie's popularity in Turkey.
"Abu Ghraib is a deep wound, but it's war, and war is never clean," Kanli said. "But what happened in July 2003 can never be forgotten by any Turk."

In that incident, U.S. troops arrested 11 Turkish special-forces officers in northern Iraq and walked them from their headquarters with bags over their heads. It was considered a bitter betrayal by a trusted ally. Turkish newspapers dubbed it the "Rambo Crisis." Recent opinion polls rank it as the most humiliating moment in Turkish history.
After this scene, the film portrays the suicide of one of the Turkish officers. Just before committing suicide, the officer writes a letter to Polat Alemdar, a fictional Turkish secret agent from a popular television series who's a cross between James Bond and Rambo, and asks him to "restore Turkey's honor."
The remainder of the film is about Alemdar's efforts to do so by confronting U.S. evil in Iraq.
[...] Still, as an older man leaving the film told the British Broadcasting Corp. in Istanbul on Monday, "If I see an American when I get out of here, I feel like taking a hood and putting it over their head."
I don't know about you, but this is the first I've heard of "the bag incident." Kind of important, wouldn't you say?
Here's what some other film-goers told the BBC upon emerging from the theatre:
"Everything we've been hearing on the news about Iraq is in this film," one woman says as she emerges from the auditorium.
"We condemn this war and will continue to condemn it. But I don't see America as our fundamental enemy," she adds.
"I'm really upset after this, really upset," an older man says, as rushes away.
The script-writer Bahadir Ozdener had this to say to the BBC:
"Our film's a sort of political action"..."Maybe 60 or 70% of what happens on screen is factually true. Turkey and America are allies, but Turkey wants to say something to its friend. We want to say the bitter truth. We want to say that this is wrong."
Here's the movie's official website. Cue Busey-swiftboat.....nnnnnnnow.

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