War

Tarawa, after the landing

There are many better films, but the most important 10 minutes in all of cinema is here.

The great unspoken in our modern western media is the reality of violence, and especially war. Compare us with Indonesia, as one example,  where grim news ends up being widely disseminated, or even the US.  The Iraq conflict in particular has lead to a real debate on image censorship, and its downside.  Explicit violent death is not necessarily a good thing, but in its way, far more honest, a fact that Robert Fisk has dwelled on in relation to the Middle East. Fisk is interesting as not only is he an excellent reporter, he really has seen it all and met them all, and continues to do so. He is credible and authoritative.

You get the feeling that if our Tony knew what war was actually like, in detail, he might have thought twice before helping to start yet another one.

However, artists can help:  Goya in the Peninsular war, James Nachtwey in Rwanda, David Guterson’s description of Tarawa in his intriguing Tolstoy-lite Snow Falling on Cedars, or William Manchester’s brutal reminiscence, Goodbye Darkness.

Which brings us back to where I began. Spielberg in the opening sequence of an otherwise relatively ordinary film, Saving Private Ryan, nails it.

Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war.  ~Otto Von Bismarck

Ebb Tide, by Kerr Eby
Tarawa
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