Sejrøbugten, May 2013.

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Copenhagen Metro building site by Sortedams Sø

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This is what the Copenhagen Metro building site by Sortedams Dossering looked like in January 2014.

“The Act of Killing” received the 2013 Berlinale Panorama ecumenical Prize.

The horrifying and brilliant film, The Act of Killing is one of the best films I have ever seen.

It has now received the 2013 Berlinale Panorama  audience award and ecumenical Prize

Read the acceptance speech here:

The perpetrators we filmed in Indonesia destroyed other human beings for money and for power. This greed, unfortunately, is all too human. After killing people, the perpetrators felt trauma, even remorse. This, too, is human. And so they needed excuses, propaganda, so that they could live with themselves, so that they could kill again, and then go on to build a regime on the basis of terror, lies, and the celebration of mass murder. 

The new dictatorship quickly obliged, making up lies to rationalize what they had done. Through these lies emerged a distorted morality to justify evil, even to celebrate it. 

Among the most effective of these lies is that the victims were atheists, and that non-believers have no place among the living. The killers themselves know that their victims were not atheists. And we know that it does not matter. But in Indonesia, atheism is still equated with evil. And this remains a pillar in the justification of genocide. THE ACT OF KILLING has been accused of being a film by and for atheists.

Since International Human Rights Day on December 10, 2012, The Act of Killing has screened hundreds of times in Indonesia, in more than 90 cities. It has helped give rise to a national conversation in which, finally, the silence around the genocide has been broken, and Indonesians are openly discussing how today’s regime of corruption and fear is built on a mountain of corpses. Necessarily, the distorted morality, in which the victims are represented as “evil” atheists, is starting to crumble. 

We thank the Ecumenical Jury for this prize: it is an important contribution to our effort to break the silence. In itself, this award exposes lies that have, for so long, been used to justify crimes against humanity, to stigmatize survivors, to keep people afraid. Your decision to give this award to THE ACT OF KILLING confirms that when religion is used as a justification for crimes against humanity, it has lost its moral foundation. 

We thank you. Indonesia thanks you.

Deliberations of the Village Board

I read Jim Johnson’s discussion here of photo series of local bureaucracy and government in action, and thought I would add my bit:

This photo shows the deliberations of the Village Board in Neglasari Village, subdistrict of Majalaya, West Java.

Selesai!!!

I handed in my PhD dissertation today.

Future shock becomes second nature

Scott McLemee has an interesting discussion here on succumbing to new technology that quickly is new no more, but everywhere, changing, in small immessurable steps how we live.

The salient point…  is that something I probably first read about in Isaac Asimov’s Science Fiction Magazine in 1978 is about to become part of the texture of everyday life. It bears recognizing this now, before the familiarity takes over.

I should also get an e-reader.

“Nothing that would stand in court”

A good, but painful illustration of where we are with the war in Afghanistan.

From Sandy Levinson at Balkinization.