Archive for the 'History' Category

“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.

Eisenhower’s farewell address

I thought this was important to save here. From Legal History Blog and Balkinization:

The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

Freedom Just Around the Corner

Around Christmas time, I finished reading Freedom Just Around the Corner: A New American History, 1585-1828 by Walter A. McDougall. One might say that I should not be reading such stuff that is off-topic as regards my thesis. But it was a good and enlightening read, and inspiring for its wit, naration and mix of small stories and broad but convincing brush-strokes.

A big thank-you note then goes to Lars since he gave me the book a while back, and it is only now that I actually got around to reading it.

Continue reading ‘Freedom Just Around the Corner’