Wim Wenders' new film "The Land of Plenty"

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lizzytysh
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Post by lizzytysh » Sat Sep 11, 2004 8:00 am

Demetris ~

I'm not so sure that Jarkko's concern was about the original topic of the thread being diverted, or even the inability for all of us to come to terms or agreement, given our differing backgrounds and experiences; as much as it was the tone of our communications. In a number of ways, from multiple directions, it was deteriorating, and I feel that's what concerned him most. A number of us have been here a long time, and had many disagreements, but civility is a high priority with Jarkko. We don't always meet with his standards, but when we get too far afield, I think he feels it best to interject some 'equalizing'/'balancing' comments that will, perhaps [and hopefully], stop the regression.

~ Elizabeth
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Post by Midnight » Sun Sep 12, 2004 12:35 am

Just read your defense of Jurica, Lizzytysh. Not convinced. I think he meant what he said. You can try and put the best face on it but Jurica thinks it's morally defensible to deliberately target and kill children to achieve political solutions. If he doesn't...then he should retract what he wrote.

I don't think that's going to happen.
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Post by lizzytysh » Sun Sep 12, 2004 3:36 am

Dear Midnight ~

I know that what you're saying simply is not true. However, I won't elaborate on it other than to say that there really is a difference between 'understanding' how something can happen, with all the history and thought processes that can lead up to it; and feeling that it's morally defensible. That's the distinction that exists with Jurica.

~ Lizzytysh
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Post by Cia » Sun Sep 12, 2004 1:21 pm

Will we ever know the truth??? Unfortunately I am only Cia and not CIA :cry:

This article is copied from The Guardian

Poisoned by Putin

The horror of Beslan was made still worse by the intimidation of Russia's servile media

Anna Politkovskaya
Thursday September 9, 2004
The Guardian

It is the morning of September 1. Reports from North Ossetia are hard to believe: a school in Beslan has been seized. Half an hour to pack my things as my mind works furiously on how to get to the Caucasus. And another thought: to look for the Chechen separatist leader, Aslan Maskhadov, let him come out of hiding, let him go to the hostage-takers, and then ask them to free the children.
Then followed a long evening at Vnukovo airport. Crowds of journalists were trying to get on a plane south, just as flights were being postponed. Obviously, there are some people who would like to delay our departure. I use my mobile and speak openly about the purpose of my flight: "Look for Maskhadov", "persuade Maskhadov".
We have long stopped talking over our phones openly, assuming they are tapped. But this is an emergency. Eventually a man introduces himself as an airport executive: "I'll put you on a flight to Rostov." In the minibus, the driver tells me that the Russian security services, the FSB, told him to put me on the Rostov flight. As I board, my eyes meet those of three passengers sitting in a group: malicious eyes, looking at an enemy. But I don't pay attention. This is the way most FSB people look at me.
The plane takes off. I ask for a tea. It is many hours by road from Rostov to Beslan and war has taught me that it's better not to eat. At 21:50 I drink it. At 22:00 I realise that I have to call the air stewardess as I am rapidly losing consciousness. My other memories are scrappy: the stewardess weeps and shouts: "We're landing, hold on!"
"Welcome back," said a woman bending over me in Rostov regional hospital. The nurse tells me that when they brought me in I was "almost hopeless". Then she whispers: "My dear, they tried to poison you." All the tests taken at the airport have been destroyed - on orders "from on high", say the doctors.
Meanwhile, the horror in Beslan continues. Something strange is going on there on September 2: no officials speak to the relatives of hostages, no one tells them anything. The relatives besiege journalists. They beg them to ask the authorities to give some sort of explanation. The families of the hostages are in an information vacuum. But why?
In the morning, also at Vnukovo airport, Andrei Babitsky is detained on a specious pretext. As a result, another journalist known for seeing his investigations through to the end and being outspoken in the foreign press is prevented from going to Beslan.
Word comes that Ruslan Aushev, the former president of Ingushetia, rejected by the authorities for advocating a settlement of the Chechen crisis, suddenly walked into negotiations with the terrorists in Beslan. He walked in alone because the people at the special services headquarters responsible for the negotiations were unable for 36 hours to agree among themselves who would go first. The militants give three babies to Aushev and then release 26 more kids and their mothers. But the media try to hush up Aushev's courageous behaviour: no negotiations, nobody has gone inside.
By September 3, the families of hostages are in a total news blackout. They are desperate; they all remember the experience of the Dubrovka theatre siege in which 129 people died when the special services released gas into the building, ending the stand-off. They remember how the government lied.
The school is surrounded by people with hunting rifles. They are ordinary people, the fathers and brothers of the hostages who have despaired of getting help from the state; they have decided to rescue their relatives themselves. This has been a constant issue during the past five years of the second war in Chechnya: people have lost all hope of getting any protection from the state and they expect nothing but extra-judicial executions from the special services. So they try to defend themselves and their loved ones. Self-defence, naturally, leads to lynching. It couldn't be otherwise. After the theatre siege in 2002, the hostages made this harrowing discovery: save yourself, because the state can only help to destroy you.
And it's the same in Beslan now. Official lies continue. The media promote official views. They call it "taking a state-friendly position", meaning a position of approval of Vladimir Putin's actions. The media don't have a critical word to say about him. The same applies to the president's personal friends, who happen to be the heads of FSB, the defence ministry and the interior ministry. In the three days of horror in Beslan, the "state-friendly media" never dared to say aloud that the special services were probably doing something wrong. They never dared to hint to the state duma and the federation council - the parliament - that they might do well to convene an emergency session to discuss Beslan.
The top news story is Putin flying into Beslan at night. We are shown Putin thanking the special services; we see President Dzasokhov, but not a word is said about Aushev. He is a disgraced former president, disgraced because he urged the authorities not to prolong the Chechen crisis, not to bring things to the point of a tragedy that the state could not handle. Putin does not mention Aushev's heroism, so the media are silent.
Saturday, September 4, the day after the terrible resolution of the Beslan hostage-taking crisis. A staggering number of casualties, the country is in shock. And there are still lots of people unaccounted for, whose existence is denied by officials. All this was the subject of a brilliant and, by present standards, very bold Saturday issue of the newspaper Izvestia, which led with the headline "The silence at the top". Official reaction was swift. Raf Shakirov, the chief editor, was fired. Izvestia belongs to the nickel baron Vladimir Potanin, and throughout the summer he was trembling in his boots because he was afraid to share the fate of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, Russia's richest man, who has been arrested on fraud charges. He was doubtless trying to curry favour with Putin. The result is that Shakirov, a talented newspaper manager and a generally pro-establishment man, is out of the game, a latter-day dissident - and this for deviating ever so slightly from the official line.
You might think that journalists staged an action of protest in support of Shakirov. Of course not. The Russian Union of Journalists and the Media Union kept mum. Only a journalist who is loyal to the establishment is treated as "one of us". If this is journalists' approach to the cause that we serve, then it spells an end to the basic tenet that we are working so that people know what is happening and take the right decisions.
The events in Beslan have shown that the consequences of an information vacuum are disastrous. People dismiss the state that has left them in the lurch and try to act on their own, try to rescue their loved ones themselves, and to exact their own justice on the culprits. Later, Putin declared that the Beslan tragedy had nothing to do with the Chechen crisis, so the media stopped covering the topic. So Beslan is like September 11: all about al-Qaida. There is no more mention of the Chechen war, whose fifth anniversary falls this month. This is nonsense, but wasn't it the same in Soviet times when everyone knew the authorities were talking rubbish but pretended the emperor had his clothes on?
We are hurtling back into a Soviet abyss, into an information vacuum that spells death from our own ignorance. All we have left is the internet, where information is still freely available. For the rest, if you want to go on working as a journalist, it's total servility to Putin. Otherwise, it can be death, the bullet, poison, or trial - whatever our special services, Putin's guard dogs, see fit.
• Anna Politkovskaya is a journalist on the Novaya Gazeta newspaper; she has won numerous awards for her reporting of the Chechnya conflict and was involved in negotiations with the gunmen who stormed the Dubrovka theatre in October 2002
The intelligent man finds almost everything ridiculous, the sensible man almost nothing.
--Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
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Helven
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Post by Helven » Sun Sep 12, 2004 2:08 pm

I can say what made me perceive Jurica’s post as a kind of “advocating” this way of acting – rather than an attempt to understand those who choose it. They were those “I admire” words. I hope, though, it was nothing else than inappropriate wording. And if it’s so – I’m ready to present my apologies to Jurica.

Yours,
TH.
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Post by lizzytysh » Sun Sep 12, 2004 3:52 pm

Dear Cia ~

That article is foreboding in many ways, as you already know. It seems they gave the reporter's 'credentials' to underscore that what she's said, what happened to her, and her conclusions cannot be discounted with a wave of the hand.

I just heard a little bit ago about Putin likening this event in many ways to September 11 here, and Bush's actions, and how he also would not have invited Saddam to the White House for negotiations. It's also raised concerns for other uprisings in that area. He reminded his listeners that Russia also remains a major, world nuclear power. The conclusion regarding his speech/talk/interview [or whatever the occasion was for his comments] was that he was ~ like Bush ~ taking a hard line regarding this occurrence, and that he was strongly hinting to the U.S. that the U.S. better support it. I didn't hear the whole thing, so those are the only details I can give without chancing inaccuracy. If all of this has merit, it's another foreboding sign.

I'm glad you're 'only' Cia :D , and not the CIA :evil: .

~ Lizzy
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Post by lizzytysh » Sun Sep 12, 2004 4:04 pm

Dear Helven ~

Yes, I know what you mean. That's the part that made me wince. The part that followed was more substantive and disclaimed the actions themselves. The thrust of the admiration was upon the 'commitment of feeling' behind the actions. Truly, I cannot imagine blowing myself up for anything[!], regardless of any 'promises' of the hereafter.

Just to recap, the whole of Jurica's comment was, "and, Charles, in a way i do admire terrorists. they are people fighting for their belives. Even when he said it, he prefaced it with the qualifying phrase, "in a way." The sentence and completion of that thought ended there. The separate thought started with the next sentence, "i don't approve their actions, but i can understand it." He was steadfast, with this one, however, with no "in a way," "for the most part," or any other qualifying phrase preceding it when he said, "I don't approve their actions." The "but I can understand it" relates back to the intensity of feelings that would lead to such actions. My comment on it was, "This is a philosophical statement and sentiment very similar to one that Leonard made himself at one point in his life."

Love,
Elizabeth
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Post by Paula » Sun Sep 12, 2004 4:24 pm

Do you know what Lizzie it is not for you or I to dissect Jurica's words. He know what he meant and his knows where the emphasise is. He said what he said and if he wanted to expand on it that is his perogative it is not for us to give meaning to his words.

I like Jurica and I think my initial opinion of him is still correct. I strongly disagree with what he said on this topic.
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Post by lizzytysh » Sun Sep 12, 2004 4:33 pm

Yes, I know what you mean, Paula. I did my 'evaluation' of Jurica's posting, that was offensive to at least some, in response to Charles' questioning of me as to why I had reacted to Linda's but not Jurica's. So, I've explained how I read his posting, which at the same time explained why I also hadn't reacted to it.

Yes, I agree, your initial opinion of Jurica is correct.

Love,
Lizzie
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Post by Linda » Sun Sep 12, 2004 5:13 pm

I respect the response to my comment about abortion, from Paula and Helven, their reaction was the same as to Jurica's post.
But Lizzytysh, your lengthy defense-understanding of Jurica's post baffles
me.
Murder has a reason behind it, whether hatred, jealousy, anger, self defense, the reasons have been endless. Is it justified? No
Linda
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Post by jurica » Sun Sep 12, 2004 5:35 pm

Helven wrote:They were those “I admire” words. I hope, though, it was nothing else than inappropriate wording. And if it’s so – I’m ready to present my apologies to Jurica.
i'm not sure if the word 'admire' is right for what i feel for terrorists (it was Charles' word, so i had to use it), but i do think they have something in their character worth admireing: it's their will to take action, to fight and die for their belives (i've long lost faith that i can change anything of any importance, and i admire those aho didn't).

i don't aprove of their actions (as i've stated more than once), i don't like them, i fear them, but in a way...

anyway, even if i didn't admire them, you'd still have no reason to apologize... you did no harm to me.

...now i'm explaining myself again, though i decided to do that no more here. nevermind, i was never much of a guy with strong principles.
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Post by Helven » Sun Sep 12, 2004 7:55 pm

Yes, Jurica, I think I understand what you mean since my own sweat believes of that kind have died long, long time ago, too. I can confess I even envy a bit to those ones who still have some “social believes”. That isn’t so when just terrorists are spoken of, and I don’t see them in this way at all – but, in general, yes, I even envy…

Dear Cia,

Thank you very much for putting this article.
I can say I’m interested in knowing truth rather than in “advocating” authorities. I can say also I understand more or less clearly the conditions which made previous periods of repressions possible, and this understanding doesn’t add optimism to appraisal of present situation. Objectively, we do have some chances to repeat all of that somehow [and it isn’t so that this idea “knocked” at my head just now; it’s been living there for several years].
And I can add if that happens, it, perhaps, will be my turn to visit luxurious rooms of remand prison etc. :roll: I had time to “fight for freedom of speech” here, and even signed to appeal to Putin, having indicated my full name, telephone number, and address :lol: [I’m laughing since, in fact, there rather weren’t some firm reasons for that – this return to the past still is a possibility but not reality; and, anyway, it was an absolutely senseless act]. Well, in case of need, our KGB (FSB now) will know where they’ll be able to find me :lol: . Therefore I really am not interested in any “advocating”.

And, yet, I can’t say all that was said in the article is complete truth. I doooon’t want to go into details and analyze this :) , excuse me, please – that’s rather exhausting affair. But, in general, it reminds me just of the typically soviet way to present information. That may seem paradoxical, but it’s so. It’s a method when some facts are presented almost as they are, with some, seemingly, insignificant preteritions which allow, nevertheless, to make some wrong – and very “pathetical” - conclusions. Actually, I heard this lady many, many times before, so can judge not only on the grounds of this very article. [Now I even don’t argue, or anything like that, I simply share my impression, if it may be interesting to someone.]

And the only thing I’d like to repeat. Unfortunately, it isn’t simply a “rubbish” spread by the authorities – this connection of our “Chechen freedom fighters” with al-Qaida... well, I’ll still say possible connection… I mentioned certain things before, and they weren’t someone’s inventions. We did have here an experience of withdrawal of troops from Chechnya. And we did have a chance to see what became to spread there after that. And we did have a chance to see how they went further trying to occupy – just occupy, but not liberate, and I insist on that – other territories. All of that did happen. And it was enough for me…

Yours,
TH.
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The Partisan

Post by ForYourSmile » Sun Sep 12, 2004 10:04 pm

Jurica - Is easy to feel comprehension (admiration) for this desperate being who has lost wife (or husband) and children, and continues fighting up to his inevitable death. . . The Partisan. It's poetic, epic, heroic, but careful!... He uses the violence and kills, in this case he kills innocent people!

He's not better (or worse) than who throws "intelligent bombs" far away, or orders it.

Yesterday it was a September 11, I would want to remember the victims of Madrid six months ago, USA 2001, Chile 1973 and Catalonia 1714.
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Post by lizzytysh » Sun Sep 12, 2004 10:26 pm

Dear Linda ~

I wasn't trying to justify murder ~ for any reason. Jurica was accused of holding the belief that "it's morally defensible to deliberately target and kill children to achieve political solutions." I felt that Charles' question to me was a valid one, so I explained my own impressions in as clear a way as I could. However, justifying murder? No. I'm certainly not or even trying to. With regard to Jurica, I still say "No." It's trying to understand the psyche behind that kind of commitment, that I believe Jurica was doing.

In our U.S.A. 'Westerns,' we have, historically, barely flinched [if at all] when the cowboys and Indians came together, and the cowboys killed the Indians, in defense of their families. In the old-time theaters, they would cheer when an Indian went down. We weren't 'advocating' killing; but we 'understood' it. I won't even get into the misrepresentation of the Indians in those, but all the similarities of all of it could well apply. I believe that's where Jurica is coming from. The socio-political beliefs is still another layer.


Dear ForYourSmile ~

This is a very good point that you make: "He's not better (or worse) than who throws "intelligent bombs" far away, or orders it."


Dear Helven ~

I've never heard or read the woman reporter before, as you have. However, the media remains the media, and we all know what that suggests. So, your position can be respected. I'm not aware of the 'typical' ways of Russian reporting; however, I can tell you that we have a few means of our own :( , and the technique you describe works well, indeed, so......... :? :( .

It scares me to consider that your country and mine may yet get into a muscle-flexing position with each other over all of this. The 'Lukewarm War'? The 'Tepid War'? Where could all that lead?

Love,
Elizabeth
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Post by jarkko » Mon Sep 13, 2004 12:11 am

This piece of information takes us back to the original title of this thread!
(Thanks to Ken Kurzweil):

WIM WENDERS & LAND OF PLENTY

"After years of living abroad with her American missionary father, Lana (Michelle Williams) returns to the United States to begin her studies. But instead of focusing on her education, Lana sets out to find her only other living relative - her uncle Paul, her deceased mother’s brother. A Vietnam veteran, Paul is a reclusive vagabond with deep emotional war wounds. A tragic event witnessed by the two unites them in a common goal to rectify a wrong, and takes them on a journey of healing, discovery, and kinship."

Of course, there's more to Venice than Hollywood. German-born Wim Wenders, who now lives in the US, has made, in Land of Plenty, his best film in a long time. This, too, was shot on video (transferred to the widest of wide screens) and was filmed in only 16 days and on a minuscule budget. John Diehl plays a Vietnam vet now obsessively working as a self-employed security agent whose mission is to protect the Land of the Free from terrorism.

Suspicious-looking Arabs are very much in his sights until he is confronted by his long-lost niece (Michelle Williams), who works for a Christian charity, and who forces him to see things from a different perspective. Wenders is fiercely critical of the Bush administration, while clearly touched by what he sees as the innate goodness of ordinary Americans, and the film, with its bold visual framing and mournful Leonard Cohen songs, is a strong return to form.

http://www.wim-wenders.com/movies/movie ... plenty.htm

the trailer is at http://www.wim-wenders.com/movies/movie ... railer.htm
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