Posts Tagged terrorism
Maya: “I’m gonna smoke everybody involved in this op and then I’m going to kill Bin Laden.”
It ends with the death of brutal Al-Qaeda terrorist leader and 9/11 mastermind Osama Bin Laden during the covert mission in Abbottabad, Pakistan by Navy S.E.A.L. Team Six. Director Kathryn Bigelow [Point Break, Strange Days, The Hurt Locker] –who has made her career directing male-centric action films– and writer Mark Boal provide an edge-of-seat thriller chronicling the most phenomenal and intense decade-long manhunt. The film opens to a black screen and recorded calls on 9/11.
A woman’s voice to a 911 operator: “the floor is filled with smoke . . . I don’t think we can get out. Is someone coming to get us? I’m not sure we’re going to make it . . .” operator: “don’t say that. Someone is coming to help you.” Then silence. I got chills and tears in my eyes. Cut to Guantanamo. Cut to a black ops site where Dan [Jason Clarke--Public Enemies] brings in new team member Maya [Jessica Chastain-- Take Shelter, The Help] for an interrogation.
Waterboarding, dog collar, loud music, withholding food and water, time in a box for suppressing information. Harsh and tense. Particularly the waterboarding scenes. Just terrifying. Holding down the detainee, putting a cloth over his face and pouring water over his nose and mouth. Drowning. How many lives might be saved if these agents can prevent further terrorist activity? Time passes and more attacks happen. Correlation that these techniques don’t work? Bigelow staggeringly showcases attacks in Saudi Arabia, London and Islamabad. Although I knew every terrorist attack I still cringed or screamed. There is so much death and destruction, blood and devastation, that you cannot help but think about the reasons behind the violence. It’s so upsetting and incomprehensible why anyone would want to continue to commit these acts of terror.
I didn’t even recognize Jennifer Ehle right away as seasoned CIA operative Jessica. She’s a bit skeptical of the youthful Maya from the start but after Maya’s found sleeping in her office enough times, she proves how dedicated she is to the Islamabad office despite insisting she didn’t choose it. The two women bond in a sisterly way. Jason Clarke excels as the super-charged field agent tasked to use any means necessary to get answers. As the head of the Islamabad C.I.A. bureau Kyle Chandler played it very Coach Taylor-lite which worked. Aussie Joel Edgerton and Parks and Recreation’s Chris Pratt stalwart and proud as Navy Seals. There are other familiar faces in smaller. roles—James Gandolfini as C.I.A. Director, Stephen Dillane as NSA Advisor and Mark Duplass as a C.I.A. tech.
Chastain does a remarkable job as Maya. Emotional when warranted– visibly shaken by a disastrous asset meeting. Confident when needed– steely at the top Washington brass meeting to vote on S.E.A.L. Team Six action. And the final few scenes. Amazing. Maya is the heart and compass of Zero Dark Thirty. She’s a strong, focused and determined woman. Never faltering from her end-goal despite losing team members. Maya continues the quest for Bin Laden undeterred by others who want to give up or believe intel might be weak.
–review by Amy Steele
Starring: Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, Reda Kateb, Kyle Chandler, Jennifer Ehle, Harold Perrineau, Chris Pratt
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
Screenplay: Mark Boal
Release Date: January 4, 2013 [limited], January 11, 2013 [wide]
“I have to constantly remind myself that I’m Tunisian, and this neighborhood is full of Egyptians. Many people don’t know that there are rivalries among the Arabs. For example, it’s not smooth sailing between Syrians and Lebanese, between Iraqis and Kuwaitis, between Saudis and Yemenis, and so on and so on. It’s why they can’t come up with a plan for unity, in spite of common history, geography, Arabic, Islam, and oil. The model of the European Union will have to wait!”
In the superb novel Divorce Islamic Style, two characters narrate and propel the events in Rome: Christian, a Sicilian who speaks fluent Arabic and works as an operative for the Italian government; and Sofia, an Egyptian immigrant who runs a hair salon in defiance of her strict Muslim husband.
Christian’s assignment is to uncover a terrorist cell in the Viale Marconi neighborhood. Going by the name of Issa and changing his appearance and mannerisms he infiltrates “Little Cairo” as a Tunisian. He rooms at a boarding house with numerous other immigrants and takes a job washing dishes at an Italian restaurant run by an Egyptian, who turns out to be Sofia’s husband.
I’ve acquired certain habits, like sleeping nude, temperature permitting, or reading before I go to sleep; I love biographies of famous people. Here it is not a good idea to be the self-taught immigrant and passionate reader.
At a hangout spot where people watch Al Jazeera and make calls home, Christian meets Sofia who attracts him with her striking looks and mannerisms. Surprising to Christian, she wears a veil, uncommon in Rome, in Italy, in many Western countries. He discovers that Sofia neither acts conventionally or predictably. Several days before her wedding, Sofia’s husband asked her to wear the veil.
“Put on the veil? Maybe I hadn’t understood. Were we going to live in Italy or Iran? Is the veil compulsory in Rome?
The real problem is that we live in a society where the male is both the opponent and, at the same time, the referee.”
In writing about Sofia’s plight, author Amara Lakhous astutely provides a feminist perspective to this novel in a natural and provocative manner. He brilliantly depicts Rome’s Arab community “Little Cairo.” He satirizes the immigrant community as deftly as modern day Rome and its idiosyncrasies and fears.
I understand the comfort level of creating one’s own community after immigrating to another country. Beyond that though I don’t understand why some immigrants do not assimilate more by learning the new language or befriending natives. Lakhous explains the minutiae within the Arab community and what motivates many to move to other countries. Much can be explained in looking at opportunities in Western countries versus Arab countries where rules might be stricter and prospects fewer. Some Arabs stay in these Western countries and become citizens while others work for a while to better their family situations in their home country.
Born in Algiers in 1970, Amara Lakhous earned degrees in philosophy and cultural anthropology. He now lives in Italy. I adore Divorce Islamic Style so much that I’ve mentioned it several times in casual conversation. I want to recommend it to everyone. It’s fantastic. Snappy. Sharp. Intelligent. Humorous.
purchase at Amazon: Divorce Islamic Style
Guest Post by Dr. Christopher Coppola
Author: Coppola: Pediatric Surgeon in Iraq
It is difficult to select the most memorable operation from my time in Iraq, for several reasons. On the one hand, so many of the operations have blurred together in my mind. Night after night we were treating so many people who had been seriously injured in explosions. It seemed like I was endlessly scrubbing burned flesh, digging out hundreds of embedded fragments of shrapnel, and cutting away more and more dead tissue. There were also so many striking operations — things I had never done before, like removing destroyed eyes, bizarre pieces of shrapnel, six-foot lengths of rebar or shards of human bone; simply horrifying combinations of injuries.
But the operation that is most memorable from both of my deployments was barely an operation at all. One afternoon, we received several victims from a shooting. Insurgents had opened fire on a busload of women going to worship. One of the victims was a woman who was eight months pregnant. She had been shot through the right hip, and one of the bullets had pierced her uterus near her unborn baby’s head. The mother was bleeding internally and slowly dying. None of us were obstetricians, and we were quite nervous about taking care of her. We called a few friends at home for some quick advice, and called on the help of one of our ICU nurses who was an OB nurse back home. In the OR, we had her anesthetized and her abdomen prepped with iodine liquid. I cut across her lower abdomen and found several liters of blood in her belly. Her uterus was stretched thin over her baby’s body, and there were tattered edges where the bullet had torn the muscle. I opened the uterus, and reached in to feel the baby’s head. The cord was wrapped around his neck, so I carefully worked my fingers under it and pulled the cord up over his head. I delivered the baby boy, clamped and cut the cord, and quickly carried him over to the infant warmer. My friend stayed with the injured woman to control her bleeding and get her safely to the ICU. On the warmer, I suctioned the child’s mouth and nose, gave him a flow of oxygen across his face, and listened to his breathing. He coughed twice, took a deep breath, and let out a loud healthy cry. I am pleased to report that both mother and child left our hospital in excellent health.
The most difficult operation I performed in Iraq was not for trauma at all. Even though I am a pediatric surgeon, I was deployed to Iraq as a general trauma surgeon. After I had been at the hospital in Balad for a while, word got out that there was a pediatric surgeon available, and I started to get consultations from the surrounding cities and other military bases. A surgeon in Tikrit sent a child and her parents to see me. She was a one-and-a-half-year-old who had a congenital illness of her liver called biliary atresia in which the liver becomes scarred and cannot pass bile into the intestine. It is a rare illness, and I had only treated a few cases in the United States — but I was honestly the only pediatric surgeon the family had available to them. It was unfortunate that she was as old as she was, because the best chance for these children to survive long term is if they get the operation before they are two months old.
It took some convincing to get our OR nurses and anesthesiologists to participate in the operation. The only way I was able to get them on board was to find a pediatric anesthesiologist who happened to be stationed at a nearby base and convince him to fly in. Over the next six hours, we worked as a team to carefully bypass the scarred tissue at the base of her liver with a healthy length of intestine. It was difficult, especially in a hospital designed for combat support, but we were able to get her through her recovery. It is a sad ending to her story, she died a year later; but I try to take some comfort from the fact that her parents told me they appreciated having another year with her before she passed away.
I think the child with whom I developed the greatest bond was a two- year-old girl named Leila. She was the daughter of a local commander in the Iraqi National Guard. One of the insurgents in our city threw an incendiary device like a Molotov cocktail through the window of their home and burned the man’s wife and two daughters. For a month I worked so hard to get Leila through her burns. I operated on her nearly every other day, and even got skin grafts to grow over a portion of the burns on her legs. Every day I would speak with her parents and discuss her progress. I could see the anguish in their eyes as they watched their daughter cry out in pain as I changed her dressings. At first she showed some hints of promise that she might pull through, but in the end she succumbed to an overwhelming infection. I had become so attached to her and so hopeful she would make it that her death was just a terrible blow. I still think of her often and wish I could have found some way to get her through.
–Christopher Coppola, M.D.
Visit website to purchase book.
On February 1, 2009 Coppola: A Pediatric Surgeon in Iraq is available at online and other booksellers.
COPPOLA: A PEDIATRIC SURGEON IN IRAQ HAS CREATED A PARTNERSHIP WITH THE NOT-FOR-PROFIT ORGANIZATION WAR KIDS RELIEF. NTI UPSTREAM, WILL DONATE 10% OF BOOK SALES MADE TO THE HELMAND CHILDREN’S MEDICAL FUND (HCMF).
MONEY RAISED WILL PROVIDE MEDICAL AID TO CHILDREN LIVING IN KABUL’S LARGEST INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSON CAMP. IN THE U.S. LED EFFORT TO HUNT DOWN TALIBAN, MANY CIVILIANS HAVE LOST THEIR HOMES DUE TO BOMBING AND VIOLENCE. THOUSANDS OF FAMILIES HAVE FLED HELMAND PROVINCE AND ARE CURRENTLY LIVING IN MAKESHIFT CAMPS ON THE OUTSKIRTS OF KABUL, WHERE OPEN DEFECATION, LACK OF TOILETS, AND POOR SANITATION, HAVE ACCELERATED THE SPREAD OF DISEASE. CURRENTLY, MORE THAN 70% OF THE 2,000 CHILDREN LIVING THERE HAVE PNEUMONIA.
PUMP UP THE VOULME BOOK TOUR
Title: The War on Privacy
Author: Jacqueline Klosek
Publisher: Praeger Publishers (November 30, 2006)
Review source: author
Terrorism is not a new creation; however, it is also undeniable that the current terrorist threat presents new and special challenges to our society. Indeed, the recent wave of terrorist activity has been particularly damaging and profound. The effects of the terrorism of the past few years have transformed and will long continue to influence the way we live for decades, if not centuries, to come. While many of these changes have occurred as a direct result of the acts of terrorists themselves, others have followed and will continue to grow out of our collective response to the acts of the terrorists.
The War on Privacy is densely packed with information about privacy issues around the globe. Author Jacqueline Klosek, a Certified Information Privacy Professional and attorney with Goodwin Procter LLP in New York City, has divided the book into sections which focus on each region of the world. She analyzes how the United States, Africa, the Middle East, Europe, Northern and Southern Neighbors (of the U.S.), South America, Australia, New Zealand, and Asia handle privacy rights, particularly after 9/11. I’ll admit it wasn’t the easiest read for someone who wanted to go to law school but got dismal LSAT scores. Klosek’s intensive research and thorough appraisal of privacy in every region is so complete that The War on Privacy is the ideal reference for privacy issues.
Jacqueline Klosek has answered an arsenal of questions from me. Her writing and interest in this topic’s importance shines through in the book. I have listed what I learned from reading The War on Privacy.
–European Data Protection Directive—prohibits export of any personal data from European Union [EU] to third countries without sufficient protection to personal data.
–Patriot Act [the Uniting and Strengthening America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act of 2001]—“data mining” efforts of the government. The Government has help from corporations, educational institutions, and other private entities. “Such draft has, of course, put many such entities in the impossible position of having to choose between responding to governmental demands for information on the one hand and honoring privacy commitments made to individuals and complying with privacy laws on the other.”
–United Nations Security Council, on September 28, 2001 adopted Resolution 1373—this called upon member states to follow many rules to fight terrorism e.g. “deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support, or commit terrorist acts or provide safe havens;” and “exchange information in accordance with international and domestic law and cooperate on administrative and judicial matters to prevent the commission of terrorist acts;”
–Electronic Communications Privacy Act [ECPA]: “places restrictions on the interception of electronic communications and creates privacy protections for stored electronic communications.”
–Arabic has no equivalent to the English word privacy. Privacy in the Middle East relates to women and family.
–Tunisia (where one of my closest friends from high school has lived with her Tunisian husband and two children for nearly 20 years) became the first Arab country to enact a comprehensive data privacy law.
–Europe “has a longer history and greater experience with both efforts to protect privacy rights and efforts to counteract the threat of terrorism. Therefore, the jurisdiction may be able to offer some points of guidance for other countries that are dealing with these challenges.”
This is part of the Pump up the Volume Book tour.