Saturday, May 22, 2004

Last Samurai

This post doesn't have much to do with EFL, only with being an American in Japan and the kind of insight one can get this far away.

Saw the film, "Last Samurai" last night. It was a profound film for me, probably more on a personal level than anything. It may not have been a great film, but it was certainly good to watch. This film embodied many of the feelings that I have about the conflict in Iraq.

The first moment that the film struck me so personally was this one where Higen and Algren were talking. Higen is the son of a warrior that Algren had killed in battle.

HIGEN
Will you fight the white men?

ALGREN
If they come here, yes.

HIGEN
Why?

ALGREN
Because they come to destroy what I
have come to love.

The things that Algren had initially come to fight for in Japan had changed. His beliefs had transformed so that what the American and Japanese governments actually stood for, no longer represented his world view. I'm not saying that his initial world view was noble; on the contrary it had mostly to do with finacial reward and alcohol. I can relate to his new world view now in Bush's conflicts in Iraq and Afganistan. In the film, the rich and powerful people of Japan and America were interested in futhering their own financial powers by building railroads and dealing in arms at the expense of the common people. The same is now true in Iraq and Afganistan, but with oil thrown in the mix. Like Algren, after being apart from the America for a while, and after having been thrust into a circumstances that necessitate reflection, there is room for new perspectives. It is easy to see for me that the rich and powerful do not represent what I believe. They do not represent what I believe is the best of America. And the people who suffer are the common people. The farmers, and the soldiers. Our soldiers are fighting to defend what is good and right about America, while Bush and his like pervert their good intentions. The good people of Iraq and Afganistan are dieing in the tens of thousands, and suffering knows no bounds there.

Another point here is that our warriors, our men and women who have so bravely gone to fight for the true and good America, need support and protection from the perversity and greed of their leaders, even though I don't really know how to do that right now.

I was also interested that in the movie, the good guys lost. The good people of Japan lost to the greedy and powerful, and the Americans actually got the arms deals they were after. The greedy and powerful in Japan went on to cause great suffering and grief, not just in Japan, but all over Asia and Russia in the years after the film. American history, well you know all about that. The blowback still goes on. The arms deals still go on.

2 comments:

kevlatta said...

Do you know what the scroll says which Higen hands to Algren?

Anonymous said...

Yes, anyone knows what does it say?