In television interviews, Deah Shaddy Barakat’s sister, Suzanne Barakat, protests that the movie “American Sniper” “dehumanizes” Muslims.
Sure, director Clint Eastwood made perfunctory efforts to portray Muslims as victims of religious extremists’ violence, too, but it’s hard to leave the movie theater without feeling that most of the Muslims shown on screen are people to be feared, are – as some characters in the movie referred to them – “savages.”
You know who else the movie – or, more precisely, the war it shows – dehumanizes?
Everybody. Chris Kyle, the movie’s hero – no, not its hero, its protagonist – was a tormented soul by the end, and you couldn’t help feeling that each bullet he put into someone else took something out of him.
“American Sniper” was as thoughtful as a movie featuring exploding heads and maimed bodies can be. As Eastwood said in interviews, “the biggest anti-war statement any film” can make is to show what war “does to the family and people who have to go back into civilian life like Chris Kyle did.”
The biggest villain
Muslims who watched themselves being misrepresented on screen may disagree, but the movie’s biggest villain to me was the U.S. government for the way it sends men and women off to war and then brings them back without an adequate support system, especially for mental and psychological support.
So, you just went off to war and killed 100 people? Here’s your job back at the Piggly Wiggly.
Just as when the news media had everyone a’fearin’ that Ebola was right outside our door and people returning from West Africa had to be quarantined for 21 days before being sent back into society, anyone who has been exposed to war for his or her country should be treated for a period to ensure that they are healthy.
Although the investigation is continuing into the triple homicide that claimed Deah Barakat; his wife, Yusor Al-Salha, and her sister, Razan Al-Salha, there seems to be no paper or social network trail showing that Craig Stephen Hicks killed them because they were Muslim.
As neighbors have noted and his Facebook page showed, Hicks was an “equal opportunity” jerk who hated all religions.
Yeah, but he didn’t kill anyone of all religions: He killed people of a religion that is being demonized in movies and nightly on television. Were it not so sad, it would be laughable seeing the TV talking heads interviewing Suzanne Barakat, trying to express their no-doubt heartfelt sympathy – when often it is their networks that banged the drums for war and aided in demonizing Muslims.
You know who we ought to fear more than some Muslim boogie man?
Anyone who leaves “American Sniper” and doesn’t say, as Gen. William T. Sherman said, “War is hell.”
Early in “American Sniper,” as the planes were shown crashing into the World Trade Center, a woman seated behind me in the theater gasped “Jesus.”
That’s why I know the movie did not celebrate violence: It merely portrayed it.
The “coming attractions,” now that’s another story. You can’t blame Eastwood or Bradley Cooper, the movie’s star and producer, for this, but the people who decide such things obviously decided that anyone who likes “American Sniper” likes carnage unlimited, too.
The featured previews included what must be the 29th movie in which Liam Neeson kills 800 people to protect his family; “Ant Man,” in which a Marvel superhero kills innumerable bad guys, and the latest Arnold Schwarzenegger bloodfest.
After watching “American Sniper” – but mainly after watching the blood-soaked previews – another Sherman quote came to mind.
“I confess, without shame, that I am sick and tired of fighting.”
So are most of us.