Sunday, October 21, 2007

My main blog

Hi! I only use this account to leave comments on Blogger sites that require a Blogger account. If you'd like to visit my blog, please go to this link: Balanced on the Edge

Thanks! If someone knows how or if I can import my wordpress site into Blogger, please drop me a line.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Thoughts on The Last King of Scotland

Forest Whittaker and James McAvoy, playing the characters of Idi Amin and Dr. Nicholas Garrigan, act out the archetypal themes of thwarting the father, and the father devouring his son. Nicholas flees Scotland in rebellion against his own father, only to find a substitute father in the charismatic Idi Amin. The acting was right on the mark, totally believable.

The film also raises the question of the legacy of European colonization of Africa, and the responsibility Westerners have in the murders Amin carried out.

Does one leader rise to the top and cause the world to change, or do the masses give him their tacit permission to act? If Idi Amin hadn't become the paranoid dictator of Uganda, would another man just like him have committed similar acts of brutality? Do the people push the man to the top, or does power start with the individual?

Psychologists who have studied group dynamics say that when groups of people are trained to be obedient, they easily accept the mandates of the group in power. The ruling class starts out slowly, becoming more brutal and evil as time goes on. This theory tries to explain, at least in part, what happened to the Jews in Nazi Germany.

The character of Dr. Garrigan is well thought out. Through the course of events in Uganda, he is forced to examine his own part in the killings. Because he wanted to please his new father figure, he ignored the signs of erratic behavior in Idi Amin. It took the innuendos of an outside person to help him see the truth.

None of us is innocent to the extent that we allow brutality to exist around us. We see murder, violence, starvation and torture in the news, yet we turn our backs.

Still, I believe that the only way to eliminate violence is in the practice of personal nonviolence. Eliminating angry outbursts and harsh words towards others is the first step. That's where I am right now.

Watch The Last King of Scotland, for the acting, and for the questions it raises.