Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Canada's Water Is Nominated For An Oscar

Great job by Deepa Mehta. Her movie, Water, a Canadian entry under the "Best Foreign Language Film" category, is nominated for an Oscar.

This movie was brilliant in many ways. First, it showed how strict, fundamentalist and literal interpretation of religious texts is a danger to human civilization's progress. Second, it cast a light on discrimination that many Indians face in India even today.

Second, rather than disparage India, it cast her in a more progressive light as Gandhi is shown as a religious man who is also liberal. Mehta's statement that "water is good only when it's flowing, and stagnant water is a danger", is so apt and true.

What are the chances of its win?

It's a tough question to answer. The Academy is mostly white and India is big now, so rewarding Water might be seen as a slap to India's face.

Its first rival, Days of Glory, is a good movie that already had one practical result - the picture has shamed the French government into granting pension increases to Algerian soldiers who fought for the French before being discarded by them. The Academy also loves movies about war and its aftermaths.

After the Wedding is more of a personal/family drama type of movie. It also has part of its setting in India, but is mostly about a Danish person. I would be surprised if this won. It's a good film, but not that good.

The Lives of Others is a German movie, set before the fall of the Berlin wall, about a spy, the lives he spies upon and how he becomes involved. Just like many European movies it has lots of closet sex, dark and gritty scenes and a slow narration. Maybe some members of the Academy might vote for this movie to send a message to the current US administration about spying and civil rights.

The final rival is Pan's Labyrinth, a Mexican movie. Another war movie. Latin setting. Won lots of awards at Film Festivals. Could just sneak this one too.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Little Blog Post On the Little Mosque

I loved the show.

As a Muslim it is a great feeling to have a show where the focus is on normal Muslims. Not the evil bad Muslim terrorist. Not the token patriotic Muslim. Not the token translator. Not the harem dancer.

Normal, everyday Muslims facing normal everyday issues.

Kudos to CBC. Kudos to Canada.

As for the show itself, while not laugh out funny, it was warm, cosy and left a hard-to-suppress giggle throughout. I actually found myself wishing it wouldn't end, and felt a pang of disappointment when 9 pm appeared. It did have a couple of really hilarious moments (the dead body in the laundry, the 'you do not choose which country we deport you to', to mention a few). I see myself buying the DVD for the set when it comes out. I hope they can contain to keep it fresh and tackle some issues while at it.

If anyone has any questions about an Islamic aspect of the show they did not understand, you can always email me/comment here..

Friday, January 05, 2007

Khan Optics Bad For Dion

I have said it before, and have no problems repeating it here: Khan was wrong to work for the Conservatives, and Bill Graham should not have allowed it to happen. Now, however, the optics of the situation makes Stephane Dion look very bad. And in politics, optics and perception is a big part of the game.

Dion is casted as the villain in this piece, when he allegedly gave an "ultimatum" to Wajid Khan. And Khan therefore stated that he had to choose between his country and his party. In reality, the choice, in my opinion, was between the position of just another backbench MP, or a backbench MP with a "special advisory" position.

Dion should have offered Khan a future cabinet position (as either in "special advisory capacity" to the Foreign Minister, or some other junior cabinet post in that capacity). And no, it's not a bribe. We are offering him that position for the same purported expertise that Harper has made Wajid Khan his special advisor.

Personally, I don't like Wajid Khan.

In my own opinion, Khan has no unique characteristics that makes him suitable for that role. So he is Muslim, of Pakistani descent, and was a member of the Pakistan Air Force. How does that make him better qualified than anyone else? We have lots of academics, and one can easily pick another academic of South Asian descent, preferably Muslim. The Pakistani air force that he is so proud of, and where Khan served as an officer and pilot from 1966 to 1973 [source], was part of the same Pakistani military that committed genocide in 1971, as documented vigorously since. Wikipedia also states Khan actively took part in the war of 1971. As a Canadian Muslim of Bangladeshi descent I want him to clarify his role in that war and ask whether he had any innocent Bengali blood on his hands.

As a Muslim, had I lived in his riding, I would have to seriously question how he was best serving my interests. In my opinion, we have a Prime Minister who is so pro-Israel that he cannot acknowledge the poverty and destitution of Palestinians in Gaza and West Bank, the fertile breeding grounds for terrorism. Harper also refuses to acknowledge reality in Afghanistan, that our mission cannot go on as planned and we need a change in direction. So how much of Wajid Khan's advice is Harper taking? And what is his advice?