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The Lives of Others

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March 15, 2011 – Comments (16)

Today I saw a movie that had a profound effect on me. It's called The Lives of Others.  Based in East Germany in 1984, the story revolves around a playwright's attempt to expose the truth about East German conditions to the West.

As I watched the movie my thoughts were not on East Germany. They were on Guantanamo Bay, where the life of another is being robbed in the name of state security.  The names and political parties change. The drama is the same.

During the course of the movie, the plot moves ahead to November 1989 - the fall of the Berlin Wall. The playwright begins to learn the truth about the level of surveillance he had been under by the Stasi. In an exchange with a former Party official, the playwright tells him, "To think that people like you once ruled a country."  The man smiles.

The man smiles.

"To think that people like you once ruled a country." And the man smiles.

I think of the young man in Guantanamo, lying naked in solitary confinement, prevented from sleeping, shepherded in chains for one hour per day, taken back to his cell the moment he stops, held without charges for ten months and counting. Not even the Stasi was so cruel.  Perhaps he would have met a swifter fate in East Germany. Considering his future, which most likely is life imprisonment or the death sentence, I think the Stasi method was more humane.

I think of P.J. Crowley forced to resign for questioning the young man's torture.  I think of the Stasi bureaucrat shipped off to dreg work for not going along with the Party's plans. I think of Obama's promise of transparency and protection for whistleblowers. I think of campaign promises to end torture, close Guantanamo, and repeal the Bush legacy.

Most of all, I think of all the people who told me that they were voting for Change.  And I smile too.

David in Qatar 

16 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On March 15, 2011 at 8:00 PM, kdakota630 (29.72) wrote:

I bought this on DVD a little while ago but haven't watched it yet mainly because it's hard talking my wife into watching a movie with subtitles.

Your review was similar to what I'd read from others which is why I bought it in the first place.

Hopefully soon.

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#2) On March 15, 2011 at 8:08 PM, kdakota630 (29.72) wrote:

For those who are interested here are some movie reviews from Amazon.com.

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#3) On March 15, 2011 at 8:39 PM, whereaminow (22.70) wrote:

kdak,

You will enjoy it. Two thumbs up.

David in Qatar 

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#4) On March 15, 2011 at 8:45 PM, ChrisGraley (29.83) wrote:

I've written and erased 4 replies here.

I'll leave it at this.

Is this change? 

 

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#5) On March 15, 2011 at 9:07 PM, whereaminow (22.70) wrote:

Chris,

I've written and erased 4 replies here.

Damn, something tells me they were worth reading.

David in Qatar 

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#6) On March 15, 2011 at 9:49 PM, ChrisGraley (29.83) wrote:

They were worth reading only to people willing to read them David.

In each case I imagined the arguments and my counter arguments and the results of both.

Not one scenario gets anyone out of Gitmo.

Sometimes you give up when you realise that being right is not being effective.

 

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#7) On March 15, 2011 at 10:10 PM, NOTvuffett (< 20) wrote:

David, if you don't think mundane criminal defendants are subjected to sleep deprivation, exposure to temperatue extremes etc. you are mistaken.

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#8) On March 15, 2011 at 10:14 PM, bluebare (34.70) wrote:

I read something the other day that might apply here or not.

Too many bloggers, not enough patriots.

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#9) On March 15, 2011 at 10:15 PM, devoish (98.18) wrote:

Call your Republican Senator and demand they be brought to trial. Tell them you are not afraid of facing up to what was done in my name too. Tell them you have the courage to face whatever the terrorists try to do if they are brought onto American soil and are offered the right to trial.

Tell them you expect the standard of decency we are supposed to believe applies to all men should not be removed by labeling them terrorist.

Because if I remember correctly, it was Republicans that were afraid.

And I will tell President Obama not to be afraid of bad press from Republican news outlets.

Best wishes,

Steven

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#10) On March 15, 2011 at 10:21 PM, NOTvuffett (< 20) wrote:

devoish, I have a better idea, let's bring all the politicians no matter what party to justice for failing in their fiduciary duties to the nation.

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#11) On March 15, 2011 at 11:30 PM, whereaminow (22.70) wrote:

NOTvuffett,

David, if you don't think mundane criminal defendants are subjected to sleep deprivation, exposure to temperatue extremes etc. you are mistaken. 

I agree with you, but although I highlight the predicament of one person, this post is not about prisoner treatment.  It's about a much deeper question.

bluebare,

Too many bloggers, not enough patriots. 

Fair criticism. But I am no patriot.

devoish,

Call your Republican Senator and demand they be brought to trial.

And I smile. 

David in Qatar 

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#12) On March 16, 2011 at 11:55 AM, EnigmaDude (87.67) wrote:

What does any of this have to do with investing?  

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#13) On March 16, 2011 at 2:08 PM, whereaminow (22.70) wrote:

Enigma,

What does your comment have to do with my post?

David in Qatar

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#14) On March 16, 2011 at 2:10 PM, rfaramir (29.41) wrote:

A country with less liberty is less conducive to investing. Watching social power (voluntary interactions) being replaced by state power (coercive actions) is chilling when I consider where to invest or even where to live someday. 

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#15) On March 18, 2011 at 4:52 PM, motleyanimal (83.92) wrote:

Found it on Netflix. I'll be watching it next week. Thanks.

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#16) On March 22, 2011 at 2:57 PM, mtf00l (46.60) wrote:

whereaminow,

You seem to be waxing nostalgic...

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