Monday, October 5, 2009

Movie Day

The parents of a 17-year-old high school senior in Kentucky have complained to their local school board over a film shown to their daughter in class that they believe was inappropriate. On the anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks, a Junior ROTC teacher decided to show “Fitna”, the short subject documentary made by Dutch politician Geert Wilders about various horrors committed in the name of Islam. The movie shows bloody and violent footage of terrorist attacks as well as female genital mutilation performed in several Islamic countries. To be sure, the teacher probably shouldn’t have shown the film to his juniors and seniors. Not because it’s too violent or yucky for teenagers, but because it just doesn’t make a very good case for itself. True, there are some horrible passages in the Koran, and there are plenty of inhuman acts carried out in the name of Islam. But to paint all Muslims as potential terrorists is as ignorant as painting all Christians as potential slave owners just because the Bible condones it. Also, female genital mutilation is a cultural phenomenon that isn’t based on anything inherently Islamic. Oh, and Geert Wilders is kind of a racist more concerned about keeping brown people out of his country than exposing the horrible truth about a particular religion. Still, why shouldn’t teenagers be exposed to the bloody truth of terrorism and child abuse? It’s not like a few more years of maturity are suddenly going to make these into feel-good topics. Of course, as a former teacher myself, I suspect this instructor wasn’t so much motivated to inform his students as he was to dim the lights and sip his flask of soul-warming whiskey in relative silence for a few goddamn minutes. This is why all teachers occasionally check out the A/V cart for movie day. More details here.

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