|Moshin Hamid, Riz Ahmed, Mira Nair, Kate Hudson, Liev Schreiber|
In my opinion, the film succeeds beautifully, but I, too, live between worlds, and have direct, personal experience with just how badly the United States government can behave overseas. "They" hate "us" because a dark element in the US government -- unknown to most American citizens -- deliberately tries to re-shape other countries the way "we" want them to be, using the most insidious methods imaginable. It doesn't work; it only enrages the rest of the planet; but this dark element can't seem to understand there is another way to go about change.
In 2007, Mohsin Hamid wrote an opinion piece for the Washington Post entitled, Why do They Hate US? Hamid was born in Pakistan, but moved to the United States at the age of three after his father was accepted into a PhD program at Stanford. Here's an excerpt:
ROOTS OF RAGE
By Mohsin HamidSunday, July 22, 2007
...The residue of U.S. foreign policy coats much of the world. It is the other part of the answer to the question, "Why do they hate us?" Simply because America has -- often for what seemed good reasons at the time -- intervened to shape the destinies of other countries and then, as a nation, walked away.
... Americans need to educate themselves, from elementary school onward, about what their country has done abroad. And they need to play a more active role in ensuring that what the United States does abroad is not merely in keeping with a foreign policy elite's sense of realpolitik but also with the American public's own sense of American values.
Mira Nair and Mohsin Hamid seem to genuinely love the United States of America, as I do myself -- I spoke quite passionately about this to Kyle Scott, the US Consul General from Milan when I met him at the US Pavilion at the International Architecture Festival on Monday. We love the United States and the freedom, joy and opportunities that abound, and anybody who feels that way is an ally, not an enemy -- which is why it is peculiar that the foreign policy is so warped. More from the article:
...All of which leads us to another, perhaps more fruitful question that Americans ought to consider: "Why do they love us?" People abroad admire Americans not because they back foreign dictators but because they believe that all men and all women are created equal. That concept cannot stop at the borders of the United States. It is a concept far greater than any one nation, no matter how great that nation is. For America to be true to itself, its people must broaden their belief in equality to include the men and women of the world.
The challenge that the United States faces today boils down to a choice. It can insist on its primacy as a superpower, or it can accept the universality of its values. If it chooses the former, it will heighten the resentment of foreigners and increase the likelihood of visiting disaster upon distant populations -- and vice versa. If it chooses the latter, it will discover something it appears to have forgotten: that the world is full of potential allies.
|Kate Hudson and Riz Ahmed|
Director Mira Nair, who lives in New York, hopes American audiences will see it as a film made by people who love the US
The Reluctant Fundamentalist – directed by Mira Nair from the novel by Mohsin Hamid – is a globalised rites-of-passage tale, torn between two worlds, pointed towards disaster, and damning capitalism and terrorism with the same brush. Yet while the material may be contentious, its director insisted that the film be viewed as a dialogue rather than a confrontation.
Neither Mira Nair or Mohsin Hamid are dummies. They were not born in the United States, but they have lived there long enough to offer valuable insight. Their skin is not white and their names are exotic, but they have a point of view that needs to be heard in the West.
Ciao from Venezia,
Venetian Cat - The Venice Blog