Friday, March 03, 2006

On the boob tube last night ...

This season, I’ve returned to watching ER. It had been a rather stale, very miss-able show, but this year it has reached new heights (dare I say, this season, so far, has been it’s best yet.) Perhaps it is because it doesn’t rely on the star-power of one actor to carry it (as it did with George Clooney, or Noah Wiley.)

But last night’s episode reminded me that Hollywood is here to teach me something. We returned, briefly, to Wiley’s character who is temporarily serving in Sudan, treating the refugees of the genocide. The evildoers, of course, are the Janjaweed. No one disputes this. The Janjaweed rapes one of the characters, and then later kills the husband, who was out for retribution.

What I found interesting, though, was the presentation of the refugees as devote muslims, and innocents (which they certainly are), and the Janjaweed as merely some roving, militaristic thugs. While they are thugs, totally glossed over is the fact that the Janjaweed are muslims as well. From Wikapedia:

The Janjaweed (variously spelled Janjawid ,Jingaweit ,Jinjaweed ,Janjawiid ,Janjiwid , etc.) is an armed militia group in Darfur , western Sudan , comprising fighters of Arab background (mainly from the originally nomadic Baggara people). Since 2003 it has been one of the principal actors in the increasingly bloody Darfur conflict , which has pitted nomadic tribes against the settled arable farmer tribes of the region. The Janjaweed represent the ruling Sunni Muslim government.

The name "Janjaweed" means "armed men on horseback." The Janjaweed is the successor to an earlier Arab tribal militia, the Murahilin (literally "nomads"), which had existed for many years beforehand.

Perhaps this detail wasn’t important? Perhaps Hollywood was afraid this would give us the "wrong" impression of Islam? The truth of the matter, is that this is a battle between black muslims, and arab muslims (who are in power, and are supported by the Janjaweed). It is the blacks that are being eliminated.

The message of ER, I assume, is how can "we" let this happen? The question, though, is how can we stop it? What is Hollywood willing to support to stop this genocide? Based on the criticism from the likes of George Clooney, Sean Penn, and the majority of Hollywood, nothing.