Six months in Iraq, culminating in the national election on January 30, 2005. We watch logistic preparations for the election, with UN, US, Australian, and local personnel unsure if the election will be held as scheduled, bracing for violence and for world attention. We also cut back and forth to Dr. Riyadh, a Sunni physician who practices at the Adhamiya Free Clinic and prays at the Abu Hanifa Mosque. He's an Iraqi Islamic Party candidate for the Baghdad Provincial Council; he visits Abu Ghraib prison and speaks out. We meet his wife and daughters: the family is cheerful, ironic, and droll. Will his party participate in the elections? Will he vote? Is his family safe?Written by
At first look, it can be a very boring series of juxtaposed snippets of life in a war ravage country. Looking deeper as a whole, it forges a lasting impact on viewers with layers of unsolvable problems and unanswered issues.
In the beginning, it seems as the invading forces are the liberators (as they claimed themselves) who bring democracy to solve most (if not all) of the problems brought on by the previous evil dictator (who we did aid, support, and pedestal onto the country's supreme seat of power). The locals did cling onto that story line in the hope of a free and peaceful democratic country. But, as time reveals, the liberators have become the occupiers... and, the occupiers have become part of the problem (if not "the" problem). The natives become discontented... and, opportunists and opposition forces arise with religions, ideologies, politics, cultures, factions and tribal ethnicity armed as the bases for insurgency, terrorism, war and power.
Politics by itself is already complicated and conflicted; politics couples with religion will only further the complication and entangle the mess which is already messed up.
There are no easy solutions in a country such as Iraq (or the Middle East as a whole). Democracy is like respect, one has to earn it. One nation cannot go into another nation and give out democracy like chocolate bars. One nation cannot demand respect when it doesn't deserve it or not yet (e.g. China or Russia). Democracy has to be demanded and earned by the citizens of each nation. Respect can be freely recognized only when that nation demonstratively deserved so.
Laura Poitras must have the utmost trust and confidence of all the Iraqis involved (especially those who invited her into their houses with their families), the US military personnel, the UN personnel, and others who appeared in the documentary, in order to film such candid and honest footage under very difficult situations. She deserves all the respect and accolades for accomplishing this monumental task.
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