Don't let the barriers you have built to define who you are blind you from appreciating the unfamiliar.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

M.I.A. - Born Free (again)

I am still talking about this video.
The major critique of this video around the internet is the concerning the graphic sex and raw violence, but the shock scenes are not glamorous. If the director wanted to make an indelible mark on the viewer, he had to startle the view with the stark consequence of xenophobia and racism.

The problem with sex and violence is that it can be glorified. The director made the right choice by making the sex and the violence to ugly to glorify. The sex scene is dirty, frightening and humiliating, with two particularly unnappealing naked people.

The violence is uncomfortable. The most vivid scene portrays an officer shooting a child in the head. There is nothing to glorify in this scene. Even a fan of ultra-violence will feel uneasy watching a child get shot. The sex and violence really punctuates the injustice without glorifying it.

This video is about xenophobia/racism and power. The video tries to illustrate in stark detail what happens when the state or the group in power uses xenophobia/racism to maintain power.

The result is that people the people in the in-group (the naked couple) and those outside of the group (the redheads) are dehumanized. The dehumanization allows the state to rationalize denying privacy and denying rights and enacting violence and murder and eventually genocide.

I am pretty sure the point of the video is to allow you to draw parallels to conflicts around the world. The conflicts between Hispanics and Blacks in the US and Muslims in Europe are less violent right now, but as xenophobia and racism grow, they can lead to situations that we see in Israel with Palastinians, with Kurds in the Middle East or with Tamils in MIA's own Sri Lanka. If conflict is not resolved, it leads to what we saw in Rwanda, Armenia, Bosnia, and the Holocaust. Share/Bookmark

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