December 8, 2005
Washington, DC — Yesterday, The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) participated in an advanced screening of the political thriller “Syriana,” a harsh critique of the US role in the Middle East, the relationship between the US and Arab rulers, and, above all, the scheming of the petroleum industry and its corrupting influence on both American and Arab governments.
The film, loosely based on the book written by Bob Baer “See no Evil: The True Story of a Ground Soldier in the CIA’s War on Terrorism,” was followed by a discussion with Baer, as well as screenwriter and director Stephen Gaghan.
“Syriana‘s” plot is complex, with interweaving subplots that leave many questions unanswered. Prevailing from the confusion however, is a serious examination of the US dependence on Middle East oil, and the willingness of the US to intervene in Arab states using any means necessary, as well as corruption in both regions.
In the world of “Syriana,” Arabs and South Asians, including a royal prince and a Pakistani laborer, are multi dimensional characters with complex motives and personal experiences. At one point Julie Woodman, played by Amanda Peet, who is the wife of an energy consultant says of Arabs, “They really are family oriented.” Viewers also experience the visceral reactions, which are negative as well as positive, to Arab culture through the eyes of various American characters.
The overriding plot does not vilify the Arab world, its people, religions, or cultures, but rather creates a world in which evil feeds off of itself, much to the detriment of Arab and American societies. Money determines everything, and individuals, including oil company executives, Arab princes and covert CIA operatives, are expendable.
“Syriana” is an entertaining, if not always completely lucid, thriller, representing many of the anxieties in post-9/11 America. It represents a commendable effort to deal seriously with numerous troubling aspects of the relationship between US and Arab societies, and as such is highly recommended by ADC.
“Syriana” will open on Friday December 9, 2005 nationwide. For more information about the movie and screening times, click here: http://syrianamovie.warnerbros.com/index.html
December 8, 2005