In The New York Times over the weekend, Howard Beck tells the story of Mark Cuban's new movie "The War Within."
"The War Within" tells the story of Hassan, a Pakistani engineer who - after being wrongfully imprisoned, and tortured, for three years by American forces - becomes an Islamic militant, and is sent to New York as part of a plot to blow up Grand Central Terminal. But while living with a friend's family in New Jersey, Hassan begins to have doubts about his mission. He becomes torn between his religious convictions and his personal affections for his friend's family.
On the film's website, the star and co-writer Ayad Akhtar explains how the idea for the movie was born:
[Director Joseph Castelo} had read an article about a Palestinian suicide bomber in Israel who was on a bus and was wearing a vest, and actually told everyone on the bus that he was armed and asked the bus driver to stop the bus. He got off the bus and went into a field in plain view of all the passengers on the bus, and blew himself up.
Amazing story. There you go, right there--all the proof you need that suicide bombers are complex characters. Anyone who has read Sun Tzu's The Art of War can tell you how important it is to know your enemy. This film sounds like it goes a long way to helping us do that. Maybe suicide bombers have minds that could be changed. Wouldn't that be great? What would it take? Shouldn't we know that? Also from the War Within's website, here's director Joseph Castelo:
The experience of 9/11 framed the activity of these guys as such a foregone conclusion, and to me that story opened up a subjectivity that I had never realized, intellectually or emotionally, that someone actually right up to that last moment could make a decision either way. What does it mean experientially to go with someone like that, all the way through, up until the moment that they decide to do it or not do it? I remember in New York after 9/11 everyone was just walking around and asking: "Why? Why did they do this? Why did they do this?" As an American filmmaker I felt like there wasn't any other film I should be making, at this point.
Predictably, and unfortunately, the whole "scared of ideas" crowd is calling Cuban anti-American for producing a film that looks at suicide bombers as complex characters. For instance: Clear and Present, and Front Page Mag, where writer Debbie Schlussel calls Cuban a "Jihadist Propaganda Producer" and mocks the filmmakers for including the work of Sayyid Qutb in their bibliography. Qutb's thought inspired Al Qaeda and most of the USA's most extreme enemies. No one should consider making a movie about an anti-American suicide bomber without reading Qutb. It's just anti-intellectuals like Schlussel who confuse reading something, or thinking about something, with promoting it.
Wonder if this will affect ticket sales for Maverick games.