Say Wha III

Posted by sepoy on October 04, 2007 · 2 mins read

"A specialist on Islam at the State Department nearly wept envisioning a “Danish-cartoons situation,” Mr. Kiriakou said. An Afghan literature professor, he added, said Paramount was “willing to burn an already scorched nation for a fistful of dollars.” The head of an Afghan political party said the movie would energize the Taliban. Nearly everyone Mr. Kiriakou met said that the boys had to be removed from Afghanistan for their safety. And a Hazara member of Parliament warned that Pashtun and Hazara “would be killing each other every night” in response to the film's depiction of them." 'The Kite Runner' Is Delayed to Protect Child Stars, NYT, October 4, 2007. [thx Rajeev]

The news piece, concerned as it is with the plight of the child actors from the movie, The Kite Runner, sadly doesn't linger on that weeping Islam specialist at the State. (Are there other specialists who weep? For other injustices? Does that weeping cut into their "sober analysis time"?) And is much the poorer for it. Yet, even in the rush to show us the topsy-turvy world of a hollywood studio doing security risk-analysis and international diplomacy, it still manages to give us things to ponder:

Though the book is admired in Afghanistan by many in the elite, its narrative remains unfamiliar to the broader population, for whom oral storytelling and rumor communication carry far greater weight.
The film's director, Marc Forster, whose credits include “Finding Neverland” (2004), another film starring child actors, said he saw “The Kite Runner” as “giving a voice and a face to people who've been voiceless and faceless for the last 30 years.”
So on Sunday Rich Klein, a Middle East specialist at the consulting firm Kissinger McLarty Associates, flew to the United Arab Emirates to arrange visas, housing and schooling for the young actors and jobs for their guardians. (The United States is not an option, he said, because Afghans do not qualify for refugee status.)

Those involved say that the studio doesn't want to be taken advantage of, but that it could accept responsibility for the boys' living expenses until they reach adulthood, a cost some estimated at up to $500,000. The families, of course, must first agree to the plan.

Also, talk about Empire & Information ...