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  Essentially, it is about the colonized man, the colonized family and its attempt at de-colonization.

Ironically, we are challenged to decide who is the fanatic, the father or the son,

for both are battling their supposed demons.

 

 

Understanding London 

A Review of My Son The Fanatic

Review by Marvin X (El Muhajir) 

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My Son The Fanatic

Director: Udayan Prasad

Cast: Om Puri, Rachel Griffiths, Stellan Skarsgård, Akbar Kurtha

 

 

In light of recent events in London, I thought it would be important for a clearer understanding of London's Muslim community to resend this review of the film My Son The Fanatic. Most western politicians, media spooks and experts refuse to address the root cause of young men and women willing to self destruct as suicide bombers or why they choose to become fundamentalist Muslims. Westerners and the moderate Muslim experts continue in denial that white supremacy is the root cause of their former colonial subjects desire to remove the last vestiges of the disease of cultural imperialism.

White supremacy has spread hopelessness in young Muslims in Europe and cultural imperialism has spread it to the former colonies, now neo-colonial regimes best described by journalist Ayman Al Amir, who recently said, “Terrorism is the consequence of political ostracism, not religious fanaticism. It is fermented not in the mosques of Egypt or the madrassas of Pakistan but in solitary confinement cells, torture chambers, and the environment of fear wielded by dictatorial regimes.”

The film reveals that Muslims in Europe, and London in particular, are not only politically disenfranchised but culturally, economically, and spirituality alienated as well.

This alienation is simply the nature of the beast, the Mother Country, that devours the little people from the colonies who seek comfort in the Mother but are rejected for being less than human, thus in a twist of the Oedipus complex, they seek to destroy the Mother who has all but destroyed them, stunted their personalities and possibilities for human and spiritual development.

The Review

…Essentially, it is about the colonized man, the colonized family and its attempt at de-colonization. Ironically, we are challenged to decide who is the fanatic, the father or the son, for both are battling their supposed demons. For the son, it is western culture—the father fights to escape eastern culture, i.e., his Pakistani roots. The son wants to return to his religious roots, Islamic fundamentalism. The father is fanatically in love with secularism—he is non-religious, in love with jazz, blues, alcohol and whores, one in particular.

What if Osama Bin Laden and his band of devils came to your house at the invitation of your son? When his son comes under the influence of fundamental Islam, he get his father to allow a Muslim teacher to visit from Lahore, Pakistan, turning the house into an Islamic center, which the father reluctantly allows because of his deep love for his son. Although he arranges for his son to marry a London policeman’s daughter, the son rejects his father’s request, opting for Islam, claiming the girl represents the worst of western culture. Couldn’t he see how the policeman abhorred him, the son asks the father.

The father is blind: his loveless job as a London taxi driver exposes him to street life and he succumbs, falling seriously in love with a whore, rejecting his homely wife who has failed to inspire him, perhaps because she doesn’t represent the decadent western culture he loves, symbolized and summarized in the whore. For him, the whore has life, love, tenderness, and freedom. Why can’t he get this at home? Is it because the wife represents the old world he rejects so totally?  …After his son and comrades attack the whores for being whores—the son actually attacks his father’s whore, spitting on her, and striking her in a violent anti-prostitution riot, forcing the father to expel the imam, with the son departing in disgust.

…In the German trick Mr. Schitz, we see the arrogance of western man who derides the father for being the “little man.” What can the little man from the East do with the white whore, the symbol of western civilization? The little man is inferior by nature, with defects, genetic of course, which disqualifies him from being on par with western man.

Mr. Schitz can pat the “little man” or eastern man on the head, kick him to the ground and apply any number of verbal insults, until eastern man finds a bat in the truck of his car and threatens to use it. Of course, this is the colonized man fighting back, regaining his manhood. The father fights on a personal level, the son on a politico-religious level, but both are fighting colonialism.

Their misunderstanding each other’s fight is symbolic of the tension between moderate and fundamental Muslims. We know we cannot go back to Islam of the Prophet’s day, but nor can we accept the passivity of the moderates. There is no excuse for one billion Muslims being humiliated by a few million Jews in Israel. This is not a question of hatred, but the result of political backwardness, the non-use of power. With Muslim unity, the Palestinian problem could be resolved tomorrow morning. 

Until contradictions between moderate and fundamental Muslims are resolved, eastern man will not be able to successfully challenge western man. This, of course, will necessitate revolution because moderate Muslims control most Islamic societies and have no plans to give up power without a struggle—those who struggle against them being described as terrorists to disqualify legitimate freedom fighters who will ultimately challenge the corrupt, undemocratic, secular Muslim nations.

The final question is what will be the nature of the new Nation of Islam. Can fundamentalism function in the modern era or is it antithetical? Will it be repressive, will it be democratic in any sense, not necessarily in the western democratic sense? Will Iran be an example? Tunisia? Turkey? For sure, the motion in the Muslim world will lead to a synthesis of the best of the old and the new. 

Let us understand clearly, if the reactionary secular regimes cannot or do not eradicate ignorance, poverty and disease, they will be replaced.

The father’s love of the whore was real. She represented the poor underclass that even the revolutionary son could not accept because of his moral myopia. If the father had married her (another wife being acceptable in Islam), perhaps the son would have respected him and the tension between the old and new would have eased, allowing the possibility of a better day.

After the present convolutions, look for a marriage between old Islam and the new, between East and West. We will either come together or go to hell together. For all his attempts to claim allegiance to the Islamic past, Osama Bin Laden is the most modern of men, using modern technology, modern weapons, modern financial systems, and modern media techniques to the best of his ability.

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This film review appears in Marvin X's book of essays, In the Crazy House Called America, Black Bird Press, 2002. Send $19.95 to Black Bird Press, 11132 Nelson Bar Road, Cherokee CA 95965. Marvin X is now available for lecture/readings. Contact him at the above address or call 510-472-9589. In September/October, he will be on a tour of the dirty south and funky east coast. He's looking for venues in your city.

posted 5 August 2005

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"Religion is what keeps the poor from murdering the rich." Napoleon Bonaparte

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Marvin X and His Parables

Eldridge Cleaver: My Friend the Devil

A Memoir by Marvin X

Marvin X on YouTube   Marvin X Table 

Books by Marvin X

Love and War: Poems  / In the Crazy House Called America

 Woman: Man's Best Friend Beyond Religion Toward Spirituality

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AALBC.com's 25 Best Selling Books


 

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Pray the Devil Back to Hell

A film directed by Gini Reticker

Pray the Devil Back to Hell is a captivating new film by director Gini Reticker. It exposes a different story angle for the largely forgotten recent events of the women of Liberia uniting to bring the end to their nation's civil war. This film is amazing in the way it captivates your attention from the earliest frames. It doesn't shy away from showing footage of the violent events that took place during the Liberian civil war. But the main story of the film is that of Leymah Gbowee and the other women uniting, despite their religious differences, to force action on the stalled peace talks in their country. Using entirely nonviolent methods, not only are the peace talks successful, but Charles Taylor, the president of Liberia, is forced into exile leading to the first election of a female head of state in Africa. The women of this film are truly an inspiration and no one can fail to be moved by the message of hope that comes through clearly in this film. These are heroes that deserve to be remembered and with Pray the Devil we are able to do that, gaining both a knowledge of the history we are ignorant of through archival footage and an understanding of the leaders of this movement through close-up interviews with the many women who lead it. The film also offers a great soundtrack & inspirational song- "Djoyigbe" by Angelique Kidjo & Blake Leyh.Amazon Reviewer

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Mighty Be Our Powers

How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War

By Leymah Gbowee

As a young woman, Leymah Gbowee was broken by the Liberian civil war, a brutal conflict that tore apart her life and claimed the lives of countless relatives and friends. Years of fighting destroyed her country—and shattered Gbowee’s girlhood hopes and dreams. As a young mother trapped in a nightmare of domestic abuse, she found the courage to turn her bitterness into action, propelled by her realization that it is women who suffer most during conflicts—and that the power of women working together can create an unstoppable force. In 2003, the passionate and charismatic Gbowee helped organize and then led the Liberian Mass Action for Peace, a coalition of Christian and Muslim women who sat in public protest, confronting Liberia’s ruthless president and rebel warlords, and even held a sex strike. With an army of women, Gbowee helped lead her nation to peace—in the process emerging as an international leader who changed history. Mighty Be Our Powers is the gripping chronicle of a journey from hopelessness to empowerment that will touch all who dream of a better world.—Beast Books  / Pray the Devil Back to Hell

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Book of Sins

By Nidaa Khoury

Khoury's poetry is fired by belief in the human and the spiritual at a time when many of us feel unreal and often spiritually hollow.—Yair Huri, Ben-Gurion University 

Written in water and ink, in between the shed blood. Nidaa Khoury's poems take us to the bosom of an ancient woman  . . . an archetype revived. The secret she whispers is 'smaller than words.'—Karin Karakasli, author, Turkey

Nidaa Khoury was born in Fassouta, Upper Galilee, in 1959. Khoury is the author of seven books published in Arabic and several other languages, including The Barefoot River, which appeared in Arabic and Hebrew and The Bitter Crown, censored in Jordan. The Palestinian poet is studied in Israeli universities and widely reviewed by the Arab press. The founder of the Association of Survival, an NGO for minorities in Israel, Khoury has participated in over 30 international literary and human rights conferences and festivals. Khoury is the subject of the award-winning film, Nidaa Through Silence. Currently a senior lecturer at Ben-Gurion University, Khoury's poem Portal to the Orient is being produced by Sarab for Dance for performance in Palestine. Book of Sins introduces this important Middle Eastern poet to the Caribbean and the Americas.

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The White Masters of the World

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By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery / George Jackson  / Hurricane Carter

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update 16 February 2012

 

 

 

Home Marvin X Table    Film Review   Marvin X Bio Another look at Israel Table

Related files:  The Complexity of Iraq     Islam Needs a Martin Luther  London Bridges Falling Down  (Responses)   Open Letter to Dr. Hussein Shahristani  My Son The Fanatic (film) 

When I Think About the Women in My Life  (poem)  Maangamizi (the Ancient One) (film review)