One Flew Over Belmarsh Prison.

by Jerry Alatalo

“The deeds on men never deceive the gods.” 

– OVID (43 B.C. – 18 A.D.) Roman poet  

eople concerned about the severe health and well-being threats to the world’s most important publisher-journalist of the 21st century, Julian Assange, are especially concerned during the ongoing extradition hearings at London’s maximum security Belmarsh Prison.

The sense of frustration felt by millions of men and women around the Earth regarding the seemingly endless persecution and increasingly harsh, unjust retribution Assange has been forced to endure for (10) years was captured by authors in the past.

After years of seeming incomprehensible, overly-complex legal wrangling between Mr. Assange’s attorneys and the combined United States-United Kingdom establishment seeking to imprison Assange for life inside America, serious observers surely have felt the “Catch 22” predominant aspect of the affair.

From the motion picture “Catch 22”

Joseph Heller’s book “Catch 22” was eventually made into a major big-screen motion picture, capturing the author’s sense of utter futility and hopelessness in the conditions and circumstances involved in the conducting of wars. “Catch 22” has since become a well-known term for describing the category of human-to-human communications which share the depressing feature of resulting in zero communications at all.

Another book and film in the vicinity of the same genre is “Cool Hand Luke” by author Donn Pearce, perhaps best remembered by the scene where actor Strother Martin, playing the prison warden, explains to the prisoners regarding Luke’s (actor Paul Newman) repeated attempts to escape, that “What we have here, is a failure to communicate!”.

From the motion picture “Cool Hand Luke”

That scene’s dialogue followed the warden’s vicious whipping of Luke as punishment for Luke’s “Stop treating me so nice, boss”, and warden/actor Martin’s Academy Award-worthy delivery of “Don’t ever talk to me like that again! Never! … Never!! … Never!!!”

The book and 1975 Academy Award for Best Picture “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” by author Ken Kesey captures the insanity and brutal nature of Julian Assange’s years long “punishment” for being an effective peace activist, arguably the #1 peace activist of the 21st century. In particular, the character played by Nicholson’s eventual brain lobotomy provides the powerful analogy to the current chemical, pharmaceutical applied intentional destruction of Assange’s brilliant mind.

The character played by actor Jack Nicholson eventually becomes lobotomized into the shape of a non-cognizant, unfeeling human vegetable, leading to his Native American friend, the gentle giant named “Chief”, – performing the ultimate act of mercy – to smother Nicholson’s character to death, before breaking out of the mental institution to freedom.

We hope and suggest it may not yet be too late to heal Julian Assange’s physical, mental and spiritual injuries. There might still be time to save Julian Assange’s life. The chance still exists he might become rightly freed to live out his days and share with all people on Earth the full range of human experiences.

May right actions be taken before it is too late. Walk in beauty.

#FreeAssange

(Thank you to Queentin Tarantula at YouTube)

“A Hidden Life”: Review By Edward Curtin.

(Cross-posted from DissidentVoice.org)

Painting A True Christ

A review of Terrence Malik’s film: A Hidden Life

by Edward Curtin / February 14th, 2020

here’s an early scene in Terrence Malik’s masterful new film – what I would call a moving painting – where the central character Franz Jägerstätter, an Austrian peasant farmer from an isolated small mountainous village who refuses to take an oath to Hitler and fight in the German army, is talking to an older man who is restoring paintings in the local Catholic church.

Franz, a devout Roman Catholic, is deeply disturbed by the rise of Hitler and the thought of participating in his immoral killing machine.  The older man tells Franz – who has already been admonished that he has a duty to defend the fatherland (homeland) – that he makes his living painting pretty holy pictures for the culturally conditioned parishioners for whom God and country are synonymous.  He says.

“I paint their comfortable Christ with a halo over his head.  We love him, that’s enough.  Someday I’ll paint a true Christ.”

Malik’s “someday” has arrived with A Hidden Life, where the older Malik shows the younger Malik – and us – a moving picture of what experience has taught him is the complex essence of a true and simple Christ: out of love of God and all human beings to refuse to kill.

To watch this film is to undergo a profound experience, an experiment with truth and non-violence, a three-hour trial (Latin: experimentum – trial).  While Franz is eventually put on trial by the German government, it is we as viewers who must judge ourselves and ask how guilty or innocent are we for supporting or resisting the immoral killing machine of our own country now.

Hitler and his Nazis were then, but we are faced with what Martin Luther King called “the fierce urgency of now.”  Many Americans surely ask with Franz, “What has happened to the country that we love?”  But how many look in the mirror and ask, “Am I a guilty bystander or an active supporter of the United States’ immoral and illegal wars all around the world that have been going on for so many years under presidents of both parties and have no end?

Do I support the new cold war with its push for nuclear war with its first strike policy?  Do I support, by my silence, a nuclear holocaust?”

I say that A Hidden Life is a moving painting because its form and content cannot be separated.  A true artist, Malik realizes that what non-artists call form or style is the content; they are one.  The essence of the story is in the telling; in a film in the showing. The cinematography by Jörge Widmer, a longtime Malick collaborator, is therefore key.  It is exquisitely beautiful as he paints with swiftly moving light the mountains and streams of the Austrian countryside, even as the storm clouds with their thunder and lightning roll in across the mountains.

The ever-recurring dramatic scenes of numinous nature and the focus on the sustaining earth from which our food comes and to which we all return and in which Franz, his wife Fani, and their young daughters romp and roll and plant and harvest and dirty their hands is the ground beneath our feet, and when we look, we see its marriage to the sky, the clouds, the light, the shadows, which in their iridescent interplay of light and darkness beseech us to interrogate our existence and ask with Franz what is right and what is wrong and what is our purpose on this beautiful earth.

Continue reading ““A Hidden Life”: Review By Edward Curtin.”