I wrote this on April 22nd.
A friend once said that it's a sin to watch a decent film on the plane. So I decided to watch a Hollywood style movie (if you know what I mean) on my way back to Montreal from Edinburgh. I watched Taken 2. When I watched Taken a few years ago, the film did not have its Muslim vilification flavour. I guess a lot of things have changed since then. At the moment that I'm writing this, less than 10 days have passed from Boston marathon explosion and already a considerable number of Muslims have been the target of disdain by some ignorant people in the States.
Taken 2 is another cinematic attempt to vilify Muslims by taking advantage of the current political atmosphere against Muslim and as a consequence, it consolidates the existing Islamophobia.
For those of you who haven't watched it, in Taken the daughter of an x-CIA agent is kidnapped by a Albanian gang in Paris. Since Bryan's daughter is virgin, instead of being drugged and exploited as a prostitute, she is saved to be sold to an Arab Sheikh for a high price. Why an Arab Sheikh? Because some of them think that having sex with a virgin girl will prolong their lives. The gang functions in Paris since they have a connection with a corrupt former French agent.
In Taken 2, the story happens in Istanbul and we realize that the gang was Muslim when the father of the guy who kidnapped Bryan's daughter, announces that he wants to take revenge at the burial of his son, after saying some prayers in Arabic. Then we see Hagia Sophia's minarets, we hear azan in the background that all together prepare us for the theme of the movie and decide for us the hero and the villains. By the time the 3 members of the family are in Istanbul, we know that this innocent American family is going to be the target of kidnapping by some ignorant Muslims who are led by a father who is filled with feelings of revenge and hate. The daughter, Kim, has failed her driving test several times but she's a stunt driver in Istanbul's narrow alleys, drives like James Bond and passes in front of a train within a few milliseconds it crashes the car. Don't worry if you don't pass the driving test in America, you can still drive like James Bond in the Middle East! Your father keeps his cool even when your mother is hung upside down with a rope in a dungeon in front of him. He calls you, gives you the directions, tells you to detonate a few grenades here and there and guides you to his location with an accuracy more precise than a GPS. Heaven knows how he came up with that while he was blindfolded in a car. Oh no, I forgot, he's an American, a superhero, this is a piece of cake for him.
The movie ends with a happy ending where the family is reunited and everyone has a milkshake. How lovely! How innocent, how intelligent these Americans and how villain, revengeful and corrupt these Muslims are!
I wonder, I just wonder why we never see any movies about Rais Bhuiyan, a victim of hate crime after 9/11 who instead of hating Mark Stroman, the man who shot him and left him with severe injuries in his right eye, launched a campaign requesting Stroman's death penalty be commuted to life in prison with no parole (read more here.) Why there is no film on the outrageous Khandahar Massacre in which Robert Bales, the American soldier killed sixteen Afghan civilians, or similar events?
It's a sad reality. May we all be conscious of what's going on in this world and not be transfixed in front of the screens of leading film production companies.