This morning I watched a movie called “Eye in the Sky” which featured Alan Rickman’s last movie role. The action of the movie centers around a decision to use a bomb against a group of Al-Shabaab terrorists in Kenya. It was a phenomenally well written script, something you don’t get much off in 2017, and it makes you think for more reasons than typical tear jerking.
The plot comes down to whether or not you should kill a few to probably save many. In the movie, the English army discovers that several militants are arming up to commit suicide bombings around the city of Nairobi and the only recourse they have is to blow up the building the militants are in for the sake of stopping the attack.
The dilemma of the story comes when a little girl, who we are shown in the opening scenes playing inside a walled yard, begins selling bread outside the same building as the one in the drone’s crosshairs.
The reality of the situation is a twist of the trolley problem in ethics where you consider whether or not pushing a guy in front of a trolly to stop it from killing a group of people farther along the tracks.
In the end, they are forced to fire a second missile from the drone which kills the girl selling bread. This second attack necessary only because one of the militants, who is also a british national turned muslim extremist, was not killed the first time over. So, I think the message becomes clear that the British are not merely helping out a foregin nation but complicit in the events which lead to such extremism. In other words, terrorism is not a product of England, or by extension the West, but is not capable of reaching the heights it does without our help.
I say “our help” because the thing that most gave me pause was the fact that many of the events in this movie are pushed forward by normal westerners on the “other side” and the government on ours. I, obviously, think that someone who leaves the auspices and wonders of a place like North America to become a terrorist deserves a special place in hell. But, I cannot escape the idea that terrorism is more than just a middle eastern problem with no connection to North American life. It’s clear from this movie and other news that these people we like to keep on the distant continents and regions where they cannot hurt us are no longer restricted to their areas in the same ways. They are not so distant from our front doors as we like to think and yet we cannot even brouch the discussion of terrorism, of the senseless violence committed by idiots with foreign aid. We feel we must screech and plug our ears because surely the issue will resolve itself if we leave it be. The issue is, though, that we never leave the issue be and yet every generation is surprised to hear the news proclaim the existence of yet another random country that wants to kill everyone who is a white English speaker.