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"Heaven and Earth" Meets Afghanistan--Another American and Asian Story--

By       Message Kevin Anthony Stoda       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   1 comment

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By Kevin Stoda, in Southeast Asia

Some decades ago, a great young Hollywood Director was smoking. (I haven't heard much from him lately.)


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His name was Oliver Stone and he made 3 great movies in a row on the Vietnam War. For the first two films, he received Academy Awards for best director back in the late 1980s. These American men's films were Platoon and Born on the Fourth of July. The third movie went into oblivion--probably because it told too many truths for Americans (after the first rah-rah Gulf War) to allow to sink in. In short, America was in anti-Vietnam denial full-time by the 1990s, when Stone's third Vietnam film came out.

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The first film, Platoon, was based roughly on Oliver Stone's own 1967-1968 Vietnam War era experience. The second film was based on the biography of Ron Kovic. The third film, Heaven and Earth, was not considered a man's movie. In fact, one reviewer, called it Oliver Stone's women's movie. [1] That particular reviewer, David Denby, actually appreciated the film, but he missed a main point. Most Americans who have not seen the film have definitely missed a main message for our generation, too.

Heaven and Earth was, as Oliver Stone intended, a film about Vietnam from a Vietnamese perspective on America's War in Vietnam. For nearly a decade now, we have been awaiting a realistic Hollywood perspective on America's more recent wars. The best we have had till now is (the 2005) Jarhead.

Perhaps , Heaven and Earth, says it all, though, for our generation today--especially in Afghanistan.

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In the script for Stone film (based on a true story and two books), Heaven and Earth, we find both (1) the American special forces troops and (2) their enemies doing gruesome things to the locals. We are talking not only about rapes and needless bombings and killing in various Asian villages. We are talking about body parts being cut off and psych-op activities getting way out of control. By the way, this is the sort of news we have been hearing about from American special units in Afghanistan most of 2010.

America's torture prisons and run-amok military massacres in 2001-2010 are too reminiscent of the Vietnam War--which right wingers and neo-liberal war makers have tried to make us forget about. (Taliban behavior before that was not any better in Afghanistan pre-9-11.)

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KEVIN STODA-has been blessed to have either traveled in or worked in nearly 100 countries on five continents over the past two and a half decades.--He sees himself as a peace educator and have been-- a promoter of good economic and social development--making-him an enemy of my homelands humongous DEFENSE SPENDING and its focus on using weapons to try and solve global (more...)

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