Saturday, January 24, 2009

BSG-Palestinian parallel

I am a fan of the sci-fi TV series "Battlestar Galactica" (BSG). I'm not sure why I like this show. I discovered the show only at the beginning of season three. It's a drama ... in space. It is a Peabody Award winner and has excellent writing. Here is a synopsis from wiki to give you a little background:
Battlestar Galactica continues from the 2003 mini-series to chronicle the journey of the last surviving humans from the Twelve Colonies of Kobol after their nuclear annihilation by the Cylons. The survivors are led by President Laura Roslin and Commander William Adama in a ragtag fleet of ships with the Battlestar Galactica, an old but powerful warship, as its command ship. Pursued by Cylons intent on wiping out the remnants of the human race, the survivors travel across the galaxy looking for the fabled and long-lost thirteenth colony: Earth.
At the end of season 2 the fleet decides to settle on an in habitable planet called New Caprica. The Cylons eventually find them and take over the planet occupying the humans already living there. The humans' standard of living wasn't that great before the occupation but it got even worse during the military and brutal occupation by the Cylons. The humans' had a corrupt and ineffective leadership before and during the occupation. During the begining of season 3, those who were in the human military start leading a resistance. One time, they sent a suicide bomber to the human police graduation ceremony in order to kill the puppet governor for colaborating with the Cylons. Many humans (collaborators) died but the corrupt governor didn't. This led to a tighter crack down on the human population. The Cylons were contemplating whether to kill all the humans, try to come to a peaceful understanding, or just leave. After a succesful and daring rescue by the rest of the human fleet, the humans flee the occupation and the planet looking for a new future. The Cylons decided to stop pursuing them. During and after the escape some that led the resistance killed some humans believed to have collaborated with the Cylons. They held secret informal (illegal) tribunals to persecute and kill those who they believe to have collaborated. The new leader and President of the fleet Roslin decides to pardon all people except the puppet governor of the Cylons (though he is later acquitted of all charges).

One of the character's on the show is a former terrorist and prisoner who was released and then became Vice President (but as a political rival to the main characters) of the fleet's make-shift government. In the latest show (412 Disquiet Follows My Soul) he has this monologue about the latest crisis in the story arc which I think gives an insight on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict:
In prison, you start to confuse your hopes and dreams with reality. You start to believe that because you want something to happen ... for all the peel and red ... you start to believe that it will happen. You start to live on wishes ... the way things should be rather than the way they are ... all because you can't face reality. The leaders of this fleet are succumbing to wishful thinking because they can't face reality and the reality is that the Roslin/Adama Administration has led us nowhere. Earth was a mirage ... a fantasy they tangled in front of us for four long years in order to maintain power ... a fantasy the dreamed up as a way hold on and control the government over the democratic wishes of the population. So now ... what is the effectless and dispirited leadership is doing to solidify their position after failing us so miserably? ... Turning to the Cylons ... the Cylons, for help. Aren't the Cylons the reason we are out here in the first place? Aren't they the enemy? Or are they suddenly our friends if that keeps Roslin/Adama in power?
Later in the episode he says:
Every citizen has the right to protect themselves from oppression. Take whatever measure you think is necessary.
The parallel between the BSG and Palestinian story is remarkable. I don't know if the producers and writers of the show did this on purpose but I think they have great insight on human behavior like all great literature.

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