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Movie Review: 22 July

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No one can forget the horrific slaughter of Norwegian children by an armed nationalist on July 22, 2011, by a White Nationalist.


Now Netflix has produced a film, 22 July, portraying the slaughter of 68 children and injuring 110 more. For me, personally, it was difficult to watch the film dispassionately, separating script, screen play, acting, and direction from the factual basis of the film.

I admit to my own bias: I find xenophobia abhorrent, anti-Christian, and just plain evil. I keep thinking about what my parents generation fought for in WWII. They fought not only against Nazism & Japanese incursions, but against the whole idea of Ethnic Superiority, whether it was White Superiority in Europe or Japanese Superiority in Asia.

Watching 22 July is a deeply emotional film that lays out, in stark contrast, the difference between those who wish to divide on the basis of race, religion or country of origin, and those who choose to bring everyone together based on a belief in our shared humanity. A belief that inspired the world with this sentence from the American Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

Although the United States has never fully accepted this value, as a nation we have progressively worked towards that goal. That is what makes this film so personally emotional for many of us. The slaughtered children were working for a more inclusive world that accepted all people as human beings, deserving of the same rights. But their murderer did not see the world, or humans, in the same way. He saw them as products of his ideological enemies.


Anders Behring Breivik (Anders Danielsen Lie), like all racial and ethnic Nationalists that came before him, stretching back eons in history, truly believed the rhetoric that the “other” was coming to destroy their world, their way of life, their security. That myth, as documented by historians, perpetuated by tribal leaders or a Chief to drum up support to degrade another tribe’s humanity in order to justify invasion and slaughter or just to shore up the tribe’s support for him, goes back thousands of years to mankind’s early tribes. What better way to cement a leader’s position and popularity than to drum up a war against a supposed enemy? (For reference, in the rhetorical battle in the 12th C. between the two Popes, one of them used this same tactic to win. He created the Crusades by claiming the Muslims were the enemy of Christianity and called on all Christian nations to wage a Holy War against Islam in the name of Jesus Christ. As a result, he won the rhetorical battle for Pope.)

Al that said, it does not excuse what Anders did in murdering and injuring so many innocent children…but it partially explains why he did it. He listened and accepted what those on the radical right were (and still are) preaching. He is the product of their fevered quest for power.

Whether or not those on the far right, in the EU or the US or Middle East or elsewhere in the world, actually believe what the say is up for debate, but what is not debatable is that millions of people, like Anders, believe them.


But what makes it difficult to review this film is because of the deeply emotional subject matter. Overall, the film deals with the subject of the murders and xenophobia fairly but perhaps too lightly. It is almost too surface skimming rather than in-depth, never going to deeply into the horrors and life or death struggles those children and their families endured. Yet, the story itself, so close in our collective Amemory, certainly yields more than enough emotion.


After watching this film, however surface-level the subject matter was treated, this is a film that should be watched. Because regardless of the Far Right, Alt-Right, Trumpists, Steve Bannons and Steve Millers, and ISIS groups, we must find a way back to accepting our common humanity. Moreover, America must lead the way as we historically have done for the last 75 years. This film shows us exactly why.


Written by Valerie Curl

October 12, 2018 at 9:12 PM

Donald Trump is a national disaster

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I just finished watching the third presidential debate. Admittedly, many people will be swayed by what he said. However, any thinking person who has a modicum knowledge of economics and  national security as well as respect for all people, regardless of race, creed culture, gender or religion can upon reflection agree with him.

By and large, Trump repeated over and over that he would make America great again but without ever delving into how he would do so. On trade, he said NAFTA was bad, but the completely failed to explain how or what he would do to create better trade policies. Throughout his campaign, he has repeatedly called for isolationist trade policies which would be an economic disaster. The USA relies upon our exports for jobs and economic growth. Granted the TTP and other current proposals fail both the American people and other countries by putting too much power into the hands of major corporations – the reason Hillary Clinton does not support them – but international fair and free trade policies are needed worldwide, especially by mature economies like the US. To put it simply, US full employment cannot be supported without international trade.

On tax policy, Trump doubles down of supply side economics. His tax policy, outsourced to Steven Moore, a penultimate supply-sider who consistently ignores the demand side of the economic equation and is no economist, would increase the national deficit by trillions. Some say as much as $5 trillion. Since the financial melt down in 2007, the US has had an overabundance of supply but not enough demand. In other words, there’s plenty of product but not enough buyers. When wages are low or lowered (as has been the case since 2009 when companies lowered wages in the face of an oversupply of qualified candidates) wages, the demand side of the economic equation has gone down. If people can’t afford to buy, demand goes down regardless of the supply quantity. Thus, continuing the feed the supply side, i.e. Wall Street investors, does nothing to increase GNP (Gross National Product). The only way to increase GNP and, thus, GDP is to build up the demand side of the economic equation. Moore’s tax and economic policies, which Trump bought lock, stock and barrel, utterly fail this test.


On National Security, Trump sounded smart when when you delve into what he actually said but yet again failed to propose any solutions, he’s frightening. Does he want an all out war in the Middle East – a la the Crusades? If so, that is one sure way to push moderate Muslims into the freedom fighter camps of ISIS and the Taliban. Imagine if you will an invading force in the US (intent on stealing our national resources to pay for the invasion). Would any American stand by and let that happen, no matter how moderate they were? Of course not. The same principle applies in the Middle East. Throughout history all over the world, people have always fought against a foreign invader, even when they strongly disagreed with their own government. It would be no different in the Middle East now. Moreover, Trump and his neo-con allies have chosen to make his foreign policy about a clash of civilizations – a clash of religions much like the Crusades. And much like during the Crusades, Muslims would come together, regardless of their internal conflicts, to fight off the invaders. Smart policy, which Clinton advocated, is separating the moderates from the extremists…and backing the moderates who see a better way forward for Middle East countries than a 12th Century ideology in the 21st Century world.

Additionally, the idea of Trump denying or ignoring Putin’s spying and hacking and interference with this election shows his incredible naivety. Of course, his financial records prove, as Newsweek and other legitimate media outlets have shown, he has a huge income stake in protecting the Russian (and thus Putin) oligarchy. Do I think Trump would take his order from Putin the way Mussolini did from Hitler? I don’t know; but I’m not willing that that chance, given that Trump is all about himself and his ego and his fortune even as he sells out other and stiffs his suppliers. Trump’s entire career has been one long running steam of conning and lying and cheating others including failing to pay his suppliers. Believing him is like believing in Hitler’s promise to not to invade the restof Europe after stealing Austria.

On issues of his personal morality and how he think about woman and minorities, what more needs to be said other than that he has offended everyone with his misogynist and xenophobic mindset. Even the uber conservative Utah-based Mormon (Church of Latter Day Saints) has come out against Trump in a public statement.They consider his words and ideas…and his behavior…highly toxic. No matter how much he denies his behavior, the numbers of people coming out against him for how he has behaved and what he has done keeps growing. As a result, he’s proven himself to narcissistic megalomaniac who refuses to accept responsibility for his own behavior. In his words, everything is the fault of someone else…and he is totally innocent. That may go over well in the modern Republican conservative movement, but it doesn’t necessarily sit well with a majority of people who have been raised to believe they have to take responsibility for their own behavior.


On border control and minorities, polling shows that the list of minority voters switching from the Republican side of the ledger to the Democratic side ha gown dramatically since Trump became the Republican nominee. Beyond his polling numbers though is the fact that to implement his wall across the US Southern border and round up & deport every non-citizen (i.e. alien) would cost multiple trillions of dollars. Are you willing to agree to a major increase in your taxes to pay for it all…or are you going to shut your eyes and ears and put it on the national credit card and blame someone else for the outrageous deficit once again?

I could go on ad infinitum on the disastereous affects of Trump policies (or lack of coherent policies) but there is little  doubt that committed Trump voters will change their minds. To far too many of them, the world is made up of “us against them” which the GOP has pushed, in various and sundry dog whistles, for over 50 years.

Nevertheless, regardless of how reasonably sounding Trump came off sounding in this third debate, the fact remains that all of his ideas, from every perspective, are extraordinary expensive and a national disaster. Moreover, the fact that the national GOP supports and endorses this caricature of a human being shows the party has descended into the bowels of hell.

Clinton may not be everyone’s favorite candidate…and granted she’s been vilified and lied about by the GOP in the national media for nearly 30 years…but compared to Trump, she’s an angel. Her policies are reasonable, well-thought out, progressive, equitable, and fiscally sound. But, of course, that won’t matter to die-hard Trump supporters who choose to ignore the reality of the man and his ideas by focusing only on his fantastic rhetoric as a way out there circumstances.




Written by Valerie Curl

October 19, 2016 at 10:44 PM

Time to observe Palestinian Propety Rights.

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Because of the Israeli lobby and AIPAC, most Americans – and certainly most of Congress – believe nearly anything Israel says, even to the point of overlooking what Israel does. Case in point is the flap over VP Biden’s trip to Israel and Israeli housing announcement in West Jerusalem.

The Americans say they believe that the kind of rude surprise that occurred when Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. was visiting here earlier this month — an Israeli announcement of 1,600 units of Jewish housing in a part of Jerusalem conquered by Israel in 1967 and claimed by the Palestinians — is not likely to be repeated in the coming months. That was one of Mrs. Clinton’s central demands of Mr. Netanyahu: no more acts that disturb the atmosphere as indirect talks with the Palestinians get under way.

The 1,600 units in East Jerusalem constituted the latest of several steps that the Americans considered problematic.

This morning on CNN’s Fareed Zakaria’s GPS, the major discussion was the Israeli – Palestinian negotiations, and the break down caused by the housing announcement. That conversation reminded me once again that no one in the media, or anywhere else for that matter, has mentioned that building the housing in Palestinian West Jerusalem occupies yet more of the rapidly shrinking Palestinian territory or that it appears Israel’s continued settlement plans in the West Bank are preventing a two-state solution.

Israel's continued encroachment into Palestinian Territory, from 1946 - 2000

There are only two possible outcomes to the current scenario of expanded settlements in Palestinian territories within the next 50 years. One is that Israel will cease to be Jewish because the Muslim and Christian Palestinian population is growing much faster than the Jewish population. Jewish Israelis will become a minority. When the majority of the population ceases to be Jewish, can the current Jewish political parties continue to exist as they do now? Not likely. Unless Israel ceases to be a democracy by denying non-Jewish residents the right to vote, then Palestinians will dominate Israeli politics.

The second outcome is that Israel, including all of the West Bank and Gaza, becomes more like apartheid South Africa with a ruling overclass of Jews and a permanent underclass of Palestinians, where rights are denied and the rule of law is unequally distributed between Jews and Palestinians. If this event occurs, peace will not even be in the cards for Israel.

The fact that hardline, right Israeli’s don’t – or won’t – see these outcomes is stunning in both their blindness and lack of logic. Of course, these hardliners see another outcome altogether. In that one, all Palestinians are shoved out of Israel, the West Bank and Gaza – or killed, whichever comes first.

In the U.S., there’s a heated argument going on about Immigration, with many saying immigrants are taking over large tracts of the southwest and elsewhere and that immigration should be halted. Imagine, then, how Palestinian’s must feel. Where is the sense of equity and balance and justice when Americans say no to migration here but okay in Israel? The U.S. has a long history of protecting property rights, even to the point of allowing long-time squatters the legal right of eminent domain. Yet, the U.S. aids and all too often abets Israel’s denying those same property rights to Palestinians, only because that population just happens to have differing religions.

I remain a firm believer that Israel has a right to exist and exist in peace, but I am not one to close my eyes and ears to Israel’s faults. Blatantly stealing and occupying another people’s property, namely the Palestinians’, is dead wrong. No two ways about it.

Written by Valerie Curl

March 21, 2010 at 11:33 AM

Al Jerezza video reports first days of Iranian protests. Watch it. Share it.

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Al Jerezza reported on the Iranian protests following the election. The video report is nearly 25 minutes but definitely worth watching. It’s the only real, in depth report from the country on what has happened, how badly the government cracked down on the people and, more importantly, what the Iranians want.

No matter how much the repressive, religious government of Iran tries to tell the world that the protests were minor, caused by a few trouble makers who received orders and backing from foreign sources, the truth cannot be hidden or whitewashed. The people want freedom…and now have decided for themselves that they no longer want the religious government began by Khomeni. The government of Ahmadinedjad is not just illegal, it’s barbaric and criminal. It should be given no rights, no approval in the world community.

Ayatollah Javadi Amoli Calls for Separation of Powers in Iran

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Following the example of Ayatollah Ali Sistani in calling for a separation of religion and state is Ayatollah Amoli of Iran.

“When one person alone enacts, executes and judges the law, there will be problems” (Translated from Mowj news)

Amoli, who led the Friday prayers sermon in Qom, believes that the best way to resolve the current situation is a separation between the executive branch, the judicial branch and the Islamic jurist. Amoli said separation of powers is not a recent phenomenon and it existed before Islam. “Separation of powers does not belong to a particular century. Islamic and non-Islamic governments have it now, too,” he said.

The hard line Iranian clerics, politicians, and Republican Guard are WRONG! Islam in Iran is failing as a result of the hard line ideology and control by the government. Religion cannot survive when forced onto a population by repression, coercion, and censorship. That idea failed in Europe. It will fail in Iran…and elsewhere in the world.

But then do Ahmedinejad, the Supreme Leader, and other hard lie clerics really believe in the Qu’ran and the vision of Muhammad or are they more interested in retraining power in order to create chaos and disorder in the world? They believe that in bringing about chaos they will hasten the “end of days” and bring about the return of the Hidden Imam. Many people throughout the world are adherents of “hasten the end of days,” but only in Iran has this ideology been institutionalized by the ruling government.

They must be stopped. The rational, thinking, educated people of Iran must be supported; their voices must be heard. The free media must be pushed to keep their story front and center.

Written by Valerie Curl

June 29, 2009 at 2:00 PM

Famed Iranian film maker Mohsen Makhmalbaf Statement of Solidarity – Power to the people

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It was rumored this morning on Twitter from Iran tht Mohsen Makmakbaf was arrested by the Iranian government. Mr. Makhmalbaf is Iran’s premier film maker. He spoke with Foreign Policy Magazine in Paris in which he discussed the election. On 6/23 in Italy, he made this video.

In this video: Lala Movahed, Mary Sadro, Nik Saidi, Nilofar Darougar
Videos Posted by IRAN

English Translation by IRAN, and not the author of this blog.

Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s statements on the situation in Iran has been released. He is very well-connected in Iran.

I have translated his words for the non-Farsi speakers.

Please take a moment out of your time to share this video and the translation. The translation is pretty accurate. I may have missed a metaphor or two…but I tried my best with the amount of Farsi knowledge I have:

Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s Translated Statement:

Iranians living in Italy and other parts of the world, I urge you to not give up, because the people in the line of fire are are not scared.

They are all chanting, “natarsim natarsim, ma hame ba ham hastim (Let’s not be afraid, let’s not be afraid. We are all in this together).

We haven’t seen this type of togetherness in a long time. This really has been our issue.

We are aware people, but we were afraid because the oceans of Iran had become mere water droplets.
In the past days, the water has been found again in the oceans. We have found our unity.

We need to continue protesting in front of the embassies and lobby the issues pertaining to the people of Iran- with help from world governments, journalists and citizens.

We need the world to recognize Ahmadinejad as the leader of a coup d’etat and not as the leader of Iran. If this happens, we will be successful.

We have already been successful. Iran’s history the past 30 years has been dissapointing. Now, our dissapointment has been expressed. We have found each other again.

Even with all the violence happening in Iran, the Iranian people are more kind to each other now. For example, some put their motorcylces on fire, destroy their vehicles, so the fuels of their vehicles suppress the effects of the tear gas.

They are defending each other.

Around the world, we see that people have put their differences aside.

Eveyrone is uniting their voices, chanting:

“What happened to our vote?”
“We want to vote again!”

We want to have the rights to our future.

I think that every Iranain in Iran is a commander, a force. Every Iranian outside of iran is a representative of the people in Iran, a reporter.

Every Iranian who gets killed in the streets is a martyr. They are also all media, filming with their cell phones and uploading the content onto Youtube.

We need to take these videos from Youtube and send out the links- send them to the reporters.
You can help the reporters who may not be able to find all the videos amongst the many being uploaded.

We need to work collectively to spread the information coming out from Iran.

We need to continue.

Friday night, at sunset, light a candle. Think about and respect the deaths of the brave. The Iranian people are planning to do the same outisde their houses, on their roofs, chanting: “Allah o Akbar.

They will be chanting “Allah o Akbar” to not prove their religion, but to voice the intolerable pressures put on them by the government.

Wearing the colour green is not to represent Mousavi, it is to represent a movement (democratic movement).

We are all supporters. Right now, none of us belong to any specific groups- we need to unite.

This is to speak out against Ahmadinejad, Khamenei, and 30 years of dictatorship in Iran. We want to take that closer step toward democracy.

We should follow the footsteps of Ghandi and Mandella.

We want the people of the West and the media to listen to the words of the Iranian people in Iran.

I am with you, we are all together.

pls share

However, we do share the same sentiments. Share this video; share the translation with the world.

Latest photos of Iran protest

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Hamad Saber has posted pix of the protests, including days five and six. Go here to see them.

Written by Valerie Curl

June 27, 2009 at 4:17 AM

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