Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ken Loach - Thy Name is Hypocrisy

Ken Loach, is a noted English filmmaker who claims to abhor censorship. Unfortunately, in his misguided, misinformed and, admittedly, bigoted dislike for Israel, he has allowed himself to become a tool for censorship and shown himself to be woefully undereducated.

Twice this year, Mr. Loach has attempted to use his celebrity to bully international fiIm festivals into denying Israeli filmmakers their right to participate. This thuggish attitude is at odds with his cleverly crafted but, ultimately, false, personae as a champion of free speech and political discourse.

His first attempt, at the Edinburgh International Film Festival generated this response by Sir Jeremy Isaacs "Ken Loach has always been critical of censorship of his own work, albeit it was many years in the past. The idea that he should lend himself to the denial of a film-maker's right to show her work is absolutely appalling."

His second attempt, at the Melbourne International Film Festival was so over-handed and attacking that the Festival's Chief Executive, Richard Moore, equated it to "blackmail."

What to make of such a blatant disregard for the sanctity of ideas by a man who should be protecting them? One must wonder if his penchant for making such irritating, but, newsworthy attacks at a time when his own films are being displayed is nothing more then a publicity stunt? Is Ken Loach a savvy self-promoter, using Israel as a quick ticket to some news coverage on the front page rather than buried in the Arts and Leisure section?

Or, has he simply been blinded by ignorance? Ken's first attack against Israel came under guise of a group of homosexuals who opposed Israel's actions against "Palestine." Talk about strange bedfellows. Considering Israel's open support of civil rights for all, including playing host to the world's largest gay pride parade and allowing civil unions, it seems odd that a gay rights organization would choose to defend another people whose laws make homosexuality punishable by death.

The above makes almost as much sense as belonging, as Ken does, to a socialist party in England, yet not supporting a country, such as Israel, founded on Socialist ideals. But, instead, becoming a puppet for an area where the entirety of wealth is kept by dictatorial leaders while their people suffer in abject poverty.

It makes no sense to me and I welcome Mr. Loach's response to this post. Until he does see fit to clarify his hypocrisy, I demand that he allow all filmmakers their right to exhibit their work and allow taste, and the human marketplace of ideas, the right to judge which are worthy of our consideration.

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