Monday, June 7, 2010

Der Baader Meinhof Komplex

'No one ever needed to explain to [RFK] the revolutionary ferocities in the developing countries...."The worst thing we could do," he said, "would be to take as our mission the suppression of disorder and internal upheaval..." No one can doubt that our country  has lost immeasurably in the years to come through the murders of John and Robert Kennedy.'  
from a magazine article entitled "The Statesman" by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. January, 1969

To put yourself on one hell of a cinematic ride for two hours, rent the two-set DVD The Baader-Meinhof Komplex from Film is Truth in Bellingham, WA.  Somewhere in post movie interviews on Disc 1, Bernd Eichinger (both the writer and producer) comments that it is hard today to imagine the chaos of world events between the years 1967 - 1977.  Maybe it is, but you can get a flavor for some of that chaos by watching a wide array of brilliant young German actors and actresses portray the RAF ("Red Army Faction"). To describe the RAF as an American equivalent of the Weather Underground doesn't quite do them justice.

There's something shocking to post World War II Democracies about revolutionary violence initiated by white, middle-class youth and there is good reason it should be so. It is simple to distance yourself from the poverty and revolution initiated by Western imperialism abroad.  When that war is on your doorstep, it is unavoidable. The RAF brought war to the doorstep of West Germany throughout the sixties and seventies. They played "hard ball" as one of their young members says in the film.  Surprisingly, each "generation" of RAF played "harder ball" than the previous generation.

Could the Weathermen or the RAF re-emerge in America and West Germany? Watch The Baader-Meinhof Komplex and speculate...Be forewarned: violence is a frequently chosen option.

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