Wednesday, September 14, 2011

What is a true radical?

I enjoyed and learnt a lot from watching The Baader-Meinhof Complex. It tells the story of the extreme left-wing terrorist group (the RAF= Red Army Faction) that was prominent in German public life in the 1970s. The movie was a captivating way to learn some recent European history and grapple with how terrorist movements arise and sustain themselves through public sympathy. The movie brings out the moral ambiguity of both the terrorists ["the end justifies the means" and a disjuncture between personal and public morality] and of governments which use violence against their own citizens or in unjust wars. I felt the movie creates some emotional empathy and understanding of the radicals without endorsing their violent and criminal acts. I thought the following comment was perceptive:

"When the film opened in Germany last year, some younger viewers came out of theaters crestfallen that the Red Army Faction members, still mythologized, were such dead-enders. Some who were older complained that the film had made the gang look too attractive. But they were dead-enders, and they were attractive. A film about them, or any other popular terrorist movement, has to account for both facts if it seeks to explain not just their crimes but also their existence."

The movie highlighted to me that Jesus' kingdom is the only hope of this broken world. But, it is a kingdom that is truly radical and "not of this world." It is to be advanced in radically counter cultural ways: without anger, without violence, and without self righteousness.

1 comment:

  1. Good post. Question: from your comment about "Jesus' kingdom " being the only way, are you saying that the non-religious cannot lead humanity to a more peaceful existence?