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Act of valor — racist propaganda movie

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TERROR ALERT! A group of 16 Filipino suicide bombers is poised to infiltrate the US border in Mexico wearing deadly explosive vests to be detonated in heavy metropolitan areas to kill Americans. A crack team of US Navy SEALs has been dispatched to intercept them.

That is the video-game simple plot of the new Hollywood film “Act of Valor” which premiered as the top box office draw of the weekend it opened in theatres all over the US last month and which has  remained in the top 5 for several weeks.

The film features real-life active duty US Navy SEALs playing themselves in a plot the movie publicizes is “based on actual events.”

Imagine what image of Filipinos is being formed in the minds of millions of Americans who have viewed or will view this film in movie theatres, on HBO and in DVDs. Why Filipinos?

The opening scene of the movie is set in Manila with Filipino terrorists killing the American ambassador and his son along with dozens of children by detonating an improvised explosive device (IED) inside an ice cream van. The Filipinos are directed by a terrorist mastermind named Abu Shabal from Chechnya who escapes and returns to Russia after the mass murder.

The scene shifts to Costa Rica where a Jewish drug smuggler terrorist named Mikhail “Christo” Troykovich and his henchmen capture a CIA agent and torture her to obtain information. What she knows is that Christo and Shabal are partners in terror. They meet in the Ukraine to plot their attack on the US by visiting a factory where special vests are being assembled that use plastic explosives that can evade metal detectors, and are thin enough to be worn under any clothing without notice.

Abu Shabal transports his 16 Filipino terrorists to Baja California in Mexico to prepare them to enter the US through tunnels built under a milk factory that are used by drug cartels. When the Navy SEALs using their binoculars spot the terrorists, one of them immediately identifies the men as “Filipinos”. Why weren’t they identified as possibly Indonesians or Malaysians? How did the SEALs immediately know their ethnic identities?

When Abu Shabal instructs the Filipinos on their mission to wear the suicide bomb vests and to blow themselves up all over America, the Pinoys express reluctance but are somehow compelled to do so. There is a scene of the Filipinos praying on the ground of a Mexican desert crying and looking scared as they ponder their suicide mission.

The movie ends with all the Filipino terrorists killed in the tunnel by the US Navy SEALs who suffer only one casualty.

After Rudy Asercion, the head of the San Francisco Bataan Post of the American Legion, viewed the movie, he was so incensed at its racial profiling of Filipinos that he emailed everyone on his email list to denounce it. He then launched a global petition (http://www.change.org/petitions/the-president-of-the-united-states-stop-stereotyping-filipinos-as-terrorist-in-american-movies) that stated:

“On April 9, 2012, as the nation commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Fall of Bataan, please join us in a world-wide conversation to stop the Motion Picture Association of America from stereotyping Filipinos as evil fanatics and anti-American terrorists.”

Rudy organized a group to watch “Act of Valor” at a local Daly City theatre on March 31 and to discuss the movie afterwards. After dozens signed up, Rudy called on the day of the screening to inform everyone that the movie was no longer showing.

“We haven’t even organized a boycott campaign to demand that it be pulled yet and it’s no longer showing? Wow!” one asked in awe of Pinoy Power.

While the movie was patently offensive to Filipinos, it was also insulting to another ethnic group that has considerably more clout in Hollywood.

Debbie Schlussel, a journalist who regularly writes for the Wall Street Journal and the New York Post, wrote Amanda Greenberg, the Navy press person handling press inquiries regarding “Act of Valor” and posed these questions:

“Who at the Pentagon, US Navy or Navy SEALs was in charge of approving “Act of Valor”? Was the final product vetted? Was the script vetted? Was there no problem expressed or objections to the fact that the script makes a Jewish billionaire the bad guy and the smuggler and financier behind the major terrorism plot?”

“What is the position of whomever vetted and approved the final script, regarding anti-Semitism? Can that person name a single major terrorist plot against America in which Jews were involved? I note your name is Greenberg. Does it not offend you that the major players in the “jihadist” plot in this movie are not really Muslims, but a Jew and a Russian who “converted”?”

“Are there any Jewish Navy SEALs? How do you think it will affect Jewish Naval officers and enlisted men, knowing that their branch of the U.S. Armed Forces believes that Jews will be behind a major terrorist plot against America?”

In her Jewish community blog, Schlussel denounced this glorified US Navy recruiting film as “an anti-Semitic tripe wrapped in the American flag with a Navy SEAL cherry on top.”

She warns her community: “Don’t give money to blood libel movies like this that seek to turn America against the Jews using patriotism, the flag, and the Navy SEALs.”

Change the words “Jewish” or “Jews” above with “Filipinos” and it would express our exact same sentiments. Shame on the film’s producers for smearing the image of Filipinos and on the 70th anniversary of the Fall of Bataan at that.

(Send comments to Rodel50@gmail.com or mail them to the Law Offices of Rodel Rodis at 2429 Ocean Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94127 or call 415.334.7800)


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  • caster1234

    don’t be an onion skin guys. This is just a movie, nothing more nothing less. Filipinos are warm-hearted, hospitable and down to earth people —- and we know this <3 spread some love ladies and gents. Mabuhay tayo mga pinoy and be proud sir and maams!

  • Parigi

    There are two items to ponder
    about the opinion piece above. First, the fact is, while Philippine terrorists
    use extreme violence to attain their ends, there has not been any documented
    experience about them volunteering or being recruited to serve as suicide
    bombers. The script write rof the movie exceeded his or her literary license to depict a
    wrong ethnic group doing such things.

     

    Second, not all viewers in
    the US are literate about these cultural and ethnic details. And like some of
    the bloggers noted, they are unable to separate fact from fiction. Film is a
    form of mass media and as such its viewers may create a wrong perception of
    certain national groups depicted in the story.
     

    • iriga1_city1_boy1

      To Parigi:
         Good post.And i’ll toast 2 San Miguel to you on that.Natumbok mo ,Pare!

      • Parigi

        Thanks iriga1_city1_boy1.

    • http://twitter.com/Joe_The_Kano Joe Kano

      Attempting to regulate or control literary license and decide how people are depicted and viewed by others creates a range of difficult issues that are not easily resolved by some of the methods discussed so far on this thread, especially with regard to peoples of great cultural diversity. I certainly agree that there should be more realistic, positive and sympathetic depictions of Filipinos and Filipino Americans in American film. Hopefully, a new generation of film makers will help open America’s eyes to the truth and diversity of the Filipino experience, and hopefully Pinoys will support those efforts in meaningful ways.

  • manuel joseph aguilar

    Hanngat ASTIG ang pagkaka portray nila sa mga pinoy.. wala akong pake alam..bago un.. mga pinoy na terrorista.. ibang level na (sa pelikula)..

    sa tingin ko okay lang nman yan..bakit ung mga russians kahit sa mga games madalas kontabida ang ginagampanan nila pero ok lang sa kanila..

  • http://www.facebook.com/da.Baboon Lee Emphasis

    What would the reaction be if there was a movie depicting the truth: OFW maids, OFW caregivers, OFW drugmules, and other demeaning jobs?



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