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I watch some films in a different order than others. It may take me years to watch something that was hugely popular and even showered with accolades. Recently, I watched “The Hurt Locker”, and I was struck by the job’s intensity. Without going into any spoilers, because I feel everyone should have the right to view cinema innocently and without predisposition, this film took me by surprise by the depths people are willing to go to, the darkness they are willing to follow, in order to further what they believe to be their cause.

It shocked me the lengths people will go to to harm others in the name of what? Freedom? Greed? Oppression? Politics? Religion? The setting is in Iraq about a unit whose job it is to deactivate Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs). I wonder if the Iraqi people, seen standing on their balconies watching tension unfold between foreign military forces and “unfriendlys”, think of the foreign military forces who are trying to deactivate the IEDs. Do they appreciate it? Are they afraid to get involved? In one scene, someone is flying a kite on the top of the roof of a building right after an explosive device detonates. Explosions and murder are so commonplace, people go about their daily lives as if nothing happened.

I began to wonder if I were in that country, if I were a terrorist or someone trying to explode IEDs in and around civilian populations, why would I want foreign military help? And what makes the foreign military forces think they are wanted or that their help is needed?

There just wasn’t much gratitude from the civilians at all for the foreign military deactivating bombs that could potentially kill those same civilians standing around watching the “show.”

Why not leave them to their own devices (no pun intended)? Why not let them fight it out if they choose? Why do other countries see it as their duty to help?

At one point, I realized how much soldiers must see and experience in countries like Iraq, how much they can’t unsee what they’ve seen. The images in this film are disturbing at best. It’s graphic. But it’s real-life for the Iraqis and foreign military forces.

I urge you to see this film, if for no other reason than to have gratitude for your life right now, just the way it is. It might not be the happiest, the richest, you may be struggling in some way, but you will be grateful after watching this film.

I salute countries with military forces who have the best of intentions in helping other countries who are quite hostile and violent. I applaud them, admire them, and give my thanks to them. I may not understand all of the intricacies that goes into why someone would set IEDs to harm their own people. I just know it takes bravery and courage to be the soldiers there who help those people from further harming and killing each other.

Even then, have we seen any justice? Peace? Conversations that don’t result in murders?

Time will tell. Time will tell.

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