Friday, July 07, 2006

United 93

Yesterday, I saw United 93, the documentary movie about the plane that didn't reach its designated target on 9/11 because the brave passengers resisted the hijackers and tried to regain control of the plane.

The movie is definitely worth a visit to the cinema (in case you have not gone to see it yet), many actors in fact play themselves as civilian (FAA) or military (NORAD) air traffic controllers. This gives the movie a very authentic touch.

And it is hard not to feel that incredible rage again when you see those images of the impact of United 175 into the south tower of the WTC.

However, one thing in the movie bothered me a lot, although it does not play a prominent role in the movie: the pilot among the hijackers of United 93, Ziad Jarrah, is portrayed as a doubting, hesitant figure. You can tell this by his body language, he leaves a last message on his wife's phone, he hesitates to give the sign for the take-over.

I do not understand why the director did this. Was it because Jarrah was later characterized as a macho bon-vivant and therefore an unlikely contestant for jihad (like the terrorists of 7/7), was it because he failed in his mission? I just don't see any justification for such explanations.

It is totally unimaginable that Osama Bin Laden would give part of the most sophisticated operation ever done by Al Qaeda in the hands of a man with doubts about what he was about to do. Jarrah was not "just a man, who, like everyone else, has his doubts". I don't buy that. Jarrah was a fanatic mass-murderer, period, who chose to express his grievances in the most violent way. Such a characterization is so exemplary of people who prefer not to face unpleasant facts and their implications, because they don't fit into their way of thinking.

All the credit goes to the passengers who where the first line of defense on that beautiful September morning again those acts of pure evil. What a pity that not everybody can bring themselves to see them that way.