Howling About "Wolves"
It's tough to take that sort of reaction to a film in which an actor playing a Jewish doctor cuts out organs from Muslim prisoners and American soldiers brutalize innocent civilians. We want to be seen as the good guys, and it's clear that we're very often not seen that way.
The production went on general release in Germany a fortnight ago and has had full houses ever since. More than 130,000 people, most of them young Muslims, saw the film in the first five days of its opening. At a packed cinema in a largely Turkish immigrant district of Berlin last week, Valley of the Wolves was being watched almost exclusively by young Turkish men. They clapped furiously when the Turkish hero of the film was shown blowing up a building occupied by the United States military commander in northern Iraq.
In the closing sequence, the hero is shown plunging a dagger into the heart of a US commander called Sam, played by Billy Zane. The audience responded by standing up and chanting "Allah is great!"
We're not in Iraq because we want to be loved; we're there to change the intolerable status quo of the Middle East, but seeing Valley of the Wolves cheered takes all the inspiration out of internationalism.
Meanwhile, Germany's leadership is struggling with how to react to the movie, given its concern about anti-Semitism. Kenan Kolat, a leader of Germany's Turkish community provided the only viable answer:
"If it is withdrawn, it will raise levels of identification with the film. A democracy must be able to endure films that it doesn't approve of."Kolat, to his credit, was sharply critical about Imams urging Kartoonistan violence, but his voice is outnumbered by the shriller voices of Islam. The Muslim punks cheering Valley of the Wolves in a country that must allow such filth to be showed are probably the same ones who want Danish newspapers to be closed down for running cartoons they pretend offense at.