Thursday, August 23, 2012

Graham Greene's The Comedians, Part II

Now let's consider the existential dilemmas of The Comedians (1966 novel, 1967 movie).

1. The Evil. Papa Doc Duvalier and the Tonton Macoutes. Abuse of power, random search and seizure, terror, imprisonment, torture, murder, theatrical public executions, muzzled speech and press, skewed class system (super wealth vs. extreme poverty). Collusion with or rationalization of said evil.

2. Responses. What to do in such a framework? Participate, collaborate, fight, flee or try to keep under the radar. Pray, hope for the best or do nothing.

3. In Reality. The Duvalier regime exported body parts and blood, including to thirsty US medical institututions -- and including portions diseased. Much ignored because Duvalier was "anti-communist" and anti-Castro, Papa Doc died of "natural causes" in Haiti. Luckner "The Vampire" Cambronne, Duvalier's head of the Tonton Macoutes, found safe exile in Miami, USA, and resided happily ever after there from 1972 until his death in 2006. Clearly, in this and similar cases, true crime does pay -- at least here on Earth. Idi Amin, deranged dictator of Uganda in the 1970s, lived out his life in pleasant exile, too -- from 1979 until his death in 2003, in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. The fact that Amin lived with multiple wives may have been more of a mixed blessing. Meanwhile, the novelist Graham Greene was castigated by Duvalier and company for bringing attention to the horrors of his regime. No shock there, I suppose.

Today's Rune: Defense.   

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