Homeland, Drone Queens And Geopolitics

By Sunil Kumar

Sweeping generalizations seem to be an integral part of human existence. A trait which I have often witnessed in everybody; regardless of race and religion. Hit American show “24” creators Howard Gordon‘s “Homeland” struck some of the right notes in its earlier avatar with the story of U.S Marine Brody’s flirtation with the other dark side; the menacing spectre of jihadist Islam.

Is this show anti-a-specific religion? After I read a damning critique from an aggrieved party; a Pakistani commentator on its rather terse interpretation of their version of the story; there is indeed a certain ambiguity in its potrayal.(What else would you expect from an American show?) Giving an accurate version of world events sans a slant has never been the white man’s forte.

It is my firm belief that “Homeland” is indeed slightly bigoted; but then Pakistan or any other Islamic country will never win any prizes for tolerance; freedom of speech and religious equality. The horrific killing of Christians last week; coupled with regular and frequent destruction of every minority place of worship simply prove the point; the most dangerous and fanatical place on earth is right at India‘s doorstep.

Praise for the show tends to focus on its convergence with real geopolitical events. The American detente with Iran; and now imminent exit from Afghanistan seem to be fodder for the show’s creators; and they try to mirror reality in whatever way possible. Gripping storylines however seemed to be more in evidence in the first two seasons; with the constant tug-of-war between the CIA establishment at Langley and the free-wheeling Carrie Mathison(played by Claire Danes).

Global politics has a strange tendency to sometimes defy the obvious; and come up with surprises. At other times; it’s staid as usual. “24” storylines although pretty fast and action-packed; were sometimes ridiculous to the extreme. Homeland promised to be a very intense insightful show; but seems to have gone slightly awry. Personally; I want more intrigue and many more agencies involved; probably they could come up with the Russian FSB; the Israeli Mossad and a few more twists in the tale.

Most American shows seem to be less suave than the more cerebral self-flagellating buffoons; the British; but make up for their inadequacies in their fast-paced storylines. The current season of “Homeland” may benefit with a more comprehensive look at the real issues in the region; rather than give us more exotica tinged with nonsensical Americana. Don’t make it a documentary; but don’t dress up South Africa to make it Pakistan. The real ambience of the subcontinent can only be found here. Everything else is just a farce.


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