Note there is just a hint of sarcasm in this article and it relates to a number of events in differing nations. No prizes to anyone who can link each point to its nation and real event.
Wandering through some random files and documents tucked away in the dark and seldom visited corners of my head and computer some old files came to light. They had to do with the second Star Wars Trilogy, that’s films I, II and III. Remember those, where they rewrote much of the rules of the verse as revealed in the first three films IV, V and VI.
Anyway there was something at the time about how the Empire wasn't the bad guys and I wrote several pieces about who was or was not the bad guys. Which got me thinking.
With both the next three films coming up and some uncomfortable comparisons between current events and Science Fiction I was thinking about how my ideas from back then were still relevant.
Number One: The Phantom Menace
We have the Grand Republic. A vast organisation of worlds and systems, thousands of them. A noble democracy of peoples representing everyone. An elected leadership. Caring for all and protecting all in equal measure. A great tradition of egalitarianism and freedom and democracy.
Sadly though it was beset by troubles.
Far distant from the heart of the Republic was the planet Naboo. An idyllic world, deeply traditional and conservative, a people who made their cities green and wonderful and who voted for their royalty. Thought in order to achieve this perfect world the other people who happened to share the planet, you know, the ones with a different appearance and way of speaking, yes them, they had been outcast and left to dwell in the swamps and under the deepest lakes.
Cannot have a bunch of uppity native types hanging around making our Idyll look untidy. Heck about the only thing missing was for the natives to say sir or master a lot when talking to the humans.
Anyway poor Naboo was threatened. Some nasty evil corporation wanted to impose capitalism on the peaceful tree loving locals and was prepared to use force to do it. Nasty evil capitalists trying to exploit resources in the name of profit, boooo.
So after deciding they couldn't win a fight against a multi system power like the Trade Federation (clue is in the name), those poor folk from Naboo asked for help and the Senate, that democratic and caring organisation, sent a pair of Jedi to negotiate a peaceful end to the troubles.
So Blair and Kerry, oops sorry, Qui-Gon and Obi-Wan arrive only to find talking is useless. The invasion starts and those dirty capitalists invade the planet. So our heroes, well their heroes to be honest, flee to the capital to get help.
Here they found a very nice man who was the elected leader of everything, well he was elected by the senators in some fashion that may have involved voting and since they had been elected by their people that made the Chancellor the democratically elected leader of trillions of people. Of course we don’t know how many senators didn't bother to vote and we have no idea if Palpatine was head of a coalition, let’s face it we have no idea whatsoever if he even had a majority of votes.
Anyway he was very sad to hear about this evil capitalist group being nasty and so he called for an investigation. Unfortunately all that democracy was basically useless when faced with a deeply entrenched bureaucracy that tied everything up in red tape and box ticking and made it impossible to do anything. Or at least that’s what the politicians said and we can trust our politicians because we elected them, didn't we?
Oh dear, the system is preventing those caring politicians, the ones who are supposed to be in charge because we elected them to be in charge, from doing anything to help. It’s the bureaucracy you see, rules and such like, even elected politicians are helpless to do anything about that even though we, the electorate, vote the politicians into power to run everything, that damn bureaucracy just gets in the way.
So our heroes, that is their heroes, race back to poor green and wonderful Naboo to find the evil capitalists have taken over and there is no one to fight them. Well except those dumb ugly natives in the swamp, the ones who talk funny and are represented by the most hated character in all six films (even more hated than Manikin Skywalker the whiny wooden boy).
So those kind hearted natives came out and did all the fighting and the dying and rescued the world, driving off the evil capitalists and saving the day, in return they got a parade and a bunch of medals and if they are very lucky Joanna Lumley will campaign for them to get pensions and citizenships.
The capitalists were slapped on the wrist and told not to do it again.
Then since everything is all peace and roses and unicorns playing on the lawn it’s time to reduce the army and all live happily ever after.
Number Two: Attack of the Clones
Time has passed and all is not well. The unicorns have gone away, the sun has gone behind the clouds and a bunch of dirty troublesome separatists are causing trouble and disrupting the peace.
Those evil capitalists are back and they have lots of friends, not just other capitalists but whole other groups of natives. They want to leave the Grand Republic but that’s not allowed so they have been getting a bit fractious and aggressive about it. Harsh words have been used and there has even been some fighting. But what is even worse that all that is the fact that the Separatists seem to be led by, or at least have a figure who is, a dirty low down Apostate. Count Dooku, the man is a heretic AND a blasphemer who has abandoned the true faith. More on this terrible crime later on.
Any way things are looking bad. The poor Republic is helpless, they don’t have an army since they got rid of it based on predictions of universal peace and unicorns, plus it cost too much. Now those separatists want to, well, separate and everyone’s panicking.
Who are these separatists anyway, who do they think they are. Trying to make their own rules, make their own decisions. Don’t they know this is a democracy, they are not allowed to do that. They are supposed to do what they are told by the guy who got the most votes, err, the guy who mostly got the most votes, err, the guy who won the election.
Making their own laws, setting their own taxes, trying to run things to suit their own people’s needs and situation. What next, these separatists clearly have no idea what’s going on. So the Grand Republic, that long established and traditional democracy (that is mostly a bureaucracy) resorts to name calling and insults and economic threats and all such unpleasant behaviour, But that’s not enough.
So the Jedi are sent out to see what is going on, deal with the odd assassin (and she/it was fairly odd) and generally act all Jedi like.
Actually now is a good time to talk about the Jedi, such a fine upstanding group of people. Well educated, sent to the most exclusive school and educational facility. So wise and learned that they don’t even need to bother with anything like a judiciary system as they can go anywhere they like without bothering with warrants, listen to your thoughts without you knowing and even arrest you or kill you if they think you are a criminal or some dirty underclass smoker or unemployed scoundrel or enemy of the state). Now despite the propaganda about how anyone can work hard and rise to the dizzying heights of Jedidom sadly it’s a closed class of people, you have to be born into the right family to become a Jedi. But that’s not a problem, is it? Because the Jedi are wise and all knowing and working for our betterment, even if they are utterly unaccountable and unmonitored.
Anyway after much running around it is decided that to fight the faceless mass produced droids of the Separatist armies the Republic must raise its own army. The Separatist Droids are cheap, utterly expendable, no one cares how many die as long as they are serving some purpose.
What the Republic needs is some troops of its own, mass produced clones, faceless behind the white plastic armour they wear. Utterly expendable, no one cares how many die as long as they are serving some purpose.
Out they march, rank after rank, mass produced, faceless in white. The army of the Republic, they must be the good guys because they are wearing white, right?
So to beat those dirty capitalists the Republic has chosen to match them at their own game. Go Republic.
Oh one more little detail, hardly worth mentioning. The separatists have this figurehead fellow, and he apparently has friends. Bit of a problem that because they are not unbelievers, they are not heathens, they are SITH.
The SITH are evil, we know this because the Jedi tell us and we can trust the Jedi, can’t we? The SITH believe in absolutes and absolutes are evil so therefore anyone who believes in absolutes is EVIL and the SITH who believe in absolutes are EVIL. But isn't judging all SITH to be EVIL because they believe in absolutes also an absolute. Black and white sort of thing.
Oh I’m sorry friend Jedi, I had no idea how confused I was. Yes thank you for helping me to see things more clearly with your powers by entering my mind and rearranging my thoughts. I understand now, only the SITH are EVIL because they force people to do things against their will and impose absolutes on everyone. Yes all SITH are EVIL. Thanks for clearing that up friend Jedi, all hail the wonderful Jedi.
So the Separatists are led by someone who is not just Religious, but he is the wrong religion. He is a member of a religion that is utterly the opposite of the Jedi and so must be EVIL. Therefore this is not just a war against a bunch of dirty capitalists, not just a war against a bunch of ungrateful separatists who want out from under a failed system that has long since ceased to be democratic or accountable and is now nothing more that a bureaucratic noose to strangle them. This is a righteous CRUSADE against the EVIL religion. Death to the SITH.
So it all ends with super weapons and a bit of cybernetic stuff, oh and some sort of wedding that was secret because it involved a Jedi and they being so pure and noble are forbidden to marry or something like that. So the whiny wooden boy has grown up to become a whiny wooden young man and has now sneaked off in defiance of the religious vows of his order and gotten married. Still given the alternatives a consenting relationship with a woman is probably a good thing, what with him being a cath....Jedi and all.
To summarise. Enemies everywhere, the EVIL SITH are among us, plotting to overthrow the noble democratic Republic and leave us all at the mercy of the SITH, who are EVIL. Only the faceless legions of mass produced and expendable clone troopers and the mind reading judge/jury/executioners born into the Jedi families stand between us and chaos.
Number Thee: Revenge Of The Sith
Things are not looking good. War is everywhere, hundreds of planets are being fought over. The faceless masses of the separatists are being forced back by the faceless masses of clones and the Republic is closing in on the leaders of the Separatist movement.
After a military attack in space against the Republic that EVIL SITH Count Dooku was defeated, captured and, erm, killed while trying to escape. That leaves just General Grievous insult to our intelligence and he is hunted far and wide.
But back home there are problems developing.
After the heroic rescue of the mostly elected head of the Republic by Blair and Kerry, oops no, I mean Obi-Wan and whiny wooden man, the chancellor assigns whiny wooden man as his representative to the Jedi council.
Something that the council itself was not happy with, what with Anakin having come to the order far too old to be subject to the traditional indoctrination as a child and having all sorts of doubts about his resolve. Let’s face it Anakin was thinking for himself and asking question and that will never do when you are a priest in the Jedi.
So the Jedi council shunned him and set his friend to spy in him, because after all Anakin wasn't a proper Jedi. He was friends with that mostly democratically elected leader of the government, doubted the righteousness of the Jedi cause and actually believed in democracy rather than toeing the line and maintaining the Theocracy he was a member of.
Anyway wooden man is about to become a dad, all excited and such like apart from the whole forbidden by his religion bit. But he’s worried about his children and wife, nightmares about bad things happening to them. Perfectly human you would think, but he can’t talk to his fellow Jedi because it’s against the rules of the church and so he has to keep it secret.
Instead he talks to his friend the chancellor who during the conversation reveals something difficult for Anakin to handle. His friend is expressing religious freedom by following a religion not Jedi. In fact he is SITH, and the SITH are EVIL because the Jedi say they are evil so it must be true.
Now this so upsets poor whiny wooden man that he goes to the Jedi and tells them what he has just learnt. Oh dear, this will not do. The mostly democratically elected leader of the Republic dares to disobey the Jedi, he follows the banned religion, he is EVIL. So the Jedi, that hereditary order of thought police who maintain control and make sure the Republic functions as they think it should gather some handpicked assassins and head out to kill the mostly democratically elected chancellor.
That whole absolute black and white thing again, Jedi are good, SITH are EVIL so the SITH must die. Mace Windu, in the name of the Senate and the Republic, tries to overthrow the chancellor but to save time (and because he is a member of the hereditary class of leaders who don’t bother with such details) he skips the whole asking the senate if they want to have their mostly elected leader arrested and just goes off to do it.
The chancellor points out that this is treason but those Jedi just go for it anyway, democracy being such a quaint old fashioned idea to the hereditary elite from the right school.
But this doesn't go so well and the assassins are killed, all but the last. Mace Windu, arch Assassin and chief thug of the Jedi order has defeated the chancellor and has him helpless on the ground. In comes Anakin just in time to hear Mace giving his little speech about the oppression of the SITH and after a bit of a fight we hear Mace saying how he is going to end this once and for all. Despite Anakins plea that he be given a trial Mace decides to carry out his orders and kill the mostly elected chancellor.
After yet more hand severing (which happens a lot in Star wars, maybe the makers of cybernetic hands have some dirty capitalist influence behind the scenes) the chancellor is safe and Mace is taking the scenic route down.
The next step is to deal with the Jedi, after all they are an elitist hereditary theocracy and inherently anti democratic. So in go the faceless, mass produced clones for a bit of genocide (is Jedicide a word?). What was once good and pure had become tainted and the enemy of democracy and so was overthrown.
The chancellor went before the senate and declared the formation of a new Empire to control the stars and bring peace. The senators who had mostly been elected in some fashion stood and cheered, they were still sitting in their comfortable chairs and they supported the new Emperor, the bureaucracy was still there, still running things behind the scenes.
Nothing had changed all that much to be honest, apart from one bunch of hereditary elite types who were religious extremists had been replaced by another bunch of hereditary elitist types who get themselves elected some way or another and who mostly weren't religious extremists.
The faceless mass produced clone troopers were slowly replaced with faceless soldiers who had families and loved ones, but that wouldn't stop the terrorist and religious extremists who would rise up in a few years to overthrown the Empire and replace it yet again with a Republic. No real changes apart from the religion that was in charge to be honest, the Republic was Jedi, the Empire was SITH. Both sham democracies who used deception and a police state to maintain power. Both supported terrorists to weaken the other.
A long time ago in a galaxy far far way?