[One in an ongoing series of posts. For the full series see Zeteo is Reading.]
18 July 2013
Director Joshua Oppenheimer had Indonesian gangsters stage reenactments of the mass killings they took part in during the 1965-1966 anti-communist purge, which left an estimated half million people dead, complete with their own scripts, elaborate costumes and special effects. The glee with which the aging killers re-live the days they strangled victims, coldly shot them as they begged for their lives, raped their daughters before burning down their homes, etc., conveys the horror of the real events more engagingly than any eyewitness testimony, without exploiting the victims’ suffering.
It reminded me a lot of a special I saw on Al Jazeera recently about gang-rape in Cambodia. At the 13:00 mark, there is an interview with a chronic gang-rapist who describes at length his behaviors, and seems to recognize that these actions are deplorable with very little cognitive dissonance, other than the fact that he is the one doing it.