Thursday, January 27, 2011

Who Stands Up for the Oppressed?

I have to preface this with, I really do like Star Wars. The Wars is a happy childhood memory and I love that Star Wars: The Clone Wars is on television so I can share it with my kids. But exploring the fictional history of the Clone Wars has left me disturbed.

Here is my basic problem, the clones are slaves and no one speaks for the slaves. The bad guy, the Sith Lord who will remain nameless, is directing both sides of this conflict. And the Jedi, the protectors of the helpless, are directing the clones on the side of the Republic, leading them to their deaths in battle. I know the clones were grown for battle. I know at their hearts they are soldiers. But it’s also clear they are people. And not all clones wish to fight in a war they never chose as we have seen on Friday nights. The Jedi, the good guys, should recognize the helplessness of the clones, but they do nothing. Perhaps they plan to liberate the slave class in future happier times!

The reason I’m upset is God calls us, okay me, to stand up for those who have no voice. And the Jedi are the good guys, so why are they not speaking up for the clones (yes, I am aware that the Jedi are not Christ followers, but in my world view good people even non-followers speak up for the oppressed)? They clearly like the clones, respect the clones, trust the clones (well that’s a mistake) and many treat the clones like the individuals that they are, except for the fact they are slaves fighting a war not of their choosing. The Jedi are looking as bad as the Sith in the way they treat the clone soldiers.

Honestly, it’s led me to mistrust the Jedi when watching Star Wars: The Clone Wars. I just can’t rely on them to stand up for the innocent.

Then I found the book Order 66 by Karen Traviss. (Please note/NERD ALERT: I understand that the Traviss books are questionable in fitting into accepted George Lucas (GL) canon. I do not advocate their inclusion in GL canon or the revision of GL canon to make them do so. And I am far from an expert on the Star Wars Expanded Universe that includes this book) In this book I found a character I could put my trust in, Kal Skirata. Skirata is a warrior, a Mandalorian, the people of super awesome Boba Fett. Skirata developed a fatherly relationship with one group of young clones and realized something important. The clones are people. He adopted the boys and as his adopted sons ,he will fight to give his boys and their families, and any other clone that asks, a life. He would stand up for their ability to not fight, to live, to love, to father, to make decisions for themselves and their futures. Now, Skirata does steal, murder, lie, kidnap and behaves in an un-Christlike way in order to provide his sons freedom. But here is the thing that struck me, between bad and bad, between evil and acceptance of the status quo, one man was willing to live and die for the innocent. I find myself comforted in knowing that someone was willing in a fake story to stand up for fictional slaves in a completely imaginary way. Sadly it sounds like we won’t be seeing more of Skirata’s story anytime in the future and his future efforts to support the innocent.

Here is where I am left by this book. Am I accepting the status quo of slavery? Do I take actions that keep the innocent and the oppressed in that state of mind? I’m guessing yes. In the end, I’m not Sith, but I’m probably Jedi, accepting what is as something I can’t change or won’t change due to my needs. I have to challenge myself to become Skirata and not accept the loss of innocence just so my life can have extra benefits.

Did I mention I know it’s not real.

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