Thursday, 4 August 2011

Occupation Science fiction style


There were lots of reasons why I liked Star Trek, memories of childhood evenings watching the black and white episodes of the original series back home, later many evenings spent escaping the harsh reality of the here and now into the fantasy world of a better future for mankind.

I have just been watching a repeat, an episode from the Deep Space Nine series, titled “Waltz” produced in 1997.

This series unlike the others is based on a fixed space station, and involves a lot of wars and several rounds of military occupation.

The episode involves two main characters, the Federation (i.e. Earth i.e American) captain Sisko “the goody”, and the Cardassian (very nasty reptilian like alien) ex-station commander during the previous occupation Dukat “the baddy”.

If you read the transcript I am sure you will see why I wanted to share.

SISKO: All right you really want to do this? Here? Now?


SISKO: Okay. Let's do it. You were Prefect of Bajor during the occupation. True or false?

DUKAT: True.

SISKO: And you were responsible for everything that happened under your command. True or false?

DUKAT: True.

SISKO: So that makes you responsible for the murder of over five million Bajorans who died on your watch. True or false!

DUKAT: False. I tried to save lives during my administration.

SISKO: Evidence?

DUKAT: Evidence? He wants evidence. By the time I became Prefect, the occupation had been going on for almost forty years, but the planet was still not ready for full-scale colonization. Central Command wanted the situation resolved and they didn't care how it was done. I was convinced that a gentler hand was required to deal with the Bajorans. So in my first official act as Prefect, I ordered all labour camp commanders to reduce their output quotas by fifty percent – fifty percent! Then I reorganized the camps themselves. Child labour was abolished. Medical care was improved and food rations were increased. In the first month of my administration, the death rate dropped by more than twenty percent.
And how did the Bajorans react? On my one-month anniversary they blew up an orbital dry-dock, killing over two hundred Cardassian soldiers and workers.
I had to order a response. But even then it was a carefully tempered one: I had two hundred suspected members of the Resistance rounded up and executed. Two hundred lives for two hundred lives. That was justice -- not malevolence --justice.
But did I give up my efforts to reach out to the Bajorans? No.
I tried again. And what did I get for my trouble? An assassination attempt. On my own space station!
Another round of executions followed. Again, courtesy of the Bajoran Resistance.
On and on it went, year after blood-soaked year. Time and again, I would reach out with the open hand of friendship and time and again, they would slap it away.

DUKAT: I hope you're listening to all this.

SISKO: Oh, believe me, you have my undivided attention. Now let me get this straight: You're not responsible for what happened during the Occupation, the Bajorans are.

DUKAT: Exactly.

SISKO: So why do you think they didn't appreciate the rare opportunity you were offering them?

DUKAT: Because they were blind, ignorant fools. They couldn't see that if they had only chosen to cooperate with us, we could've turned their world into a paradise. From the moment we arrived on Bajor, it was clear that we were the superior race. But they couldn't accept that. They wanted to be treated as equals when they most definitely were not. Militarily, technologically, culturally -- we were almost a century ahead of them in every way.
We did not choose to be the superior race, fate handed us our role. It would've been so much easier on everyone if the Bajorans had simply accepted their role. But no... day after day they clustered in their temples and prayed for deliverance, and night after night they planted bombs outside our homes.
Pride. That's what it was.
Stubborn, unyielding pride. From the servant girl that cleaned my quarters to the condemned man toiling in a labour camp to the terrorist skulking through the hills of Dahkur Province, they each wore their pride like some twisted badge of honour.

SISKO: And you hated them for it.

DUKAT: Of course I hated them! Their superstitions and their cries for sympathy, their treachery and their lies, their smug superiority and their stiff-necked obstinacy, Yes I hated them, I hated everything about them!

SISKO: You should've killed them all.

DUKAT: Yes! I knew it! I've always known it!
I should've killed every last one of them and turned their planet into a graveyard the likes of which the galaxy had never seen!

I am pretty sure that the writer of this plot had in mind a European occupation and a non-Muslim occupied people, but you can see why it is a very bad thing to admit that you are an occupation force, even writers of science fiction shows know what that means. As do most ordinary people, even if they pretend otherwise.

Just as most people understand what is happening when occupation leaders start blaming the inferior non-grateful occupied people, or the incompetent non-trained political superiors, in fact everyone and anyone else for the terrible things that happen during their watch.

Yasmin (Blanche) said...
Amazing !!
I loved Star trek too.. it seems ages ago..
but 3eeraqi Medic, how can u get to watch these reptile like creatures now??!!
Even (our stratrek)was something else..
09 December 2007 08:52

3eeraqimedic said...
He he Yasmin spoken like a true trekkie yes the original series with all its shortcomings was the "real" thing.
Hope you are well, noomehilo has disappeared again.
09 December 2007 21:32

Crocogator said...
Bones (Doc),
I love Star Trek. They were always had some kind of historical or moral message, like when CAPT Piccard said "some of the darkest moments in my planet's history involved the forced location of people," in "Star Trek: Generations." Not to be a whiner, but we who had to go through the pain of childhood in the late 1970s call ourselves "Trekers" now. Admitting you watched the Original Series re-runs back then (before Star Wars) got you pounded in school.

Interesting piece. I was wondering if you ever got to see the last series "ENTERPRISE."

17 December 2007 18:50

3eeraqimedic said...
I did not appreciate the "moral messages" of start trek until I watched repeats, and I was spared Star Wars until the recent releases of episodes!
I am not sure I recognise your quote or its relevance, my all time favourite quote from Star Trek is "The Prime Directive" a treker or a trekie I am sure you will know why.
17 December 2007 20:17

Crocogator said...
I guess I was trying to make a point that both CAPT Sisko and CAPT Piccard were speaking more of Slave Labor and Concentration camps. This is my opinion of course, and I certainly hope I did not (and do not) cause any offense.

With Aloha,
17 December 2007 20:39

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