September 20, 2011

Rabbani killed

Former Afghan president and head of the reconciliation commission Burhanuddin Rabbani has been killed by the Taliban, apparently. The signs on the wall for anyone expecting to obtain some power in Afghanistan and not debark for Dubai as soon as reasonably possible thereafter would seem clear.

There's no question the Taliban's improvement in their pursuit of "high value targets" this year has mirrored, if not exceeded the coalition's. I was in Kandahar two years ago to witness failed assassinations of Karzai's brother and the city's mayor; both of them got the little X's through their portraits on the Taliban's link analysis charts earlier this year.

UPDATE: The smartness of this one is hard to deny. As the guy in charge of reconciliation, Rabbani had to be prepared to receive just about anyone, without excessive security attaching (hence how a turban bomber, which has proven quite effective in Kandahar this year, was able to get in). Now further attempts at reconciliation initiated by Taliban members are now likely to be treated with extreme and distancing security measures.

Posted by BruceR at 11:33 AM

Things that please me: docudrama edition

I would be remiss in not noting the quality of last night's John A. Macdonald biopic on CBC: John A.: Birth of a Country. Excellent acting by Shawn Doyle as John A. and David La Haye as (a bearded? huh?) Cartier. Michelle Nolden also did well as George Brown's wife, Anne. Doyle in particular was at least as good as William Hutt's 1974 portrayal in bringing forth the qualities of a man best described as the Trudeau (or maybe Caesar) of nineteenth-century Canada, ambitious, far-seeing, ruthless, and utterly charismatic.

The only thing missing here (other than D'Arcy McGee: come on, guys, you've simply got to put him in these things), really was the network's ambition, of the kind it had back in Hutt's day: I was disappointed that there is, apparently, no sequel in the pipe as of yet to last night's 2-hour drama, which really only goes up to the founding of the Brown-Macdonald Great Coalition in 1864. As I said, nothing wrong with the actors here: but with just a little more money this could have been our country's John Adams.

I also really appreciated the weekend's rerun of Cinema Verite this week... excellent retelling of the trials of the Loud family, featured in the first ever reality TV series, PBS's An American Family, back in 1973. Both Tim Robbins and Diane Lane do an impressive job of adopting the mannerisms and characteristics of the real-life Loud father and mother, without descending into easy caricature. I'd love to see the PBS "Family" recap that aired last April as a follow-up, but of course most PBS online stuff is inaccessible to Canadian computers now. Remind me why they think they can fundraise up here, again?

Posted by BruceR at 08:49 AM