Some movies are intended for consumption; others are intended to consume. The Mauritanian is of the latter sort. It will consume your thoughts long after the movie ends. The issue is torture, and more specifically the use of enhanced interrogation at Guantanamo Bay in the years following 9/11.
I’ve written before about torture, and why it is an issue that requires a more nuanced ethical approach than simple absolutism offers. The Mauritanian takes up the issue of the real life story of Mohamedou Ould Slahi, a man picked up in North Africa in the months following 9/11 for his alleged association with Osama Bin Ladin. He was taken to Jordan and then to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where he was held by the U.S. Government for 14 years (through both the Bush and Obama administrations) without charges ever being brought against him.
When I began watching this movie, I fully expected a strong helping of the typical Hollywood hubris combined with twisted facts to support a hard-left premise. What I got was something more honest and penetrating. The Bush and Obama administrations must have both thought Slahi guilty, but if they did, why not indict him and put him to trial? The suggestion offered by the movie is probably accurate: the evidence was merely circumstantial or inadmissible. And without spoiling the movie, I can say that the best evidence against Slahi was certainly and rightly inadmissible.
As you know if you follow this blog, I am a trial lawyer. About fifteen years ago, I represented a Christian man in a religious discrimination case. He was actually a part-time pastor in a very small town but had to work at a trucking company to supplement his pastor income. The other men at the trucking company mercilessly harassed him about his religious beliefs, making fun of him on a daily basis.
We had to file the case in federal court about 2 hours from where I live, and so when it came time for the case to go to trial, The Wife and I traveled there for the trial. We arrived the night before the trial was to start, and after getting our bags and trial materials moved into the hotel, went for dinner to the restaurant next to the Quality Inn where we were staying. After being shown to our table, I went to the restroom.
While I was in the restroom a server, who was not assigned to our table, came to the table and told The Wife her name was Rose. She said, “I know this may sound weird, but I am a Christian, and I felt like the Lord wanted me to tell you that He is going to give you victory in what you here to do.” The Wife thanked her for sharing that but didn’t tell her we were in town representing a Christian in an employment discrimination case. When I returned, to the table The Wife told me what happened.
So, what you didn’t know, because security within the GSB team is lock tight, is that there was a tour in the works last summer that would have taken us to Rome, Revenna, and Venice. The theme would have been the early church, the conversion of Constantine the Great at the Milvian Bridge, and some Byzantine and crusader sites as well. It was a trip we had in the works for a few years, but then came “the Covid.”
Now, just this last week, Europe has announced they are opening up for tourists, specifically the kind who have have had Pfizer and Moderna tickle their immune system. Since The Wife and I are Pfizer folk, we, along with the rest of GSB team, are looking seriously at a September 2021 tour in Italy. Ann, a vaxxed GSB Travel Blog regular, staunch Calvinist, and fierce protector of all things Protestant (she can sniff out popery from a 1,000 yards), is also game.
There are a few challenges. For one, The Wife and I binge watched twelve seasons of Mayday and Air Disasters during the pandemic and swore multiple times we would never get on a plane again. If you are familiar with the GSB travel blogs, you know yours truly does not travel well, although until recently that has been driven more by the inconvenience involved in getting in the air more than the fear of falling out of it.
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” Psalm 19:1.
God’s work discloses something about Him. It is a revealing of who He is. Work is that way. It manifests for all to see, what would otherwise be hidden. It is true of the work of God, and it is true of our work. People can’t see into our soul, but they can see our work, and our work reveals our soul. It reveals whether we are careful or cavalier, thorough or thoughtless, excellent or expedient.
This is the reason termination consistently ranks as one of the most traumatic events one can suffer behind divorce, death of a loved one, and terminal disease. Our work is an extension of ourselves, and when we are terminated we instinctively know it is not just a rejection of our work but a rejection of who we are. We are our work.
Unfortunately, people often don’t think of this until they are terminated. They produce sloppy work, neither caring nor realizing they are revealing something very personal and often shamefully deficient about themselves. It is ironic that people who would never reveal personal medical information at work, are every day hanging out their inner dirty laundry for the world to see and don’t even realize it.
God’s work declares His glory. What does your work declare about you? GS