Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Munich: After-thoughts

I saw the movie Munich a few weeks ago and found it moderately interesting. The first half of the movie was a very fast riveting thriller but the second half was more like a slow drama. The change in pace and actions in the movie made the second half seem like a let down compared to the first half and hence the moderately interesting comment. But the movie accomplished something (for me) that not many movies do and that is to make me think and discuss about it for a few days after that.

Simply put, the movie is about taking revenge for a bunch of unnecessary killings of the Israeli Olympic athletes during the 1972 Olympics in Munich, Germany. During the first half of the movie, the athletes get killed and Golda Meier appoints our hero to get revenge. The hero is so sure of what he needs to do and sets about doing it. But after a few revenge-killings, things start becoming gray. The hero (and his small group) wonders about the purpose they are serving and what they are accomplishing, and that is when my thoughts start racing too.

Although this is something I have thought about several times, I always seem to stop with no conclusion. The fundamental question is if it is ever alright for one person to kill another person. In Munich, what the killers did to the athletes is unjustifiable and the athletes did not do anything to deserve that. But is killing the murderers for that justified? I am not sure. The follow-up question is what is the right punishment for an act like that. I have to admit that I can't come up with any that even I can buy. There are options - some practical and some impractical. The practical one is putting them in jail for life but then the public will have to pay for a murderer and that does not seem fair to the public. The impractical option is to send all murderers to a remote island and have them work for their living expenses and do whatever. But this is not feasible as some might get killed in the island or escape and would just lead to more issues. I do realize that if murderers do not get punished adequately, then they could take advantage of it, but I still can't bring myself to say that they deserve to die.

If there is one thing I can't even begin to understand, it is how anybody can take somebody else's life, regardless of the cause.