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Voluntary Victim of Homeland Security

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In Jonathan Rosenbaum's otherwise excellent capsule review of Jafar Panahi's Crimson Gold, he claims the Iranian director "can't even enter this country." Yet in the long review of the same film, and in a previous piece on Panahi, Rosenbaum notes that the director actually refuses to enter the country as a form of protest, because he will not submit to (inkless) fingerprinting. A big difference, no? Rosenbaum should of course credit Panahi for his pointed (if pointless) sacrifice and complain all he wants about long lines at the airport (the longest I've ever waited through were in Rosenbaum's beloved Paris, by the way, and coming back from Central America recently I saw people patiently zipping through the stateside digital fingerprinting stations with little hassle), but it's really misleading to portray him as some sort of innocent victim of malicious U.S. security and immigration policy, however malicious it may be. Our paranoid reality is illustrative enough in this case. No need to embellish or exaggerate it.

Derek Peel

Oak Park

Jonathan Rosenbaum replies:

You're right. I should have said that Panahi can come here if he submits to fingerprinting, mug shots, and waiting three or four months in Europe to get security clearance--as Abbas Kiarostami was asked to do.

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