In 2004, the movie Team America World Police was released. It depicted the then dictator of North Korea, Kim Jong il, as a maniacal puppet who sang musical numbers and was eventually impaled on a spike, revealing himself to be a tyrannical alien. No cinemas screening this #Film were attacked.
In 2012, the remake of 80’s war movie Red Dawn was released. It centred around a group of people protecting their town from a North Korean invasion. No cinemas screening this film were attacked.
In 2014, Seth Rogen and James Franco planned to release a movie called The Interview, in which two journalists attempt to assassinate Kim Jong Un, the current leader of of North Korea. That, as far as N.Korea was concerned, was too much.
You may remember when this film’s release was first announced. N.Korea was incensed, declared it an act of terrorism and war. And we did what we always do when N.Korea kicks up a fuss. We ignored it. Like a child throwing a tantrum, we ignored it. It may be fair to say that N.Korea’s bark has always been worse than their bite.
Then earlier this month, the servers of Sony Pictures, distributors of The Interview, were hacked. And violently so it seemed. Emails were divulged. Information was leaked. Threats were made of further consequences should Sony go ahead with their release of The Interview.
And we read the emails. And we giggled at the naughtiness of the whole thing. Laughed at the Sony executives being publicly embarrassed for mocking Angelina Jolie in a series of private messages. It all seemed like good fun.
Then threats were made to attack cinemas screening the film. Suddenly, our image changed from some geeky college Mark Zuckerberg type in his bedroom. Whoever was hacking Sony was serious, driven, and possibly dangerous.
And now we come to the story’s ultimate conclusion. Sony announced the withdrawal of any release of The Interview for the foreseeable future.
To no one’s great surprise, US Intelligence announced that N.Korea were more than likely involved with the hacking, elevating this from essentially domestic terrorism, to cyber warfare. A type of warfare which N.Korea have been looking into the capabilities of for some time now, considering the lacklustre failure of their nuclear weapons programme.
N.Korea infamously, is something of a police state. No criticism of any kind is allowed of the government or its leader. The media is heavily regulated. Free speech is virtually non-existent.
This should not apply to N.Korea’s enemies.
It’s bad enough when our own governments censor information, or interfere with our media (the recent debate involving the NSA springs to mind). However, N.Korea are somewhat less subtle in their methods. Come to think of it, where were the NSA during all this?
What message does this all teach people? Don’t like a movie coming out? Just threaten and harass until you scare people into getting your own way? What if there’s a movie coming out that Al Queida doesn't like? Or the Church? Or some other fanatical person or group? Will they be taking notes?
Terrorism only works if we allow it to work. If we give in to their demands and threats. If this were a movie, I imagine the last act would consist of Sony standing up to N.Korea, releasing the movie worldwide, and showing them that we won’t give in to harassment from a corrupt dictatorship. But this is real life.
Unlike movies, sometimes, the bad guys win. #Cinema