Marvelous Movie Mondays: Libyan Attack

EPFC | October 4th, 2017

guest curator: Amy Khoshbin

Living as an Iranian-American artist in the US when there is a ban on Iranians coming here freely keeps me motivated to act. And it keeps me looking at our culture and at our media critically, as tiring as it can get.

I had already planned on launching this series of Who’s The Monster Movie Mondays: scenes in popular US films that portray the Middle Easterner as enemy- starting off with Back to the Future. And this morning, I was so sad to read that the worst massacre in modern American history happened in Las Vegas. All news outlets describe the shooter as a “lone wolf” and not connected to terrorism. He is the definition of a terrorist even though he’s white. White shooters are responsible for most acts of domestic terrorism.

Let’s start looking at how the media plays a huge role in why we only define Middle Easterners as “terrorists.” And let’s begin our series with the old classic, Back to the Future.

Remember when Doc gets gunned down by Libyan terrorists and Marty is unpreparedly sent back to 1955 to escape? When I was a kid in 1985, I didn’t fully understand the context of the Libyan terrorist subplot. Libya was one of the poorest countries and suddenly started making money when they found oil in 1959. The US got really interested in the region and staffed their bases up. In 1969 Gaddafi removed the US oil companies by nationalizing the Libyan oil industry so they could make money off of their own resource. The US then deemed the Libyans a “state sponsor of terrorism” in 1979. Libya and the US started fighting and then in 1982 there were economic sanctions imposed against Libya, which were ramped up in 1986.

My question is, did Robert Zemeckis and Bob Gale write in the Libyan enemies because of their own feelings or were their feelings based on the media’s fearmongering of Libyans to perpetuate military actions against a country whose oil we wanted? Sounds familiar…