Saturday, July 21, 2012


  From Troy to Latakia

Michael loved his family but wanted nothing to do with the “family business", as he kept telling himself and his pretty fiancée. He was different. At least he thought he was. She did too. But fate had other plans for them. In retrospect, he was probably doomed from the outset.

Ironically, it was his older and more ruthless brother Sunny who was supposed to become the “Family’s” new Don after their father. But Sunny’s premature and violent death on the road one day left Michael with no choice but to wear the father's mantel. A heavy mantel that would, at the end, pull him down to a bottom he could not have imagined even in his worst nightmares. How far he had fallen could be seen in Kate’s devastating eyes in the last seen of Francis Coppola’s masterpiece.

People may debate whether it was devotion to the Family, or the subconscious urge to follow in the father’s footsteps and keep his legacy, was what brought Michael down. His Achille’s heel, if you wish. But hunger for power, and power’s blinding effect, have been the vital (and fatal) flaw of many “fallen heroes”. (Or villains in their victims eyes)

All the way, from the mythical Trojan wars of sixth century B.C. to Scotland’s Macbeth in the eleventh century to Michael Corleone’s startling transformation in Mario Puzo’s Godfather of Manhattan’s Little Italy a few decades ago, the setting has changed a lot but the basic story has not. Perhaps David Lesch should consider revising the title of his Bashar biography to the “Fallen” Lion of Damascus.

It would also be rather fitting if today’s unfolding tragedy reaches its climax, as some expect, in the eastern Mediterranean port city the ancient Greeks named Laodicia two and a half millennia ago.

I think I will watch the Godfather again tonight.

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