Here’s a great disturbance in the history of The Force you may not have felt before.
Blogger and government relations professional “Comfortably Smug” has posted some uncomfortable notes on the relationship between Obi Wan Kenobi and Luke Skywalker, which make it apparent the young Skywalker was radicalised by the crazy old wizard.
Questioning the nature of good and evil in Star Wars has been an internet sport since Kevin Smith’s 1994 cult movie “Clerks” posed the question about the million of innocent contractors killed when the under-construction Death Star was blown up in Return of the Jedi. It’s not hard to see the Galactic Empire as a force simply trying to restore order to a chaotic star system.
But Luke Skywalker is supposed to be the purest of good guys. (At least, until rumours of his shift to the Dark Side in “The Force Awakens” are put to rest.)
That was, according to Comfortably Smug, until you re-examine his “brainwashing” by Kenobi in light of the rise of radicalism, and in line with a reading of a paper such as Anthony Stahelski’s “Terrorists Are Made, Not Born: Creating Terrorists Using Social Psychological Conditioning”.
Against the backdrop of three Stars Wars movies, Kenobi’s time with Skywalker was comparatively brief, but long enough to turn a “simple farm boy” into a “radicalised insurgent”, it’s argued.
“By carefully looking for the same signs governments and scholars use to detect radicalisation, we can witness Luke’s dark journey into religious fundamentalism and extremism happen before our very eyes,” Comfortably Smug writes.
For starters, there’s a couple of giveaways that fit into the profile outlined by Stahelski:
- Skywalker has no father and has difficulty forming relationships outside the home
- He’s attracted to groups offering acceptance and comradeship
Comfortably Smug says Kenobi takes full advantage of Skywalker’s vulnerable state. He “tells Luke he must abandon his family and join him, going so far as telling a shocking lie that the Empire killed Luke’s father, hoping to inspire Luke to a life of jihad”. Kenobi:
- Preys on Skywalker’s emotional state
- Tells Skywalker the lie that the Empire killed his father, and
- Uses Jedi mind tricks to bypass security and terror no-fly lists
Then, the big play. When Kenobi, facing Darth Vader, sees Skywalker watching, he says a Jedi prayer and commits suicide:
But that’s just the beginning of Skywalker’s jihadist journey. There’s a few shocking tells in Yoda’s training techniques (“Clear your mind of questions”).
And was it really necessary to sacrifice every man, woman and child on Jabba’s barge?
All the detail you need is in Comfortably Smug’s post “The radicalisation of Luke Skywalker: A Jedi’s path to jihad”.
If you’re a fan of the Light Side, you might want to avoid it, but if it turns out that the older Skywalker has switched allegiances in “The Force Awakens”, you can’t say you haven’t been warned.