I had made this for Bodhi Rook Week on Tumblr last year (certain weeks are sometimes dedicated to celebrating certain characters) but am just now uploading it. For Bodhi Rook Week I wanted to create something that encompassed some of the reasons Rogue One was so important to me, focusing, of course, on Bodhi's character.
I credit Rogue One for bringing up several themes to mainstream audiences that have already served as a jumping-off point for discussion.
The scenes in Jedha hit home for me because they reminded me so much of the West Bank, Palestine, specifically Hebron, a country that many of my friends call home. Another Tumblr user who I was talking to said that Jedha reminded her of Iraq where her family is from, another country ravaged by a brutal military occupation.
That Rogue One is told from the perspective of the rebels allows audiences to sympathize with those they would otherwise see as terrorists. This brings up the major theme of who an imperialist/colonialist power defines as terrorists, and how this dehumanization and otherization allows an empire to justify its violence and subjugation against them.
Bodhi represents a life lived under occupation, and the choices one makes living under occupation, none of which are easy or without consequence. When we first meet him, he is suspect because of the years he has spent as a pilot for the Empire. As @hijabifinn wrote, “...Bodhi Rook grew up in Jedha, a place under Imperial Occupation. Understand that the choices you make in order to survive occupation [do] not automatically equate to being a willing participant. Bodhi Rook did not want [to] join the Empire. He had to, in order to survive.”
Instead of resigning himself to a life in service of the Empire, Bodhi makes the choice to give his life for the cause of his people's freedom. Too often a colonialist power's idea of a “peace process” means a colonized people laying down their arms and quietly accepting defeat. The minute a people defends itself against subjugation is when they become terrorists.
The tiles are cutouts from ceramics made in the West Bank. The poem is an excerpt from “Erasure” by Abdul Karim Sabawi, a Palestinian poet.
[Please do not reblog without my caption.]