Eye in the Sky: 2016

I have this habit of watching news while writing a piece. This works as a connector to the outside world and I do not feel alone at all. In July 2010, I was doing the usual when I saw a news pop-up on Google that a bomb exploded in the city of Kampala (Uganda). A cold stream of blood went through my viens and I was stuck for the moment. My father was in Kampala and my mother was with me in India. I felt nervous, sad, and helpless at the same time. Communication channels were hit due to the national emergency. Next day, I received call from my father about the incident and I was back to normal. He was safe and informed me about what actually happened there. There were two attacks one in the evening and one later at night. FBI took over immediately. Uganda is a close friend of U.S.A and so the situation was dealt immediately. Later, Al-Shabab (an ally of Al-Qaeda) took the responsibility. The casualities were close to 64 (official data only) including an Indian, American, Irish, and a Kenyan.

In September 2013, another attack took place but this time in a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya. Unlike Kampala’s suicide bomber attack, Nairobi attack was all through guns. But the nature of attack was similar. The attack was on the non-muslim population living in Nairobi. Uganda has the majority of Christian population but the story of Kenya is a little different. The attack was specifically on those who came from different parts of the world and were non-muslims. The story we better know as the Westgate Mall attack. Since then, Kenya has been a strong holding ground of Al-Shabab militant group.

Eye in the Sky deals with a future warfare situation where precision attacks are possible using ornithopters and drones. One such target was identified as the safe-house of Al-Shabab where the suicide bombers were getting ready for a massive civilian casuality. The mission was authorized only to capture a British national, Susan Helen Danford. Colonel Katherine Powell (played by Helen Mirren) operating from Eastbury, England was forced to change the course of the mission from capture to kill. This dramatic shift led to getting a series of approvals from different bureaucrats and ministers sitting in different parts of the world.

The situation got tense when a young girl came near to the safe-house for selling breads. The earlier collateral damage estimate (CDE) was at 65%. Officials approved strike when CDE is controlled under 50%. The entire focus shifted from making a strike to saving the young girl. The Hellfire missile was supposed to strike the target from the control center at Nevada, U.S.A. The USAF pilots Steve Watts (played by Aaron Paul) and Carrie Gershon (played by Phoebe Fox) went through an emotional turmoil in making the final decision to strike. The kind of decisions that were to be made on the ground are different from those made inside the bureaucratic chambers. The entire melodrama was presented beautifully by the South African director Gavin Hood. The plot may not appeal at first to the viewers but the direction makes it a must match.