Saturday, July 15, 2017

Tricky, murky work

Friends told me that "Bridge of Spies" with Tom Hanks was a good movie. I had an open evening and watched that movie.  It is based on actual events.  It was easy for me to ask myself throughout the show how it would be for me to try to carry out the tasks insurance attorney Donovan (Hanks) managed. First, he accepted an invitation to the thankless task of defending an elderly and sophisticated man charged by the FBI with espionage for the Soviets and then with accompanying that man to negotiations to culminate in the exchange of the man for an American spy plane pilot the Soviets had shot down and captured.

Throughout the lengthy film, I kept asking myself how I would have done with all that. I am a rather rigid person: give me a plan and I want details.  With a detailed plan, I want to stick to it and follow every step completely as specified. The American attorney had to go with the flow of events over and over and yet he came to a knot in the thread of the ongoing story, where he had to switch to firm resolve and steady determination.  

I have a long-held admiration for the book "Getting to Yes", both for personal application to my individual life and for teaching and the training of teachers.  It is one of the most famous in its field and has 4.5 stars on Amazon and 968 reviewers.  I have gone through the book several times and tried to apply it to my life.  But it is about working in situations where all involved are being somewhat open and honest.

The American attorney, Donovan, had to work with the Soviet government and the East German government at the same time.  These two forces were subtly at odds but not officially nor openly.  Negotiations were to take place in the area of East Berlin at the time the authorities were first building the Berlin wall.  People were trying to get on the side of the wall they wanted to be without appearing to be trying but to do so before crossing was even more dangerous and difficult. Other complexities arose.

I very much admire the story and the accomplishment and I am glad to have watched the movie.  It is available on Amazon.  It is fairly expensive and may be available only if you pay enough to have the movie in your personal video library section of the site.  It has been about a week since I watched it and you can see that the impact of the story is still with me.

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