Purifying and Passionate Fire
Concerning a Scene From “The Empire Strikes Back”
When Admiral Neder tells his underlings that he will accept full responsibility for not being able to locate the rebel ship, The Millennium Falcon, and apologize to Darth Vader, his sense is that he is acting with integrity and honesty. It becomes clear to the audience that Neder’s imaginative take on reality leads him to believe that this behavior will have some impact with Vader, hopefully tempering his wrath, as a result of his courage and integrity. This seems to imply that this is part of Neder’s Sedeq.
Unfortunately for Neder, Darth Vader’s Sedeq is not congruous. Vader, who has control over not only the Empire’s armada, but also over the “Force,” which allows him near-supernatural abilities, exercises Mispat according to his Sedeq. This Sedeq stipulates that any failure must be dealt with in an extreme and final manner, possibly to set an example to discourage failure in others. For Vader, failure must be met with Naqam, and in the case of Neder, the punishment is immediate demotion to his original rank of Captain and, of course death.
This conflict of Sedeq and differing interpretations of reality bring up a question of citizenship. Even though Darth Vader an Captain Neder where both members of the Empire’s military, with the latter serving under and subject to the Mispat of the former, they have differing views concerning what should be done in the situation. Obviously, Neder does not want to lose his life, while Vader seems to feel that his death is a necessary. It must be made clear that failure, under any circumstance, is intolerable.
A final point concerning the movie and the trilogy on the whole concerns the status of ‘apiru that the Rebel Alliance assumes. Much like early Israel, the Rebel Alliance is comprised of beings from all over the galaxy who seek to rid themselves of the tyranny and oppression of the Empire which rules them. Because they are united by a sense of what is right, and thus a consensus in these beliefs, Sedeq is the binding force among the members of the Alliance.