Did Sisko make the right decision regarding Rugal?

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Deep Space Nine' started by Vasquez Rocks, Sep 3, 2017.

  1. Vasquez Rocks

    Vasquez Rocks Commodore Commodore

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    I'm re-watching the whole series starting last month and I'm on the season 2 episode Cardassians about war orphans left on Bajor. I was wondering what everyone thought of Sisko deciding to have Rugal go back to Cardassia with his biological father. I thought he should have stayed with his adoptive Bajoran father. He seemed genuinely happy with him. It was what Rugal wanted, but the ending and Sisko's decision seemed odd. Rugal looked miserable leaving.
     
  2. Sakonna

    Sakonna Captain Captain

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    An emphatic NO. I rewatched this ep a year ago with a friend who had never seen it (and I had forgotten the end). We both had this whiplash "whhaaaa?!?" reaction when the Sisko log entry tosses in that Rugal is about to leave for Cardassia. It's clearly the wrong choice for the boy, which should be the guiding interest. The conspiracy they uncover makes the circumstances more sad for his Cardassian father, but it doesn't change the last decade. Rugal's true family had become his Bajoran parents, and it's horrific how Sisko breaks that apart.

    It really ruins the episode for me.

    Plus, why the hell is O'Brien the one showing him off? You can tell they just didn't know how to write a goodbye between Rugal and his Bajoran father, so they didn't. That should have been the tip-off that the whole resolution was ill-conceived.
     
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  3. Nyotarules

    Nyotarules Commodore Commodore

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    No, Sisko screwed up. In RL a child of that age consideration is taken into account. In the Star Trek universe they ignore the child and put species before familial bonds. Bastards!
    Read The never ending sacrifice for a brilliant version of the novelverse consequences of Sisko's actions.
     
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  4. Bad Thoughts

    Bad Thoughts Commodore Commodore

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    Sisko's ruing is 90% wrong, but not for the reasons people think it is: the Hague Convention provides little redress for aggrieved families if the the country adopting out the child legitimates it. If the officer who brought Rugal to the orphanage provided (what looked like) legitimate documentation, any agencies and individuals who dealt with Rugal would be more or less protected. These cases are seldom tested because the illegal adoptions--child trafficking--happen from poor countries to rich, from poor families to rich, the former lacking the resources to push claims (assuming the country is part of the convention). Rugal's feelings would be a very minor issue, if at all.
     
  5. Peach Wookiee

    Peach Wookiee Cuddly Mod of Doom Moderator

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    As an adopted child myself, I disagreed with Commander Sisko's decision. Rugal shouldn't have had to go back to Cardassia. His biological father could've been given visitation rights, though. It wasn't his fault what happened and he didn't knowingly abandon his son. There should have been a compromise.
     
  6. JirinPanthosa

    JirinPanthosa Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't think there's a clear right decision. There were varying reports on whether Rugal was treated well, but it seemed like he was definitely made to feel racial shame.

    It's not the same as being adopted to another family on Earth. Even if his adoptive parents treat him well, he is in an environment where he will be hated and shamed for who he is and have little social prospects. Is that really in his best interest?
     
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  7. Mr. Laser Beam

    Mr. Laser Beam Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    This.

    I'm starting to suspect that Sisko, being a father himself, was thus predisposed to return Rugal to his biological family. Like you said, Kotan Pa'Dar was an innocent party in all of this, and Sisko must have determined that Kotan deserved a chance to reconnect with his son.

    And yes, while Rugal's Bajoran family did treat him well, there is the possibility that they were deliberately raising him to hate his own species. That has to be taken into account as well.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2017
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  8. velour

    velour Commander Red Shirt

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    That is a good point. Why wasn't there a farewell scene between Rugal and his Bajoran father? I suspect the reason such a scene wasn't included was to make Sisko's decision more palatable for the tv audience.

    A goodbye scene between Rugal and his Bajoran father would have been (or should have been) emotional and heartbreaking. That would have made Sisko's decision to rip apart that family that much more questionable. I guess it was the least bad way to conclude the episode from the writer's perspective.


    Btw, Sisko's decision was the opposite decision from the one Picard made in "Suddenly Human" (TNG), although the two situations weren't exactly similar. In Picard's situation, he allowed the human boy to stay with his adoptive Talarian father instead of returning the child to his biological human family, even though the Talarian father essentially kidnapped the boy in the first place.
     
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  9. MadeIndescribable

    MadeIndescribable Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    As much as I don't think Sisko did make the right decision, it did lead to The Never-Ending Sacrifice, which tells Rugal's story throughout the entire run of the rest of the series (and beyond), and is one of my all time favourite Trek novels, so personally I'm not complaining.
     
  10. Sakonna

    Sakonna Captain Captain

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    I haven't read a Trek novel since the 90's, but I periodically consider reading this one... then I go to Amazon, and the beginning of the excerpt totally turns me off... then I forget I ever read the excerpt, I see someone else mention the book favorably, and the process repeats... :)
     
  11. MadeIndescribable

    MadeIndescribable Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    It's basically DS9, but from the perspective of Cardassia, and a great look at Cardassia from an outsiders POV, and a great coming of age story about Rugal in his own right.
     
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  12. Nyotarules

    Nyotarules Commodore Commodore

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    Please read its a great novel, a look at Cardassia the series never had a chance to reveal. Cardassia is more than Gul Dukat.
     
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  13. Nightdiamond

    Nightdiamond Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    That novel is really good. It can almost stand alone as a book, but when you know the backstory already, it's really good. You see a lot of what Cardassia is like from the inside, and lot of it is strange. But it makes you feel for them. It's like watching a long, interesting movie.
     
  14. MadeIndescribable

    MadeIndescribable Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Also,
    Sisko's ruling is overturned, and Rugal is granted Bajoran (and therefore Federation) citizenship.