Sedated in Our Homes.
Inspired from a passionate load:
“Right, so. I’m pleased to report I still have not forgone my compulsive procrastination, and I continue to remain steadfast in my personal vendetta against schoolwork. Finally, I think it’s beginning to pay off. It’s not often I can go see a 2 hour long insanely depressing movie the night before an exam for a class that I’ve attended mayyyybe twice and walk out of the exam room knowing I eff’ing rocked that shat harder than an itty bitty baby in an itty bitty cradle in a gigantic tree in the middle of a horrendously torrential monsoon. Masha’Allah to that, straight up.
So this movie. Hotel Rwanda. Have you seen it? You should. I want to express my utter initial shock and disbelief at the intolerably true-to-reality situations depicted in that 1hr50mins. I want to denounce all of humanity for being so terribly caught up in capitalism and materialism and jahil’ism that outright genocide no longer fazes us. I want to somehow understand, capture, and verbalize the barrage of horrendous emotions that managed to leap from the screen and crystallize on my cheeks as flowing rivulets of tears.
But I fear all that emotional nonsense just adds to the problem. It’s a vicious cycle – as humans in today’s sorry excuse of a global society, we see too many God-awful tragedies to give any one of them the full attention it both deserves and begs for. Instead, we watch a startlingly astonishing movie such as Hotel Rwanda, leave the theatre with bloodshot eyes and still-wet cheeks, and proceed to go home and sit in a dazed stupor for all of 10 minutes, till we decide we need to watch some Conan O’Brian to relieve our wearied brains. Or even better, we become so unbelievably wrapped up in the intense passion of the moment when a tsunami destroys entire portions of the world, that we hastily pledge hundreds of thousands of dollars for relief efforts, only to default just weeks later. Besides, what’s the point in dwelling on calamities from every corner of the world when freaking Jacko is on trial, clearly more deserving of airtime? Pointing fingers is useless and petty. But tell me, what do you do when the problem begins with you?
“Masha’Allah to that, straight up.”
As for the issue of the moment – of the year – of eternity – whichever, today a friend tells me about how in the Congo fathers are made to watch their sons rape their mothers at gunpoint.
It made my heart bleed. I felt helpless. A few moments later another friend comes online – I message her and she replies that she wants to be alone because she just watched a guy destroy himself and she couldn’t do a thing about it. She felt helpless. I always love the synchronicity – gotten used to it now.
Once I met someone who had decided to actually take matters into her own hands – had gone to Sri Lanka on volunteer work, wanted to make a difference, poured her heart into helping people – and all she got in return was the cynicism of people wondering where some yuppie girl from Australia gets off on thinking she can make any change at all. They had told her point blank, “The world can’t change, honey, come to grips with it.”
She explained that felt she overempathised with the sorrow of the world – it was the first time I had even conceived of such a thing as ‘overempathy’… but anyway… what other things are there, oh yes: We are sedated… because we cannot even make a little change in our own homes. Isn’t that so? Why would we go halfway across the world to be charitable when we’re not emanating goodwill at our own doorstep?
Do we really need to see a heartbreaking flick in order to be shaken out of a stupor? And you know what; I shouldn’t be asking this question because I’m passionate about filmmaking. And you know what made me want to make films? Gandhi. The movie. No, not the autobiography, though all that did was nauseate me to the idealism of the man.
There is this scene in the film, where a policeman is beating Gandhi for not following instructions. While he is being battered… Gandhi… without resisting, yet with absolute resolve, continues to burn all the passes that make Indians secondary citizens in Africa. Just watching his determination moved me. And I thought, ‘If I can be so moved by such a thing – so goddamn inspired – all that I want is to bring about the same movement in everyone else.’
Things change – and it’s been a while since I decided that, but you know what, the core is still the same. The core hasn’t even flickered an inch. At one point I entertained the thought of mass paradigm shifts on the planet using movies. Often now, I doubt if that is possible. It makes me question the cause of man’s integrity. It’s there. It always is. Asleep perhaps – but I would never conceive of a total destruction of integrity. And if anything can awaken it, why not films?
So, what do I do when the problem begins with me? Breathe.