Thursday, March 12, 2009

Movies and Real Life

Homeless children asleep in a train station.

The past two days I have squeezed in two movies - AUSTRALIA and SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE. SLUMDOG was not at all what I expected.

The main impact upon me in these movies was the children. Exploited children, parent less children, homeless children, children who scrounge dumps for survival. Children relocated from their parents in a cultural type of genocide.

I did love the two movies although both bought me to tears. I know the depictions in Slumdog are realistic because I worked in missions for about ten years and pictures of intense-eyed children were pasted to my wall every day in front of my eyes. Then I was able to take a trip to Albania where I spent days crying as I watched and interacted with children, bright, beautiful children that gave out of their poverty more than I could ever give back.

India, where I assume Slumdog was is not hard to imagine places where children don't have enough to eat, water to drink, and are bought and sold as slaves to sex trade and/or hard labor or mutilated to make them "better" beggars.

Third world countries don't have a monopoly on dire poverty for children. It is hard to imagine such things happening here in the United States, but they do. Children can't go to school because of the chaos in their lives, children are at risk because of their living conditions, lack of proper medical care and other basic needs. Today alone, I read of 1,000 homeless children in our county here in Florida - one county alone! Ironically, next to that is an article about how to find help through a website. Are the homeless carrying computers with them?

Back to the movie AUSTRALIA for a moment: the issue of native children being hunted down and picked up and then sent away to "schools" was obvious. I loved the respect given to the aboriginal culture in the movie - in fact I think that was central in the movie. The movie left lots of fodder for thought. The shots of the country where the movie was filmed were breathtaking.

Elsewhere in the world, in my world, a man goes bonkers in Alabama and makes a tour of an area shooting and killing people that he has been mad at over a period of years. Elsewhere in Florida, another child goes missing. In Mobile county, a man goes to trial for throwing his babies over a bridge to drown.

I go to bed sad. I know that doesn't help. But perhaps it is a kind of prayer for the poor and helpless. I hope it is. Contributing to the local food bank and to missions somehow doesn't seem enough.


tweetey30 said...

Makes you want to cry just thinking about it and I hear this and think of the kids Ruth is taking in over in Uganda Africa.

Biddie said...

Things like this have always bothered me. Even as a child, I would give away my toys and clothes to kids that I knew needed it more.
I would sneak food out of the house and leave boxes of noodles on parents did not appreciate what I was trying to do.
I see these photos, of the suffering and injustice. It keeps me awake at night.
I haven't seen Slumdog yet, but it is on my list for the end of the month when it comes out on dvd. I expect it to be an eye opener.

SME said...

It would be nice to think it doesn't happen in the States or Canada, but of course it does. A friend who pastored in B.C. saw basically Third World conditions in poor First Nations communities, young teens are selling themselves and sleeping on the streets in Vancouver and other major cities, and people still die of malnutrition, exposure, and preventable disease because they've slipped through the cracks. We can't comfort ourselves that "things are better here" until we actually face all this and start to make it better!

Gardenia said...

It is amazing to me that all of you have such great hearts. All of you!

Wandering Coyote said...

SME, is right: stuff like this happens in Canada right now, and it's very sad. And we used to ship kids of to residential schools to have the Indian beaten out of them. That doesn't happen anymore, but still, lots of First Nations kids live in poverty without decent water or housing or education. I could go on, but won't.

I haven't yet seen Australia, but it's on my list. I loved Slumdog, and yes, it was filmed in Mumbai.

**Ya Think** said...

It makes you want to save every darned one of em. And it is sad that is not possible!!

tshsmom said...

Homeless and abused kids always make me feel so useless. I wouldn't hesitate to take all of them in and love them to death. Unfortunately, we just don't have the resources to support anyone else. :(