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 filmed...it 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.