Thursday, July 9, 2009

Stuff That Would Bore My Sisters, 9

Been watching a movie. Before anyone reads, I am aware that each country has its own bad, un-erasable memories that it must contend with, so please don't think I am picking on countries. I refer only to specific situations, events.

The Rabbit-Proof Fence, which stars Kenneth Branaugh, is a movie I first watched in the theater several years ago. Loved it so much, I bought the book. It's around here somewhere. Based on a true story, Aboriginal children in Australia with European lineage were taken from their families to be assimilated into the financially and politically dominant 'white' culture. Watching it again this afternoon, I felt a connection to the "half caste" girls who ran away from their kidnappers who were "trying to help them."

Don't get caught. The path back to their mothers, grandmothers, sisters, aunts, the path was incredibly difficult. And then, they still had to be careful not to get caught, forced into 'civilization.' In 'civilization,' the darker skinned children, less likely to blend in, were more likely to have jobs of servitude. An unfair situation, to say the least; and, truly, similar to other types of discrimination, such as political or religious beliefs, sexism.

Kenneth Branagh movies always make me think. Another of his movies, Conspiracy Theory, made me think, research - I researched the real people in The Rabbit-Proof Fence, too. One of my favorite things to do after watching a movie or reading a book is to get on the internet and find out as much as I can about the people, the events, the reasons.

Anyway, the Conspiracy movie is about how Hitler's military leaders, concerned for the morale of their soldiers (who did not like firing upon innocent, unarmed people), tried to remove the human element of killing. Their solution was to gas human beings (tricked them into 'taking showers'), and then cremate them.

All copies of the minutes from the meeting were destroyed except for one. For that one, we know the details. One of the details that struck me as horrific was how the men joked about the people turning pink from the gas asphyxiation. The human element was already eliminated from the leaders' minds - most of them. The few who disagreed were either afraid to speak up, or they were eliminated, if they did not escape.

I'm grateful for being alive, for living in the United States. I am proud that we no longer have lynchings here in the South where I live, that we can live and work alongside each other and be from Croatia, from Mexico, from Haiti, from Germany, from India, from anywhere. Well, some of us still have trouble with that, but it takes all of us seeing past the different names - people used to make fun of my Hispanic last name in the small town where I grew up. We have to see past skin color, eye shape; to hear past accents.

However, I am tired of having to defend myself for discussing the shape of my nose, the straightness of my hair (which, until I finally got a short hair cut, has been a curse). I should not be afraid to notice that I don't look like the person next to me. That doesn't make me better or worse, just different. If God wanted me to look like everyone else, then He would have made me that way. I am proud of my heritage.

I don't know all of my heritage, but I also feel the Rabbit girls' affinity to nature. Nature is a beautiful thing. Once, for a college class in fall 2005, I wrote the following Haiku:

Silent, old oak trees
Would have a thousand secrets
To tell if they could.

I have always felt them, with their secrets, hundreds and thousands of years old, passed along from generation to generation. Sometimes, I can almost hear them. And the ground, the grass, the wind, the hills and mountains... the rain. This is why I cannot believe that the way of the world will last forever. In the voice of what has been long before, kind of like "the deeper magic from the dawn of time" (C.S. Lewis, The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe), there is a truth long forgotten by all but a few who are waiting. I'm waiting. And I am ready.

No comments:

Post a Comment