Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Sunday, December 12, 2010
Sunday, December 05, 2010
Monday, November 29, 2010
Mia is aware of how trapped she is. She sees herself in all the animals bound by chains. On one occasion she tries to free a horse that’s bound inside private property. When she gets caught, the result is one of the most frightening scenarios imaginable. She is seized by two of the owners with an imminent threat of rape. They let her go after what seemed like ages of agony both to Mia and the viewers.
The film brilliantly portrays the complex relationship between Mia and Connor. For a great portion of the film it is unclear whether their relationship is paternal or erotic. The sexual tension is palpable in all of their scenes together, but since we see things through Mia’s eyes, we are unable to determine if his actions are sexual or if he is a fatherly character. That dynamic is a result of great performances and very well timed shots from director Andrea Arnold.
Michael Fassbender (300, Inglorious Basterds) plays Connor who maintains a fishy sort of goodness. His calmness and easiness is out of place in a stress ridden family and yet it seems to provide a much sought after tranquility. His confident presence in the family gives them a sense of serenity and comfort, yet Connor is too unhinged, too level-headed for a family whose members erupt to full blast at the slightest opportunity. His life seems mysterious but less so as Mia tries to invade it.
Perhaps one of the most reflective scenes of the dynamic between Connor and Mia’s family is when he takes them to a pond. With patience and gentleness catches a fish with his bare hands. As the fish is dying, gasping for air, he inserts a stick into its mouth through its body as this is the more humane thing to do.
The movie is captivating in showing a profoundly dire situation of poverty and a set of dysfunctional relationships that have formed in such a place. Mia seems to have a knack for severing good ties she has. Part of her doesn’t want to believe in any goodness that might be presented to her. She’s right to suspect everything, for in her world nothing can go right. Oddly enough after the harrowing threat of rape, she fearlessly returns to the scene to look for the bag she left behind.
The movie never ceases to show us the world through Mia’s eyes, taking its time to do so. There is something bleak about the outlook with which we are provided with for 122 minutes. We slowly uncover the reality of her world at her own pace. In the end we have a riveting story and we see is what it’s like to be a fish inside a tank.
Fish Tank won 18 awards including the BAFTA award for Outstanding British Film in 2010 and was nominated to win 15 more awards including the Golden Palm in Cannes.
Monday, November 22, 2010
But despite these current notions, many will attest to having had experience where policemen have acted in a humane fashion and with a sense of justice and mercy. After all, one of the most compelling reasons to become a policeman is to be the good guy and seek justice.
The police show a blind unprovoked brutality during protests. Most non-fabricated news about protests is about police brutality. Yet within these clashes are unreported traces of humanity. Many protesters have encountered humane police personnel when they let their guard down and spoke their mind. This sometimes took the form of a personal conversation was during times when soldiers and officers were not given orders to beat and arrest.
In one of the encounters, some of the protesters asked a cop why he was doing this, i.e. shouting and screaming at us and hurling us with insults. We inquired as to why was he so rude about moving us and why was his attitude so hostile filled with serious threats to hurt us. His tone was changed by our sincerity in wanting to find an answer. He said: “Everyone says ‘yes sir’, who am I to say no?” He reasoned that everyone must say yes in order to survive. He then proceeded to say, “Deal?” as he made a thumbs up sign, “or no deal?” as he continued and rotated his hand so that his thumb was pointing down. As he walked further from where the rest of the protest was being held his tone changed and his face smiled. It was difficult to envision that he was the same person we started the journey with.
These sorts of anecdotes are consistent. Sarah Carr, a journalist and blogger, relays her experience with one of the soldiers in black during a Khaled Saied protest:
“[He] enjoys using the Internet, has Yahoo email, downloads songs but doesn’t look at news sites. The soldier seemed unusually willing to talk, and said that if he hadn’t been conscripted into the riot police he would be standing where we were standing.
- Why do you obey orders if you know we’re in the right? We asked.
- Because disobeying orders means 10 days in prison, he said.”
Also in the Khaled Said protests that took place in June 2010, Gehad bears this testimony, “A woman said to the policeman, ‘I hope the same happens to your son’. He was enraged and offended. I was surprised at his reaction.”
Gehad was surprised that policemen understood injustice. They too feel powerless in the face of tyranny, their own tyranny. In a religious place like Egypt, the cops are wary of God. In the same protests, amidst all the violence and arrests, one of the officers gathered people around him and after retelling the falsified statement released by the ministry of interior he said, “I only do what my conscience tells me, because God is watching.”
The police truly turn into demons not when they don't follow orders, it's when they actually do. When they are left to their own power lust, they can do horrible things, but it gets worse when they're ordered to do it. Most of the commands they’re ordered to do are illegal and unconstitutional. Yet orders override any sense of right.
This can best be exemplified by the women’s rights protest that took place late 2006. “The police were being very nice to us. They were being protective of us as well.”
Heba Habib confirms this report having been at the same protest. It appears that in this protests there were no orders for the protest to get ugly.
If the police can be so nice, what is it then that causes so much brutality?
The goodness of an Egyptian policeman is derived from personal morals rather from a general sense of institutionalized goodness. It is important to remember that just like the ministry of Interior sometimes hires criminals to do the job of policemen, they also hire good men to do the job of criminals. When asked to act according to the strategy put forth by the ministry, the police end up being sinister bullies. When left to their own discretion, it’s fifty-fifty. Some have values and act on them protecting and serving people, others have none at all and abuse their power in order to gain more out of people. One thing remains certain, they are not held accountable by the system.
A lot of policemen are good men doing bad things. But what constitutes being good? Is it enough for goodness to be in the heart? Is it really goodness not to object to injustice?
Policemen, much like other people, are motivated by fear; Fear of punishment, fear of failure and fear of everything but God. The duality of the nature of the police as both oppressed people and the oppressor might be vital in changing their attitude. The police are highly underpaid and that makes them vulnerable. For such a sensitive position, the government has chosen to have the policemen driven by necessity rather than by a sense of duty. It feels as though we should organize a protest on behalf of the police asking they be paid better wages. The most terrifying aspect of a protest like this if it were to take place is that the police would probably turn violent and disperse the crowd anyway.
The news doesn’t report that in one instant a cop laughed at a joke he overheard and the next he was ordered to crush the joker. Humans are driven by fear but are motivated by love. One question remains: when the police that are sworn to protect us end up hurting us, and good policemen are controlled by bad ones, who do we call on to protect us?
The words of Edmund Burke cannot but come to mind:
“The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.”
Monday, October 25, 2010
I wish that weren't so, and perhaps that is why there is so much sadness. We could have retained some beauty, we could have been better. Now I think it's a little too late.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
I wish I were trying to question to simulate a certain depth, but there's no depth at all to the nature of who I am. There's nothing particularly pleasant about someone who iterates over the questions over and over again, each time tweaking an answer a minuscule little bit. There's no need for that much accuracy for questions that don't have any real answers and yet I seek them. I seek them personally not universally. I mean not for everyone, but at the same time globally enough to suit everything I apply them to.
It sounds to me like every time I start to write I ask more than I answer, like my sentences are all the same written in different forms. I myself will skip over these few sentences. So why do I write?
Everyone knows why we write these personal things that don't matter to anyone but us. I need a break from all the things that want me to be something I'm not. I suppose all this is just a deep breath, a truce, so that I can have a short break and then face the world again.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Friday, August 20, 2010
The truth is disguised by a thousand lies, and it's not that it isn't there, it's just that it's so hard to reach. It's a quest. I think I would distort the truth by adding in numerous lies.
I realize that if I'm searching for something true, I have to look inside me. There's no google engine for what's inside me though.
Monday, August 09, 2010
That is why today as I observe the missing pieces of myself, I search hopelessly and I know I will soon give up my quest. I search for things that cannot be found. I resign myself to hoping that these pieces will come looking for me. They’re lost in an ocean that only they can navigated. When these pieces are with me, I too can navigate this ocean.
But because all things must be lost at some point, I’m not sure when these pieces will forsake me forever. I’m not sure if they will come knocking on my door once more. Without them I have nothing to offer, so why would they return.
Do they visit another soul while they are away? Or are they standing at bay? If they visit another, how horrible it must be when they leave him; As horrible as it is for me. But I cannot have more sympathy for him than I have for myself. No, I want those pieces back, they’re mine.
If they are at bay, I fear it is me who fends them off so that they are unable to return. They must see me as a madman tilting at windmills and cannot approach me as I lunge at nothingness in full swing. I’m a blind warrior waving his sword at nothingness.
I must calm down and stop battling. I will let myself float and allow my life guard to save me. I must rest in order to allow the pieces of me to find me. It takes more energy to stay still sometimes. It’s just a different kind of energy. Am I fighting to become myself or am I fighting myself? I’m not sure anymore these days. It’s because I haven’t been myself lately though.
Saturday, July 03, 2010
Monday, June 28, 2010
Thursday, June 17, 2010
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Monday, May 31, 2010
Friday, May 07, 2010
Tuesday, April 06, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
Saturday, March 06, 2010
Monday, February 22, 2010
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Sunday, January 10, 2010
Wednesday, January 06, 2010
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out for me.
Pastor Martin Niemöller (1892–1984)
Such a great poem, I came across it recently and it reminds me why I have to, at the very least, speak out...
Friday, January 01, 2010
I’m going to quit smoking and start taking care of my health. I’ll be easy on the fast food, and eat more salad and fruit. I’ll stop lying and be more honest. I’ll stop cussing and be more eloquent. I’ll try and exercise more, I’ll go to the gym three times a week, I’ll try and work out no matter how busy I get. I won’t let work stress me out and I’ll always make sure to have some more me time. If I travel too much I’ll try to cut down, if I travel too little, I’ll arrange for more trips to see the world. If I work too much I’ll try to cut down and focus on the things that count, if I work too little I’ll stop being a lazy bum and work hard.
I’ll try and put goals before me that I can achieve, I’ll work hard towards all goals I aim to achieve. I’ll get closer to God and pray more often, I’ll stop believing in myth and dogma and be true to myself and be more open about my atheism. I’ll be slow to anger and lose my temper because I lose so much, I’ll learn how to express my anger rather than keeping it bottled up because I end up losing a lot when I keep everything in. I’ll tell people I love that I love them more often, I’ll stop being mushy and telling people that I love them so much.
I’ll spend more time on making music and take it seriously. I’ll finish a book and publish it. I’ll read more and become more informed. I’ll read about human rights and politics and start to care about global problems. I’ll give more to charity. I’ll be the loving son or daughter or husband or wife that people expect me to be. I’ll buy that SLR camera I wanted to buy for so long because I love photography. I’ll cut down on cola and soft drinks. I’ll stop doing the wild things I always do and settle down. I’ve been afraid to live for so long and I’ll start trying out new things that I’ve never tried before.
I’ll find a partner that I feel happy with, I’ll end the abusive relationship that I’m in, I’ll try and work things out with my partner because I’ve screwed up big time recently. I’ll watch all the good movies I’ve been meaning to watch, I’ll listen to all the good music I’ve been meaning to listen to. I’ll be better off. I’ll try my best at whatever I attempt. I will stop having a negative attitude and will start loving myself. I’ll quit wearing those pink colored shades that make everything seem so fantastic.
I’ll write more and talk less. I’ll think before I act. I’ll talk more when I feel misunderstood. I’ll find a way to communicate to others. I’ll make my life better. I’ll talk less on the phone, I’ll print less paper, litter less, walk more and use the car less. I’ll start to care about the things worth caring for, and fighting the fights worth fighting.
I’ll learn to play an instrument. I’ll learn a new language. I’ll visit an exotic place. I’ll finally learn to swim. I’ll be more patient with things I want, I’ll be less hesitant more assertive. I’ll make myself happy, I’ll make others happy. I’ll be more tolerant, I’ll nag less. I’ll help others some more. I’ll learn to like people more, I’ll stop being a push over. I'll stop all my annoying habits and try and look for fabulous traits. I’ll try and talk some more to people, I’ll try to experience something new. I’ll try new foods and cuisines. I’ll try new drinks. I’ll quit drinking. I’ll try magic mushrooms, I’ll quit hash, drugs and chemicals. I’ll put away all my meaningless fears, I won’t fall into depression. I won’t lose hope and I’ll be more courageous. I’ll love more, hate less. I’ll forgive more. I’ll learn more things. I’ll stop and smell the roses. I’ll be a good friend.
In short I’ll get rid of all the shit, start doing all the good.
I’m so glad the new year’s here so that I get a chance to make this resolution. I couldn’t have done it on any other day!