Sunday, August 19, 2007

Minority Report 200807

I’m beginning to become actively concerned about the future plight of minorities living in the West. Passively yes, one observes institutional racism, blatant profiling and glass ceilings thick enough to absorb the most ambitious of shocks. And yes, the occasion incident happens with you as subject but once the futility of your anger neutralizes it back down, it’s life again, as what you have now come to regard as normal. You remind yourself that you are here with a purpose in mind and the gains you patiently persevere for will annihilate memories of a senseless subjugation.

But there are 2 films I’ve watched lately that had me last night seriously considering the need for developing a continent-wide (Africa in this instance) defense strategy. (Disclaimer: obviously Africans and related Diasporans are not the only minorities in the precarious situation I’m getting to but, my mind tends to default to focusing on that glorious land mass that gave me life, in the physical and spiritual sense!) It began with Children of Men – a bleak future where those who are different are caged like animals because England, the last standing nation yet to be obliterated by war, disease etc., is consequently suffering a far graver immigration problem than the (supposed) one of the present. Then last night, I watched the gloriously anarchistic V for Vendetta where, once again we had, a future-time England where Muslims, homosexuals and ethnic minorities were outlawed and used as specimens for pharmaceutical research (as animals once were). Again, the ruling regime was totalitarian. Again, viral epidemics, nuclear fallouts and brutal wars were the government’s chosen weapons of fear to keep the masses complicit. Altogether a profoundly depressing but altogether not too surreal scenario. And that’s what scares me most. The fact that not only do these storylines appear very feasible but that elements of them are already realities. There’s a brilliant line in V that states something about artists using lies to tell the truth and politicians using lies to cover the truth!

All the disparate acts against humanity that occur worldwide fail to coalesce into an crucial urgent collective consciousness. Anyone alien studying our life and times must shake their heads in astonishment on our failure to learn from our own histories. Is the biggest tragedy of our times a superlative failure to communicate? To make connections between things – to perceive and derive patterns? Indeed poetry is truer than history. Indeed the tools that art possesses may be the most powerful implements we have to awaken ourselves to what is before our very eyes. So yes, lies, embellished truths, tales… these are like masks that the artist wears so that he can be her- or himself without unfavourable consequences. That’s the crazy irony of our existence – we need props and tricks to safely liberate ourselves. There’s something seriously wrong with that state of affairs. It’s funny then when you think that the romantic ideal situation in life is freedom. Because in actuality, the journey there is perhaps the most difficult and dangerous one we will ever undertake.

… so we keep the hope alive that the reward will be worth it.