Catch a Fire is one of the better movies I’ve been able to watch lately and it’s one of those films that gets me thinking. It’s based on a true story set in the apartheid-era of South Africa and just watching it makes it hard to believe that this era was still around when I was born. Derek Luke, who has become quite a powerful actor, plays an apolitical family man whose life is torn to shreds when he is accused of being a terrorist and suffers a great deal of torture at the hands of Nic Vos, played by Tim Robbins. He is eventually set free but is also transformed in the process. He becomes political and joins the ANC movement, categorized then as a terrorist organization. He becomes what he was once accused of. Other than that synopsis I won’t give away anymore and simply recommend that everyone watch it.
The movie made me think about history. About ideology. About perceptions. About how you can label a population as terrorists in the present and as freedom fighters in retrospect.
It made me think about racism. About occupation. About terrorism. About freedom fighters. About apartheid and why it’s downplayed in history books, classes and Hollywood films. The movie made me think about Palestine. About Iraq. About Chechnya. About Darfur. About Orientalism. About struggle. About power. About what it means to fight for a land, for a family for a home. About violence. About peace.
About the spark that ignites and the spark that unites.
About whether diplomacy is an alternative to violence or just an inevitable consequence of it.
Where I am today, in the place that I’m in, there is a fire that burns all around me I suppose. Those that matter couldn’t care less; and those that care are powerless.
I was born during a time when something like apartheid still existed and most of the world didn’t care. Now I live during a time when genocide and occupation are words most of the world does not care about. And I wonder if I or those of my generation would be called upon for a higher purpose: would we march? Would we fight? Will it come to that?
Doesn’t it always come to that?
And I wonder how it must feel to see the world from God’s point of view.
What do you do with a species endowed with the power of speech and thought but incapable of learning from history? In fact, rather persistent on repeating it.
Back here on Earth…
What does someone like me do? Sit? Watch? Read? Write? Listen?
I don’t think I’ll ever see the spark.
God’s point of view…the poor entity tried everything, wiped us out more than once, floods, fire birds, tried to use logic and binding us to faith it didnt work that well…by now, he is sitting back and thinking he should have rested on the day he made man.