Monday, December 08, 2008

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas

I am sitting on my bed in my favorite pajama pants. They are canary yellow. Bright, beautiful yellow.

The words that I want to say don't want to come out right now. My head is pounding from crying so much. I haven't cried that much in a very long time. Horrible things happening to children does that to me. Injustice, oppression, ignorance, and hatred do that to me. I am talking about a film called "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas." I just returned home from seeing this film. I knew going into it that I was going to have a difficult time. My mother and all of my friends told me to be prepared for the horrific nature of the subject matter. All through the previews all I could say was that I was nervous. And I was. Still, I had no idea how moved I would be.

I don't want to give away anything for those of you who have not seen this brilliant movie, however, I do want to touch on several moments or realizations that jumped out at me.

  1. Children are not born with prejudices. These are taught to them by their parents and those around them who have the power to influence their impressionable minds.
  2. Children forgive easily. Their best friend can betray them in the worst way, whether it be tattle-tailing or much worse, and friendship still prevails.
  3. No matter how much "duty" calls, God gave us, as fallen and warped as we are, the ability to distinguish the difference between right and wrong.
  4. Racism exists in many forms and although some are unfamiliar to us in today's world, the impact need not be lost. History repeats itself and we should be mindful of the mistakes of the past so that we can prevent it from happening again.
  5. Hatred is overpowering and disgusting. It is something else that children are not born with. It takes adults to teach that lesson.
I have been noticing the power of racism and closed-mindedness a great deal in my own life . From those who dislike someone for the color of their skin to those who cannot tolerate the religious or political views of those around them. Prejudices are harmful to people and the relationships shared by those people. The holocaust happened because someone thought that a certain race was unfit for our world. Racism. Someone thought that they were better than someone else because of the color of their hair, eyes, and facial features. Someone thought that they were superior because they were "Christians" and not Jewish. Because they were light skinned and not olive toned. Because they were German and not a decedent of Jacob. How is this any different than today? Don't some people think that they are better than those who have a darker colored skin? Or because they worship God and not Allah? Or because they are a Republican or Democrat? Doesn't it sound the same? Don't we hate based on the differences we see in others? Don't we discriminate against those who are different than us or those who think differently? This is what started the greatest massacre of the human race that the world has ever known. Hate. Discrimination. Ignorance. Arrogance. Not understanding someone and what they believe does not warrant hatred or racism.

There is no excuse for the intolerance of someone based on the color of their skin, the religion they practice, or the political view they hold. Especially in a country where the rights to free speech, freedom of religion, and the equality of all men has been handed to this generation, and the past several generations, on a silver platter. Perhaps that is the problem. Perhaps not having to fight for our voices to be heard and the ability to practice the religion of our choice has made us numb to the stories of the past and problems of the present. What happened over seventy years ago in Europe can not be reversed or changed, but we can prevent it from happening again. The best place to start is at home. Inside yourself. Working to understand one another and loving your neighbor as you love yourself regardless of varying view points. We are called to do unto others as we would have others do unto us. There are no "ifs", "ands", or "buts."

Do you want to be persecuted because you are Mexican, Catholic, Asian, African-American, Republican, Jewish, German, Moderate, Muslim, Democrat, Christian, or just plain old American?

I didn't think so.


Eliza said...

Well said.
There's just no excuse for intolerance, much less hatred.
I just looked up the trailer for The Boy in the Striped Pajamas... it looks incredible. I'll definitely have to see that one soon.

theblackdane said...

It was a good movie. I know several people that were also very affected by it.

I agree with you that starting with ourselves is essential to ending injustice. But let's not forget that our government and it's officials act on our behalf. When our government commits injustice we are not absolved just because our hands did not deliver the beating. The holocaust was possible because normal Germans like you and me allowed themselves believe their government was protecting them from a dangerous group of people - at the same time that they "ignored" the lengths to which their government was going to to provide this "protection."

So far 770 men and boys, some as young as 14, have been imprisoned just at Guantanamo. To this day only 23 have even been accused of a crime, a number that is unfortunately smaller than the 34 who have been killed by us in our military prisons, thanks to our adoption of torture.

From the Dallas Morning News: "Eventually Mr. Khadr (15 yrs old) urinated on himself. Personnel came in, squirted cleanser on the floor, "then they grabbed Omar like a human mop and they mopped up the Pine-Sol and urine with Omar. And then they left him there and he was in these clothes for days."

I'm sorry that you felt pressure from some of your friends and family to vote for candidates that support torture, the suspension of habeas corpus, and indefinite detention.

That's as sad as the movie, to me.

If you haven't seen the Oscar Award Winning "Taxi to the Dark Side" you can watch it online for free here -
(stuff at very beginning not from film makers)

rg said...

Hey theresa!
this is a GREAT post. "the boy in Striped Pyjamas" (as they spelled it) came to the Savannah Film Festival. And like you... the movie shook me... Though, I wish it had shaken me more.

What you've said is something that many people in this world don't understand until they are many years older than you are right now. So what you've said is great, and true. I think what i wanna do is share with you my thoughts, in context with your thoughts, and in context with Christ.

I went into it thinking of all the parallels between the holocaust and the modern-day holocaust of abortion, but that's a different topic to be discussed elsewhere if desired. You wrote about Racism, so I will discuss racism.

So my movie watching experience... (i'll try to keep it spoiler free). The previews I saw also prepared me a little to be shaken, but it saved the big shaking for the movie.

And as you said, Theresa, this movie is brilliant. It is as brilliant as it is shocking.

As it got closer to the end, it became more and more apparent, until you were completely horrified at the ending.

I want to sorta comment on your points:

1. Man... this is so true, and it was shown greatly by this movie. No wonder Christ tells us to become like little children. However, there is a difference in becoming like a child, and becoming childish. one shows the innocence and purity of a child, while the latter shows the fallen nature of man at work in in a child. but again... good point.

2. by all means yes! again, this is what Jesus meant by becoming like a child.

3. Duty to Christ comes first... I don't think anything else comes second or third. we are to do our duty for His kingdom, and in preparation for His coming. And your duty may involve something like going to school to be a sound designer to work on movies that promote Christ and show HIM in His splendor... just a "random" example.
3 (cont'd) - Yes... God does give discernment, and when we fail to follow through to the right decision, God's loving hand comes to correct us in a way that will again show us the right path. should we continually choose wrong, this correction becomes more severe, and soon becomes judgement of sin.

4a. Yes, racism rears it's ugly head today.. both in residues of past experiences, as well as echoes of those experiences, and also new versions of those ideas that are revamped and reworked, and allowed to "mature," in a way. racism is still present in today's world through discrimination based on color of skin, religion, and though it is not quite the same thing, abortion is an idea that is stemmed from the very ideas Hitler dreamed up..
4b. However, I wouldn't quite say that history is quite "repeating" as much as it is going through seasons, like fall spring winter and summer. These are seasons that WILL happen again. No matter how hard we try to stop winter from coming, it shows up, freezin our faces off.
4b.( cont'd )- BUT, if we look at history in the scope of the bible, there was a beginning of time, and an end to time. We all know how time began, and we know that in the end of time, Christ returns and finally defeats death, sorrow, pain, and sadness, time ends, and eternity begins.
4b. (cont'd) again - If we look to the return of Jesus, we see Satan trying desperately to stop the inevitable that is his own defeat, and as that glorious day draws nearer, satan gets more and more desperate. darkness will increase, sin will abound, but God will strengthen his Church to stand pure, righteous and blameless in those days, and LIGHT will shine into the darkness.

5. don't forget that as a result of our fall, we are all born with the potential to become the same, and worse, that what Hitler became. But the innocence of children protects them from this... Or perhaps... the effects of the fall do not have as much grasp on such a mind and soul that is so new in the world. but i do agree with you on this: we older folk teach more than just with out words.... and kids learn a LOT from the adults..

because I started this a long time ago, and I'm coming back to it.. I will finally comment on your last statement...

remember hat the closer we get to the return of Christ, the more we CHristian folk will be persecuted...

so yeah... the last couple of ideas were def not in the same night/reading as the original.

kfhtinydancer said...

Once again, I am disappointed and disgusted by some of the Christian view points regarding "duty to God", "duty to country", etc., etc., etc.

The people responsible for the Holocaust and the sheepish followers who went along with it, sincerely believed that they WERE fulfilling their duty to God and country.

The God and Christ I believe in would not rally believers to commit acts that ultimately led to the following death tolls:

Jews: 5.9 million killed
Soviet POWs: 2–3 million killed
Ethnic Poles: 1.8–2 million killed
Roma: 220,000–500,000 killed
Disabled: 200,000–250,000 killed
Freemasons: 80,000–200,000 killed
Homosexuals: 5,000–15,000 killed
Jehovah's Witnesses: 2,500–5,000 killed

The list of those affected by the Holocaust is vast:
I'm willing to bet that most people have no idea how many people, in addition to Jews, were affected by this mass murder.

And the Germans who felt that the holocaust was right, believed (as shown in the movie), that they were fulfilling their duty concerning what God wanted for their country.

That is sick and wrong.

It is because of this that I refuse to believe that all Muslims are out to get Christians, that all Middle Eastern people are terrorists, that homosexuals should be denied their legal rights, that they're all less equal than us...

It's the SAME kind of garbage that the German government was saying about the Jews and others who were "different". And look where that led to.... the Holocaust.

And since THE BOY IN THE STRIPED PAJAMAS is being linked to abortion for some reason (I'm not even going to get started on that), here's some information: believe it or not, abortion wasn't Hitler's idea. It was thought of long before he came around.