The other night I watched a movie called “Margaret’s Museum”. It’s the first movie in a long time that made me ache. Not cry – though almost. Just ache, with a kind of profound sorrow.
There was the sorrow of recognizing a very real and ugly history exploited coal miners and the agony of the countless families who lived and died for coal. There was the reminder of the many ways this kind of experience affects people emotionally, and in turn their children. There was the reminder of the natural consequences of our blocking on exploitation that still goes on even today.
The movie was not just the story of an individual family, but also a story of the deep sadness and behavior of people who are trying to live with loss, knowing it can happen again at any moment. These long-standing situations in a sense produce almost dysfunctional communities, which in turn lack the ability to ‘save’ themselves.
There are people right now, for example, living and dying similarly for diamonds, minerals for our cell phones, or working with Canadian asbestos that we ourselves consider an unacceptable health risk.
Do we need a dramatic and memorable movie made of each and every situation of exploitation? We change the channel so easily – literally and figuratively. My complaint is with myself, as well as others. What have I done lately to reduce the suffering of others? There is so much of it, that we could be taking action many times every day of our lives. And I think that’s part of the problem: it is overwhelming, and we don’t know where to start. Perhaps that’s the action needed:
Could we require that everyone holding public office has a legal obligation to work at solving any problem he/she becomes aware of? After all, many people believe they solve the problems of the world by voting. And ideally, that ‘should’ be true.
Yes, I like that idea: Accountability. Gee, isn’t that almost like ‘responsibility’? What a concept.