Bang! Bang! I was awoken from a deep sleep and jumped up from bed. My head collided with something hard and I fell back into bed. I felt an intense pain race down my neck and into my lower back. My face felt as if I was walking under a sprinkler. Immediately I knew what was coming next. I could taste the viscus liquid on my lips, I was bleeding. I looked up and noticed the nail on the bottom of the upper bunk. I had not slept in a bunk bed in many decades and the bed had taken its revenge on my head. The pain became more intense and I grabbed the blanket and applied pressure to my head, but the flow of blood was stead and unrelenting. I felt as if I could not breathe. I tried to open my eyes fully but my sight was being obscured by the red flow. I called for Paul, but there was no answer. I more carefully stood from the lower bunk.
I tried to move forward but did not get far. I was pulled toward the floor by an unseen force at my left ankle. I used my hands to cushion my fall and let go of the blanket and the stream of blood became a torrent. I heard the scrapping of metal against concrete and felt the coolness of the concrete floor under my elbows. The impact was painful and I screamed from its intensity. I thought the pain in my elbows would be the worst, then my chin meet the concrete floor. My jaw was on fire. I pulled at my left leg but it was not going anywhere.
Bang! Bang! Bang! I had forgotten about what had awoken me. It was gun fire. I was certain of it. I shouted for Paul again, but there was still no answer. Suddenly there was an intense beam of light. The door slammed into the wall with a loud bang and the intensity of the light made me realize how dark the room was. I heard a loud voice in a strange language. Suddenly the room went dark again. There was a bag over my head.
The best movie of 2013 was “12 years a slave”. It is a well told story with wonderful cinematography. The material covered is apart of American history and was necessary to be told. The beauty and tragedy of the story is that it is not fictional. It is the true story of one man and allegory of many. In telling the story the filmmaker presented the complexity, brutality and the tragedy that was the life of Africans in “slave” America. The representations of violence are not gratuitous, but instructive and do not feel contrived. They do however have you asking why and how? Why did slavery exist in a country that professed equality of all men and how was this system justified for so long? Gladly no attempt was made to answer those questions.
The power of the story can be seen in the reaction of the Africans to their loss of self-determination. The over simplified version is that there were two types of enslaved, the demoralized and the resistant. The demoralized made peace with enslavement and would not resist because he had seen the lot that fell upon those who resisted. While the resistant would continue to resist in spite of the consequences even to his death. The story of loss of freedom is tragic, but illustrates well the fleeting nature of physical freedom. The main character was betrayed by the trust that exists that allows free societies to function effectively. The trust that ensures that all are treated ethically and are equal under the law.
This is a wonderful movie that should not be missed. See it with your children. Make it a community event. Discuss it openly. The essential truth is the revelation that our physical possessions cannot keep us from bondage. The only freedom is that of the mind. The ability to move freely is significant, but the freedom to think as one likes is vital to the establishment a fully free society.