Thursday, November 20, 2014

These dark dark days

And, just like that, the dark dark days are here. It doesn't get "light" until 8 in the morning and it's completely dark again by 4 pm (at the latest). But even more than that, the sun has left us. We've only had mere hours (4-5) of sun this whole month! They are predicting this November to be the darkest November on record (Darkest November). At the height of the day there still isn't enough light outside to light a room so the inside lights remain on all day. Everyone is donning their reflector vests again and bike lights are perpetually turned on.

So, what do we do with all these gray short days? We take advantage of every opportunity to push ourselves to go out and interact with others. This week is an anti-racism film festival and has free showings all around the city. I went to "Days of Hope" made by a Danish film maker early this week. It's about different Africans who come/want to come to Europe. There are a few scenes in Copenhagen and Malmö which is nice to see places you know. From the title, you'd think the film had happy elements but let me tell you, I left feeling very hopeless. I realize immigration/emigration is complex but what about the simple humanity of it all?

You'd think I'd learn after the first film that the anti-racism film festival shows terribly sad movies to raise awareness and create understandings, not to make people feel good. But, I didn't catch on too deeply and went to another showing. This film was fictional but based on true events in Hungry with a Roma family. Again, I left feeling very depressed and that there may not be any hope for us.

I wonder if I would feel so down after watching these movies if they were played on summer solstice. I think the organizers should have considered the time of year a little more. It's a fine balance of exposing ourselves and learning, and protecting our tender hearts and minds when the weather adds to our potential demise of spirit.

It's been interesting to talk through the movies and see the different responses my friends and I have had. I so easily fall into this, "white guilt," and then feel a responsibility to be the one to fight and change it all while my friends comment that the State should step in more and another friend thinks more focused NGO's should be established. Our choice of words show such a stark difference in our personal understandings. One of the things I love about Northern Europe is its belief in doing things for the collective good. But I also see the limitation when you don't see the personal need to be the one person to step out and make a difference. I think it must be so much easier to get out of bed everyday if you think of yourself as part of a collective, or that it's someone else's job.

While the days are short and dark and my social calendar has been filled with heart wrenching portrayals of reality, I still look at the candles flickering in windows, Christmas lights hanging across the city streets and lit stars shining bright to believe in my own fight for humanity. And I am thankful for my friends who see the world differently than I do and who make me pause and try to understand their way of fighting too.

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