a movie, a play - and a peace

The critics tend to hate it, but then I'm not one to let Rotten Tomatoes tell me what to think. Those who lived through the events tend to be annoyed by it - but then don't they see that the 'based on actual events' is modified even further by 'this story imagines' those events?

All I can say is that my heart was strangely moved by it.

The Journey is about two enemies in an intractable conflict stuck in a car together, as they drive from St Andrews to Edinburgh airport. They are coerced into working out their differences in that confined space. We watch a relationship being established as a conversation develops around learning to listen to each other - with a little facilitation by the driver of the car. It is about Ian Paisley and Martin McGuinness, representing the two sides of the Irish conflict which so defined terrorism and civil war for so long. I found myself drawn back into the conflict - and into Wikipedia - for a deeper understanding of what happened.


In this world of ours where hate is spreading, walls are growing and enemies are multiplying, this movie brings a little hope. If two of the world's most famous enemies could find friendship in this simple way, maybe other enemies can do so as well? And not just enemies at a national/global level - but maybe even enemies in social media, with its capacity to bring so much hate-speech into personal lives.

Soon after the movie finished, my own heart and mind was thrown into its own conflict. I've seen something like this just recently which tells a similar story. I tried and tried to pull it from my memory but it wouldn't come back to me. It was so frustrating. Then earlier this week, in the early hours, the deteriorating memory delivered.

Of course. Silly me. When I was in London a couple of months ago for meetings, we went to the theatre. What did we see? Oslo. It is a play about two enemies in an intractable conflict being confined to a castle in the middle of a forest in Norway. We watch a relationship being established as a conversation develops around learning to listen to each other - with a little facilitation by a couple of diplomats. It is about that secretive meeting of the Israelis with the Palestinians. This time, the critics loved it. "Can we make peace with enemies? Oslo gives us hope." I found myself drawn back into the conflict - and into Wikipedia - for a deeper understanding of what happened.

 

Tragically, very tragically, while the peace born in a car in Scotland has spread, the peace born in a castle in Norway has drifted further and further away.

I love movies which end with some actual historical text and pictures - telling me, showing me at the end what really happened. Be it more recently with United KingdomQueen of Katwe, Hidden Figures - or, here with The Journey and Oslo - there is nothing better than having this medium used to energise my imagination in a way that allows me to touch history itself.

While on the subject of actual historical text and pictures - not to mention sworn enemies, intractable conflicts, peace being born and deteriorating memories - let's be reminded this Christmas that we don't need to be coerced into a car or into a castle to experience real, lasting reconciliation. The actual historical text of Scripture with its picture of the cross expresses it in this way:
For since our friendship with God was restored by the death of his Son while we were still his enemies, we will certainly be saved through the life of his Son. So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God (Romans 5).  Once you were far away from God, but now you have been brought near to him ... For Christ himself has brought peace to us. He united Jews and Gentiles into one people when, in his own body on the cross, he broke down the wall of hostility that separated us ... He made peace between Jews and Gentiles by creating in himself one new people from the two groups. Together as one body, Christ reconciled both groups to God by means of his death on the cross, and our hostility toward each other was put to death (Ephesians 2).
Christmas only happened so that Easter can happen. And it is the message of Easter that is the best source of a lasting peace in Ireland, a new peace in Israel-Palestine and a transformative peace in your life and mine.

nice chatting

Paul

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