12 Years a Slave: Is Fear Your Master?
(Author's note: Although in the category of Movies & TV, this is not a true review, but more of a plea for the reader to step out of the comfort zone and to understand that, if we are to grow as people, we must be willing to view life through the eyes of others. I implore all to watch this movie, and then find a copy of the book to read. Thank you.)
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There are times when we need to shake life up and step into a world that we do not know.
It is not always comfortable to learn the stories of other human beings. We avoid bad news. We walk away from those whose stories challenge our very soul. We ignore that which makes us cringe.
But the telling of and listening to these stories is necessary, if we are to truly understand life and human beings. Yes, we learn of horrific atrocities, but we are also to learn about the resiliency of the human spirit. We hear of the resolve and courage to keep on going, despite what life dishes out.
Oscar-winning Best Picture (2013) 12 Years a Slave was a film story that did just that for me.
Based on the autobiographical account of Solomon Northrup (written in 1853), we learn of the selling of this free African-American man who was kidnapped in Washington, DC in 1841 and sold into slavery. He was sent to Louisiana and worked for 12 years on the plantations before he was released.
As I watched this film, there were many moments that I was angry, mortified, and saddened that human beings could even treat others as Northrup and others were treated. I am not speaking only of the atrocity of slavery, which is reason enough to be incensed, but of the deeper level of this story and how it speaks to the choices we all have to make as we make the journey through the life that is given to us.
We each have been given life and, through a series of events often out of our control, we find ourselves making decisions that affect the lives of others. Far too often, people will use justification, rationalization, and projection to excuse behavior that we would not accept if the tables were turned on us or our loved ones. Yet, we can feel smug in delivering personalized and vengeful attacks on others.
Although this film stirred up many strong negative emotions about what others are capable of waging against others, it also showed hope that there is a capacity for us to open our hearts and show kindness, forgiveness, and love toward others.
What we do not always understand is that fear seems to be the common denominator. So often, fear is a liar and we become enslaved to it.
Let us all learn to have the courage to face it, lest we spend many more than 12 years of our own lives serving fear as our master.
© 2015 Coral Levang
Image Credit » http://pixabay.com/en/martinique-le-pr%C3%AAcheur-hands-206916/ by orythys